Bob Blalock
Recipient of Robert P. Bartz Outstanding Leadership Award

The Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s 60th Annual Dinner celebrated and honored businesses whose contributions make a significant impact and investment in our community.

The pinnacle of the evening was when our very own Bob Blalock was presented with the annual Robert P. Bartz Award. The honor recognizes a community leader who has made an impact in Manatee County well beyond their own company.

Best described as an “icon” by his peers and colleagues, Bob’s leadership efforts in business and community initiatives have resulted in catalytic efforts to enhance Manatee County’s economy and quality of life.

Bob’s community spirit and dynamism was done selflessly and often behind the scenes. Over the past 40 years, Bob helped bring a symphonic orchestra to town, helped persuade former Florida Governor Bob Graham to rebuild the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and helped keep Pittsburgh Pirates spring training stay in Bradenton. Also, he and Egbert R. Beall, founder of Bealls, helped keep Sarasota Bradenton airport open after World War II — long ago before it became an international airport.

Taking the podium to present the award, his longtime business partner, Cliff Walters, praised Bob for his many accomplishments and living his life with “honor and integrity.” During Bob’s acceptance speech, donned with his infamous quick wit and humor, he was very serious when he encouraged the crowd of over 400 to “get involved in civic duty and engaged in the community.”

In addition to the numerous accolades and distinctions during his legal career, Bob has lead many board of directors for major organizations, including Manatee Community Foundation, Bishop Parker Foundation, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Manatee Chamber of Commerce and Manatee County Bar Association. He has also been instrumental in local philanthropy by supporting Take Stock in Children, ArtCenter Manatee, Florida West Coast Symphony (now Sarasota Orchestra), Just for Girls, and more.

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