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First Coast Connect

2/27/2017: Enterprise Florida; FCS- Brandenburg; Environmental Leadership Program

Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the future of Enterprise Florida with JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis. This month’s edition of First Coast Success with Karen Brune Mathis featured Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes & Cemeteries president Jody Brandenburg. We also heard about a new video series through the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of North Florida. We were joined by Sean Lahav, the project leader and producer of the videos, John November from the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida and Maria Mark, program coordinator. 

Enterprise Florida

Governor Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran have been at odds over the future of Enterprise Florida, the organization that provides business incentives to bring jobs to the Sunshine State.

The Governor is asking the legislature for $85 million to fund Enterprise Florida, saying it’s needed to increase economic development.

He’s also asked for $76 million to fund Visit Florida. But Corcoran wants to eliminate funding for both organizations, calling it corporate welfare. JAX Chamber relies heavily on Enterprise Florida incentives to bring jobs to Jacksonville.


Hardage-Giddens has an expansive death care industry facility in Jacksonville, including 11 funeral homes, six cemeteries and a cremation facility. Brandenburg has been in Jacksonville catering to families for nearly 30 years.       

Environmental Leadership Program

It’s a new video series on Northeast Florida’s special places — our state, national and city parks. The purpose of the series is to share the importance and value of our public lands during the upcoming state legislative session which begins March 7.

Lahav spent 2016 traveling across Jacksonville and produced a 20 episode documentary series. There will be an unveiling event from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Institution Ale Works on Bay Street. They are also working on a partnership with WJCT to air the series this summer on television and online. 

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.