They say that roots run deep in Taylor County. In fact, the area is widely known as the Tree Capital of the South and forestry is the driving force behind the local economy. The county is also home to the famous Forrest Capital State Park where the annual Florida Forest Festival has been held for more than 40 years. This historic event is attended by more than 20,000 people each year and features a King Tree Parade, bed races, and the World’s Largest Free Fish Fry.

The organization responsible for helping to coordinate this massive event and also spur economic development within the area is the Perry-Taylor Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been a partnering organization with the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) for more than four years and has helped to bring the power of the space program to Florida’s panhandle.

The Chamber utilizes its strong connection with the local media to help spread the word about SATOP. The organization has worked with radio stations within the area to air several different public service announcements promoting SATOP, and it has also run print advertisements in the local newspapers encouraging people to visit the SATOP website found at

The Chamber has also touted the benefits of SATOP at various community meetings and has scheduled SATOP Engineer, Ryan Greenough, to speak before several different civic organizations. “We believe that it is very important to cover the entire state in terms of promoting SATOP, and each time the Perry-Taylor Chamber calls with an opportunity to make a SATOP presentation, we definitely take advantage of it. We want to make sure that Florida’s rural communities are connected with SATOP”, stated Greenough.

One of the ways that the Chamber has targeted the commercial sector is by developing a special SATOP postcard that is mailed directly to business owners that may benefit from SATOP’s free technical assistance. The postcard addresses any potential skepticism by boldly assuring local business owners that even though SATOP sounds too good to be true, it’s not. It also encourages recipients to call the Chamber directly to learn how SATOP can connect them with some of the top technical minds in the country.

Dawn Taylor, the President/Executive Director of the Perry-Taylor Chamber of Commerce, believes that SATOP provides her with an extremely unique benefit to offer to her local members. ”SATOP is an invaluable program that I would recommend any business to utilize. It''s not often that a small business has access to the experience that these engineers and scientists have to offer. I have been a big supporter of this program for years now and our office is happy to be working with such a great staff from the SATOP Program”, stated Taylor.