Member Highlights: Nov. 17 – 21, 2014

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

Member Accolades

New Hires & Promotions
Member News

The Dikman Company Announces Several Commercial Property Lease Renewals

The Dikman Company announced that they have completed a total of three renewal lease transactions including:

  •  Savia and Coffee House & More renewed its lease of 7,252 sq. ft. at Centreport 60 on Adamo Drive in Tampa.
  • Solution One Maritime, LLC renewed its lease of 15,000 sq. ft. at 2721 E. Adamo Drive in Tampa.

“These lease renewals are a great indicator that businesses in many different industries are thriving in Tampa Bay,” said Bob Dikman, Chairman and CEO of The Dikman Company. “It’s positive to see our area slowly recover from previous economic issues and we are looking forward to continuously working with these tenants.”

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Tickets Now on Sale for the 2015 Valspar Championship

Tickets are now on sale for the 2015 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T, including the concert by The Band Perry on Saturday, March 14, at

In addition, shoppers can now pick up Valspar Championship tickets and select merchandise during the holiday season in the tournament’s kiosk at Countryside Mall, not far from the entrance to the Cobb Movie Theaters.  The kiosk will open for business starting this week.


The Valspar Championship is taking applications for volunteer positions now.  There are exciting opportunities in transportation, suite services, laser scoring and other committees.  Contact Doug Laseter or Shirley Gresham at 727-942-5557 or

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Port Tampa Bay Supports Operation Reveille, Collaborative Homeless Veterans Initiative

L to R: Antoinette Hayes Triplett, CEO, Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (center), receives a proclamation from Mark Sharpe and Sandy Murman, on behalf of the Hillsborough County Commission, Tuesday, November 11.  Scores of volunteers were on hand to assist with Operation Reveille in a variety of ways, primarily processing veterans into the homeless placement program.  Paul Anderson, president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay; Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner; General Lloyd Austin, U.S. Army/Commander, U.S. Central Command; and Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa, all take part in the collaborative homeless initiative.

L to R: Antoinette Hayes Triplett, CEO, Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (center), receives a proclamation from Mark Sharpe and Sandy Murman, on behalf of the Hillsborough County Commission, Tuesday, November 11. Scores of volunteers were on hand to assist with Operation Reveille in a variety of ways, primarily processing veterans into the homeless placement program. Paul Anderson, president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay; Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner; General Lloyd Austin, U.S. Army/Commander, U.S. Central Command; and Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa, all take part in the collaborative homeless initiative.

Port Tampa Bay was very pleased to spend Veterans’ Day hosting scores of veterans, volunteers and other participants in the homeless veterans initiative Operation Reveille, Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the port’s Cruise Terminal 6.  Operation Reveille is a program of the Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, along with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, with the goal of ending veteran homelessness in Hillsborough County by Veterans Day 2015. Read more…

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Absolute Mobile Solutions Helps the Florida Holocaust Museum Reach Future Generations with New Interactive Website

In an increasingly digital world, the ability to serve a broader audience with the important message of preserving human dignity has never been greater. The Florida Holocaust Museum recognized the potential to extend the reach of its resources to future generations of tech savvy individuals and how the Internet can help them enhance their mission beyond the walls of the museum‏.

Aiding them in this important initiative, Absolute Mobile Solutions, a Tampa digital marketing agency that specializes in responsive website design, produced an interactive website that will not only brand the museum in a fresh way, but also provide a dynamic platform for utilizing the museum’s comprehensive educational resources.

The new website ( features an engaging design with specific emphasis on making the museum’s offerings easily accessible. Read more…

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Launch of Conversa Brings New Communications Strategies to Local, State and National Organizations

A new full-service, minority and women-owned communications firm, Conversa, recently opened its doors in Florida, offering local, state and national organizations public
relations, public affairs and public research support.

