Member News 6/18-6/24

Member News

Member Events

  • June 26-28, 2019: Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship Small Business Leadership Conference
  • June 29, 2019: Saint Leo University’s Super Saturday Welcoming New, Prospective Students
  • July 21, 2019: Rays on the Runway
  • August 23, 2019: MacDill AFB First Sergeants 2nd Annual Golf Tournament
  • October 17 ,2019: Get Down to Business benefitting Easterseals Florida

Member Job Openings

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HART CEO – Ben Limmer

Friday, June 21st

New HART CEO, Benjamin Limmer, was the keynote speaker at the Circle of Influence event on Friday the 21st. Mr. Limmer addressed a group of about 150 top-tier chamber members giving his background and his plans for HART. Here’s what we learned.

Ben Limmer came to HART from MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), but the bulk of his career thus far was in Phoenix with the Valley Metro RPTA. Upon becoming HART’s new CEO his three main priorities are as follows:

  1. Operational Excellence
  2. Increased presence of HART in the community
  3. Becoming an employer of choice

Bus & Streetcar Service

HART is looking to double the number of buses and streetcars that they currently have available. The grant they received from the FDOT for the streetcars helped to increase the services they were able to offer as well as offering free rides. They are also extending the streetcar service further north into the Heights. They are planning a rapid expansion of the current bus service and looking into Bus Rapid Transit or possibly a Rail Service, truly dependent on what the community would want. They are also looking at the opportunity to service the airport with the continuing transformation that is happening there.

Again this fall, they are launching the direct connection to the Bucs stadium during football season and hoping to do the same for Amalie Arena during hockey season. Future plans include a flexible transit service in Downtown, Uptown and the Westshore district with the ability to go off route if necessary to pick up passengers. Adding express bus services in South County is also on the horizon.

HART as an Organization

HART is a 40 year old organization and serves all of Hillsborough county. Currently HART has a 100 million dollar per year budget, but with the All for Transportation tax that will increase to about 250 million dollars overnight. Mr. Limmer’s plans for HART are to be customer-oriented and customer-driven, and to ensure that they are transparent about where the All for Transportation tax money is going and what it’s being used for.

When addressing HART becoming an employer of choice, Mr. Limmer explained their plans for the organization. They are looking at an organizational redesign effort and through that effort are planning on elevating and expanding the Human Resources department to take care of the HART employees. Adding programs like an extensive EAP program, mental health support services, etc.

Safety & Experience

Mr. Limmer addressed the tragedy that occurred on May 18th when one of the bus operators was killed by a passenger. In response to this he has signed an order to install plexiglass partitions in all of the HART buses by the end of 2019. They are also launching what they’re referring to as a rider awareness/respect campaign, to make the community aware of the expectations and standards of riding the bus to ensure it’s a positive experience for all.

Mr. Limmer stated that the key to acquire what he called the “choice rider” (someone who chooses to use the bus as transportation and not just as a secondary option when all else fails), is to provide frequent and on time service as well as easy access to the schedule.


From June 1st through the end of August, children ages 5 through 18 are able to receive a free bus pass, in hopes of accommodating teens that have summer jobs and families with small children traveling on the buses. Currently, 1/3 of the buses in HART’s fleet use compressed natural gas and that number continues to increase. In addition, they are purchasing 10 electric vehicles to continue moving towards being environmentally friendly.

HART has a new app called Flamingo, which allows for virtual ticketing and as transportation and the community continue to grow, will allow for different services to be linked, like ride sharing. Flamingo also will allow for flash partnership passes when large events come into town like the Superbowl; people will be able to pre-purchase bus passes and have them sent directly to their phone for use while in town.

Overall, Mr. Limmer summed up his experience thus far and plans for the future with one word, Transformation. He seems passionate about his opportunity to plan and change the transportation landscape in Tampa and looks forward to working with our community.

Check out HART’s website here.

