Member News 5/19/16 – 5/26/16

Member News

  • Port Tampa Bay Announces National Trade Organization CAGTC Elects Paul Anderson to Executive Board
  • Vet Tix Names Colonel Steven Weintraub to Lead Foundation Strategy
  • Vet Tix Delivers 2 Million Event Tickets to the U.S. Military Community

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Chamber announces semifinalists for 2016 Small Business of the Year Awards

Tampa, Fla. – Today, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced the semifinalists for the 2016 Small Business of the Year Awards, presented by BB&T & Frazier & Deeter CPAs and Advisors to be held on Friday, September 16 at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. These awards highlight the impact of small business on the community and celebrate the achievements of the best of the best in Tampa Bay.

Small business awards will be presented in three categories based on the number of employees, with a fourth category specifically for startup companies. Companies are evaluated on operational management, community involvement and ethical business practices. The semifinalists for the four company awards and finalists for the Outstanding Leader award include:


3 Daughters Brewing

AFLG Investments Private Equity


eSmart Recycle

Darna & Company LLC – No Mo Nausea Band


Synergistic Funding

VetCor Services

5-20 Employees:

Animal & Bird Hospital of Clearwater

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise

Continental Wholesale Diamonds LLC


Dalton Dental

Eagle Datagistics

Laser Locators

Selig Multimedia

The Soccer Shop of Tampa Bay

Wetherington Hamilton

21-50 Employees:

BMG Conveyor Services of Florida, Inc

Progressive Dental

Tampa Bay Brew Bus Inc.

The Overhead Door Company of Tampa Bay

Vistra Communications

VoltAir Consulting Engineers

Wiand Guerra King

51-250 Employees:

DAS Health

IT Authorities

Red Cap Plumbing & Air, Inc.

Sacino’s Formalwear and Dry Cleaning

Yacht Starship Dining Cruises, LLC

Outstanding Leader Finalists:

Brian Butler, Vistra Communications

MaryAnn Ferenc, Mise En Place

Brian Murphy, ReliaQuest LLC

The winners will be announced at the event on September 16.  For more details on the Small Business of the Year Awards, please visit

Member News 5/12/16 – 5/19/16

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Talent Management as a Business Strategy

By Connie Gee-Abate, Strategic Initiatives, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Talent Management is a business strategy to attract and keep top talent to help create a culture of performance where everyone focuses on organizational prosperity. The processes of talent management include recruiting, hiring, retaining, and developing productive and enthusiastic team members who are willing to take on responsibilities beyond their job description. These individuals, sometimes referred to as “A-Players” have the potential to make the organization one of the best places to work, attracting other “A-Players” in the process.

Recruiting sets the stage for talent management outcomes. The purpose of recruiting is to attract and hire as many qualified job candidates as possible using numerous communication channels. There are a variety of recruiting methods including job postings, referrals, school and college job fairs, advertising, employment agencies, executive search firms, the internet, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Job postings within the company allow aspiring team members to acquire a new or better position without leaving their existing company. This method builds morale with all team members and is a cost saving strategy that builds employee satisfaction, commitment, and retention rates. If the candidate has the right skills and is the right fit for the job, the time to fill and therefore the cost to hire is minimal. It also eliminates the time consuming and costly on-boarding process. What is usually necessary is supplemental training for someone who already understands the organizational culture and expectations, which strategic workforce planning will already have defined in the training and career development tactics. The internal fill can inspire others to develop their skills to qualify for other positions that will enable them to be elevated within the company.

External recruiting methods such as job fairs and working with career services professionals at local schools and colleges are two of the best methods to identify the right team player before the candidate finishes their academic pursuits. The positions are usually entry-level or offer training programs, but can also be positions looking for candidates with managerial, professional, and technical skills. Recruiting from schools and universities also enables the company to establish a presence on the campuses and develop relationships with key decision makers. Using this method requires an early start since most graduates begin looking for jobs a year in advance of graduation. Some accept a job in the fall with a start date in the summer after their graduation.

