Chamber Hosting Director of Lee County Economic Development Office

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Photo by Brian Tietz

John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office, will be the guest speaker at the Feb. 10 virtual business meeting of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, starting at noon.

Talmage, who has spent more than 30 years working in the field os local economic and community development for municipal governments and national research organizations, served previously as the chief of staff to the city manager of the city of Fort Myers. He also sat for several years on the Sanibel City Planning Commission and on a number of island boards of directors, including, most recently, the Sanibel Community Association, F.I.S.H., CROW, and the Sanibel Sea School.

From past work for the New York City Council to currently facilitating a Community Real Estate Development Program for the University of South Florida’s Florida Institute of Government throughout Florida, Talmage has vast experience working with communities to improve the business climate.

“John always brings practical, applicable knowledge and strategies to the meeting when he speaks,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to hearing his outlook on the current state of the regional economy as well as an update on the Lee Cares program.”

The chamber will send members Zoom invitations to register for the virtual event. When members RSVP, they will receive a link to the Zoom meeting in advance. Sponsorships are still available for the presentation. For information on becoming a sponsor or registering for the meeting, contact Ashley Pignato at Participants can also send questions for Talmage to Pignato in advance or submit them during the meeting through the chat feature.

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. With over 560 active Chamber members from both islands including businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr. Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes over 160,000 visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the Visitor Center one of thirteen official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers. The Visitor Center is open 365 days a year and provides visitors with comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, where to stay, shop and dine. The Chamber website receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year.

For more information about the chamber, visit or contact Ashley Pignato, member services manager, at 239-472-8255 or

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