Springhill’s Taylor hired as VP

Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.

Adrian Taylor brought his corporate background to the ministry, building an organizational structure that he said allows Springhill Baptist Church to support its growth from 250 members when he arrived in 2005 to more than 600 today.

Now he sees his new role as a vice president with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce as a continuation of his ministerial work.

The Chamber announced last Thursday that Taylor was hired as vice president of Innovation Gainesville and regional initiatives. He will remain senior pastor at Springhill.

"Chamber work and church work are similar in that they're about building community, whether from an economic development standpoint, a health and human services standpoint or a spiritual standpoint. They're about community and connecting people together so we can live and work together in a better place," he said.

Taylor is replacing Ann Collett, who is resigning as VP of Innovation Gainesville to pursue other opportunities.

Collett will remain as a consultant for several months while the Chamber updates its Innovation Gainesville economic development plan.

In addition to organizing the many volunteers involved in the IG program, Chamber President and CEO Tm Giuliani said Taylor's role will be to integrate the collaborative tenets of IG throughout the Chamber's daily operations and activities, and to spearhead what he called "larger, game-changer projects we envision coming out of the next phase of IG."

"Regional initiatives" was added to the title as the Chamber works more closely with other municipalities on economic development "so that everyone benefits from this initiative in addition to the business interests within the city of Gainesville."

Giuliani said Collett was a pioneer in Innovation Gainesville who helped build momentum from its inception.

"So because of what she's done you have more jobs, you have more people in the community working together and you really have a plan and a vision for the future that you have a lot of consensus built around," Giuliani said.

Collett served on the Chamber's board for several years while she was vice president and general manager of Alltel Communications. She joined the staff in 2005 as vice president of the Council for Economic Outreach, where she oversaw economic development activities before she was named vice president of Innovation Gainesville in 2010.

Although Collett is not sure what she will be doing next, she said there is no shortage of opportunities.

"I really just thought it was time for me to do something new," she said.

Taylor grew up in Tampa and started his career with IBM before taking jobs as a corporate trainer and manager. He came to Gainesville in 2005 as pastor of Springhill. He is married to Courtney Taylor, an assistant professor of history at Santa Fe College, and the couple has a baby girl.

During his time here, Taylor earned an associate's degree in business from SFC and a bachelor's degree in business from Saint Leo University. He serves on the Plum Creek Envision Alachua Task Force and the board of the United Way of North Central Florida. He was also a member of the City Plan Board.

Taylor has also volunteered a lot of time with the Chamber for several years and had been serving as its board treasurer.

Giuliani said Taylor was integrally involved with IG from its inception.

"He brings a really strong entrepreneurial spirit and consensus building that are really important skills to help advance this initiative," he said.

No. 1 city

Gainesville was ranked No. 1 among Cities on the Rise in data analyzed to measure business growth by the consumer advocacy website NerdWallet.

The company measured growth from 2007 to 2012 in three categories, with Gainesville showing an 18.7 percent increase in median income, a 6.6 percent increase in working age-population and 7.4 percent growth in airport passengers.

Each category was given an equal score of 0-100 for 233 cities. Gainesville was assigned 53.9 points, followed by Fargo, N.D. (48.9), Brownsville, Texas (48.2), Bloomington, Ill. (47.6), Fayetteville, N.C. (46.8), Alexandria, Va. (46.3), Shreveport, La. (45.9), El Paso, Texas (45.8), Huntsville, Ala. (45.7) and Mobile, Ala. (45.6).

"The cities on the list are ones that people tend to underestimate," said Divya Raghavan, senior analyst for NerdWallet who conducted the study. "They can be really great for job seekers. Though initially they might think of cities like New York or San Francisco or Austin, there are plenty of smaller cities that have this growth trajectory that can make them maybe a better option."

She noted that Gainesville also has a much lower cost of living than nearby bigger cities such as Orlando.

In another list put out by online self-storage site SpareFoot last Tuesday, Gainesville was ranked the fourth fastest growing college town with overall population growth of 30.29 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The fastest growing were Raleigh, N.C. (46.29 percent), College Station, Texas (38.25 percent) and Las Cruces, N.M. (31.44 percent).

Restaurant news

4 Rivers Smokehouse: John Rivers progressed from backyard chef to charity cook with a smoker on a trailer to starting a line of sauces and rubs with a cookbook on the way. Since opening a 1,350-square-foot restaurant in Winter Park in 2009, he has since moved into a larger location and opened three more restaurants employing about 500 people, with another three locations to open over the next year.

The fifth location of 4 Rivers Smokehouse opened Wednesday in The Esplanade at Butler Plaza at 3262 Archer Road.

After retiring as president of a $1.4 billion pharmaceutical distribution company, Rivers served 70,000 people over four years at charity cookouts. He found that he already had a following as soon as he opened the first 4 Rivers.

Rivers said he has also heard from University of Florida students and alumni who moved to Gainesville from Central Florida, "so we've got some brand recognition in that area before we even open the doors."

4 Rivers is a quick-serve restaurant with a deli-style layout. The menu includes its signature Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sandwiches, a bakery, and "southern sides" that include baked cheese grits, cornbread salad and smoked jalapenos.

Waffle House: Waffle House plans to open in late September or early October in an outparcel in front of The Home Depot at 5150 NW 13th St., according to Jeff Cole, vice president of real estate for the diner.

The company signed a lease for the building last year but has been waiting to schedule its construction superintendents as they build out 80 new restaurants across the country.

Relocations: Take Away Gourmet will be moving to Blue Oven Kitchens and a restaurant called Rice Thai Sushi & Asian Fusion is moving in at 3550 SW 34th St.

Rice Thai will start working on the space Sept. 1 and will try to open by Oct. 1, said Niran "Nick" Narapanya, who owns the restaurant with wife Orapin Pingkasan.

They own a restaurant of the same name in Boynton Beach. Pingkasan will be chef of the Gainesville location.

Narapanya said the restaurant will offer some sushi and Indonesian food, but 80 percent of the menu is Thai "because we are Thai." He said Rice Thai is the only restaurant in Boynton Beach to offer authentic pad Thai "because it's really hard to prepare the sauce."

Take Away Gourmet owner Darleen Randall said she is moving into the Blue Oven kitchen incubator to lower overhead costs. She will discontinue pick-up service and go to all delivery.

Mexican food is returning to the La Pavillon shopping center with a restaurant called Blue Agave moving into the original Las Margaritas location.

The restaurant from Albany, N.Y., signed a lease recently for the spot at 4401 NW 25th Place off NW 43rd Street. The location last housed Tupelo Grill. Realtor Eric Ligman, who brokered the deal, said Blue Agave probably won't be ready to open for another month and a half or so.

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor.

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