Honoring Melbourne’s Legendary Leaders
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Honoring Melbourne’s Legendary Leaders

Honoring Melbourne’s Legendary Leaders

I’ve only lived in Brevard County for a total of seven years, so I’m always eager to learn more about the area’s incredible history. 


Recently, my team at the Melbourne Regional Chamber created a video highlighting the significance and accomplishments of the chamber over its 95+ years. In the process of creating that video, which features an interview with one of our past board chairs, Bill Potter, we poured over hundreds of historic photos of the area. We spanned from the 1920s when crops were shipped via railcar and downtown Melbourne was just a dirt road, to the 1950s when companies like Radiation Inc., the precursor of Harris Corp., first selected Melbourne as its home.  

It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come and to hear people like Bill, who have lived and worked here for decades, talk about just how important the Melbourne Regional Chamber and its past leaders were to that growth and progress. 

According to Bill, companies like Radiation would not have made their home here without the advocacy efforts of the chamber.

Each year, we select one of those legendary chamber and community leaders to receive the William R. “Bill” Ellis Legacy Award at our Impact Awards and Board Installation. The award honors the late Bill Ellis, who left an indelible mark on Brevard County with his government relations work on behalf of the power, transportation, health care and development industries. Past honorees include Jim Ridenour, Jack Ryals and Bill Potter.

At this year’s Impact Awards on July 16, we will honor attorney Joel Boyd. Joel served on the chamber’s board of directors and executive committee from 1982 to 1989 and played a direct role in founding numerous chamber “spin-offs” including Keep Brevard Beautiful and the Community Foundation for Brevard. He returned to the chamber’s board of directors and executive committee from 2005 to 2013 and served as board chair in 2009. 

Joel has practiced law in Brevard County since 1978 and has partnered with his son, Mark, at Boyd & Boyd, P.A. since 2017.

I’m grateful to all those who have aided in creating this beautiful community in which we live and work, and I invite you to visit our website to learn more about the impact the Melbourne Regional Chamber and its leaders have had over the last century. 

Visit us at www.melbourneregionalchamber.com


As president and CEO of the Melbourne Regional Chamber, Michael Ayers is a strategic leader with experience in managing government agencies, political campaigns and community-based organizations. He has spent more than 17 years in government relations, management and political marketing in Washington, D.C., Illinois,Tallahassee and Brevard County.


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