Once a candidate has been selected, hired and on-boarded, the next key performance indicator is talent retention, which is measured by turnover rate, the number of employees lost compared to the number of employees.  Numerous methods of retaining talented performers and their knowledge include excellent benefit plans and programs, utilizing effective engagement practices, and fostering a culture of real-time feedback, recognition, and reward. Current job candidates including young professionals also value coaching and career development as key strategies to drive retention. Creating a welcoming work environment and high-retention culture serves as a way for a company to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Career development is usually a part of any training program for new hires and existing team members. The purpose is to sustain an organization’s strategy by continuously improving the competency of the workforce. If there are plans for growth, then well-trained team members are necessary to achieve the goals for growth no matter if they are new or seasoned.  The type and extent of new hire training is dependent upon the level of experience. Many companies hiring college students usually have extensive training programs to compensate for the lack of experience. Hiring inexperienced people for entry level positions and lower compensation rates helps a company develop a strong “promote from within” career development policy. The downside is that the company could end up training team members that take their newly acquired skills to another company, including the competition. Other methods of retention need to be part of the workforce strategy to overcome these potential challenges.

Some segments of the workforce such as millennials look beyond the basics for job satisfaction.  This dominant part of the workforce considers themselves to be individuals with their own point of view (Pollak, 2016), and they look for customization of jobs, hours, and career paths. They like to create their own job titles, have flexible hours, and move around and try different career paths. They value their individuality and expect the same from their employers. If a deficiency is perceived, millennials will take their talent and potential elsewhere.

To overcome some of the challenges of identifying the talent to be developed, some companies have hired in-house head hunters. These team members look for the qualified candidates and bring them to the attention of the decision makers for promotion and advancement considerations.

Organizations that align their talent management with the overall business strategy focus on prioritizing and continuously improving talent management offerings, clearly define career paths, communicate talent management programs across the organization, and measure outcomes. These high performing organizations understand the value of their investment in their in-house talent and realize that it all starts with effective recruiting.


Are you hiring? Come to the “Talent Management Best Practices” on June 1st.

The program provides an opportunity to participate in a reverse job fair and meet Tampa’s local academic career services professionals from Hillsborough Community College, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Saint Leo University, Stetson University College of Law, The University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida. Ideal for company recruiters, human resource managers, and talent management professionals. An additional 30 minutes has been allocated for networking after the program.

Click here for additional details.

LT 2016: Tourism Day

By Ted Tamargo, Shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC.

TamargoIt was a wonderful way for the LT 2016 Class (the Best Class Ever) to complete the year – as tourists for a day in our own back yard.   As residents of Tampa Bay, most of us realize tourism is critical to our economy.  On April 20, 2016, we learned from industry experts how incredibly vital tourism is to our state and local economy, and we were fortunate enough to get a “behind the scenes” look at some of the area’s finest attractions.

The day began at Busch Gardens.  Stilt performers in African garb and a not terribly active but adorable two-toed sloth greeted us on our way into to the meeting room.   While we enjoyed a delicious breakfast (according to informal polling, our best of the year) we heard from our Day Chairs and Gerard Hoeppner, VP of Marketing at Busch Gardens and Adventure Island and Santiago Corrada, President/CEO of Visit Tampa Bay about the economic impact of tourism in our community.

Gerard Hoeppner informed us that Busch Gardens has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1959 when the primary goal was to increase beer sales.  It is now an international destination attracting visitors from all over the world.  He discussed their zoological program (over 12,000 animals and a species survival program for endangered species), Adventure Island (their 13-acre water park), their numerous events, including Howl-O-Scream, Summer Nights, and the Food & Wine Festival (their newest), and the attraction getting most of the attention these days, the soon-to-be-opened Cobra’s Curse roller coaster (more on Cobra’s Curse below).

Next we heard from Santiago Corrada of Visit Tampa Bay, a marketing agency whose purpose is to sell and market Hillsborough County to the world, or as Mr. Corrada stated “to drive heads into beds.”   Visit Tampa Bay is funded primarily by Hillsborough County’s hotel bed tax.  Visit Tampa Bay, which only markets in other states and internationally, attracts both leisure travel and large events such as conventions, Super Bowls, the college football national championship game, and Final Four tournaments.  Those efforts are paying off.  Hillsborough County bed tax collections recently increased by 15 percent over the prior year to over $14 million.  Among other things, we learned the area is becoming known as a destination for craft beer drinkers, which was part of an award winning ad campaign for Visit Tampa Bay.

After breakfast the class stepped on the backs of an open-air trucks for a Serengeti Safari, a ride across the African plain.   We had a close up look at zebras, ostriches, antelope, and other animals on the plain.  The highlight was hand-feeding giraffes as they stuck their heads into the backs of our trucks.

