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Bartow, FL, February 7, 2022 — Denise Bohde has been chosen to lead the economic development efforts of the Bartow Economic Development Council (BEDC).

The goal of the BEDC is to improve the economic well-being and quality of life in the community by creating and retaining jobs and talent and growing the tax base; and its President is responsible for facilitating, promoting and ensuring community and economic development in order to secure opportunities for economic and business development and increase local employment.

“Denise has a positive and winning personality,” said BEDC Board Chairman Brian Hinton, Executive Director of Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation. “Facilitating community and economic development in the City of Bartow, including the CRA District, and surrounding properties, can be accomplished. Each year we need to  generate an effective plan that includes vision, goals and objectives for Bartow, and I know Denise will help make this happen.”

Denise Bohde was born and raised in Bartow. She graduated from Bartow High School and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Georgia. After graduation she taught in the Atlanta area, where she developed keen skills for communication and attention to detail. Bohde is a third generation Bartow Rotarian and served as Secretary in 2019-2020. She currently serves on Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, Main Street Bartow Board of Directors and serves on the Bartow High School Booster Club. She is owner of America’s Favorite Coupon Book for West Polk and Plant City. She is Owner/Realtor of 360 Perspective Partners and she works with WWBF Radio. “Radio is in my blood,” Bohde noted. Her father owned the Bartow radio station, which today is owned and operated by the Thornburg family.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for Bartow over the next five to 10 years. We are standing on the precipice of an unprecedented expansion – and it will surround Bartow,” she said. 

“We hope to assist local organizations and businesses in taking advantage of the new growth that will provide opportunities to work on major projects. We will be identifying community training and development requirements to provide the workforce needed to support growth. The Council members of the BEDC along with the Stakeholders are partnering with local government to effectively plan for the well-being and quality of life for the community. 

“We need to identify and encourage smart growth in all sectoral economic development areas including mine / industrial, tourism, aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, arts and culture, etc. 

“There’s so much more than this at stake,” Bohde said. “It’s like we’ve been handed an intricate 1000-piece puzzle; and we all need to work together to make sure every piece fits. I’m excited to be a part of this.”

Mrs. Bohde began working as BEDC President on Feb. 1. 

HISTORY OF BEDC:

BEDC began as an initiative presented to the Bartow City Commission in early 2012 that was the result of a project by the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. It envisioned establishment of an economic development body, and the development of an economic development plan focused specifically on Bartow.

Since then, economic conditions and the City’s financial position have continued to improve. A number of tools have been developed and implemented by the City to facilitate the success of a focused economic development initiative. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce has recently reorganized its structure and redirected its resources toward its own core mission of economic development.

A proposed composition for the BEDC was developed in the fall of 2015, and was subsequently approved by both the Bartow City Commission and the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce Board.

The BEDC is comprised of a 12-seat Board of Directors. Ten of the seats have been assigned to representatives of area economic development stakeholders: Bartow Chamber of Commerce, Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency, BayCare Bartow Regional Medical Center, City of Bartow, Clear Springs Land Company, Eastside Positive Action Committee, Main Street Bartow, Polk County Board of County Commissioners and Polk State College. The remaining two seats have been left open for future appointments to the Board.

For more information about the BEDC, its Board or new president, please contact Denise Bohde at (863) 533-7125; or email denise@bartowbedc.org.

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