Member Highlights: December 14 – 20, 2014

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights:

Member News

  • All Children’s Hospital Reminder to Parents: New Child Restraint Law Takes Effect January 1
  •  Laser Spine Institute Breaks Ground on $56 Million Headquarters
  • Hancock Bank Regional President Eric Obeck Expands Leadership Role
  • Florida Chamber/Port Tampa Bay Host Forum to Discuss Opportunities for FL Companies in Brazil
  • Heat Up Your Holiday with Tijuana Flats
  • Book Your Vacation Today with AAATravel Cruises
  • 2015-16 VISIT FLORIDA Grant Application Period Now Open
  • LaSalle Computer Learning Center Now Hiring Web Development Instructor

Member Events

  • Dec. 18 – LaSalle Computer Learning Center Holiday Mixer
  • Dec. 29 – Teachers Eat FREE at Tijuana Flats 

Member Accolades

  • Fintech Receives Honor for Philanthropic Endeavors
  • CEO Chuck Fest of American Marketing & Mailing Services Named President of the Jason Ackerman Foundation
Member News

All Children’s Hospital Reminder to Parents: New Child Restraint Law Takes Effect January 1

With an increase in families set to travel during this holiday season, All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine is reminding parents to make sure their family is buckled up and children are properly restrained in car seats or boosters.

Florida parents also need to be aware of a new child restraint law taking effect January 1, 2015. While the state law currently requires children up to age three to be placed in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device, House Bill 225 will extend the law. The new law will require children to be properly restrained until their 6th birthday. This means either car seat or a booster seat, depending on their weight and height.

According to a study from Safe Kids Worldwide, nine out of ten parents move a child from a booster seat to a seat belt too soon. Safe Kids Worldwide also notes that children 4-10 years old should be riding in booster seats which have been shown to reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent compared to seat belts alone.

Families can find more information about proper child restraints and car seat safety tips by visiting or by calling 1-800-756-7233 extension 4.

 Laser Spine Institute Breaks Ground on $56 Million Headquarters

LSI Groundbreaking1

Laser Spine Institute, the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, broke ground today on the company’s new headquarters and ambulatory surgery center. The new facility will support both national and local expansion efforts, as Laser Spine Institute continues to increase access to minimally invasive spine care options for individuals suffering from debilitating neck and back pain. Located in Tampa’s Avion Park, the 176,000-square-foot facility is expected to create more than 100 new jobs and extend neck and back treatment options to 25 percent more patients than its existing Tampa center.

“This has been an incredible year of growth for Laser Spine Institute,” said Bill Horne, Chief Executive Officer, Laser Spine Institute. “Although we’ve expanded our services across the country, Tampa will always be our home. We are excited to be celebrating this milestone with our friends, neighbors and partners in the community.”

Local leaders from a variety of municipalities and organizations joined Laser Spine Institute for the groundbreaking, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Chairman Sandy Murman of the Hillsborough County Commission, and Rick Homans, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Laser Spine Institute actively works toward defining Tampa as a destination for quality, specialized health care services, in order to drive further economic development in the surrounding region.

For more information, visit

Hancock Bank Regional President Eric Obeck Expands Leadership Role

obeckeric-hb-regpres-304xx560-840-20-0(By Margie Manning, Tampa Bay Business Journal) Hancock Bank Regional President Eric Obeck is taking on broader oversight for Hancock Bank operations. Obeck, currently regional president for central and north Florida, will extend his executive oversight to include all lines of business in Hancock’s Florida markets, as well as all of Alabama and Mississippi.

He will remain based in Tampa.

His expanded leadership role will help Hancock Bank strengthen client service and strategically grow all lines of business in three of the five states the company serves, a statement from the company said. Hancock Bank has 32 Florida offices, 12 Alabama offices and 40 Mississippi offices, in addition to Whitney Bank offices in Louisiana and Texas.

Obeck is a veteran banker who spent 11 years at Barnett Bank in Tampa and another decade running startup companies in health care, Internet and marketing technology industries. He was named Whitney Bank regional president in 2008, a role that expanded when Hancock bought Whitney in 2011.

Obeck also chairs the St. Joseph’s Hospital board of trustees and serves on the executive committee of the BayCare Health System board of trustees.

Florida Chamber/Port Tampa Bay Host Forum to Discuss Opportunities for FL Companies in Brazil

Left: Glenn Cooper, shareholder, Gray Robinson, P.A./Global Florida Advisory Council; Sharon Hillstrom, president, Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp.; Carols Buqueras, executive director, Port Manatee; Joe Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport; Paul Anderson, port president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay. Right: Rick Homans, left, listens to Paul Anderson as he discusses Port Tampa Bay’s trade stats with Brazil, the port’s number one trade partner, and also ways of developing future business opportunities with Brazil.

