The Ocala CEP: National Chamber of the Year

The Ocala CEP has been named National Chamber of Commerce of the year for 2020. After several years of being a national finalist, the CEP has finally been recognized as the best of the best. Our friends at the chamber have certainly earned this great honor and we solute them with pride.

A Brief History of the Ocala CEP

The Ocala Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1887 as a nonprofit organization. Its mission was to further the economic development of the town. In 2012 the Chamber merged with the local Economic Development Corporation to form the Chamber Economic Partnership because the time had come to join forces and invigorate the Ocala economy. Kevin Sheilley then came aboard as its first president and chief executive officer. Under Mr. Sheilley’s guidance the CEP has blossomed into a catalyst for business development and economic expansion in our community.

The Power Plant Business Incubator Program

The CEP has attracted leading companies to Ocala. Among the best known are Amazon, Federal Express, Lockheed Martin and The Dollar Tree. Additionally, its Power Plant Business Incubator encourages bright entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to develop them into scalable businesses. Under the stewardship of Ryan Lilly, the CEP’s Vice President for Business Creation, it nurtures early stage companies. Of course, the development of exciting ideas into viable enterprises requires far more than moral support. Therefore, the Business Incubator provides mentors, space, introductions to investors and lenders, sources of qualified employees and much more.

The Ambassador Program

The CEP’s Ambassador program brings together business people from throughout our community as volunteers. They network with each other and represent the CEP at ribbon cuttings celebrating grand openings and special events. Additionally, they keep in touch with CEP partners to ensure that they are aware of programs offered and encourage them to take full advantage of the benefits of CEP membership. Therefore, they help support CEP functions while benefiting themselves in the process.

The Ocala CEP: A Focal Point For Economic Growth

The mission of the CEP is to bring investment dollars into the Ocala economy. Therefore, it emphasizes encouraging major players to relocate or expand to our community. Simultaneously, the CEP seeks to increase average wages paid here by creating high paying jobs. Of course, it is amazing to see how efficiently the organization has been accomplishing its mission. During Kevin Sheilley’s eight years at the helm, the not-for-profit has operated under a series of five year plans. Frequently, five year goals have been exceeded in four years or less.

To be sure, vibrant economic growth causes increased demand for resources, including housing, commercial and industrial real estate. As a result, Ocala is a great community to invest in. Whether your dream is owning your first home, enhancing your lifestyle or finding a new base for your business, Ocala may be the ideal location for you.

We take great pride in our participation in this amazing organization. Congratulations to Kevin Sheilley and all our friends at the CEP for their amazing accomplishments. A big high five to the National Chamber of Commerce of the Year for 2020!

While this post has only scratched the surface with respect to programs offered by the CEP, what we have introduced defines opportunity. Therefore, we provide a few articles below to help you learn more:

The Ocala CEP Programs

The Ocala CEP is National Chamber of the Year for 2020.

In late 2016, the CEP Board of Directors approved a new five-year strategic action plan: Moving Forward-Phase II. This plan is a follow up to the extremely successful Moving Forward plan. It outlined the goals and objectives for the first five-years of the CEP. Because, the organization met these in only four years, more is expected now. While the plan has goals and objectives for each program area…… Read more here

The Ocala CEP offers great networking opportunities.

Networking and the Ocala CEP

Welcome to Ocala, the center of a vibrant and diverse community where arts and culture flourish. Centrally located, Ocala can be considered the heart of Florida. Additionally, thanks to the booming equine industry, we have earned the title the Horse Capital of the World. Read more at

The Ocala CEP thanks the equine industry for its contributions to our economy.

Ocala: Live Life Here

The best part about Ocala is that our salaries are competitive and our taxes our low. Florida also has no state income tax! Enter your current salary and see how much further it will go in sunny Central Florida. Of course, we bet you’ll like what you see. Read the article on

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