An extremely productive trip at the Paris Air Show for Bay EDA!


Becca Hardin, President of the Bay Economic Development Alliance, has had the opportunity to attend the International Air show (Farnborough and Paris) for the past eight years.  She claims this year to be the BEST, most successful show attended.  A large part of this is the fact that Bay EDA adopted an honorary member of the Bay County economic development team to assist with the show this year.  Paul Cocker, retired CEO of GKN Aerospace North America, (and Bay County resident) accompanied Hardin on the trip.  “Man, he was like a rock star and is a legion in the Aviation Industry,” said Hardin. See the attached photo of Hardin and Cocker prior to meeting with executives from GE Aviation.  Cocker helped make introductions and opened doors that set the Bay EDA apart from the competition!

A quick recap:

One measure of success is the number of contacts you make and how many business cards you collect.   As you can see from the second photo, the Bay EDA met with a large number, more than 70 people, at the show!
Of these 70 contacts:

·         16 Company Presidents / CEOs

·        40 follow-ups; follow-up with more detailed information on Bay County to these companies

·         9 contacts interested in coming to Bay County for a visit

·         2 proposals in response to “real” growth projects!

Examples of companies:

·         United Technologies

·         Pratt & Whitney

·         GKN Aerospace

·         GE Aviation

·         TectAerospace

·         Kellstrom Defense

·         Limco Air Repair

·         Teledyne

There is no doubt that this is a key recruitment mission that will help put Bay County (airport and Port properties) on the International Aviation Map!  Stay tuned!

On a side note, the Bay EDA offices are moving.  Our new address is 5230 West Highway 98, Panama City at Gulf Coast State College.  Please be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!  Thanks for your continued support!


Bay Economic Development Alliance

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Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile


LinkedIn is widely accepted as the networking social media platform for professionals.  It is your online resume, and could be the first place an investor will look when they are considering candidates for their investment portfolio. In short, if you plan to be a part of the business world, you should have a profile on LinkedIn. 

Unfortunately, just having a profile isn’t enough.  As with a professional resume, your profile must make a good impression and quickly outline your marketable skills while succinctly presenting a bit of who you are as an individual.  It can be a hard balance to strike and people often miss small details that can make a big difference.  

The following are a few “Best Practices” to help your profile stand out amidst the crowd.

1.      Profile Photo – First thing, you NEED a profile photo.  The blue box outline provided as a place-holder by LinkedIn is not supposed to be your profile picture.  Also, this is a professional forum, your trip to that crazy bar in the Bahamas is probably not your best bet.  I am not saying you need to invest in professional headshots (although it wouldn’t hurt). Choose a photo that portrays your professional image, from your clothes to your hair and makeup (if applicable).  Don’t use a full body image or an image that has other people or animals in the photos.  

2.      Summary – This little area is a chance to set yourself apart from the crowd so don’t waste it with a trite or overused statement.  A simple Google search will provide lists of overused buzzwords to avoid.   Spend some time and craft a personal message that encapsulates your career goals and achievements to date.  

3.      Experience – Much like your resume, you don’t have to list every position that you have worked since your teen years.  Highlighting the most relevant and recent positions that you have held is the best way to go.  If you have very limited experience, it is appropriate to list internships, volunteer work, or other relevant positions that contribute to your career path.  Handle large gaps in employment as you would on a resume.  

4.      Recommendations – Know that a good recommendation trumps the shallower “endorsement” feature on LinkedIn.  Don’t be afraid to ask people that you have worked with for a formal recommendation on LinkedIn.  Especially if they hold a position of authority and have complimented you on work you have done.  LinkedIn is not a forum for your friends to say how great they think you are, but rather a chance to have people who have seen a value in what you do formally recognize it. 

These practices will assist you on your way to a great LinkedIn profile.  For more insights, LinkedIn offers help by way of profile recommendations; it is worth the time and effort to look into those as well.  Hopefully, these tips will start you on your way to crushing your professional goals with the help of social media.   


Holly Pituch
Social Media Adviser for the Business Innovation Center

Score Some Better Business Knowledge with SCORE Panama City 


Small businesses in all phases of their development can use a helping hand. The US Small Business Administration created SCORE to help connect volunteer business people with small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs, like you, to help you solve business problems. SCORE volunteers nationwide give freely of their time, experience and knowledge to help others. In Bay County, a new SCORE Panama City chapter is being formed with help from its sister organization in Pasco and Hernando Counties under the direction of Joy Pillion. The BIC is pleased to help with SCORE’s organization and seminars here in our area. “SCORE is another tool in our entrepreneurial and economic development toolbox,” says BIC Executive Director Pamela Kidwell.

Two free SCORE-sponsored seminars are planned here in Panama City, both on Tuesday, June 30:

“How To Improve Your Business Through Technology” at the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce (309 R Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach 32407) at 11:30 AM.  Learn the benefits of technological tools related to websites, e-marketing and finance for small businesses. All attendees will receive handout materials with an electronic presentation file including “hot links.

“Using the Internet In Your Business” at the downtown Panama City Public Library (Government Center, 898 W 11th St, Panama City 32401) at 5:30 PM.  This seminar will review the various roles that a website can offer your business: from serving simply as a quick, widely accessible marketing brochure to providing more mechanisms allowing customers to communicate their needs easily and effectively to becoming your business’ online or even its primary “storefront”. This seminar will demystify much of the tech gobbledygook and walk you through an eight-step process of key activities that will enable you to quickly leverage this technology in almost any business.

For more information on SCORE and upcoming business development activities, contact the BIC at (850) 770-2451.



Jamie Shepard
Consultant, Business Innovation Center

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Career Source Gulf Coast hosts Florida DEO’s Unemployment Insurance Town Hall  June 8 and 9 in Panama City

DEO is hosting informational town hall meetings to introduce Connect and SIDES E-Response.

SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System) is a nationally recognized program that allows employers from across the country to respond to state unemployment insurance (UI) requests for information. This electronic tool provides an easier and more streamlined method to submit responses for separation information and earnings verifications. 

Connect’s Employer Portal is Florida’s easy-to-use claims management system that allows employers to manage and respond to correspondence related to the Reemployment Assistance Program, view and protest charges against your employer account, and file appeals to any adverse determinations made against your employer account.

Town hall meetings are scheduled to begin mid to late May 2015. The town hall meetings will provide information on how SIDES and Connect can benefit you as an employer and also how to sign up for SIDES E-Response. How can Connect and SIDES E-Response benefit your business?

  • Provides an electronic, nationally standardized data format 

  • Efficient and easier way to respond to requests 

  • Reduces paperwork 

  • Saves time and money 

  • Helps keep UI rates as low as possible by reducing overpayments 

  • Protects sensitive data 

  • Allows for timely responses 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will provide assistance to employers on registering for SIDES. Town Hall meetings will be in Panama City, Florida at the Career Source Gulf Coast located at  625 Highway 231 Mariner Plaza June 8th and 9th from 2pm to 4pm.



CareerSource Gulf Coast 
625 Highway 231, Panama City, FL
(850) 872-4340
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