Founded by partners Arlene DiBenigno, Kelsey Lehtomaa Frouge, and Sarah Beth Hopton, the team uses its combined experience to develop comprehensive campaigns that create conditions for effective change. Employing traditional and digital tools, along with in-house research capabilities, Conversa builds mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics, influencing public policy by shifting public
opinion. Read more…

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Abe Brown Ministries Gets $1.5 Million to Help Ex-Cons Start Over

Excerpt from the Tampa Tribune:

Abe Brown Ministries, a non-profit Tampa agency that has been working to help ex-convicts rejoin society since 1976, is putting to work $1.5 million in state money for a training and job-placement program.

The state appropriation, along with $350,000 from the Hillsborough County Commission, will help the ministry adopt Ready 4 Work — started by President George W. Bush to help former prisoners get jobs. The money will help manage clients’ cases, coach them on behavior, train them in employability, and place them in jobs.” Read more…

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Moffitt Healthy Kidz Program Encourages Youth to Live Tobacco Free

Excerpt from the Tampa Bay Times:

Nikki Ross-Inda likes to carry around a plastic container full of thick, brownish liquid.

A child might mistake it for Aunt Jemima syrup, but Ross-Inda intends to make sure kids understand the “jar of tar” — the approximate amount of tar that passes through a smoker’s lungs each year from smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day — represents one of the 4,000 chemicals contained in cigarettes. Sixty of those chemicals are known to cause cancer. Read more…

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Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney | Fowler White Boggs Announces Consolidation of its Tampa Offices

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney | Fowler White Boggs signed a commercial real estate lease to consolidate its Tampa offices on two floors in the SunTrust Financial Centre in mid-2015.

The firms merged in March in one of the largest law firm combinations of 2014. The consolidation of the firm’s legacy offices in Tampa will bring together more than 50 attorneys, including the head of Buchanan’s national healthcare practice, Dale S. Webber. Webber will continue as co-managing shareholder of the Tampa office with Hala A. Sandridge, head of the firm’s appellate practice. Read more…

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Member Events

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.
Make a difference every day – professional coaches make a difference in their communities and in the world by transforming lives, one client at a time. As a coach you will naturally accelerates your personal and professional development.
Improve your coaching skills. Become a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach! Click here for more info!
Member Accolades

Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. Receives Seven First-Tier Rankings in the 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Guide

Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. is pleased to announce 7 of its practice areas have been ranked “Tier One” (the highest rating) by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The rankings provide a comprehensive view of the U.S. legal profession that is unprecedented both in the range of firms represented and in the range of qualitative and quantitative data used to develop the rankings.

Click here to view a full list of Banker Lopez Gassler’s Best Lawyers 2015 rankings.

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GrayRobinson Shareholder Named to the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys

Richard Blau

Richard Blau

GrayRobinson Shareholder Richard M. Blau was named to the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys (AHIA) Board of Directors at their fall meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

The AHIA was formed by a group of attorneys from across the United States who represent clients engaged in the hotel, restaurant, hospitality, travel, meeting, convention, tourism and related industries. The Academy is committed to promoting professionalism and education and improved communication to create a network of competent, experienced attorneys to improve legal services to clients in the hospitality industry. Membership in AHIA is open to lawyers with more than 10 years’ legal experience in the hospitality industry and have at least 50% of their clients in the hotel, restaurant, meeting, convention, travel, tourism and related hospitality industries.  Membership includes both in-house corporate counsel and lawyers in private practice.

Richard Blau is the chair of GrayRobinson’s Alcohol Beverage and Food Department and presides over the firm’s Alcohol Industry Team. Richard and his colleagues focus on the rules, regulations, and business practices that govern the marketing, sale, and consumption of distilled spirits, wine, beer and other licensed beverages.

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Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Earns Perfect Score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for Sixth Consecutive Year

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is pleased to announce that for the sixth consecutive year, the firm received a perfect score – 100 percent rating – on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is one of 89 law firms in the country that scored 100 percent.

