Rick Byars, Gulf Power’s Community and Economic Development general manager, is responsible for job creation, community building and community development in Northwest Florida, as well as for ensuring the company maintains strategic and credible relationships with key community stakeholders.
Byars has 18 years of experience in economic development. Byars has managed large development projects, including the Nissan North America for Entergy Mississippi. This major impact project contributed 3,600 direct jobs and over 15,000 indirect jobs associated with suppliers.
Byars serves as Chairman of Florida’s Great Northwest Regional Economic Development organization, which provides economic development services to 12 Northwest Florida counties. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the University of West Florida Foundation, serves as the Northwest Florida representative on the board of the Florida Economic Development Council, and as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters – Northwest Florida.
Byars is past president of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, as well as a graduate of Leadership Mississippi. He has served in a leadership capacity on numerous civic organizations.
Byars earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Accounting. He earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from the Else School of Management at Millsaps College and is a Certified Public Accountant.