Left: Glenn Cooper, shareholder, Gray Robinson, P.A./Global Florida Advisory Council; Sharon Hillstrom, president, Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp.; Carols Buqueras, executive director, Port Manatee; Joe Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport; Paul Anderson, port president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay. Right: Rick Homans, left, listens to Paul Anderson as he discusses Port Tampa Bay’s trade stats with Brazil, the port’s number one trade partner, and also ways of developing future business opportunities with Brazil.

Port Tampa Bay and the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Global Florida program today hosted a forum to talk about the benefits of Florida businesses investing in trade and business in Brazil.  The event brought together business executives and economic development stakeholders to the port’s Cruise Terminal 6, to hear and engage in topics relevant to conducting commerce in and through the country of Brazil, which is a trade hub that is strategically important for Florida businesses, particularly importers and exporters.  Moreover, Brazil is Port Tampa Bay’s number one trade partner in terms of annual cargo volume. Read more…

Heat Up Your Holiday with Tijuana Flats


Click here to view the catering menu!

Book Your Vacation Today with AAATravel Cruises

AAA Travel and Rocky Entertainment, Inc. invite you to join them for a unique,
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Freedom of the Seas®. Dance, dance, dance and sing your way around the
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the Fifties and Sixties with a variety of legendary artists. Read more…

AAA Travel invites you to experience the best of Broadway hosted by Rocky Entertainment, Inc. aboard the Celebrity Constellation®. Sail roundtrip from
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813 289 5800 ext 6542

2015-16 VISIT FLORIDA Grant Application Period Now Open

The 2015-16 VISIT FLORIDA grant application period is now open. These grants can assist your business with marketing the tourism advantages of the state to attract in- and out-of-state visitors. To explore each grant program, click here.

In December, we hosted a Log-In & Learn webinar highlighting the eligibility requirements and application process for each grant. To watch the webinar recordings, go to, select the grant program of interest and view the webinar recording for that specific grant.

New this year, applications will only be accepted electronically through the online grant application submission form. The deadline to submit your application is February 9, 2015 at 11 p.m. EST.

If you have any questions, please contact Marguerite Martin at


LaSalle Computer Learning Center Now Hiring Web Development Instructor

LaSalle Computer Learning Centers Web Application Development program is a life-changing educational experience where students leave with the skills and mindsets to take on new careers as web developers. We are looking for an instructor to spearhead this transformation.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Teach and plan a full work week, five days a week, for 9 weeks
  • Facilitate a dynamic and collaborative classroom community.
  • Guide students through development of a stellar final project that will showcase their abilities to hiring managers.
  • Work alongside Director and staff to best meet the needs and learning styles of your students.
  • Inspire students to persevere through the challenges of turning their ideas into actual web application.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Should have at least 3+ years of professional application development experience.
  • Must have fluency in the following topics: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Object Oriented programing in C#, ASP.Net, ADO.Net, Relational Databases and Project Management.
  • You have previous web development or engineering teaching experience, through a course, team training, etc.
  • Must have bachelor’s degree in computer science or other closely related field.

Compensation: TBD based on experience

Contact Kasandra Perez at for more info.

Member Events

Dec. 18 – LaSalle Computer Learning Center Holiday Mixer



Dec. 29 – Teachers Eat FREE at Tijuana Flats

Teacher Day Flier


Member Accolades

Fintech Receives Honor for Philanthropic Endeavors

 Following a win for the Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s ‘Innovative Project of the Year,’ Fintech was awarded first place in their category from the Tampa Bay Business Journal (TBBJ) for its 2014 Corporate Philanthropy Awards. The awards luncheon, which highlighted outstanding corporate sanctioned giving and volunteer programs in the community, took place December 11 at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa, Florida.

The leader in providing electronic data and payments for the alcohol industry, Fintech has always been committed to contributing to Tampa Bay’s economy through providing educational opportunities that inspire growth from kindergarten to career, so as to retain students within the Tampa Bay job market and community. Fintech also strives to embrace, encourage and support the personal missions and other community involvement of their employees.

Fintech’s CEO, Scott Riley said “Being recognized as a philanthropic leader in the community is a great honor. It highlights our dedication to supporting the Tampa Bay community and cultivates a culture in which our employees are encouraged to support causes throughout the area.”

Fintech, competing in the 51-100 Employees category, was recognized as the top philanthropically minded business in the category, while Raymond James took honors in the 500+ Employees category. Championing over 20 organizations throughout the year, Fintech and its employees work tirelessly to support a variety of causes including The Bridge Scholarship component of  Step Up for Students, USF College of Business, Alpha House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation, and many more.

