My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Last Friday, I was blessed yet again with the opportunity to attend our annual Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial event at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala. The combined efforts of all those who are involved in the planning of this event have ensured that a standard of excellence is present when providing consolation for our firefighters who have fallen while pursuing one of the most noble professions known to humanity.

As the sun shined bright and a cool fall breeze swept through the ceremony grounds, I knew each of the individuals who are represented by the 184 names engraved on our memorial’s marble slate were looking down on us. With each of their histories staring back at me through the eyes of their friends and family, it brought me great joy to announce at this year’s event that Florida did not lose a single firefighter in the line of duty since we met at the ceremony grounds one year ago.

This year, we honored Captain Glen Rhodes of the Sanibel Fire Control District who lost his life while trying to save that of another, more than 45 years ago. Along with his son, a fellow professional, Captain Rhodes was fulfilling a call to rescue an individual who was undergoing cardiac arrest. The captain passed away doing what he loved, with someone he loved — his family. Once you join the firefighter family, it is one that you never leave and this year’s event showed just that.

SFM Director Halas presents the flag.Again, to all of those who worked tirelessly to make this year’s event one to remember, thank you. To all those who were in attendance, thank you. To our firefighters, the noble among us who have chosen to live the calling of a fire servicemember, thank you. And for everyone else in our great state, remember, every 11 seconds our emergency responders are racing to a call. Inside that fire engine or ambulance is a cabin filled with individuals who risk their own lives to protect us. So when you see the lights, and when you hear the sirens, pause and pray for those who have committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of you, and me, and our fellow Floridians.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

CFO Jeff Atwater’s Office Joins Senator Rubio's Office for #ReviveStAugustine Recovery Assistance Event

On Friday, October 21, the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumers Services will join Senator Marco Rubio's Office, Congressman Ron DeSantis and St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver for a post-hurricane recovery assistance event in St. Augustine.

This recovery assistance event gathers local, state and federal agencies and organizations that can provide assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The Division of Consumer Services will be on-site to assist residents and business owners with the filing of insurance claims and to help answer insurance-related questions that consumers may have following the storm.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Housing Administration, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, United Way and the American Red Cross will be in attendance among others.

  • WHAT: Post-Hurricane Matthew Recovery Assistance Event
  • WHERE: Willie Galimore Community Center
    399 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, FL 32085
  • WHEN: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST

Floridians from all 67 counties can access assistance from the Department’s insurance experts by calling the Department’s free Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.

Florida's Bottom Line: Florida's Seaports

Doug Wheeler guest authored a column in our latest edition that focuses on Florida seaports. Here is an excerpt:

Florida’s 15 public seaports are very diverse and vary in size, scope, structure, governance, and cargo. So diverse in fact, there really isn’t a cargo our ports can't handle. Our state is unique in its role as a major player in the global marketplace due to its geography and infrastructure. This marketplace continues to evolve, with growth occurring in South American and Caribbean markets, the expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate larger vessels, and continuously shifting trade routes.

In response to these developments, Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Legislature have made seaport investment a priority by allocating $1 billion of strategic infrastructure funding over the last six years. In addition, $3.5 billion has been identified for future investments to ensure Florida maintains its position as a global gateway to the world.

Read more from Doug Wheeler in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's economic and financial health.

Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Operation S.A.F.E.Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft

From seniors who attended Be Scam Smart workshops:

“Savored every moment of this workshop. The information was needed and vital for seniors’ and consumers’ financial survival.” - West Palm Beach

“Presentations were great & well timed. Excellent information we all need to know.” - Pensacola

“Every senior in the city and state should attend the Be Scam Smart Workshop.” - Jacksonville

“Thank you for alerting us to the scam we as seniors are exposed to.” - Brandon

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshop:

  • Wednesday, October 26 - Delray Beach
    10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    Pompey Park Recreation Center
    1101 NW 2nd Street, Delray Beach, FL 33444
    Register | Directions | Flyer

  • Thursday, October 27 - Royal Palm Beach
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Village of Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center
    151 Civic Center Way, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
    Register | Directions | Flyer

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida businesses attracted $93 million in venture capital investments during Q3-2016
In the third quarter of 2016, Florida businesses attracted $93 million in venture capital investment, a decrease of 49 percent from the prior year. Nationally, $10.5 billion in venture capital was invested during the third quarter.
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

Small business optimism down in September
Small business optimism fell last month according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of the ten components that make up the index, four increased over the month, and six decreased.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business