President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Jamal Sowell will be leaving the DeSantis administration this month for official military duties.
Sowell, who Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed to lead Enterprise Florida on his way into the Governor’s Mansion, is an officer of the Marine Reserve. In a letter sent to the governor on Thursday, Sowell said he had received official military orders to undergo specialized training.
“From November 2018 when you selected me as transition advisor on the economy and from December 2018 when you appointed me to this function; you have proven that you understand the importance of individual freedom and free enterprise during our greatest crisis, ”Sowell wrote in his letter. “You were wise, bold and courageous at a time when Florida needed it most.”
Specialized training will prepare them to take on operational missions.
DeSantis also served the Navy as an attorney for the JAG and served as legal counsel for a SEAL team in Iraq. But Sowell, who wrote that he remembers his family’s service and sacrifice when interviewed for the post, said his relationship with the governor went beyond “military brotherhood.”
“I was inspired by your vision, your leadership and your courage. I am truly grateful to have worked for America’s greatest governor! Sowell wrote.
Sowell said he was “still compelled to call for service.”
Sowell was a Marine Corps officer during the war in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, and reached the rank of captain.
Enterprise Florida operates as a public-private partnership aimed at employment and economic development throughout the state. Sowell is also the agency’s President and CEO in his role as Secretary of Commerce.
In his letter, Sowell celebrated 16 straight months of job growth after closures peaked at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted Enterprise Florida’s role in relocating or expanding companies such as Boeing, Citigroup, Pfizer and UPS in the Sunshine State.
“What you did was very simple but very different from other states – you let the world know we were open and ready to do business,” Sowell said. “That alone has sparked remarkable interest in Florida and Florida businesses, sparking a migration of hundreds of thousands of new residents here.”