HRC President Chad Griffin said, “In order to achieve a perfect score, a company has to show a deep and serious commitment to treating their LGBT employees fairly and equally on the job. We also look at whether a company is speaking out in the public square to advocate for LGBT equality here in this country and around the world. Carlton Fields Jorden Burt not only meets these standards, they go above and beyond the call of duty, making commitment to equality a fundamental aspect of its corporate values.” Read more…

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New Hires & Promotions

Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. Welcomes New Associates

Thomas (Ted) Kane, Jr., Timothy McHaffie and Eric Hogrefe have joined Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. as associate attorneys.

Mr. Kane received his BA from the University of South Florida and his JD from Stetson University College of Law.  His practice will focus on automobile negligence, personal injury litigation, property damage litigation, premises liability and wrongful death.

Mr. McHaffie received his BA from the University of Florida and his JD from Stetson University College of Law.  His practice will focus on construction defect and commercial litigation.

Mr. Hogrefe received his BS and JD from the University of Florida.  His practice will focus on personal injury protection, personal injury litigation, premises liability, insurance fraud and automobile negligence.

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Elevate, Inc. Welcomes New Team Members

Elevate, Inc. has hired , Ansley Kahn, Raquel SacalJerimie Jackson and Mariaelisa Lichoa as Public Relations & Communications Assistants.

Ansley Kahn is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida where she majored in International Relations and minored in Economics. As a student, she was an officer and charter member of the United Nations Association club and had the opportunity to travel to New York City and the District of Columbia for internships within the federal government. Ansley has a proven track record for working hard and producing results and looks forward to doing the same during her time at Elevate Inc. Follow Ansley on Twitter @AnsleyAtElevate.

Raquel Sacal is a junior at the University of Tampa majoring in PR & Advertising. She hit the ground running as a freshman and was involved in campus organizations immediately.  She joined Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, eventually serving as New Member Coordinator and was recently elected to hold the position of VP of Communications. Take time today to follow @RaquelAtElevate on Twitter.


Jerimie Jackson is currently a senior at the University of Tampa majoring in Entrepreneurship and minoring in Spanish. Jerimie serves as a chapter president of Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity, Inc. as he is also a member of Delta Sigma Pi, Professional Fraternity at the University of Tampa. While being involved with these organizations, amongst others, Jerimie has acquired skills that directly relate to building business relationships, utilizing time management processes, and event planning. Follow Jerimie on Twitter @JayatElevate.

MariaElisa-TwitterMariaelisa Lichoa is a junior at the University of South Florida majoring in Marketing. New to Tampa, she has become heavily involved on campus, primarily as a member of the American Marketing Association and the Bulls Business Community. Be sure to follow Mariaelisa’s journey on Twitter @MarAtElevate!

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ChappellRoberts Promotes From Within and Adds to Account Service Team

ChappellRoberts continues to grow its agency talent by hiring a new employee as well as promoting an employee. Megan Federico has joined the team as an assistant account executive and Katy Parsons, APR, was promoted to senior account executive.

“As agency owner, my number one focus is the cultivation of our talent,” said Colleen Chappell, president and CEO of ChappellRoberts. “We are proud of our recent team growth and strong employee performance.”

Katy_Parsons2Parsons was previously an account executive within the agency. As a senior account executive, Parsons will be responsible for strategic marketing and communications efforts for agency accounts including The Mosaic Company, Verizon Wireless and SPCA Tampa Bay. She recently joined the selective group of 5,000 professionals in the U.S. who are accredited in public relations.

As an assistant account executive, Federico will be collaboratingMegan_Federico with the account service team on idea generation and project management for clients. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in communications, and has a public relations and social media background.
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Tucker/Hall Welcomes New Senior Account Supervisor

Sasha-Lohn-McDermottTucker/Hall is proud to announce that Sasha Lohn-McDermott has joined the firm as a Senior Account Supervisor. She will advise clients in the areas of public affairs and crisis management.