For more information about Fintech, please visit

CEO Chuck Fest of American Marketing & Mailing Services Named President of the Jason Ackerman Foundation


Congratulations to…. President – Chuck Fest ~ (pictured with the Ackerman Family) a successful business owner and long time friend of the Ackerman family. He oversees the marketing of the foundation, donates his company’s services [American Marketing & Mailing] and the foundation’s office home, free of charge. Mr. Fest is a very active community leader supporting various other charities as well and is excited to lead the organization into continued success and future growth.

Leadership Tampa: #LTMediaDay


By Laura Crouch, TECO Energy

Laura Crouch

Laura Crouch

On December 3, the Ybor City office of ChappellRoberts was buzzing as the Leadership Tampa Class made their way in to collect name tags, bus buddy assignments and a quick coffee as we prepared for another fast-paced LT’15 (best class ever!) day. Unlike other days, we were assigned press badges and were actually encouraged to use our phones to post our activities on social media throughout the day. We learned during the day that social media make all of us reporters of the news.

Our first stop was at the WUSF studios on the University of South Florida campus.  Our eyes were opened to the vast amount of television, radio and web content provided to our community through WUSF. We listened in as WUSF radio hosts recorded a segment of Making Sense of the Media. Next, it was our turn as we were sent off to the studios to make our own broadcast radio segment. Of all the many things we learned at the WUSF studio, the favorite may have been finding out where those membership drive tote bags are kept!

We then made our way to WFTS News Channel 28 for lunch and an immersive tour experience. While serving as the in-studio audience, we watched a live news broadcast unfold before us. Once the cameras were off, we heard from the news team and played amateur meteorologists in front of the studio’s green screen. The station’s commitment to the Tampa Bay community and to addressing tough issues like domestic violence was evident in every aspect of their approach to their business.

Our last stop of the day was at the Tampa Bay Times offices in downtown Tampa. We learned that Tampa Bay remains a major newspaper market (larger than both Atlanta and Chicago) and one of the few “two newspaper” towns anywhere. Through a terrific presentation that used recent events as case studies, we learned how to and how not to handle ourselves in crisis situations. One great bit of advice was that everyone should have a “question man” and a “what are you thinking woman” in their corner, willing to ask some tough questions in the interest of getting it right.

While all segments of the media – radio, television and print – discussed incorporating social media and online content, it was a common theme that online and print audiences are different and that there is little overlap between the two. Media providers are working diligently to stay relevant and meet the information needs of all their divergent listeners, viewers and readers.

It was another engaging and enlightening Leadership Tampa day! I was particularly impressed by the commitment these organizations showed to delivering information and content to the Tampa Bay community and their respective audiences. We’re fortunate to have such a broad range of talented media providers in the area.

Member Highlights: December 7 – 13, 2014

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Valspar Championship Presented By BB&T Community Drivers Program Continues With the First Tee of Clearwater

(L. to R.) First Tee/Chi Chi board members Ronald Ciganek and Elliott Ross and Copperheads Board Members Doug Graska, Ronice Barlow and Mark Fitzpatrick.

(L. to R.) First Tee/Chi Chi board members Ronald Ciganek and Elliott Ross and Copperheads Board Members Doug Graska, Ronice Barlow and Mark Fitzpatrick.

The Valspar Championship presented by BB&T continues its Community Drivers Program in December with a donation of $24,500 to The First Tee of Clearwater.

The First Tee of Clearwater is one of three programs operated by the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation. This program has a 10-week Summer Camp, daily certification classes and trains local elementary PE teachers to implement its National School Program.

Coupled with other programs from last March’s tournament, including a raffle and pro-am, the Valspar Championship has now generated a total of more than $37,000 to The First Tee of Clearwater/Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation in 2014.

The Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation has been helping thousands of local children since 1979. Located on McMullen Booth Road in north Clearwater, the Foundation has been a chapter with PGA TOUR’s The First Tee National Program since 2004, but was essentially the precursor to The First Tee’s concept. The Foundation also collaborates with the Pinellas County School District on a public school for at risk students and the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast serving more than 1,500 children annually.

For more information about the Valspar Championship, please visit

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Redesigned Contract Furniture Website Launched by Bayshore Solutions

Digital Agency, Bayshore Solutions, announces the launch of a redesigned website for Tampa-based, Contract Furniture.  Contract Furniture serves businesses throughout Florida with comprehensive space planning and interior design services, office furniture sales, project management, warehousing, relocation and related workplace solutions.

Contract Furniture partnered with Bayshore Solutions to update their website and content in order to create a more appealing visitor experience.  The re-engineered website enhances Contract Furniture’s ability to compete in digital marketing arenas through improved functionality and responsive design.

The new website presents Contract Furniture’s expertise and sample work across a variety of industry verticals including corporate, government, education, healthcare and hospitality.  Easy to use navigation allows visitors to explore workplace solutions by a breadth of product categories and an extensive list of manufacturers.

Bayshore Solutions continues to partner with Contract Furniture for ongoing search marketing, and strategic services consulting for integrating email, social media and digital marketing initiatives.

