Six years ago, I borrowed a handcart and moved my personal belongings from my office next to Governor Rick Scott in the Florida Capitol and Enterprise Florida’s Tallahassee office to the Regus Center on Monroe Street. With that move, VisionFirst Advisors officially opened its doors.

It was a new beginning after 30 years of working in local, regional and state economic development organizations. Starting a new private consulting practice was a big transition – as evidenced by my new 12 ft. by 10 ft. office in a shared co-workspace with no assistants, support staff or team meetings. It was just me with a business plan, a list of people to contact and events to attend. 

Since that first day we have continued to grow, adding our eighth team member, Maria Crume, just this week. Today, we have a 2,600 sq. ft. office in Tallahassee, where I have continued to live since 2011, and offices in Orlando and Jackson, Mississippi. Our project engagements have included five Fortune 500 companies and work in over 35 states. 

And being part of the Butler Snow LLP family has offered us the added capacity to serve clients in a variety of ways. The firm’s offices in the US, as well as London and Singapore provide a great platform for local market intelligence while also staying updated on the latest in state and federal issues. I am grateful to our board of directors as well as past firm chair Don Clark and current firm chair Chris Maddux for our partnership.

Our practice continues to grow as we improve our products and services based on the ever-changing economy. We measure our performance by the implementation of plans and continued engagement with our clients. We want to know how our services helped and we always provide ongoing assistance. The result is repeat business and continued learning in a variety of areas including strategic planning, asset optimization, marketing and communications, site selection as well as incentives negotiation and compliance. 

Before launching VisionFirst Advisors, Griff, Melissa and I set a vision of being a go-to firm to solve complex issues that involve the economic development practice. Six years later, we have done just that for a variety of clients in the corporate sector, local, state and federal government, universities, utilities and EDOs. 

I am grateful for our success and plan to continue seeking new ways to provide value through our work.

Maria Crume joins VisionFirst’s Tallahassee Office as Consultant

Maria’s skills further strengthens our ability to provide the highest level of services and strategic decision making to our clients. It is exciting to continue growing our team as we start our sixth year of business.

Gray Swoope, President & CEO

We are excited to welcome our newest consultant, Maria Crume, to the VisionFirst team! Maria brings a fresh perspective to VisionFirst with her background in communications, digital marketing and social media. From her prior experience, Maria is well versed in the importance of clear and creative messaging to build both a successful brand and grow an engaged online presence. Her innovative thinking and enthusiasm for people make her an asset to clients who want to control their narrative and effectively tell their unique stories.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in telecommunications,  Maria lived in the Pacific Northwest and New York City before returning to her home state of Florida.

Maria has diverse background having worked in the banking, hospitality, and association industries. Prior to joining VisionFirst, Maria served as the membership and communications coordinator for a nonprofit association in Tallahassee. She has a passion for working with people and collaborating with others to find effective solutions.

In her spare time, Maria enjoys volunteering for various outreach programs in her community.