Lohn-McDermott most recently served as an assistant statewide prosecutor at the Florida Attorney General’s office where she managed multi-agency law enforcement teams in the prosecution of crime throughout the state. During her years with the Attorney General, Lohn-McDermott was recognized annually as a Top Government Attorney by Florida Trend’s Legal Elite.

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s office, Lohn-McDermott clerked for the Honorable Virginia M. Hernandez Covington in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. Lohn-McDermott also practiced with Bush Ross, P.A. in the areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy.

Lohn-McDermott holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Florida State University. She also holds a Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude,  from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she was a member and editor of the Florida Law Review.

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Leadership Tampa: Education Day

038 Academy Prep-X2

By: Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D., The University of Tampa

Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D.

Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D.

My Leadership Tampa Education Day started like a typical day (just a tad earlier).  I got up bright and early and went into my 8-year-old daughter’s room to kiss her goodbye. I looked into her eyes and told her I loved her as I wished her a great day at school.  I then peeked into my 18-month-old son’s room as he slept and then left for Education Day. That morning  I didn’t fully realize the true privilege of education my children will have in their lifetime, that other children, just as sweet and beautiful as mine, do not have readily available to them.  By the end of that transformational day my perspective had changed.

Our day started at the Glazer Children’s Museum where we were given the opportunity to return to our childhood.  We were reminded that kids need unstructured time to be creative and just play.

We were then shuttled to Blake High school and were entertained by the amazing talent of a student guitarist, a musical performance group, and a dance ensemble that made us feel like we were at a Broadway show.  We were reminded how these intensive magnet programs truly save lives.  These children find their passion and that passion drives their education.

Then we headed to Academy Prep, a true gem in Tampa Bay.  Their school director reinforced that all students deserve a quality education regardless of their economic status or their zip code.  We spent time with the children in their classrooms and also heard the angelic voices of their gospel choir. These children were eager to learn about our backgrounds and it was evident they were destined for greatness.

Next we traveled to the University of South Florida for an engaging panel of university 047 USF-X2presidents and the Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent.  The lesson I took away from the panel was that collaboration and creating community in education is what is needed for true economic impact.

One of my favorite parts of the day was our lunch at Chamberlain High School where we dined at the Chamberlain Outback restaurant, courtesy of the talented students in the culinary arts program.  This program, like the fine arts program at Blake, connects student with their passion, which significantly increases their likelihood for academic success.

Next we visited the training center at Hillsborough Community College and were introduced to another type of important education.  We visited the mechanical workshop, the fire safety program, and the shooting simulation studio.  It was apparent that education comes in many forms and our community needs them all.

The day concluded our day at my home away from home, The University of Tampa.  A panel consisting of two millennial students and two employers discussed alignment between how students learn and how this translates to the workforce.

So from looking into the eyes of my children at the start of the day, the middle school students at Academy Prep, the high school students at Blake and Chamberlain, to the non-traditional students at HCC, to the millennial college students from UT and USF, one thing is apparent.  All of these students are born with great potential, have a yearning to learn, and in the right environment will flourish. There are many of these impactful learning environments in the Tampa Bay area.  My challenge to myself, to my LT classmates, and to the greater Tampa Bay area is:  How can we individually and collectively make sure that all children are provided pathways to these learning environments?  We must treat all of the children in our community like our own.

Leadership Tampa: Law Enforcement Day


By: Jennifer Currence, Mario Camacho Foods
 Jennifer Currence

Jennifer Currence

The Leadership Tampa class of 2015 was fired up (no pun intended) for Law Enforcement Day on October 15. Most of us had already done our ride-alongs with a Tampa PD or HSCO patrol officer, and we had many jaw-dropping stories to share and listen to over the course of the day.