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All Children’s Hospital 7th Annual Radiothon Raises $220,320


The 7th annual US 103.5 FM Cares for Kids Radiothon raised $220,320 for All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, marking a milestone of more than $1 million raised since 2008. The two-day on-air event featured patient and staff stories that highlighted the expert and compassionate care provided throughout All Children’s Hospital. Money raised from the event directly funds treatment, research, education and advocacy initiatives throughout All Children’s Hospital and its 11 outpatient centers.

“We are so grateful to US 103.5 FM and the entire Tampa Bay community for the outpouring of support to help our kids,” said Jenine Rabin, Executive Vice President of the All Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Our community made an impact in children’s healthcare this week and lives will be changed as a result.”

“iHeartMedia has an ongoing priority and commitment to help support the many charities and non-profits throughout our local community,” said Sam Nein, Market President, iHeartMedia. “Helping to support All Children’s Hospital through the Radiothon is one of the most worthwhile endeavors we do throughout the year.”

The funds raised at this year’s event also help All Children’s Hospital continue to serve as a pediatric referral center for children from across Florida.

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Book Your Reservation to the 2015 Rose Bowl Game with AAA Travel

2015 Rose Bowl flyer FINAL 120814

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2015 New York Yankees Spring Training Season Tickets

It’s not just a game, it’s the WHOLE PACKAGE! We are excited to
present the 2015 Spring Training Season Ticket Package to the best fans in
baseball. Many amenities to look forward to during the 2015 season as
well as some additions. Who would not want to be apart of a season ticket
holder private batting practice? Or a family catch day on the field after a
game? Spring 2015 is going to kick off the regular season in fashion, what
makes it even better is knowing our devoted season ticket holders are
along for the ride. There are a limited amount of tickets for the 2015
season, so don’t delay. Be apart of the experience today!

Visit our website at to view the full list of amenities on our website as well as purchase your tickets today for the 2015 Spring Training Season. Lets Make Memories! Click here for more info.

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New Hires & Promotions

GrayRobinson, P.A., Welcomes New Team Member to the firm’s Public Finance Practice in Tampa

752-LaRocco (Print)

Jennifer M. LaRocco

GrayRobinson, P.A., announced that Jennifer M. LaRocco has joined the firm’s Public Finance practice in Tampa.  Ms. LaRocco will join attorneys Brian Fender and Frank Fleischer in the representation of Florida cities, counties, universities, school boards, aviation, port and other governmental authorities, and community development districts, as well as banking and other financial institutions, serving in the roles of bond counsel, disclosure counsel, underwriters’ counsel, trustee’s counsel and bank counsel.

Ms. LaRocco graduated with high honors from Eckerd College in 2001 with a degree in literature and from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2002 with a masters degree in English.  She received her law degree summa cum laude from Stetson University College of Law in 2007, where she served as an editor of the Stetson Law Review.  Ms. LaRocco joins GrayRobinson after practicing for several years with the Public Finance group of Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A. in Tampa, where she participated in the issuance of over $1 billion of tax-exempt and taxable debt.  She has also practiced in the area of general transactional law, representing diverse corporate and individual clients in matters including procurement of financing, real estate acquisition and development, and corporate structuring.

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Established Litigator Joins Trenam Kemker’s St. Petersburg Office and
Real Estate Practice Group Adds Two Paralegals

Justin Dees

Justin Dees

The law firm of Trenam Kemker is pleased to announce that Justin L. Dees has joined the firm as a Shareholder.  Justin focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on trial and appellate actions involving contract disputes, fraud, shareholder disputes, directors’ and officers’ liability, real estate, business torts and creditors’ rights.  He is based in the firm’s St. Petersburg office. Justin was with Holland & Knight LLP prior to joining Trenam Kemker and worked in the insurance industry before becoming an attorney.  Justin earned his J.D., summa cum laude from FSU, where he graduated first in his law school class, and a B.S. cum laude from the University of Florida.

Peter DiSalvo

Peter DiSalvo

The Real Estate and Lending Transactions Practice Group added two experienced paralegals.  Peter DiSalvo has over ten years experience in the legal field.  He earned a B.S. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida and a B.A. from St. Johns University in Queens, New York.

Kimberly Walters

Kimberly Walters

Kimberly Walters has been working in the legal field for 23 years with an extensive corporate and commercial real estate transactional background.  She earned her B.A. from Rollins College.

Peter and Kim are based in the firm’s Tampa office.

