Dr. Jim Otteson Addresses Bradenton Area EDC

October 3, 2016

Encouraging ‘honorable business’ key to community, culture change

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation gave its annual update on Friday with a keynote address by James Otteson about the moral purpose of business.

BY JANELLE O’DEA jodea@bradenton.com

For cultural change to happen in a community, nonprofits need financial and moral support.
It’s a community’s for-profit businesses that provide the necessary support, said Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Sharon Hillstrom.

“It’s really having that strong business case that supports the nonprofits in the community to address those issues that are challenges for our community so we can continue to bring more businesses here and make it the type of environment business wants to locate in so we can continue to provide a great quality of life,” Hillstrom said.

The moral purpose of business was the main message behind James Otteson’s keynote address at the Bradenton Area EDC’s annual update luncheon on Friday at the Polo Bar and Grill. Otteson has a doctorate in philosophy and is a professor of economics at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He recognizes the unique combination of his degree and profession but uses his philosophy knowledge to inform the way he teaches business.

Otteson took the audience of approximately 250 back 10,000 years and said for most of human history, life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But in the 1800’s, something changed. It’s a question he often poses to students.

“Effectively, business happened,” Otteson said. “Not extortion and extraction, but cooperation and association. There was a cultural shift from thinking the way to gain wealth, the way to make yourself better off was by conquering and taking and stealing from others. There was a shift to thinking that no, the way to make my life better is by figuring out a way to make someone else’s life better at the same time.”

In a market economy, the only way to survive as a business is to think about the well-being of others, he said, and that’s why the Bradenton Area EDC plays an important role in the Manatee County community.
“One of the great and important missions of an organization like the EDC is to remind us of that,” Otteson said. “They are nodes of cooperation. They are places where people can bring various kinds of expertise together in a mutually voluntary and beneficial way and you get exponentially greater output from that.”

Hillstrom spoke to the output of the Bradenton Area EDC when she touted the organization’s role in the 73 projects involving business expansion and relocation since 2009. By 2021, when the Bradenton Area EDC will be finished with its Build Bradenton Area plan, the Bradenton Area EDC aims to create 5,000 jobs with more than $2 billion in wages and bring $660 million in capital investment to Manatee County.

The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport will help the Bradenton Area EDC reach its goals and bring more business into the community by displaying the “Building a Better Place to Live & Work” video on screens throughout the terminal.

Fredrick “Rick” Piccolo, President and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, will step down from his role as secretary of the Bradenton Area EDC. Working with the EDC on the video project and continuing to help the EDC achieve its goals by staying on the board of directors only makes sense for the airport’s sake.

“Obviously when companies relocate or local companies stay or grow or with attracting new business, it all helps the airport grow,” Piccolo said. “As the community grows and the business community grows, those people all fly, so we’re very supportive of growth in the community and the natural benefit for the airport.”


Author and Thought Leader James Otteson, Ph.D. to Keynote Bradenton Area EDC Annual Update Luncheon on November 4

BRADENTON – The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) will present author and thought leader James Otteson, Ph.D. in a keynote address at the EDC’s 2016 Annual Update Luncheon on Friday, November 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Polo Grill, 10670 Boardwalk Loop in Lakewood Ranch.

In addition to Otteson’s keynote, the event will include a briefing from EDC leaders on results from the organization’s work to foster job creation and diversify Manatee County’s economy. The EDC also will present the 2016 Rick Fawley Economic Development Award of Distinction, recognizing an individual’s outstanding contributions to moving the local economy forward.

Otteson specializes in political economy, business ethics, the history of economic thought, and political philosophy.  He holds the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics at Wake Forest University and serves as a research professor in the Freedom Center and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Arizona. He is also a Senior Scholar at the Fund for American Studies in Washington, DC.

Otteson’s publications include Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life (Cambridge, 2002); Actual Ethics (Cambridge, 2006), which won the Templeton Enterprise Award in 2007; and Adam Smith (Bloomsbury, 2013). His most recent books are The End of Socialism (Cambridge, 2014) and an edited collection of primary sources called What Adam Smith Knew: Moral Lessons on Capitalism from Its Greatest Champions and Fiercest Critics (Encounter, 2014).

The event’s presenting sponsor is The Mosaic Company. Additional sponsors include Gateway Bank, supporting sponsor; Synovus Bank, speaker sponsor; Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency, award sponsor; and Herald Tribune Media Group, media sponsor.

Also supporting the event are Ad-Vance Talent Solutions, Blalock Walters P.A., Cadence Bank, Fawley|Bryant Architects, FPL, Gettel Toyota, Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano PL, Ian Black Real Estate, Keiser University, Mauldin & Jenkins LLC CPAs and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. Sponsorships are available by contactingcindyu@thinkbradentonarea.com.

The cost to attend is $65 for EDC investors and $75 for others. Tables of eight also may be reserved. To register online, visit ThinkBradentonArea.com and click on “Events.” For more information, call (941) 803-9036.


About the Bradenton Area EDC

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is the lead economic development organization for the Bradenton area’s nine communities located on the south side of Tampa Bay. The EDC works to diversify the local economy by attracting and retaining high-wage jobs for area residents, and connecting existing businesses to the resources they need to succeed. Information:  ThinkBradentonArea.com.