We started the morning at the Falkenburg jail. I was amazed to hear that our local law enforcement is desperately seeking recruits. It’s a pervasive problem that came up several times over the course of the day. Major Mike Perotti indicated to our class that only about 3 percent of all applicants are selected to join the force. It’s a rigorous hiring process that few are able to get through, and the number of applicants is dwindling. It’s an issue that will require some fresh solutions in the upcoming years.

We then broke into groups to receive tours of the Falkenburg facility by seasoned veterans of the staff. We were able to see the clinics, the pods (which hold 72 inmates with one unarmed deputy), and the suicide watch room (I forget the official name for it). We heard from Ollie Gagnon of Homeland Security where we learned that cyber crimes have increased 650% over the past 5 years (that’s no typo). After lunch with several of TPD and HCSO’s finest, we headed to tours at the Orient Road jail where we saw their pods (again, manned by one unarmed deputy), the clinic, the intake area for the entire county, and the control room, which houses cameras to watch what’s going on throughout the jail. Here are some interesting facts that stuck out to me:

  • Incoming women take a pregnancy test. If they are positive, they go straight to the clinic and stay there for their entire gestational period. They go to Tampa General to have the baby, then they come back to the prison to complete their sentence.
  • The Falkenburg facility typically houses people who are incarcerated for less than a year. If they are sentenced to longer than a year, then they go to the Orient Road jail (although Orient Road also holds people for short amounts of time).
  • Most inmates are allowed to take free classes. The social worker who spoke with us said that the most necessary class for them is based in fundamental psychology. He said inmates don’t understand that their choices and their actions are what got them to jail… that their incarceration really is a product of their own life choices, and not someone else’s fault.
  • The suicide watch ward was fascinating – and a tad bit uncomfortable. In addition to constant camera monitoring, the guards there do physical rounds every 15 minutes to monitor the inmates to make sure they don’t kill themselves. Inmates might spit out their meds or chip off pieces of the wall to slice their wrists. They are made to wear “turtle suits” so they can’t shred their orange jail suits and use them to hang themselves. The turtle suits (so named for their green color) look like padded gunnysacks with Velcro on the shoulders.
  • The disposition of the guards – in both places – was very calm. It was impressive.
  • The total capacity of both jails is about 5000 inmates.
  • There are many cases of mental illness at the jails. The root cause of why most of the people are in jail is drugs, and the number one drug type they see is Spice and Bath Salts (ok, I guess that’s two types). We learned that one bad hit of Spice can put an individual into a vegetative state for life. Wow. I ran home and told my teenagers about that one.

We concluded the day with some demonstrations from TPD and HCSO, including a patrol helicopter, the water unit, one of the canines, a SWAT truck, and – the highlight – how a Taser works. In fact, some of my classmates got a first-hand experience of how it feels to be Tasered. (I stuck with the experience of simply shooting a Taser gun.)

Lastly, we heard from a panel which included a judge, a member of the state defender’s office, the state prosecutor’s office, Colonel Ken Davis from HCSO and TPD Chief Castor. I was super impressed with Chief Castor, and I asked her what obstacles she had to overcome to be a female leader in a male-dominated industry. Her reply (which I loved): “Everyone will be discriminated against. It’s all about what you do with it.”

Chamber Transportation Survey Results

By: Michael Maurino, Government Relations Coordinator, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce completed a survey of more than 2,500 people on transportation issues, and found that respondents seek an improved transportation system with more services and better technologies.

275 westshore construction 2More than 92-percent of respondents said they drove their car alone as their primary mode of transportation. But, 65-percent of respondents said they would take advantage of improved transit at their home or work, and 75-percent thought that traffic congestion was a significant factor for them. The majority of respondents said it took them more than 30 minutes to get to work or school.

Respondents chose synchronized traffic signals, additional lanes on interstates and expressways, and new transit services like express bus, ferry, and rail as the top-three changes to the transportation system that would most benefit them. New transit services were selected most often by respondents as their top transportation improvement.

The results of this survey are similar to the results of a survey of Chamber member executives, who selected the same top-three transportation improvements, thought that congestion was a significant factor, and that employees would use improved transit.

