The ‘Wright’ way to invest in economic development

Fred Edman Horizon Foundation Secretary

February 17, 2024

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By Bill Johnson, Jr.

As a staple of Southwest Florida for over 70 years, Wright Construction Group has been at the forefront of many of the area’s most prominent commercial construction projects. The company’s portfolio of projects includes the Caloosa Sound Convention Center, Bonita Springs City Hall, Fort Myers Riverfront Redevelopment, FGCU’s Alico Arena, Fort Myers Country Club and many others.

Even with all its success, though, President Fred Edman knows that it’s not just his team that has made Wright Construction Group successful.

“The relationships that we’ve been able to build through our investment in the Horizon Foundation and the Horizon Council have been tremendous,” said Edman. “Anytime you join an organization like this, the benefit isn’t always direct as much as indirect. Being able to pick up the phone and call business leaders in the community, government leaders in the community, is important and significant in my business.”

Wright Construction Group was first attracted to the Horizon Foundation 20 years ago. Edman looked at it as a great way to support a nonprofit that is diligently working toward economic development here in Southwest Florida. Edman stated, “To stay involved in an organization that has economic development as a key element I think is important.”

In line with supporting the Horizon Foundation, Edman takes his role as an investor seriously. He preaches the benefits of the Foundation to other area businesses on the regular, telling them it’s important to invest in the county where you’re doing business.

“I talked to one of my competitors last year and had this exact conversation. I said that if you want to stand in front of government officials and say that you’re a local firm and you support local, but you’re not a part of the Horizon Foundation, shame on you,” said Edman. He continued, “You need to start giving back to the county directly in a way that’s going to have an impact on economic development and development in Southwest Florida, and within two weeks they wrote a check to the Horizon Foundation.”

As its longstanding investment in the Horizon Foundation moves forward, Wright Contruction Group continues to be a model of what the foundation is all about, opportunities for public-private partnerships and businesses to invest in the long-term prosperity of Lee County’s economy.

As Edman said, “The Horizon Foundation gives businesses an avenue to reinvest in the county. I think that’s important. You treasure those things that you invest in.” He added, “If you want to think of Lee County as something important to you, then invest in it. The Horizon Foundation gives businesses and Southwest Florida the opportunity to do that.”

About the Author

Bill Johnson, Jr. is the Executive Director of the Horizon Foundation. He is responsible for bringing in new investors, fostering relationships with existing investors and continuing to support Lee County’s economic growth through strategic partnerships and financial sources. Johnson previously was the Executive Director of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association (CCCIA) for eight years.