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Hill Ward Henderson Hires Chief Operating Officer

Patricia Bean

Patricia E. Bean

Patricia E. Bean has joined Hill Ward Henderson as the new Chief Operating Officer to succeed Christopher McDonnell, who is retiring at the end of the year after more than 15 years with the firm. Ms. Bean comes to Hill Ward Henderson from Roseland, New Jersey with an extensive background in managing law firm operations and administration for both national and major regional firms. She served as the Managing Director of Brach Eichler, LLC, managing the firm’s strategic and ongoing operations and prior to that she was the Executive Director for the Boston law firm of Prince Lobel Tye LLP.  In addition, Ms. Bean has held several high-level operations and finance positions within the professional services industry, including leading software developers that serve the legal marketplace.

Ms. Bean has a Bachelor of Science degree from Suffolk University School of Management and a Masters of Business Administration from Northeastern University Graduate School of Business. In 2008, she earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources through Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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Member Accolades

Florida Chief Justice Appoints Two Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Attorneys Members of Commission on Access to Civil Justice

Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga issued an administrative order establishing the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice. The 27-member commission includes two Tampa Shareholders from Carlton Fields Jorden Burt: Kathleen S. McLeroy and Gwynne A. Young. Other members include leaders from all three branches of Florida government, The Florida Bar, The Florida Bar Foundation, civil legal aid providers, the business community, and other stakeholders. Members of the commission will work in a coordinated effort to identify and remove economic barriers to civil justice.

Kathleen S. McLeroy

Kathleen S. McLeroy

McLeroy serves in a number of roles both in the legal and business community. Currently she is a member of the Vision 2016 Commission and Co-Chairs the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee for The Florida Bar. In addition to being a Fellow of the American Bar Association, McLeroy serves on the ABA Business Law Section Council, Business Law Today Editorial Board, Membership Committee, and National Public Service Award Selection Committee. She is the Endowment Trustee and a past President of The Florida Bar Foundation, and she serves as Master of the Ferguson-White Inn of Court. Additionally, McLeroy was the recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award-Service Award for the 13th Circuit in 2005, and in 2009, she was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Pro Bono Award’s Advisory Committee.

Gwynne Young

Gwynne Young

Young is a past president of The Florida Bar, where she was the fifth woman and the fifth Carlton Fields Jorden Burt lawyer to lead the nation’s third largest Bar. Her roles in the legal and business community are extensive and currently she serves as Trustee to The Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, a member of the Executive Committee for the National Conference of Bar Presidents, Director of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation, Master Emeritus of the Cheatwood Inn of Court, Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, member of the Board of Directors for the University of Florida Foundation, and Emeritus Trustee of the University of Florida Law Center Association. Additionally, Young was the recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award-Service Award for the 13th Circuit in 2003, and in 2013, she was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court to chair the Pro Bono Award’s Advisory Committee.

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Tampa Chief Circuit Court Judge Recognizes Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC | Fowler White Boggs for Ongoing Community Support

Tampa’s Chief Circuit Court Judge Manuel Menendez recently recognized Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC | Fowler White Boggs for the firms’ 14-year financial support of the Bay Area Legal Services, a non-profit public interest law firm that  provides legal counsel for people in need.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC | Fowler White Boggs, in partnership with its client Tampa Electric Company (TECO), founded the organization’s Legal Information Center by endowing a family law attorney position, that provides civil legal assistance to low-income residents in the Tampa Bay region. Over the past 14 years, the Center has helped more than 90,000 people.  The Center’s tremendous success has encouraged other local law firms to contribute to this worthwhile cause.

This initiative is part of the firm’s ongoing efforts to partner with organizations to provide public service projects and programs for the benefit of local communities.

About the Bay Area Legal Services
Bay Area Legal Services is a regional, nonprofit public interest law firm providing the highest quality legal counsel by assisting individuals and nonprofit groups with limited access to legal services, resolving the legal problems of our clients and preserving the independence, hope and dignity of those we serve.

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Baldwin Risk Partners Recognized as One of Insurance Journal’s Top 50 Personal Lines Leaders

Baldwin Risk Partners (BRP) was named as one of Insurance Journal’s Top 50 Personal Lines Leaders, its tenth award this year. This recognition is limited to an elite group of nationwide privately owned agencies and brokerages. “Our accolades are an indicator of our success, but they’re also an indicator of who we are. The secret to our success is our colleagues and our core values, which revolve around impeccable client service. Selling one-size-fits-all insurance and disappearing to collect a commission just isn’t in our DNA,” said Trevor Baldwin, Partner at Baldwin Risk Partners.

The Insurance Journal’s ranking was based on an annual survey and 2013 personal lines premium numbers. Since opening the doors in 2006, BRP has utilized its Holistic ProtectionTM model and has produced double digit growth and unprecedented client retention. “This past year, our Private Risk management group has developed a pro-active and systematic approach to identifying and addressing potential risks for our clients,” said Laura Sherman, Partner at Baldwin Risk Partners. “Our Private Risk business segment has enjoyed an organic growth rate of 29%, with total BRP growth equaling 43%.”