Nearly 99% of respondents indicated that they lived, worked, or were going to school in Hillsborough County. The Chamber’s survey was distributed by member companies, through social media, and traditional media outlets. The survey was available Sept. 4 – Oct. 31.

Emerge Tampa Bay Welcomes New Leadership, Honors Young Professionals

Over 200 local professionals attended Emerge Tampa Bay’s 3rd Annual Emerging with Influence event, presented by ChappellRoberts, Leadership Tampa Alumni, Northwestern Mutual and Tampa Steel Erecting Co., Nov. 6 at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre. The event recognized young professionals in the Tampa Bay community and announced the organization’s 2015 leadership team.

Leading Emerge Tampa Bay for 2015 will be:

  • Program Chair:
    Erin Cassidy, Majesty Title Services, LLC
  • Program Vice Chair:
    Trent Kennelly, The Kennelly Law Firm
  • Professional Development Committee:
    Chair: Richard Rippy, Synovus Bank
    Vice Chair: Alison St. Cyr, Coldwell Banker
  • Membership Committee:
    Chair: Jennifer Lawson, HCI Group, Inc.
    Vice Chair: Chris Brooker, 21st Century Financial
  • Public Policy Committee:
    Chair: Andy Peluso, Hill Ward Henderson
    Vice Chair: Leonardo Dosoretz, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
  • Community Outreach Committee (CONNECT):
    Chair: Daniel Farmer, M.E. Wilson Co., Inc.
    Vice Chair: Sarah Schwirian, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Debbie Lundberg of Presenting Powerfully and member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors presented on “The ABC’s of Next Level Leadership.”

Emerge Tampa Bay also presented the Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award to Jessica Muroff, Executive Director of Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc. for her service and dedication to the Tampa Bay business community. In addition to the award, a $1,000 donation will be made to the charity of Muroff’s choice, Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc., courtesy of ChappellRoberts. The award’s namesake Deanne Roberts was the co-founder of Emerge Tampa Bay and founder of ChappellRoberts, which is the Founding Sponsor of Emerging with Influence.

About Emerge Tampa Bay:
Emerge Tampa Bay is the premier young professionals organization in Tampa. A program of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, it is designed for emerging leaders, ages 21-35. In an effort to enhance the greater Tampa area, Emerge strives to support, cultivate and attract young professionals by providing access to business resources, educational opportunities and community partnerships. Visit for more information or contact Emerge Tampa Bay Manager Catlin Layton at (813) 276-9448.

Diploma-See 2014


By: Stephanie Newton, Community Outreach Committee 

Am I relatable? Will they think I’m a phony? Is the ONE bag of candy enough to appease them? These were just a  few of the questions racing through my mind as our group of Junior Achievement Diploma-See volunteers gathered in a side classroom to polish off the prep on our exercise materials and slam down some coffee to get our energy where it needed to be. These were middle school students we had to teach finance to, after all. It was go-time.

Each year the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce activates volunteers to participate in Junior Achievement’s Diploma-See program. Jose Valiente, the founder of the program, came up with the idea while he was Chair of the Chamber. Volunteers visit Hillsborough County Title-1 Public Schools and teach basic financial principals. Volunteers are required to participate in a 2-hour training session and then go into the classrooms for a half day and teach. I along with eight other Emerge Tampa Bay members decided to participate this year together.

As soon as the door opened and a collection of student ambassadors were waiting to guide us to our classrooms, all of my fears subsided. This was going to be fun. As we chatted on our short journey to our destination, I commented on the school mascot and the upcoming dance. (Getting to tell my Georgia Tech-alum boyfriend later that day that I got to teach a classroom full of “Yellow Jackets” was certainly noteworthy. He did help me prepare the lessons the night before, after all.)

