Director of Development Services, City of Bonita Springs
If you held a contest to decide the most business-friendly city in Florida, Bonita Springs would surely win, and Arleen Hunter would be a big reason why.
Although her title sounds bureaucratic enough, Hunter is the city’s business advocate, helping entrepreneurs set up shop and expand here.
Bonita Springs rolls out the red carpet for business. The city operates with a tiny staff because it contracts out most of the work, even the permitting department. That means employees who work under contract for the city are eager to please Hunter and the taxpaying customers.
Looking to expand to Bonita Springs? Hunter can tell investors which parcels of land or buildings need permits before they tie up precious capital. She can coordinate meetings with all the right people so entrepreneurs don’t waste any time and can instead focus on doing what they do best.
“I’m here to champion their concerns,” Hunter says. “We try to help them right from the beginning when they’re looking at properties.”
Bonita Springs City Manager Carl Schwing tells business owners: “We pay her, but she works for you.”
Which is why every city in Florida should have an Arleen Hunter.
City of residence: Bonita Springs
Birthplace: New York City
Years on the Gulf Coast: 21 years
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Sarah Jessica Parker (I also love shoes and her witty personality).
Best award you ever received: 2012 Rotary Club of Bonita Springs Ethics in Leadership Award
One community group you’re most involved with: The Zonta Club of Bonita Springs, an organization of business and professional women dedicated to improving the circumstances of women at all stages of life, locally and globally.
Favorite off-hours activity: Camping (in an air-conditioned camper!) with my husband and stepdaughter.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Margret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II
If I had a magic wand I’d: Ensure no child ever went hungry or unloved.