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Stageworks Theatre’s “Handle with Care” Earns Enthusiastic Audience Reviews

“Laughing and enjoying Handle with Care! Truly loved the show.”
“Perfect for the holidays!”

For actress Georgina McKee, preparing for her role in Stageworks Theatre’s production of “Handle with Care” required more than learning her lines, the music and the staging. She also had to learn a new language – Hebrew.

McKee spent six months studying with an Israeli tutor to play the role of Ayelet in Stageworks’ production of “Handle with Care” Thursday Dec. 5 through Dec. 21 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E. Kennedy Blvd., in the the Channel District.

“I needed an actress who would not stop until (the language) was correct,” said Karla Hartley, Stageworks’ Producing Artistic Director. “Georgina has that kind of commitment to her craft and I knew she would get it just right. And she got it right.”

Directed by Jimmy Kontos, the performance also stars Eddie Gomez as Josh, Midge Mamatas as Edna and Brandon Shea as Terrence.

Written by Emmy-nominated playwright, Jason Odell Williams, Handle with Care tells the story of Ayelet, a young Israeli woman who reluctantly travels to America with her grandmother, who’s searching for the lost love of her youth. Snowed in on Christmas Eve with a translator who’s trying to remember his Bar Mitzvah Hebrew, the three create a joyful and heartwrenching celebration, and the meeting of two souls who likely would never have met otherwise.

Handle with Care, which the New York Times called a “hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy,” is “maybe a Jewish love story, but you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it,” adds Hartley.

“It’s really about finding common ground,” says Hartley. “Regardless of your ethnicity, religion, coutry of origin; it’s about finding love, coming together and finding common ground. That’s a message that resonates with everyone.”

Tickets for Stageworks Theatre’s production of Handle with Care are $30; Students and Seniors $15.

Tickets are available at and by calling 813-374-2416.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

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Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Wins Top Awards

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, for the second year in a row, was awarded the #1 Affiliate in the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) national network for excellence in environmental initiatives, education and community improvements.

The organization was also recognized as a 1st place winner in its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program which has been expanded in the City of Tampa and was introduced into the City of Temple Terrace. Read more…

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Member Highlights: December 1 – 5, 2014

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

Member Accolades

 Member News

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. Awarded Contract for Automated People Mover at Tampa International Airport

Tampa Airport APM

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. (MHIA) was awarded on November 6 a contract by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority to design, build, operate, and maintain a new Automated People Mover (APM) system at the Tampa International Airport to be completed in 2017.  Mitsubishi is responsible for implementing the new system, which includes the supply and construction of a new, approximately 1.4 mile long APM system connecting the main airport terminal and a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility.  In total, Mitsubishi will be supplying 12 new APM train cars.  The contract also includes operations and maintenance of the system for up to 15 years.

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Hillsborough Community College Survey on Enhancing Student Learning

Hillsborough Community College is reaching out to the community for input into its new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topic. A QEP describes an institution’s commitment to enhance student learning and is a component of the accreditation process. This plan must identify a specific area of student learning that needs improvement. Your responses will remain anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself.

To facilitate participation, the Steering Committee has created a short online proposal form that describes the QEP generally and provides a space for constituencies to propose ideas.  The QEP proposal form may be accessed at the following link:

This link takes community members directly to the survey, where they can read a brief QEP information summary and then enter a proposal. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or Dr. Stephen W. Lambert, QEP Coordinator, .

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Nitro Mobile Solutions Awards Florida Parrot Rescue with a Complimentary Mobile Application in Honor of Giving Tuesday

Nitro Mobile Solutions, a leading provider of full-service mobile applications and platforms, announced Tuesday its donation of a free native mobile application and mobile services to Florida Parrot Rescue, a local nonprofit organization.

This initiative is a first for Nitro, which launched its own charitable arm, eNICE, earlier this year. eNICE stands for Empowering Nonprofits in Communications and Engagement, and its mission is optimize charitable efforts for organizations with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. By mobilizing an organization’s outreach efforts, Nitro aims to help Tampa Bay nonprofits by drastically easing communications while increasing their awareness, engagement, and donations.

Nitro Mobile Solutions will reopen the floor to Tampa Bay nonprofits in October 2015. For more information, visit

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Member Events

Stageworks Theatre Celebrates the Opening of Handle With Care, onstage December 4 – 21


Stageworks starts the holidays with a celebration of Hannukah, Christmas, family and love – as Handle With Care opens this week.

Onstage December 4-21, Handle With Care is a romantic comedy about misunderstandings, family and paths taken and not. A young Israeli woman gets snowed in on Christmas Eve after her grandmother drags her on a search for the long lost love of Mamatas-McKee2Rher life. With a half-Jewish translator struggling to remember his Bar Mitzvah Hebrew, she finds a way to celebrate.

