About Us

Northwest Florida FORWARD is a regional strategic initiative focused on driving economic vitality and growth in the Florida Panhandle. The regional strategy is based upon grassroots input and is supported and implemented by local government, business, educational and community leaders from across the region. A steering committee, consisting of representatives from five key regional organizations in Northwest Florida, drives strategy development and implementation, and supports the efforts of Council Chairs and their members as they build a diverse and vibrant regional economy.

Apalachee Regional Planning Council - The Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) is a multi-purpose agency of the state and is one of ten Regional Planning Councils in the State of Florida. The ARPC provides technical assistance in the areas of economic development, emergency planning, transportation and quality of life to meet the needs of our member local governments within the nine-county Region. The ARPC Region is comprised of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla Counties and their municipalities. Committee members: Chris Rietow & Richard Fetchick


Florida’s Great Northwest - Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW) is the regional economic development organization for the Florida Panhandle. FGNW, a 501(c)6 organization, represents 12 counties in Northwest Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty and Franklin and serves as an advocate, collaborator and promoter of the region to generate new economic wealth, diversity and growth to Northwest Florida. Committee members: Kim Wilmes & Therese Baker


Gulf Power – Gulf Power supports economic development in our region with a variety of services and incentives for new and expanding companies, including developing project-ready industrial sites, electric price incentives with savings over a four-year period, workforce training and development, taxes and exemptions information assistance and there are many other advantages, from quality of life to a robust transportation system. Committee members: Rick Byars & Jennifer Grove


University of West Florida - The Haas Center is a research and consulting arm of the University of West Florida that engages in applied research and strategy development in economics and across the social sciences. The Haas Center has played a prominent role in economic development efforts across the Northwest Florida Region and around the state for the past two decades. Committee member: Zach Jenkins


West Florida Regional Planning Council - The West Florida Regional Planning Council (WFRPC) is a multi-purpose entity recognized by the state. The WFRPC supports northwest Florida by planning for and coordinating intergovernmental solutions to growth-related problems, providing technical assistance to local governments, and meeting the needs of the municipalities in our seven-county region: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington and Holmes. Committee members: Austin Mount & Jennifer Laurent