Kelly L. Smallridge, President and CEO
Kelly L. Smallridge is President and CEO of Palm Beach County’s public/private economic development agency, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) where she has worked for 25 years. She serves as one of the longest tenured economic development Presidents in the State of Florida and has a solid track record in facilitating some of the largest job creation projects for Palm Beach County. Most recently, Kelly was appointed to the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, chaired by Governor Scott, holding the only seat that represents all economic development boards throughout the state.
Kelly oversees all operations of the Business Development Board which is one of only two Accredited Economic Development Boards in the State of Florida. In 2004, she became the first female President of a South Florida economic development board after serving in many different capacities within the organization including the lead role for the Business Recruitment, Retention and Expansion from 1988-2004. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Workforce Alliance, The Education Commission, Family Promise and the Executive Committee of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership.
In February 2013, she was featured on CNBC and in the NY Post touting the assets of Palm Beach County. Under her leadership, the BDB has received state and national awards for its work in recruiting and expanding companies to Palm Beach County and is credited with facilitating two of the world’s largest bioscience organizations to the state: The Scripps Research Institute from San Diego and the Max Planck Society from Germany. Her aggressive style in facilitating relocations and expansions has led to big announcements of jobs for this county from companies like ADT, Pratt & Whitney, G4S Wackenhut, Sikorsky Helicopters, Aldi and TBC Corporation to name a few. In the last year alone, the BDB facilitated 26 relocation and expansion projects which created/retained 2,000 jobs and invested $100 million into Palm Beach County, leasing or purchasing over 1.4 million square feet of space.
Kelly is also credited with creating the first Expedited Permitting Ordinance which was adopted by 15 cities in Palm Beach County. In addition, she created a countywide “Shovel Ready” program to identify sites ready for construction within 12 months.
In 2013, Governor Rick Scott awarded Kelly with the Governor’s Ambassador Medal recognizing her hard work in creating jobs in Palm Beach County. Throughout her tenure, she has received several additional awards and recognition including the following: named the Small Business Leader of the Year by the Sun Sentinel; recipient of the Palm Beach County Public Schools Distinguished Alumni Award; recognized by Palm Beacher Magazine as one of the top 40 most influential leaders in Palm Beach County; recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as an “Ultimate CEO” and by South Florida CEO as one of the top 40 business leaders in Palm Beach County and recipient of the Chairman’s Award from the North Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce.
Kelly is a vocal advocate for education in Palm Beach County and most recently created a task force to brand the positive assets of public and private schools. Noting that education and economic development are interconnected, the task force is comprised of the top leaders of the school district, universities, private, religious and charter schools.
Ms. Smallridge is a lifelong resident of Palm Beach County a graduate of the University of Florida. She has three sons: Grant (19); Cole (17) and Rhett (11).