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Member News 6/11-6/17

Member News

  • Easterseals Florida has rolled our their 100 Leaders; 100 Readers program at the Murray Child Development Center in Tampa to commemorate Eastrseals’ centennial.
  • Bradley attorney Sara Accardi named to Tampa Connection board.
  • Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick Tampa partner Ronald A. Christaldi invited to join the Tampa Bay Business Journal Leadership Trust; Shumaker Advisors principal Ed Miyagishima will serve as Director of Operations and Chief of Protocol at the US Department of Homeland Security.

Member Events

Member Job Openings

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Cultivating Customer Experience: Key Takeaways

ICYMI, we held a Competitive Edge Series last week centered around cultivating a 5-star customer experience. We had representatives from Chick-Fil-A, Publix, and USAA – three organizations who consistently create a stellar experience for their customers/guests.

Each person brought insight into the mission and vision behind their organization and the strategies used to maintain their top level customer service. Below are some of the key takeaways that were given…

Chick-Fil-A‘s core values are ones that any organization can use and implement in their business:

  • We’re here to serve
  • We’re better together*
  • We’re purpose driven
  • We pursue what’s next

*this was one of my favorite takeaways because it’s something that can be emphasized across all businesses, customer-facing or otherwise. 

Chick-Fil-A also has this awesome infographic about creating “raving fans” for your business by being remarkable and operating under 3 core principals:

  • Execute operational excellence
  • Deliver 2nd mile service
  • Activate emotional connections marketing


Publix has a great backstory, if you’re not familiar with it I highly encourage you to read it.

Essentially Publix puts the focus on their employees. Their belief is that if you invest in your employees and ensure they have stake in the game and are having a positive work experience, that will translate to the customer.

All Publix employees are part-owners of Publix; founder George Jenkins believed that was a way to ensure that his team always felt like they were a part of the company, and not just another number.

USAA serves military and military families, their focus on the military community is at the heart of everything they do. USAA presented us with 4 key takeaways:

  • Know and live your mission*
  • Protect your core competencies
  • Listen to your customers
  • Take care of your employees

*I think this is a great point – almost all organizations will have a mission statement, but it’s really important to ensure that everyone in your organization knows what your mission statement is and is at the center of every decision and action they take. 

I think the most important point that was emphasized by all 3 organizations is that if you invest in and take care of your employees, whether it be with internal training, professional development, or benefits, they will take care of the company and ensure that guests/customers/clients have the best possible experience.

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Member News 6/4-6/10

Member News

Member Events

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Member News 5/29-6/3

Member News

  • Crowe LLP‘s David Roberts, CPA, has relocated to the Tampa Bay office.
  • The Hillsborough MPO is hosting a survey to get input on the county’s highest priority transportation projects.
  • Saint Leo University is partnering with Notre Dame de Namur University to offer an online Masters of Public Administration degree.
  • University of South Florida has opened an Alzheimer’s research facility in Lakeland; the Alzheimer’s research team is looking for participants for a trial called the PACT study.

Member Events

Member Job Openings

If you would like to submit news, events, job postings, new hires/promotions, or accolades for the Member News section of eView, please go to

Meet Our Interns!

This summer we are fortunate to have two wonderful interns joining us; Michaela and Charles.

Meet Michaela


Michaela was referred to the Chamber by a previous intern and feels that interning here can lead to mutually beneficial relationships as she begins her journey into adulthood. Michaela hopes to plant roots in the Tampa non-profit world. She is primarily working with the Minority Business Accelerator Program. Michaela is from Pensacola, Florida and is graduating from the University of Florida with her Bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences and minors in Nonprofit Organizational Leadership and Disabilities in Society.

Fun Fact: Michaela was a stunt double in a Disney Channel Original Movie!


Meet Charles


Charles is excited to be interning at the Chamber to become more familiar with the many different business opportunities that Tampa has to offer. Charles is helping mostly with the events department; specifically Face the Chamber with Mayor Jane Castor, Small Business of the Year and the 2020 events calendar. He has also been assisting the leadership programs department as they transition their focus to the 2020 Leadership Tampa class. Charles is a Tampa local and a rising senior at the University of Florida. He is majoring in history with a minor in classical studies.

Charles enjoys fishing and kayaking for fun!