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Former Sarasota EDC executive dies

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  • | 4:12 p.m. February 17, 2015
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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SARASOTA — Kathy Baylis, the founding president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County, died Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 67 years old.

Business leaders and officials, in and out of the EDC, praised Baylis for her work ethic, commitment and dedication to Sarasota County. “She made our community a better place than she found it,” says C.J. Fishman, a Venice-based business owner who served two terms as chair of the EDC board during Baylis' tenure. “We lost someone very special.”

Baylis oversaw the EDC, a nonprofit organization that oversees economic development for the county, during a transformative period. She started with an EDC predecessor organization in 1995, which was an arm of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. She was the top executive when the EDC formed its own private-public partnership in 2004, separate from the chamber. Baylis ran the EDC until June 2011, when she left for health reasons.

Even after she left the EDC, Baylis remained involved in the business community. She met with business leaders for lunches and breakfasts, worked behind the scenes on several issues and did some consulting work for the Patterson Foundation in Sarasota.

“The EDC and the entire Sarasota County community has lost a tremendous friend and contributor to our quality of life,” current EDC President and CEO Mark Huey says in a statement. “We all owe Kathy a tremendous debt of gratitude for her leadership over 15 years of making Sarasota County a better place to live and work.”


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