President Nate opened the meeting and called on Gwen Allen to handle the invocation, pledge and Four-Way Test.
 
Rick Maxey introduced guests and visiting Rotarians. Our guests were David Frack with Legal Shield, who was a guest of Marsha Leap, Tanya Iceman with Prime Meridian Bank, who was a guest of Stephanie Colon, Steve Wagner with South State Bank, who was a guest of Mark Scolnick. Visiting Rotarians included DG Elect Debbie Meegan from Brandon and Past-President Gay Ratcliffe from The Villages. 
 
Happy Dollars were collected by Jack Lowman, who kicked it off by being happy to see Gay (and she was happy to see him and all of us healthy and well, too!)  Jean Wright was happy to be soliciting volunteers for the golf outing. Phil Allen was happy to donate to The Rotary Foundation for his birthday and his Rotary anniversary. Gwen Allen was happy that the United Way annual campaign has kicked off, and Richard Widick was happy to have recently passed an important exam and be nearing the end of his MBA program. Joel Ivy was happy that his wife has put up with him for 40 years, Rick Maxey was happy to be in the middle of his last day of work EVER (happy retirement!), and Josie and Dan Hill were happy that their daughter recently got engaged. 
 
We were then led in singing by Mike Loudon with “Home on the Range.”
 
President Nate commented that we are a very busy club as evidenced by our announcements.  Amanda Walls reminded us about the ways the Club communicates with its members and the community through our social media pages, website, and bulletin. She also solicited volunteers for her committee.  Debbie Meegan reminded us to purchase a voucher for a Rotary vanity license plate.  Stephanie Colon reminded everyone about the great social events listed in the margin of this bulletin. Jack Lowman updated us on the golf tournament and provided information about a $5 raffle that will happen each week at our meetings. The weekly raffle winner will get a chance to sink a 40-foot putt and win  half price dues for a year! Fred Oeters let us know that gold tournament volunteers will get snazzy Rotary ball caps, and we have a selection of donated Rotary shirts on sale for $20 each.
 
President Nate then inducted four new members.
 
Brenden Hahn, who is sponsored by Ginny Harris, was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Winter Haven.  He has played drums and guitar since he was 10 years old. Richard Widick, who is sponsored by Eric Powell, once represented Lakeland in Imabari, Japan, on the sister cities exchange. Scott Katz, who is sponsored by Julie Townsend, has been married for 35 years, has 2 daughters and enjoys football, hiking, cruising and family time. Coady Cheek, who is sponsored by Carol Wallace, was born in Atlanta, Illinois where his grandfather was a Rotarian for many years. Coady is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan.
 
 
President Nate graced us with an extra dad joke this week since there wereat least two Cubs fans in the group of new members. "What is the difference between a Wrigley Field hot dog and Tropicana Field hot dog? You can buy a Tropicana hot dog in October!"
 
Rick Maxey then introduced our speaker, Ashley Cheek of Lakeland Economic Development Counsel (LEDC) - who is, notably, also the wife of our new member Coady Cheek.  LEDC is 90% privately funded economic development agency. 
 
 
To assist with economic development in Lakeland, LEDC has brought new ideas to Lakeland such as Catapult, a community-centered coworking space to foster startups, and a Summer Leadership Program to connect 18 to 30-year-old interns and new hires with each and other the community. Ashley then went on to describe the many Speculative Development opportunities popping up around town. Speculative developments are building spaces without a known end user and there are many around the Lakeland area. Next, she described all the new distribution centers and manufacturing companies companies in Lakeland, such as Cidrines Bakery. She also highlighted expansion to existing companies such as Brew Hub.  Ashley wrapped up her program with statistics in how LEDC is making an impact on Lakeland with an increase in jobs created, capital investments, and much more.
 
President Nate wrapped up with a final dad joke of the week. "Did you hear about the guy who sued the airline for his missing luggage? He lost his case."
 
Next week we have Javier Marin with Central Florida Development Council talk about International Commerce in Central Florida.