Gray Swoope serves as Florida's Secretary of Commerce and president & CEO of its principal economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. A public-private partnership, Enterprise Florida's mission is to facilitate job growth for the state through business recruitment and expansion; to assist small and minority businesses through capital programs; and to assist Florida businesses in export and international trade.
Since being appointed by Governor Rick Scott in February 2011, Gray has strengthened Enterprise Florida's partnerships with economic development organizations in each of the state's 67 counties, leading to a renewed focus on job creation statewide.
Under his guidance, Enterprise Florida has increased established competitive projects by 40 percent, resulting in 73 percent more new jobs and almost 95 percent more new capital investment in the state than in 2010. Recently, Florida has announced competitive project wins involving dozens of companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amazon, Hertz, Northrop Grumman, Verizon and Navy Federal Credit Union. Together, these competitive projects represent more than 7,500 new jobs and $815 million in capital investments in 2013 alone.
In addition to jobs created through competitive projects, Gray oversees the organization's facilitated growth activities such as international trade and Florida Sports which together brings thousands of jobs to the state. As Secretary of Commerce, he serves in a direct support role to Governor Scott and the legislature in shaping economic development policy in the state and advising on factors which impact market-driven growth Florida.
In less than three years, the state is past the halfway milestone towards accomplishing Governor Scott's goal of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years having created over 365,000 private sector jobs.
Gray has more than 25 years of experience in economic development, working at the local, regional and state levels. Prior to leading Florida's job creation efforts, he served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), a cabinet-level position appointed by Governor Haley Barbour. Notable accomplishments under his leadership at MDA included the recruitment of Toyota's tenth North American manufacturing facility as well as a number of its suppliers, GE Aviation, and PACCAR, the manufacturer of Kenworth and Peterbuilt trucks. In addition, he oversaw the $4.5 billion federally funded program for Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Prior to his Mississippi state service, he served as president of Area Development Partnership -- a private nonprofit that provides economic development and commerce services for Hattiesburg, Miss. and the surrounding region, and as division director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in Little Rock.
Swoope earned bachelors and master's degrees in business administration at Mississippi State University, and was honored as Alumnus of the year in 2008.