There is something very unique about the adrenaline that rushes through your body at the onset of having to introduce yourself to young people who are a mirror reflection of the person you are not entirely that far removed from – the only difference being that your life has accelerated at an increasing pace. As students came up to the whiteboard and identified with a sticky note on a poster full of the career choices where they believed they saw themselves, I remember standing back and thinking, “How lucky are they?” My favorite part of the entire morning was just watching students rush up to the poster with unfaltering confidence, knowing they had the exact job path in mind and then stop and take a second look at the options before committing. You could see the wheels turning. That’s when I knew this program was truly something special. When asked what a “cosmologist” and a “chemical engineer” did for a living, I felt like I held the greatest amount of power in the world.

Another tremendous takeaway of the day for me was getting to reinforce the notion that education doesn’t end beyond college, graduate school, or even doctorate-level work. The slew of certificate programs, trade classes and seminars one can attend throughout their working life to acquire new skill sets really opened our students’ minds to the flexibility that now surrounded them.

Ownership of what the students really did know regarding finances started to speed up and shine when talk turned to credit and debit cards. And did they waaaant to talk about credit cards, let me tell you. The perspectives in the room were cut across a wide array of economic backgrounds and experiences, which made the discussion rich and eye-opening.

When we debriefed following the three-hour session with our classrooms, my mind was blown to hear about the projects the students were undertaking in aerospace, aviation and engineering. Building components of a fighter jet? O….kay. Can I blame my classroom for not 100% being able to differentiate premiums and co-pays? Absolutely not. The rare opportunity I had to impart what I hope was valuable financial knowledge that perhaps a few months or years from now even one student pulls out of their memory files and goes “a-ha!” with will be a victory for me. That and leaving a middle school classroom with completely flipped perspective of what the students were capable of before entering. For that, I thank Junior Achievement – where to next?

Member Highlights: Nov. 10 – 14

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News:

Member Events

Member Accolades

New Hires & Promotions

Member News

Port Tampa Bay Welcomes Carnival Pride to Home Port for 2014-15 Cruise Season


Pictured, L to R: The 88,500 gross ton Carnival Pride docks at Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 2 on Sunday, November 9. Stig Lorentzen , Carnival Pride hotel director; Wade Elliott, VP of marketing, Port Tampa Bay; Captain Alessandro Galotto; and Greg Lovelace, marketing director, Port Tampa Bay, immediately following plaque and gift exchange on board Carnival Pride, Sunday, November 9.

Port Tampa Bay officials welcomed the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Pride to Tampa during a plaque exchange ceremony Sunday, November 9, commemorating the ship’s inaugural call in Tampa, a home port for Carnival since 1994.  Carnival Pride kicked off a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from the port, following an extensive $75 million dry dock that added a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including four spectacular Playlist Productions shows. Read more…

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Celebrate the Season with Holiday Cards that Benefit St. Joe’s Kids!

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital: Holiday Cards On Sale Now
Customization available
To order visit: or call 813-872-0979
All proceeds benefit St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Child Life program.

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iTrekkers Recruits Beta-Trekkers for Free Fishing Excursion

New iTrekkers announcement! We are recruiting Bait-A-Trekkers! What is a Beta-Trekker? They are anglers who love fishing, and have the opportunity to go on an iTrekkers fishing charter for FREE. All you have to do is sign up and follow the Beta-Trekkers guide lines.

You and two friends will go on an iTrekkers fishing charter with the founder, Tom Mulliez! Your fishing charter will be video recorded as an iTrekkers Beta-Trekkers experience. After your awesome fishing excursion is over, and you’ve caught some amazing fish, we ask that you fill out an iTrekkers Review. Follow iTrekkers on our social media channels and sign up for our monthly newsletter through Facebook.

This is a brand new and exciting opportunity for people to enjoy an iTrekkers fishing charter for FREE! All you have to do is follow us on Facebook . You’ll see our “Bait-A-Trekker” button on the left side of our FB page. Click and register to apply!

