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Incoming CFDC Chair will Focus on Infrastructure, Wages, Investor Relationships

October 6, 2022 News

Incoming Central Florida Development Council Chair of the Board Maggie Mariucci knows obstacles stand in the way of continued economic growth in Polk County, and she’s ready to use years of building relationships and problem-solving to help overcome them. 

“I think the biggest economic development challenges we’re facing as a county revolve around infrastructure issues. Notably, water and transportation,” she said. “I want Polk County to be well-positioned to attract those large, high-skill, high-wage companies, but if we can’t provide adequate water resources and transportation infrastructure, we will lose our ability to compete for these companies. I know these are priorities for the county as well, and I look forward to continuing our work with them to better position Polk to address these critical needs.” 

But advancing the infrastructure to assist the county’s economic prosperity is not her only goal, she said. This year will be spent focusing on:  

  • “Building tech-enabled, high-skill, higher wage opportunities. 
  • Fostering engagement opportunities that offer CFDC members an environment to connect and build partnerships.” 

“We have worked over the past several years to streamline our strategic initiatives and will work together this year to continue making progress on those goals and boosting our membership engagement,” she said.  

Mariucci has been assistant vice president of University Relations at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland for five years; she served in other external relations’ roles for five years before that. Before that, she worked for Sen. Denise Grimsley and Florida Poly’s predecessor, the University of South Florida Polytechnic. She’s also served as the vice president of public affairs at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor of science degree in Public Relations.  

CFDC President & CEO Sean Malott said Mariucci brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships that will serve the organization well. “As a Polk County native, she understands the importance of this role and the power she holds,” he said. “I know she will use her many talents to guide us as we continue to diversify the economy here and attract new businesses that will help increase wages now and for years to come.” 

Along with increasing economic development and devoting time and resources to the CFDC’s core mission, Mariucci said she’s also interested in the organization’s membership.  

“I thoroughly enjoy our meetings and the opportunity to meet new people and new businesses who have invested in the CFDC because they share our countywide vision,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the staff at CFDC to broaden engagement opportunities and enhance relationships with our member businesses. That will be an important initiative for me this year and one I’m looking forward to.”  

TAKING OVER

As she takes over the reins of the board from local attorney Bart Allen, Mariucci said she’s grateful for his year of service.  

“Bart has been an incredible leader for the CFDC, and I have enjoyed working with him immensely,” she said. “He is very open-minded, deliberative and consensus building. It is my hope to continue to lead the CFDC with those same characteristics. I think it’s important as a board that we encourage open dialogue and discussions and build consensus as we collectively work to advance economic development for our county.” 

She doesn’t plan to approach the job differently than Allen, but to “continue to move forward as an organization and work to accomplish our goals.”  

She will use her background in external affairs as she leads the CFDC board. “I have been working for the university for the most part since 2007 and I would argue it’s one of the largest economic development initiatives that this county has seen in quite some time. Because of my role within the university and higher education, I’m keenly aware of the critical role economic development plays in changing our community for the better, and it’s something very important to me.” 

She also will depend on the relationships she has developed – and those she will develop.  

“Throughout my career, I have focused intently on building relationships across the county and across our state, and I will continue doing so now,” she said. “Over the course of many years and many opportunities, I have been fortunate to work with incredible leaders from all over, and the important relationships I cultivated can be an outstanding resource for me as chair. As part of this, I hope to leverage strong relationships to advance the conversations on complex topics like water infrastructure and talent retention. I believe relationships are critical to success, and are extremely important to the CFDC, to Florida Poly, and to how we move the CFDC forward together.” 

Mariucci said she is driven to pursue projects until they are completed. “I enjoy working hard. I work a lot, but I think key to motivation and dedication is truly believing in your work and that what you’re doing is making a difference to someone, somewhere. I think that parallels our efforts at the CFDC and I think that will continue through my leadership. We will work hard, and we will continue to see projects come to successful completions. We will see this county grow in strategic areas and we will do so with a motivated and dedicated team leading the charge.”  

As she starts her year, Mariucci said she knows the responsibility she now has as chair. “As someone born and raised in Lakeland and someone who is passionate about seeing our county grow and succeed, I am honored to be allowed this opportunity to continue moving CFDC’s incredible work forward.” 

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