After the safari, the class met with Jeff Hornick, Regional Director of Design and Engineering for Busch Gardens.  He is one of the key players involved in the creation of Busch Garden’s newest major attraction, Cobra’s Curse.  He gave us a glimpse into the planning and effort (but not the cost, as that information is not public) that goes into the development of this type of attraction.  Cobra’s Curse is a spin coaster.  Riders will start above ground facing an 80-foot tall snake icon.  They will face forward for the first third of the ride, backwards for the second third, and free spin for the final third.   The class was then given an opportunity to ride the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster (Cobra’s Curse is not yet complete) before leaving the park.  A number of class members who wished to make it through the day (including your blogger) watched from a distance.

Our next stop was the Lowry Park Zoo.  Before lunch we were treated to a demonstration of the Zoo’s elephant training program.  The interaction between zoo personnel and the elephants was very impressive.  Lunch, like breakfast, was delicious (it was a great food day).   Joe Couceiro, CEO of the Zoo and Troy Manthey, President/CEO of Yacht Starship and Pirate Water Taxi, spoke on their respective attractions and the importance of cultural attractions to tourism in our area.

Mr. Manthey discussed the evolution and growth of tourism in Tampa and its direct, positive impact on his businesses.  His presentation reminded us of the outstanding museums and cultural attractions in and near downtown Tampa – such as the Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children’s Museum, HB Plant Museum, and American Victory Ship, just to name a few – most of which are only a short walk from the Riverwalk.  Of course, we cannot overlook Ybor City, the historic gem a short streetcar-ride away.

Joe Couceiro then spoke to us about the Zoo.  It has over 63 acres and the most attendance of any zoo in the southeastern U.S.  Among its challenges are long-term financial sustainability and the relevancy of zoos in the 21st century.   Fortunately for the Zoo, Mr. Couceiro, who has decades of experience in the attractions industry, has a clear vision for the Zoo and a plan for its long-term growth.  The guiding principle for the Zoo under his leadership is for the Zoo to be an “unforgettable place of discovery that inspires generations to cherish and preserve wildlife.”

Next on the agenda was the Florida Aquarium.  Before introducing the afternoon speakers, Thom Stork spoke about the Aquarium, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is doing well financially.  Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association then discussed the importance of travel to the U.S. and the state economies.   We learned that travel generates $21 trillion for the U.S. economy and that the U.S. has over 75 million visitors each year.   He introduced us to his Association’s latest initiative: Project Time Off.   It will promote the importance of actually taking the vacation/PTO time we have available to us through our employers.  We should all take that initiative to heart.

Paul Phipps, the Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Florida, then spoke.  He gave us a presentation on the state of the tourism industry in Florida.   In a nutshell, it is extremely strong.  Not surprisingly, Florida is the number 1 travel destination in the U.S. and in the top 10 in the world.   The numbers are staggering: over 100 million visitors to Florida each year; $82 billion in travel/tourism spending; 1.2 million jobs.  The marketing strategy of Visit Florida is to keep Florida at the top of the mind of travelers.  That strategy, coupled with a tremendous product, is working well.

Next, was a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium.  We saw the tanks from above (i.e., behind the glass).   A lucky LT class member joined a couple of staff members in hand feeding the stingrays.   He seemed to get the hang of it after the initial, understandable nervousness from being so close to those fascinating animals.  We enjoyed a demonstration of otter training and visited with penguins as we left the Aquarium.

We then moved to the last information session of the LT 2016 program year at the Tampa Convention Center.  Rick Hamilton and Eric Blanc of the Convention Center and Jeff Weinthaler of Embassy Suites spoke to us about the convention industry and Tampa’s place in that world. The weather, the water, the hotel packages, the Riverwalk, and, yes, the craft beer scene all make Tampa a very desirable convention destination.   The convention business in Tampa is good; they are operating in the black.

After the convention center, we went to Yacht Starship for an afternoon cruise.  We were surprised by our spouses and significant others who joined us.  It was a great touch and a wonderful way to complete the last program day for LT 2016!

Thank you to our Day Chairs – Jill Manthey (LT ’10), Troy Manthey (LT ’03), Thom Stork (LT ’87), and Elizabeth Hennig (LT’ 13) – for a great day.  Also, on behalf of the entire LT ‘ 16 class, I would like to extend a very special thank you to Stephanie Agliano, Class Chair, Susan Maurer, Class Vice-Chair, Kat Benjamin, and the Chamber for making LT ’16 an unforgettable experience.