The play features Georgina McKee, Edward Gomez, Brandon Shea and Midge Mamatas, directed by Jimmy Kontos.

Tickets are at or 813-374-2416.

December 4-21 at Stageworks
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Saturday, Dec 6 is sold out.

Tickets $30, Student/Senior $15.

Preview, Thursday Dec 4 – $15

Opening Night with festive music and latkes, Friday Dec 5 – $40

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Society of Emotional Intelligence Presents: Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach Training Dec. 10-13

A Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach© helps people identify goals in their personal and professional lives. By asking the right questions, they determine their goals and help their client make a plan to achieve them. In short, coaching helps individuals and companies focus on what matters most in life and business.
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Improve your coaching skills. Become a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach! Click here for more info!

All Children’s Hospital Christmas Wish List & December Events

During the holidays, we are especially grateful for the donation of patient gifts.  With the strain of the current economy and the stress of coping with complex medical conditions, families are finding it increasingly difficult to provide the “extras” that come with the holidays.

The hospital has developed a wish list for those in the community who would like to donate toys during the holidays. The list of items needed for this holiday season is available at Toys have been previously selected for all ages as well as some items needed for individual units. Once the items are purchased, they will be mailed directly to All Children’s Hospital.

Donations (unwrapped, please) can be dropped off at the hospital lobby, located at 501 6th Avenue South in St. Petersburg. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Child Life Department at 727-767-4323

7th Annual US 103.5 FM Cares for Kids Radiothon
All Children’s Hospital 501 6th Avenue S. St. Petersburg
December 4-5 from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m

Tampa Bay’s Best Country US 103.5 FM will again take to the airwaves for the 7th Annual US 103.5 FM Cares for Kids Radiothon.  The crew from US 103.5 FM will share heartwarming patient stories and interviews.

 Reindeer Band Holiday Concert
December 8 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
All Children’s Hospital – 501 6th Avenue S. St. Petersburg

All Children’s Hospital invites patients and their families to enjoy the sounds of the holidays. The Reindeer Band, consisting of community musicians, will play a variety of wind instruments while giving patients an opportunity to join in and play. This interactive experience will be a great way for our patients and families to ring in the holidays.

Winterfest Gets Patients and Families Into the Holiday Spirit
Dec. 10 6:00 p.m.
All Children’s Hospital 501 6th Avenue S. St. Petersburg

The forecast calls for snow with a mix of holiday cheer at All Children’s Hospital’s annual Winterfest. Dozens of patients and their families will enjoy a break from their rooms and partake in snowflakes, snowballs, gingerbread houses and holiday music on the rooftop deck of the hospital. There will also be an appearance by the Super Heroes from Heroes Alliance to add an extra element of fun to the night.

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Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa Hosts “Walk for Love” Business Kick-Off Breakfast December 9

Walk for Love Breakfast Letter

Member Accolades

Valspar Championship Earns “Best Of” Award at PGA TOUR Tournament Meetings

The Valspar Championship presented by BB&T (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was honored by the PGA TOUR at the TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on Thursday, November 20 in La Quinta, Calif.

The Valspar Championship earned an award for “Best Sales – Year Over Year (Percentage)” during the 2014 tournament at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club (Copperhead).

Despite having had less than a full cycle to execute the event, Valspar made a remarkable impact on tournament revenue as title sponsor. Thanks to the collaboration with its host organization, The Copperheads, the Valspar Championship developed an engaging vendor program, ultimately resulting in a year-over-year tournament sales increase of 58 percent to earn the “Best Sales – Year Over Year (Percentage)” award.

The 2015 Valspar Championship, won this year by John Senden, will be held March 9-15 at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club (Copperhead).

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Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC | Fowler White Boggs Board Member Appointed as Chair of the Florida Council of 100

Law_Rhea_1500x2100Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC | Fowler White Boggs is proud to announce that Rhea F. Law has been appointed as Chair of the Florida Council of 100, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business leaders that exists to promote the economic growth of Florida and improve the economic well-being and quality of life of its citizenry.

Law serves as chair of the firm’s Florida offices and a member of the Board of Directors. She focuses her practice in the areas of government, environmental law and land use. With more than 30 years of experience, Law handles entitlement, permitting and zoning matters with specific emphasis on commercial, industrial and residential mixed use developments throughout Florida. Law specifically focuses on the developments of regional impact, sector plans and the establishment and operation of community development districts.

She received her law degree from Stetson University College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.

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Leadership Tampa: Arts and Culture Day

11 lt15 day 4

Leadership Tampa Class of 2015 Discovers the HeARTbeat of Tampa
By: Kerry O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Times

O'Reilly, Kerry

Kerry O’Reilly

Our minds were awakened by Renoir and Chagall. Our blood got pumping by the drumming rhythms at Stageworks.  Our imaginations were aroused by the beautiful, lovingly-designed prints at Graphicstudio.

