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Local Business Owners Lend Expertise to Further Polk’s Economic Opportunity

December 8, 2023 News


Jeremy Voss of SpringerVoss Construction and Brandon Clark of The Ruthvens have joined the Central Florida Development Council’s board of directors.  

The two replace outgoing past presidents Todd Dantzler and H.D. “Jake” Polumbo, both of whom termed out.  

“Todd and Jake provided skilled leadership to the board at times when it was needed most – Todd taking on an unprecedented second term and Jake guiding us through the pandemic,” said CFDC President & CEO Sean Malott. “We are grateful to their service and cannot thank them enough for their time, thoughtfulness and willingness to serve.” 

Malott said Voss and Clark will bring new voices to the board, representing construction and warehousing. “Both men have deep ties to the community and work in growing industries, so we look forward to listening to their ideas and context.” 

Leadership Through the Voice of Construction 

Voss said he’s honored to join the board. “Having the opportunity to serve with the men and women who make up this board is humbling. They are such a distinguished group of people whom I feel are well respected and looked up to in the community. I am excited about the opportunity to learn from them and continue to grow my ability to perform a useful function on the board to benefit Polk County.”   

Jeremy Voss, SpringerVoss Construction

He’s excited about “the ability to learn more about what is going on in our community and to contribute to the development of our community to see that it is done in a way that helps our community thrive.” 

He brings to the board connections and relationships within the construction and development markets, as well as knowledge of what it takes to get projects completed. 

 “I own a local construction management firm and we specialize in building a lot of the products that are coming to market. We manage and build warehouse, distribution, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, sports and entertainment products, all of which are coming into our county. I think this allows us to bring value to these discussions in terms of market activity, price points, trends and even make new client introductions to the CFDC.” 

Voss has been part owner of Springer Construction since 2019, but in November 2023, the company rebranded itself to recognize his contributions – the new name is SpringerVoss.  

“Our focus was on growing a successful business and building relationships,” Voss said. “After five years of hard work it feels good to be rebranding the company and to be recognized as a leader in the company and not just an employee. What I feel most honored about is the loyalty and commitment from our team members and their belief in and willingness to stand behind the vision we have been mapping out. Our work family is what makes our brand — I just help keep the wheels turning. No one can do this stuff alone; they are what inspires me and that is what makes me feel honored.”  

He said economic development is strong in Polk County, but “it needs to remain diverse and balanced.” 

Leadership Through Community Development  

Clark’s been involved with the CFDC since moving to Lakeland and joining The Ruthvens, whose Chairman & CEO, Greg Ruthven, is a former chairman of the board. He’s joined CFDC on several missions, including one to study Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. “We were looking at big picture things that will move the needle for the region for the next 20 to 40 years.” 

Brandon Clark, The Ruthvens

He enjoys working on initiatives like the Central Florida Innovation District and efforts by Florida Polytechnic University. “We’ve been working on some things out that way to help with that effort,” he said.  

He joined the board because he wants to give back and help in any way he can, especially since The Ruthvens “intersects well with what CFDC does. I think we can usually provide helpful context with what we see going on in the local world.”  

Clark said he thinks the CFDC does a good job with the basics while “proactively building direct relationships with different areas of the world to attract companies to Polk County rather than just always having them come through (the now defunct) Enterprise Florida’s site selection.” 

He thinks he and Voss, along with Chair Gene Conrad and outgoing chair Maggie Mariucci, bring the viewpoint of young professionals; he also will share what he hears from The Ruthven’s 350 tenants.  

“We see a lot of different boots on the ground in terms of economic activity. That’s an important piece to make sure it’s part of policy discussions and other things being talked about at the CFDC level,” he said. 

He described economic development in Polk County as “a blend between really trying to lock in and expand the gains on diversifying the economy with pushing forward with higher-wage, tech-centric jobs. Publix’s investment in downtown Lakeland for its IT campus is massive and will be for the foreseeable future. It ties in nicely with the Innovation District.” 

He said the new International Flavors &Fragrances building being built at Florida Poly is a “big marker on the ground to show what can be done with collaboration from the citrus community that’s always been here and the university and that ecosystem. Now we have to figure out how to continue broadening the pot and diversifying the economy.” 

There will need to be an intersection that balances the history of Polk – citrus and phosphate – with things like logistics and warehousing that will have the most impact over time, all while driving good jobs, he said.  

He and Voss agree that infrastructure remains a roadblock to continued growth, although advances are being made on roads and sewer, and the county has a plan for water.  

“It’s not an option – they have to be fixed or our existing quality of life is not going to make sense,” Clark said. “We have to balance growth with investment in infrastructure to preserve our quality of life.” 

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