Member News 5/5/16 – 5/12/16

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Chamber Announces Leadership Tampa 2016 Class

LTA 2016 Graduation

Leadership Tampa, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s leadership program, is proud to announce the graduates of the Class of 2016.  The graduates were honored at a commencement dinner on Wednesday, May 4.

Stephanie Agliano, Owner of Aggie Enterprises, chaired this year’s class, which participated in nine months of biweekly educational sessions, tours and candid conversations with community leaders on topics ranging from economic development and education to health sciences and sports.

The graduates of the Leadership Tampa Class of 2016 include:

Neal Anderson, Senior Vice President, GM and Owner, CI Group

Robert Bincarousky, Assistant Treasurer, TECO Energy, Inc.

Angie Bradley-Brown, Director of Human Resources, The Florida Aquarium

Larry Braue, Director, Office of Veterans Services, University of South Florida

Brian Butler, President,Vistra Communications

Patricia Calhoun, Shareholder, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, PA

Jeff Chernoff, Vice President, IAT, Inc.

Michelle Clapper, Partner, Ernst & Young

Brian Devlin, Vice President of Development, Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Al Erdman, Vice President for Administration/CFO, Hillsborough Community College

Timothy C. Ford, Shareholder, Hill Ward Henderson

Maggie Fowler, Account Manager, Peak 10

Melanie Griffin, Equity Shareholder, Dean Mead Law Firm

Brian Harris, Attorney, Akerman LLP

Felicia Harvey, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Kay Jefferson, Vice President of Operations, VoltAir Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Andrew T. Jenkins, Shareholder, Bush Ross, P.A.

Collin Jotham, Senior Associate, Mercer Health & Benefits

Gerri Kramer, Director of Communications, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections

Ocea Lattimore, Director of Logistics & Asset Management, City of Tampa

Laura Lay, Director of Business Development, Construction Services, Inc. of Tampa

Mary Layton, Business Development Manager, Walbridge

Rob Liddell, Director of Career Planning, Saint Leo University

Jeff Locker, Financial Advisor, Raymond James

Richard Marulanda, Senior Director, Internal & Client Communication, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation

Susan Mendelson, Vice President, The Elan Group, Inc.

Matthew Michini, President, Michini Wealth Management

Tiffany Morgan, Commander, 6th Medical Support Squadron, United States Air Force, MacDill AFB

P.J. Nassar, Private Banker, Hancock Bank

Scott Nolan, Director of Development, WUSF Public Media

Todd O’Donnell, Division Manager – Tampa Environmental, Wharton-Smith, Inc.

Al Renshaw, Assistant Vice President, Communications, AACSB International

Cherry L. Ritenour, Financial Reporting Group Manager, Citigroup, Inc.

Dana E. Rollison, Vice President, Chief Health Information Officer, Moffitt Cancer Center

Shilpa Saxena, President, SevaMed Institute, P.A.

Yvette Segura, Vice President/General Manager, USAA

Patrick Sharpton, Chief Executive Officer, Sharp 10 Group

Clint Shouppe, State Government Relations Manager, BayCare Health System

Melissa Silvest, Director of Sales, Busch Gardens Tampa & Adventure Island

Ryan Sladek, Market Director, PNC Capital Advisors

Ted R. Tamargo, Shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Lauren L. Valiente, Senior Counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Development, Tampa Theatre

Eric Ward, Chief of Police, City of  Tampa Police Department

Andrew H. Warren, Lucell LLC

Dierdre K. White, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union

Kim Williams, Chief Education Officer, Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc.

Brian Winfield, Independent Consultant

Brian Yarborough, Project Executive, Skanska USA Building Inc.

Members of Leadership Tampa are business/professional people who hold leadership positions within their companies or organizations. Additionally, they have demonstrated a concern for community issues and volunteered their time with service and professional organizations. The selection process is rigorous and competitive for each of the 50 seats available in each class.

The Leadership Tampa year begins in September and runs through May with members meeting every other week for briefings, seminars and hands-on experiences. Each Leadership Tampa program brings in top-level business, civic and government leaders for panel discussions and question and answer sessions. Topics covered include healthcare, education, law enforcement, the environment, economic development, government and other important community issues.

For more information on Leadership Tampa, please contact MaryBeth Williams at (813) 276-9445 or at