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Brill leaving OTTED for Chamber; Chris Hart to lead OTTED

Dale Brill, director of transportation, tourism and economic development for Gov. Charlie Crist, is leaving to serve as president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Brill, director of the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development since October 2007, is the latest high-ranking official in the Governor's Office to depart in recent months. Brill said he told Crist "recently" of his decision to take the Chamber post, which he called "a once in a lifetime opportunity" that allows him to build on the past two years' experience. He starts Jan. 4.

"I really enjoy the think tank process, but until these last two years I hadn't thought about policymaking that could impact the public arena," said Brill, 45. "Government can only do so much. It's time for the business community to do some heavy lifting to come up with solutions. Government doesn't create jobs. Businesses create jobs. But the two can work together to accomplish a lot."

Chris Hart, president and CEO of Workforce Florida since November 2007, will serve as interim OTTED director -- a move that Brill said he and the governor agreed will serve the state well because it puts Hart over both workforce and economic development.

"Now is the time to better align the state's workforce and economic development efforts," Crist said in a released statement. "Chris Hart has the necessary experience and expertise to bring the two efforts together."

Hart, a former state Representative from Hillsborough County, worked from 2004 to 2007 for Enterprise Florida, the state's public/private economic development arm. He has a bachelor's degree from Florida State and a master's in business from the University of South Florida. 

"Talent is our competitive advantage," Hart said. "And we need to have better links between a market-based economy and the policies for economic development."

Before taking over OTTED, Brill served as head of marketing for VISIT Florida, the state's tourism marketing agency. He previously worked for General Motors, developing technology and strategies for the company's international business. And in the 80s in North Carolina, he served as president of a small advertising agency.

"I feel like all that experience has really prepared me for this job leading the Foundation," Brill said. He has a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor's degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C.

Chamber president and CEO Mark Wilson lauded Brill's track record of "garnering consensus that translates ideas into results" and said he is the best choice to help build on the Chamber's efforts to improve the economy through education, infrastructure and other factors.

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