My Florida C F O

Fellow Floridians:

Firefighters and first responders prepare for their day in the same way that we do. Yet, there’s a distinct difference —  a boldness that doesn’t go unnoticed by those around them.

It’s no small task to don a heavy uniform and run toward an inferno that everyone else is running away from. Yet dangerous circumstances and unpredictable surroundings are a reality they face every day they go on shift.

CFO Atwater presents an awardWe are grateful for those who have answered this calling because they put our lives and the lives of those we love ahead of their own. Never a 9 to 5 and always on call, they live with the understanding that they will miss out on family moments and milestones to perform their duty.

For their courage and commitment, their service and the sacrifices they make, all firefighters and first responders across Florida are heroes in my eyes.

This week I was honored to present awards to a select group of fire service professionals that embody what it means to be a leader. These men and women have risen to the top of their ranks and helped colleagues and their communities along the way.

Presenting the annual fire service awards is one of my favorite events each year, and I congratulate each of our 2017 winners.Fire Service Awards Winners

  • Darrel Donatto, Fire Chief of the Year - Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
  • Ryan Gallik, Career Firefighter of the Year & Fire Service Instructor of the Year - St. Cloud Fire Rescue
  • James "David" Dietz, Forestry Firefighter of the Year - Florida Forest Service; Chipola Forestry Center
  • Ted Ross, Fire Marshal of the Year - Tice Fire District
  • Jackie de la Osa, Fire Inspector of the Year - North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District
  • Keith Tyson, Professional Firefighter of the Year - Vice President of Education Research and Outreach for Florida Cancer Support Network
  • Brock Dietz, Fire Investigator of the Year - Department of Financial Services' Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, Tallahassee Field Office
  • Earl Gray, Volunteer Firefighter of the Year - Highland Lakes Fire Department
  • Robert Lemons, Fire and Life Safety Public Educator of the Year - Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services
  • Fire Academy of the South, Training Center of the Year - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Their superiors, colleagues, and leaders within their communities felt their service was worthy of recognition, and I was proud to stand in celebration of their professional success.

This year’s winners are a premier class, but I firmly believe that all Florida firefighters and fire service professionals deserve our utmost respect and deepest gratitude.

That’s why I took the occasion to mark this week as Firefighter Appreciation Week in Florida.

I hope that as you see firefighters in your communities you’ll make it known to them how much you appreciate their service, their sacrifices, and their commitment to making Florida a safer place for all of us.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops: Florida Catholic Bishops honor CFO Jeff Atwater with Distinguished Catholic Leader Award

WCTV Tallahassee: Local investigator wins annual fire service award

WFSU: 'Ringing Of The Bell' Ceremony Honors Florida's Fallen Firefighters

Tampa Bay Times: First 2017 hurricane forecast calls for below-average season, 11 named storms

Construction Dive: The 50 States of Construction: Why FL companies are keeping a sunny market outlook

Florida's Bottom Line graphicInside Florida's Bottom Line

A one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economy and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine and website.

Inside Florida's Bottom Line:

  • Discover Florida's emerging economic and business trends
  • Learn from Florida's top business & community leaders in exclusive guest articles and interviews
  • Gain access to essential small business and consumer resources
  • Visualize key data with unique infographics

Florida’s Bottom Line website reports the latest Florida financial news, with detailed charts showing the trends of Florida's economy and jobs over the past eight years, updated when new stats are released.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s consumer sentiment rises to highest level in 15 years
Consumer sentiment among Floridians rose to its highest level in 15 years in March. All five of the components that make up this index increased over the month.
Source: UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research

National unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest level since 2007
In March, the national unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month, and down 0.5 percentage points from this time last year (5.0 percent). The last time the national unemployment rate was this low was in May 2007. Florida’s unemployment rate for March will be released on April 21.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics