Linking the world since 1993, Flags on Ponce flutter again
Twenty years ago, the Flags on Ponce program was unfurled by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to display a “boulevard of flags” along Ponce de Leon in recognition of the city’s growth as a center for international business and trade.
This tribute to countries doing business in the Gables has endured for the past two decades, celebrating the various multinational companies, trade and consular offices that call Coral Gables home.
In honor of the Flags on Ponce program’s 20th anniversary, the Coral Gables City Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 5, presented the chamber with a proclamation.
Accepting the honor from commissioners were a number of chamber representatives, including John Allen, Home Financing Center; Marco Ibarra, Eliptek Technology Group; Carolina Rendeiro, Right Space Management; Laura L. Russo, Esq.; Anabella Smith, Zyscovich Architects; chamber Chair Darla Thompson, Cherry Bekaert LLP; and Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the chamber.
Long recognized as the corporate capital of the greater South Florida community, the Gables is home to more than 130 multinational corporations, including Bacardi, Del Monte, HBO Latin America and IntelSat.
In addition 20 consulates are located in Coral Gables. Several Sister City home countries have their consular offices in Coral Gables, most notably Cartagena, Colombia; Granada, Spain; and Pisa, Italy.
“After several decades of Coral Gables being recognized as the ‘Corporate Capital of the Americas,’ our Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce leadership decided that a display of flags representing those countries where our multinational firms were doing business would be a wonderful way to showcase our collective appreciation to our international friends,” said Ron Shuffield, a former chamber chairman and president of EWM Realty International.
“At the time, we identified 90 countries where our multinational corporate base was operating,” said Shuffield. “We chose flags of those countries as the initial group to be installed along Ponce de Leon. The pride within our local community, as well as the international community, continues to be as strong today as the day that first flag was hung 20 years ago.”
A colorful tradition in the Gables, the Flags on Ponce fly high along Ponce de Leon Boulevard each year from January until June. The chamber works closely with the city to maintain the program and to install the flags each year right after the New Year.
“Flags on Ponce is a celebration of South Florida’s diversity, history and heritage and Florida Blue is excited help Coral Gables celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary,” said Florida Blue Market President Penny Shaffer. ”Florida Blue is proud of our longstanding commitment to the ‘City Beautiful’ through support of business, arts and community health, and this is a wonderful way to fulfill our mission and values.”
Sponsor support is derived from corporate partners including: Florida Blue – Title Sponsor, Artigiano, Baptist Health South Florida, Barakat Law, PA, Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Cherry Bekaert LLP, Coral Gables Community Foundation, Coral Gables Country Club, Eliptek Technology Group, EWM Realty International, Laura L. Russo, Esq., Montica Jewelry, Nero Immigration Law, Right Space 2 Meet, Smiles & Sonrisas, TotalBank and the University of Miami School of Business.
“The International Affairs Committee of the chamber proudly champions the Flags on Ponce program, reinforcing the idea that the ‘City Beautiful’ is truly a global destination. For the past 20 years, the flags displayed down Ponce de Leon Boulevard have served as a warm embrace to international visitors and residents alike. We trust our partners and sponsors are as honored as we are to ensure this colorful, international legacy continues for years to come,” says Eliptek Technology Group President & CEO Marco Ibarra.