And that was all before lunch.

On November 11, members of the Leadership Tampa 2015 class toured several of Tampa’s arts and cultural jewels.

Our thoughts were also expanded by Dominique Labauvie and his rugged steel sculptures, palates pleased by the culinary arts courtesy of Mise en Place and conventions challenged by an activity at the Patel Conservatory.

Through the process we all realized that everyone defines “good art” differently. However, I believe our experience taught us that we all agree on a few things:

  • We are fortunate to have dozens of world-class arts and cultural choices in our area. Within walking distance of Curtis Hixon Park, you could attend the Tampa Museum of Art, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Theatre, Tampa Bay History Center and Stageworks – maybe even all in one day if you hurry!
  • Arts and culture play a vital role in attracting visitors and permanent residents to Tampa. When family comes to town, you don’t take them to visit the new multi-million dollar section of interstate that just opened up (unless you don’t want them to stay very long). You take them to a museum or a show. When young and old are looking for a place to live, many ask the same question: “What is there to do around here?” Fortunately, the answer is “Lots!”
  • The arts add fuel to the economic engine. According to a recent study done by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the arts industry in Hillsborough County employs 8,300 people full time and more than $298 million is spent within the arts industry every year.
  • Life without art would be rather dull. Imagine driving home from work to silence on the radio, a tasteless meal for dinner, bare walls in your home to stare at, nothing to watch on Netflix, no novel to read at night as you head to bed. No thanks.

Looking for ways to support the arts? Visit You’ll find a directory of options and many ways you can get involved.

Member Highlights: November 24 -28, 2014

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights:

Member News
  • Royal Caribbean International Expands Service Offering at Port Tampa Bay with Second Ship
Member Events
  • The Poynter Institute Presents: Predicting the Presidency: Explaining Presidential Leadership, Dec. 10
Member News

Royal Caribbean International Expands Service Offering at Port Tampa Bay with Second Ship

Pictured, L to R: Vision of the Seas docks at Cruise Terminal 2 at Port Tampa Bay.  Pat Allman, port commissioner, and Paul Anderson, port president/CEO, welcome Lis Lauritzen, captain (center) and crew of Vision of the Seas, upon its maiden call at her new home port, Saturday, November 22.  With tug boat fanfare, Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas departs the Tampa harbor after her maiden call to home port, Port Tampa Bay, November 22.

Pictured, L to R: Vision of the Seas docks at Cruise Terminal 2 at Port Tampa Bay. Pat Allman, port commissioner, and Paul Anderson, port president/CEO, welcome Lis Lauritzen, captain (center) and crew of Vision of the Seas, upon its maiden call at her new home port, Saturday, November 22. With tug boat fanfare, Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas departs the Tampa harbor after her maiden call to home port, Port Tampa Bay, November 22.

As part of the continuing kickoff of a busy 2014/2015 cruise season for Port Tampa Bay, port officials welcomed Royal Caribbean International’s cruise ship Vision of the Seas—which will home port in Tampa concurrent with Brilliance of the Seas—in a plaque exchange with the ship’s captain in a ceremony Saturday, November 22. Read more…

Member Events

The Poynter Institute Presents: Predicting the Presidency: Explaining Presidential Leadership, Dec. 10

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Leaders in Action: Leadership Tampa Alumni Help Feed 5,000 Families


By Melody Marrs, Goodwill Industries – Suncoast, Inc.
Leadership Tampa Class of 2005

Melody Marrs

Melody Marrs

I was one of the lucky ones! Lucky because I was with 25 fellow LTA classmates and members who joined together on Thursday, November 20 at Feeding America Tampa Bay to help stock the shelves and pack food bags for the hungry living in our community. What a difference 25 extra pairs of hands made for 5,000 hungry families! Together we unfolded bags, stocked them with potatoes, stuffing and canned goods and then folded and packed the food bags into huge containers to be delivered to the Salvation Army in Tampa for distribution the next day.

Feeding America Tampa Bay said that we were lifesavers as they had a shortage of volunteers and staff that day to pack the bags! But really, isn’t it true that Feeding America7 Tampa Bay and other nonprofits who serve people in need in our community are the true lifesavers? They are the ones to be thanked! I am proud to say that we had nine class years represented on Volunteer Day –  from 1989, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and yes, even a current 2015 class member came to volunteer. It was easy to see that 2014 was strongly represented and many of them shared the memory of their own Community Outreach Day during their LT 2014 class year. These experiences truly bring home just how much one person can help another.

So, to those who volunteered last week with us, thank you so much. And for those of you who volunteer often and for a variety of causes, thank you for giving your time and resources to help make a difference in someone’s life.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed holiday season and I am confident that our fellow LTA classmates will be out working in the community helping others this holiday season. Happy Holidays all!