the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced three high-profile additions to its team on Thursday, saying the hires would help advance its strategic plans.
“The Florida Chamber team is focused on executing our strategic plan and executing a calculated talent strategy that prepares us to advance our mission, further unite business leaders, and ensure Florida’s future the right way,” said Chas Bailes IIICEO of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Chairman of the Florida Chamber Board.
The new recruits are Dr. Well Tabatabaei, David Sobush and Alex Coelho. Each will focus on one facet of the House’s six-year, $105 million strategic plan, which encompasses economic development, election and political goals.
Tabatabaei is an economist and holds a doctorate in international political economy and public policy from the University of Southern California. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and has previously advised foreign businesses and governments on economic issues. He was named Chief Economist and Executive Director of the Florida Chamber’s International Center for Economic Development.
“Having studied and lectured extensively on undemocratic governance systems that wield significant control over their economy, I have seen how devastating it has been to the lives of ordinary people. This has caused poor economic growth, endemic corruption and environmental degradation,” he said in a press release.
“My work as an international business economist has reinforced for me the importance of democratic standards, free enterprise and the protection of this freedom at all costs, because ultimately the lives and happiness of ordinary hard-working people matter.”
In his new role, Tabatabaei will help businesses and policy makers understand economic and demographic changes in the state and identify opportunities to boost international trade, logistics, foreign investment and domestic manufacturing.
Sobush will serve as director of research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. He comes to the Tampa Bay Partnership Chamber, where he worked as senior director of policy and research. In this role, he was responsible for developing data-driven recommendations to improve the region’s economic competitiveness.
He previously worked as Business Development Manager for Pinellas County Economic Development, where he focused on attracting businesses in the aviation, manufacturing, optics/photonics sectors. and IT in the region. His efforts have helped create more than 4,500 well-paying jobs and maintain a Fortune 250 company in the county.
At the Florida Chamber Foundation, he will oversee research projects such as The Florida Scoreboard and lead the Florida 2030 Blueprint Caucus, which recruits companies to lead the goals listed in the Chamber’s key research project, Florida 2030.
“Adding a Certified Business Developer to the team will help propel the Chamber Foundation to even greater heights and bring our members a unique perspective and expertise on how to keep pushing the needle in our state,” said Susan Towlervice president of the Florida Blue Foundation and chairman of the board of directors of the Florida Chamber Foundation.
Coelho, meanwhile, will bolster the strong political functioning of the House. He was the data manager for the former agriculture commissioner Adam Putmanand did the same work for the Michigan Republican Party, focusing on voter targeting, polling analysis, and database management. His specialties include identifying and understanding developing trends among populations and demographic groups.
He will work as the Chamber’s Director of Data and Analytics. The work will see him produce analyzes of data on trends in voter attitudes and demographic shifts in the electorate, among other things. He will also oversee ChamberHub – the Florida Chamber’s exclusive electoral roll – and the Partisan performance indexwhich measures the political tendencies of state legislative districts.