September 19, 2008
Thursday night I returned from Pensacola, our second stop for "On the Road to Better Business." It never ceases to amaze me the dedication and commitment that our licensees have to their professions.
Tuesday, I stopped by the Esquire Barber Shop in downtown Pensacola. I was there to visit Joe Brown, one of the longest-licensed barbers in Florida. Joe has been cutting hair since 1939 and now, at the age of 92, he still works four days a week. It is clear that he loves his work. I even took a seat in his barber chair to get my hair cut. At 92, he still has a very steady hand. It was truly a pleasure meeting with Joe and having the opportunity to see him in action.
On Wednesday, I met with 15 licensees and citizens in one-on-one sessions and listened to their unique concerns. In many cases, I learned about issues I was not aware of before. Becky, Robert, and Emil, all employees at the Escambia County Building Inspections Office, expressed concern over not being able to fully understand a licensee’s status on DBPR's online portal. During our meeting, we discussed some creative ways to add more explanation to the licensing portal. We also discussed ways that our agencies can work together to combat unlicensed activity. We all agreed that by pooling our resources, we can have a greater impact on this growing problem.
Edward, a contractor who moved from California to Pensacola after Hurricane Ivan, expressed his concerns with the licensing process. He also offered several good suggestions on how it could be improved. He recommended that we look at California's licensing system as a successful model. I am grateful for the suggestion, and we will be researching how our sister state tackles the licensing process for contractors.
Every time I meet with licensees, I'm humbled by their gratitude. Many times, I feel that I should be thanking them. It is through their honesty and candor that I am able to obtain insight into how our Department serves the end-user. Without this valuable feedback, we would not be able to institute meaningful change.
I look forward to meeting licensees at our DBPR office in Orlando on Monday, Sept. 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Charles W. Drago
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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