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St. Lucie County Tourism to Host National Travel Media Journalists

St. Lucie County Tourism to Host National Travel Media Journalists


The St. Lucie County Tourism Office is gearing up to host a group of four travel media journalists on a familiarization tour beginning Friday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. Familiarization tours, also known as “FAM” tours, are a common industry practice conducted by destination marketing organizations to provide travel media, travel agents and other influential travel professionals the opportunity to experience a destination’s tourist activities and attractions first hand. The media tour, strategically scheduled during February’s Black History Month, will focus on the rich and colorful African American cultural heritage assets that exist in the historic City of Fort Pierce, specifically the Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail and the Florida Highwaymen Trail. The journalists participating in the tour include representatives from the TheGrioBleu Magazine, and African American Golfers Digest.

Highlights of the tour include a private tour of the special exhibition “The Highwaymen: Art / History” followed by a reception at the A.E. Backus Museum, private guided tours of the Highwaymen Trail and Zora Neale Hurston Heritage Dust Tracks Trail, a “Meet & Greet” with members of the original Highwaymen, opportunities to meet local community members who knew or study Zora Neale Hurston, and more.

“The purpose of the event is to not only show these writers the impressive African American history, art and culture that we have in Fort Pierce, but to also introduce them to local residents who are associated with Zora and the Highwaymen – it’s important to engage these journalists with the locals because they are large part of our cultural appeal,” said Charlotte Bireley, St. Lucie County’s Director of Tourism & Marketing.

The St. Lucie County Tourism Office, also known as Visit St. Lucie, serves as the county’s official destination marketing organization and is responsible for marketing St. Lucie County and its cities to generate new and repeat visitors, thereby creating a positive economic impact for St. Lucie County.


About Visit St. Lucie:

St. Lucie – home to the historic city of Fort Pierce, the vibrant city of Port St. Lucie & beautiful beaches of Hutchinson Island is located on the Atlantic Ocean along the east coast of Florida, 120 miles southeast of Orlando and 115 miles north of Miami with direct access from Florida’s Turnpike, Interstate 95 and State Road 70. The area offers an array of visitor activities including beautiful beaches, championship golf, excellent outdoor and nature adventures, a thriving arts and cultural scene, world class fishing and dozens of unique attractions. A variety of affordable accommodations such as hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, vacation condos/homes and an all-inclusive resort are available. For a full listing of places to stay in St. Lucie, go to Nearby commercial airports include Palm Beach International (PBI), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA). For more details visit; Twitter: @VisitStLucie and Instagram: @VisitStLucie.


For more information call Charlotte Bireley, at 772-332-2105 or email [email protected].


Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email mailto:[email protected]com [email protected]

Feb. 14, 2022|

Martin County Business Accelerator Program Returns

Martin County Business Accelerator Program Returns


BAP Logo


The Business ACCELERATOR Program (BAP) provides business counseling, technical assistance and training for small business owners, and the opportunity to attain an allocation of grant funding for small business growth.  The purpose of the BAP is to enhance entrepreneurial skills and activities, create jobs and assist in the expansion and growth of our existing business community.

Applications must be received by February 4 for 50% savings on Program Fee.

How to apply?

  • The business must be in Martin County and hold a current Martin County Business Tax Receipt
  • Complete the Business Accelerator Program online application found below. (no fee to apply)
  • Upon your acceptance, Pay the $250 Program Fee.
    For Early Registration: $125 Program Fee (Early Registration Fee Ends February 4)
  • Applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program via email from Program Coordinator.

What if I am accepted into the program?

