Chris Dawson is a lobbyist for GrayRobinson by trade, and a volunteer and world traveler by heart. During Florida’s legislative season, Chris travels throughout our state and the southeast advocating for his clients’ interests. The remainder of the time, he stays busy with campaigning and attempting to squeeze in Alabama football games whenever possible.
As a sixth-generation Floridian, Chris is super passionate about his community. In addition to volunteering for several other homegrown and nationwide initiatives, he is also the Founder and Inaugural Chair of Florida Miracle, Central Florida’s third annual dance marathon. It’s a region-wide effort to raise awareness and funds to combat catastrophic childhood illness and disease, a day spent dancing to raise money for kids who can’t. With the help of 30 volunteers, his team creates, structures and executes a year-long fundraising effort that spans seven Central Florida counties.
Chris first took the idea of Florida Miracle to our local Children’s Miracle Network in 2013. He wanted to recreate a dance-a-thon he and his college buddies attended every year at the University of Florida, but for young professionals. In 2016, the first Florida Miracle dance-a-thon was held drawing 60 participants and raising $14,000. At next weekend’s event, the team hopes to attract more than 200 participants and raise as much as $50,000.
When we asked Chris what he enjoyed most about the Florida Miracle event, he replied “The money raised stays local. It goes to help the families in our community so I feel a direct connection of effort to outcome.”
Florida Miracle is next Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Arnold Palmer Hospital. You can don your dancing shoes by either forming or joining a team or by volunteering to work the event. If you can’t attend, you can still donate. And if you’re interested in joining next year’s board, you can do that too.
Florida is alive and well? If Florida was an independent country, it would rank as the world’s 17th largest economy — bigger than Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Argentina. The Sunshine State’s gross domestic output (GDP) topped $1 trillion last week, largely in part to growth in manufacturing, according to a new study. Key factors that Orlando contributes to that growth include low unemployment, population growth and tourism. (Orlando Sentinel)
We see you, Brightline. Former CSX executive Bob O’Malley starts a new job today at Brightline. He’ll be based here in Orlando, working to manage any potential opposition to the recently proposed Orlando-Tampa route. (Progressive Railroading)
Gators mate, become gators’ bait? A Frisbee golfer at Barnett Park on West Colonial Drive went to pick up a lost disc and was instead greeted by an alligator that bit him on his thigh last week. Trappers found a gator nest nearby and think that the gator was probably protecting its young. (Click Orlando)
Not making the grade. In 2010, 76 percent of our preschool students tested ready for kindergarten. State leaders vowed then to increase our decent score, which is a good indicator of future school success for many kids. But the latest reports show that only 65 percent of our preschool kids are ready for school, which may come as no surprise when Florida ranks near the bottom of states funding pre-K programs. (Orlando Sentinel)
Microsoft has something to say about “Rekognition.” Microsoft CEO Bradford L. Smith, wrote a lengthy blog post on Friday, asking Congress to consider imposing stricter regulations for facial recognition software. “A world with a vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards,” he wrote. Both Orlando and Washington County, Oregon, are currently using Amazon’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition. (Consumer Affairs)
Kindergarten cops. The Brevard County school district is one of many in Florida who planned to hire armed security guards to patrol their schools in response to the Parkland school shooting. But now they have to figure out how to train and insure them, and it’s leaving some to question whether the armed guards might introduce more risk. (Florida Today)
Heart out to Haiti. The last five Hearts out to Haiti mission volunteers returned home to Florida after being stranded in Port-au-Prince since Sunday, July 8 when drastic rises in fuel prices sparked riots and violence. (Click Orlando)
🕺 SATURDAY, JULY 28: Come join us next Saturday for Florida Miracle, a dance marathon benefiting the Central Florida Miracle Network! Food, music and entertainment will be provided. Just bring your AWESOME dance moves!
❓ I love the 80’s trivia (Winter Springs)
🌮 All you can eat tacos for $12.99 (Winter Garden)
🥗 Learn to make quick, healthy meals for 1 (or 2) (Longwood)
🚌 Let’s talk transportation, over food and drinks (Downtown) 🆕
🏃 Run and clean up litter at the same time (Mills)
🍩 Beer and doughnuts, the perfect pair (SODO)
🗣 Hear stories about…cleaning up messes! (Downtown)
🍷 Grilled cheese and wine, another perfect pair (SODO)
🎤 Karaoke night with a fish fry (Sanford)
🗣 Practice or learn another language (Milk District)
🎨 A blend of Asian and Western art (Loch Haven Park) 🆕
🏌 90’s night at Topgolf (I-Drive) 🆕
🎨 3rd Thursday gallery hop! (Downtown) 🆕
📎 Win $250 at The Office trivia (Downtown) 🆕
👩💼 Meet our candidates running for office (over a drink or two] (Downtown)
🍻 Get your pub crawl on, 80’s style (Downtown) 🆕
📽 Ballet on the big screen (Winter Park) 🆕
🇧🇪 Celebrate Belgium…get your waffles! (Sanford) 🆕
🍳 Brunch all night! (South Orlando) 🆕
💻 This is for all you Orlando bloggers (and wannabes!) (East Orlando) 🆕
🌮 It’s a food truck bazaar! (Avalon Park) 🆕
🚜 Join Fleet Farming in gardening (Audubon Park) 🆕
🎉 Don’t miss the Thornton Park block party (Thornton Park) 🆕
🎊 …or this Live Vibe block party (Windermere) 🆕
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #pulptown on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a Pulptown membership.