PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Many new businesses opened across Bay County over the last couple years, others expanded.
Friday morning the Bay County Chamber of Commerce celebrated that growth during the annual industry appreciation awards.
Chairman Christopher Moore said there is nothing like coming together to celebrate the companies that diversify Bay County.
“What a great event,” Moore said. “This was the bringing together of industries and the recognition of all the great things that are happening in Panama city.”
The Chamber of Commerce honored five businesses who have the qualities innovation, growth and resilience.
One was one of the largest employers in Bay County, Eastern Shipbuilding Group.
President Joey Disernia said they represent a hardworking group of people who live in Bay County.
“Our growth is primarily driven by the offshore patrol cutter project by the U.S. Coast Guard and we intend to continue to grow,” Disernia said. “We are just over 1300 people.”
Disernia said this month they are starting their third Coast Guard cutter and if they win the bid for the second Coast Guard contract, it could create another 1800 jobs.
“It’s something that will provide an injection of capital into Bay County and surrounding areas for decades to come,” Disernia said.
Keynote Speaker Congressman Neal Dunn, said he’s watched our area rebuild after Hurricane Michael, to be better than before, and opening doors to new opportunities.
“This isn’t just tourism, this isn’t just people coming to Florida because it’s a great state to be in,” Dunn said. “It’s a great place to work, live and play but it’s also a lot of real industry, real smart industry.”
Dunn said community leaders are setting-up Bay County’s future for generations to come.
“Great innovative people here, great businessmen and businesswomen and they’re also a whole bunch of old friends,” Dunn said.