  • If accepted into the program, participants will be required to attend ALL the ACCELERATOR business training program classes, except for emergencies or previous communication with the organizers.
  • The program consists of one (1) weeknight class for 3 hours for a duration of 10 weeks.
  • The first 9 classes will be held at Comfort Suites in the Sailfish Meeting Room.
  • The last class (week 10), is the Grant Presentations and will be held at Indian River state College at the Chastain Campus in Stuart.
  • Applicant who are accepted into the program will be notified via email along with the REGISTRATION form for Program Fee.
    • The Program Fee for EARLY Registration is $125 – Deadline for Early Registration Fee is February 4.
    • Regular Program Fee is $250 – Last day to Register is February 11.
  • The New Cohort for Spring 2022 BAP will be announced February 14.
  • Participants who successfully complete the program will be eligible to apply for a MICRO GRANT through the ACCELERATOR program.

Questions? Contact Jaymie Sardo, Program Coordinator at 772.221.1380 or [email protected]

Learn more and submit your application by visiting the Martin County Business Development Board website.


Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Media Group. For more information or to report news email mailto:[email protected]com  [email protected]

Jan. 25, 2022|


Megan Smith

Megan Smith

Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation leaders have named their first president and chief executive officer. Megan Smith is set to take the lead of the newly formed public-private partnership in late March.

“The board of directors has been very focused on finding the right professional to take the helm as the inaugural leader of the OCEDC,” says Frank Irby, chair of the organization. “We believe Megan has the right skill sets to set our strategic plan in motion to prepare for job growth and improving the local economy.”

Smith most recently served as vice president for business development at the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Her key responsibilities included the development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan called Advantage Coastal Alabama. Smith was charged with coordinating, communicating and implementing ACA’s objectives through business advocacy and support, education and workforce development, infrastructure and transportation planning, conservation and natural resources review, and new business development.

“The opportunity to be a part of building a new economic development program is very exciting to me,” says Smith. “I look forward to becoming a part of the team focused on putting together the right components for a successful initiative in Okeechobee. The momentum that has been established by the OCEDC is the first step in terms of key ingredients.”

Smith is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a bachelor of science, computer science; Georgia College and State University, masters of public administration; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management; Auburn University’s Economic Development Certification program; and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Certification. She has also been a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

About the Economic Development Corporation


In May 2018, the Economic Council of Okeechobee’s Board of Directors recognized the need for growth and located a study previously performed for Okeechobee in 2005 by POLICOM Corporation, a firm in Martin County specializing in the analysis of local economies to determine whether they are growing or declining. The Economic Council took necessary action to update the 2005 study and presented it to the Board of County Commissioners, requesting support for the update. The commission unanimously voted to seek professional counsel from Bill Fruth with POLICOM Corp. Fruth’s first recommendation was for the community to create and generously fund a professionally-managed economic development organization, as was also his recommendation in the 2005 study.

The Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation was formed to serve as an independent, sovereign organization governed by investors from the private sector and appointments from participating public and private agencies. The current board of directors includes various industry leaders, including Todd Clemons, Okeechobee Livestock Market; Jon Geitner, Seacoast Bank; Christa Luna, Gilbert Family of Companies; Wes Williamson, Williamson Cattle Company; Keith Walpole, Walpole, Inc.; John Williams, CenterState Bank; and Mack Worley, G.M. Worley, Inc.

Appointments for the board of directors also include: from the Economic Council (Ashley Tripp, Tripp Electric Motors, Inc.; Fred Fanizzi, Quail Creek Plantation; and Frank Irby, retired, Raulerson Hospital), Okeechobee County Commission (Terry Burroughs, County Commissioner District 4); City of Okeechobee (Marcos Montes De Oca, City Administrator); School District (Ken Kenworthy, Superintendent of Schools); Chamber of Commerce (Tabitha Trent, Chamber Chair and CenterState Bank); and Indian River State College (Dr. Ed Massey, Dr. Pam Welmon and Russ Brown).

The talent search for Smith was conducted by The Chason Group, an executive search firm specializing in tourism, economic development, chambers of commerce, foundations and other non-profit organizations.

If you would like more information regarding this initiative, contact Jennifer Tewksbury (863-467-0200, [email protected]) or Frank Irby, Chairman of the Board for the Development Corporation (863-610-0592).

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Magazine Inc. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Jul. 16, 2019|