TAVARES — Serving as conduits between Lake County government and local businesses, Lake County’s three Economic Development & Tourism coordinators are assigned by region, acting as a team to bridge business owners with the support services needed to reach their goals.
Erika Greene – Northeast
Greene is a familiar face in Lake County, having previously worked for the library system, where she was credited for launching the Adult Literacy Program. Since taking on the role of coordinator in 2014, Greene has become a ubiquitous presence representing Lake County at half a dozen local chambers of commerce.
Her area, which spans from Astor to the Golden Triangle, includes some of the county’s most visited ecotourism destinations for boating, fishing, hiking and biking, as well as shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment.
“There's something for every taste,” said Greene.
In her role as coordinator, Greene works to connect employers with local, state, and federal agencies offering workforce development services.
"My goal is to create opportunities for information sharing that result in the development of programs that meet the needs of Lake County businesses,” she said.
Greene facilitates the recently formed Lake County Workforce Taskforce, which focuses on local workforce development, and the South Lake Tech Committee, a countywide initiative supporting the growth of existing companies, while working to attract high-tech businesses.
“The purpose of the committee is to collaborate with the Orlando Tech Association to recreate their successful mission of welcoming and supporting tech entrepreneurs, startups and businesses, and assisting in the attraction and retention of tech companies in Lake County,” Greene said
Sam Weekley - Northwest
Sam Weekley is Lake County’s newest coordinator, but he comes with a wide variety of experience, having worked as an analyst for the University of Central Florida’s College of Health and Public Affairs and as a transit planner with the Florida Department of Transportation.
Weekley’s goals as a coordinator in Lake County are “to sustain and advance the department’s strategic and coordinated effort to connect our business partners and business owners with the resources they need to continue pursuing economic growth.”
His region includes Leesburg, Fruitland Park, Lady Lake and portions of The Villages. In fact, this area of northwest Lake County was again named the nation's fastest growing metro area in the country, with The Villages growing at a rate of 4.3 percent from July 2014 to July 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Weekley is focused on supporting major manufacturing endeavors, including the County Road 470 Commerce Park in Leesburg, the largest tract of industrial land still remaining in Lake County, and home to C&C Peet and the under-construction Coreslab concrete company.
“The County Road 470 Commerce Park will transform the Leesburg area and will provide economic opportunity for a diverse population of Baby Boomers still in the workforce, as well Generations X and Y, and Millennials who call the U.S. Highway 27 corridor home,” Weekley said.
Brandon Matulka - South
Joining the Lake County Economic Development & Tourism Division in December 2015, Matulka serves as the coordinator for the expansive South Lake region.
“I am committed to creating relationships with the businesses and other organizations that call South Lake County home, with the goal of helping the region’s businesses prosper while also attracting new businesses and jobs to the area,” he said.
Matulka oversees relations with some of South Lake’s major employers, such as businesses at the Ford Commerce Park in Groveland, including American Marine Sports, QuietFlex and CaptiveAire. He will also serve as a point person between county government, businesses and the community on large scale projects such as the Minneola Interchange and Wellness Way.
As an Ex-Officio Board Member of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce, he works with the chamber to assist in building a foundation of support for area businesses and community members. He is active with the West Orange/ South Lake Transportation and Economic Development Task Force, and the Four Corners Area Council.
Prior to joining the Economic Growth Department, Matulka worked for Loyola University Chicago in budget management and worked for Garmin International in business-to-business sales and account management.
“Working with clients both nationally and internationally, I was able to gain a thorough understanding of business principles, which dovetailed perfectly into my role as a Lake County coordinator,” said Matulka.
For information on starting, relocating or expanding a business in Lake County, call Lake County’s Economic Development & Tourism Division at 352-742-3918 or visit www.BusinessInLakeFL.com.