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  Member Events

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to Host Special Recycling Collections for America Recycles Day

In celebration of America Recycles Day, November 15, 2014, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will hold a festival of recycling-themed activities. This festival features an assortment of recycling collections which will take place at Lowry Park and collection centers throughout Hillsborough County. Residents can clean out their garages and closets and take their recyclables to the below listed locations to be repurposed or recycled.

Click here for a list of recycling collection locations.

Following the recycle drop off, join the America Recycles Day festivities at Lowry Park in Tampa on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This fun filled day of recycling awareness, live music, physical activities and sustainability showcase is family-friendly and will educate and entertain participants on why recycling matters.

For a detailed list of recyclables collected and information on how you can get involved, please contact Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful at or (813) 221-8733.

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Stageworks Theatre Presents the Romantic Comedy Handle With Care Dec. 4 – 21

HANDLE-WITH-CARE2An Israeli woman who doesn’t speak much English is dragged on a U.S. road trip by her feisty grandmother.  In a motel on Christmas Eve, she finds family secrets and long lost loves – and loses a coffin.  And with an inexpert translator from a mixed-faith family, she finds a celebration of the season.

Handle with Care is a celebration. Of life, of lost and found love, and of family.

If you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas or both or neither, you’ll want to make time to celebrate the sharp and warmhearted comedy, Handle With Care.

December 4-21, 2014
Thu, Fri & Sat at 8 pm
Sun at 3 pm

$25 senior/military/group
$15 student

Thursday, December 4 – Preview Night  $15
Friday, December 5 – Opening Night Celebration $40, enjoy meeting the artists and pre-show entertainment with a complimentary champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres and a post performance discussion with the cast and director.

For tickets 813-374-2416 or

Starring Georgina McKee, Edward Gomez, Brandon Shea and Midge Mamatas
Directed by Jimmy Kontos

Stageworks Theatre in the Channel District
1120 East Kennedy Blvd
First floor of Grand Central West
Covered Parking in the West Garage – Parking Validated

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 Member Accolades

Fisher & Phillips Named “Law Firm of the Year”

Fisher & Phillips LLP announced on Nov. 3 that the law firm has been named 2015 “Law Firm of the Year” for Labor & Employment Litigation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers. The firm’s Tampa office also received “First-Tier Ranking” for Employment Law, Labor Law and Labor and Employment Litigation.

Twenty-one of the firm’s offices nationally received “Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings” for Employment Law, Labor Law, Employee Benefits and/or Labor and Employment Litigation. Fisher & Phillips is dedicated solely to representing employers in labor and employment matters with 300 attorneys in 31 offices.

The firm has been included in all five editions of the prestigious rankings.

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Trenam Kemker Receives 20 First-Tier Rankings In 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Guide

Trenam Kemker is pleased to announce 20 of its practice areas have been
ranked “Tier One” (the highest rating) by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The rankings provide a comprehensive view of the U.S. legal profession that is unprecedented both in the range of firms represented and in the range of qualitative and quantitative data used to develop the rankings.

Click here to view a list of Trenam Kemker’s practice areas ranked as Tier One in the Tampa Bay Metropolitan area.

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New Hires & Promotions

VetCor Services Welcomes New CEO


Congratulations to Paul Huszar, new owner and CEO of VetCor Services – A Water Mitigation Company.

Click here for Paul’s bio.



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Tampa Law Firm Bush Ross, P.A. Welcomes Two New Associates

Laura B. Labbee and Kelli A. Ragan have joined the Tampa, Florida law firm of Bush Ross, P.A. as an associate attorneys.

088-Labbee(Print)Ms. Labbee received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 and her J.D., cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law in 2014. Ms. Labbee’s practice will focus on representation of debtors, secured and unsecured
creditors, and trustees in Chapter 11 and 13 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations.

021-Regan (Print)

Ms. Ragan received her B.A. from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2010 and her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 2014. Ms. Ragan’s practice will focus on healthcare defense litigation.

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