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

Member News 4/28/16 – 5/5/16

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Member Accolades

Chamber Presents Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award to Rhea Law

WOI Winner PicTampa, Fla. – Rhea Law, Chair of the Florida offices of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award, presented by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.  In her professional career, she has achieved numerous recognitions from her peers and was the first female to lead a major law firm in the state of Florida. Highly involved in civic and charitable work, Rhea has held the top leadership positions with many Florida based organizations including the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Partnership and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. She was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the board of the Florida Council of 100, where she currently is the chair.

“Rhea’s professional, community and philanthropic work in our city is among the very best.  For initiative, community involvement, professional accomplishments, leadership, vision and selflessness, Rhea has set the standard for us all,” said John Ramil, 2004 Chamber Chair.

The Woman of Influence Award recognizes a woman whose leadership has made a positive impact in Hillsborough County.  It pays tribute to an individual who exemplifies outstanding professional values; demonstrates the ability to go above and beyond the normal expectations of a leader; and serves as an inspiration to the community. Rhea Law was presented the award at the Chamber’s annual Women of Influence Luncheon featuring Gay Gaddis, Founder and CEO of T3, the largest woman-owned independent advertising agency in the country, before a record audience of 900 attendees.

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce statement regarding vote on the sales tax increase

TAMPA, Fla. – The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce released the following statement following the failure to place a sales tax increase on the November ballot:

“We are disappointed that a majority the Board of County Commissioners failed to place a half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot this fall.  As I stated last night during the public comment portion of the hearing – our community must make a significant, long-term investment in transportation. Kicking the can down the road is not what we expect of our elected officials nor what our community deserves.  With 1200 member companies representing over a quarter of a million employees, it is our obligation as a Chamber to continue our collaboration efforts with our elected officials on a tangible solution to our challenges going forward.  We know that resolving our transportation issues is one challenge that will not go away on its own and doing nothing simply cannot continue. We are committed to continuing our efforts through education and advocacy.  We remain optimistic that our community will one day benefit from a transportation system that meets the needs of businesses and families” said Chamber president and CEO Bob Rohrlack.

About the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving our members and enhancing our community by building business success.  The Chamber provides a greater return on investment and involvement by providing innovative leadership, inside access, influential advocacy and increased opportunities. 

Class Project Follow-up: LT ’13’s RICH House Renovation

By Kerry O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Times Marketing Director, LT ’15

Fast Facts:

RICH House Logo

What is the RICH House?

The RICH House serves disadvantaged children and their families in the communities of Sulphur Springs and Robles Park. The acronym stands for Resources In Community Hope.

Located at:  8218 N. Marks St. Tampa, Robles Park Housing Complex


Leadership Tampa Class of 2013 tackled an ambitious, yet important, class project: the renovation of the RICH House in Robles Park.

Adrian Martinez, Managing Partner of EKS Group, one of the leaders on the project, shared his insights into how it all came together and where it stands today.

Kerry O’Reilly: Tell us about the project.

Adrian Martinez: John Bennett was the idea man. He proposed the project to the class based on his experience with the first RICH House in Sulphur Springs.

Because of the size of the project there was something for everyone to do. We cleaned, painted, did basic carpentry and all kinds of handy-man/woman type jobs. We also bought, transported and assembled many pieces of IKEA furniture.

We had classmates in construction who helped with planning and budgeting the work: Todd Fultz and OT Delancy in particular. We had lawyers, including Ceci Berman, Jason Quintero, Amanda Uliano and others looking at permits, liabilities, insurance, etc. Elizabeth Hennig played a key role as well raising funds for the project.

We believed this project would be a lasting gift to the city and one that would keep our class united long after graduation since we all knew the project would require continuous help. For the most part, it has done that.

KO: Has the support from your class continued?

AM: LT‘13 members still show up once in a while and bring donations – books, food, drinks, school supplies, computers, TVs, etc. And just last month, Ceci Berman called me looking for a volunteer project at the RICH House for her Girl Scouts.

KO: How does the RICH House benefit the community?

AM: The RICH House provides kids who live in a crime-ridden neighborhood a safe haven to go after school. Otherwise, these kids would be home alone or on the streets where they become easy prey to gangs and other bad influences. If it was just a place for kids to come in and watch TV after school, it would be successful. However, it goes beyond that. Retired Tampa Police Department Officer Susan Bowers provides strong discipline with a great caring heart. She currently has about 24 kids in class every day. She goes above and beyond. In addition to math and history, Bowers and Tampa Police Reserve Officer Deina Penix teach discipline, leadership, nutrition, CPR, effective babysitting, respect for others, ethics, values and manners. And thanks to LTA member Renee Vaughn of Williams Consulting, who serves on the University of Tampa Board of Fellows, UT provides volunteer tutors and mentors.

RICH House also provides a constant police presence in the neighborhood. It is part of TPD’s neighborhood policing tactics. Parents begin to trust the police and provide Officer Bowers with tips about “the bad guys.”

KO: What’s next for RICH house?

AM: Being an old house, it still needs work. Bowers’ wish list includes:

– New flooring for the stage area

– Paint

– Computers

– A window in the stage area

It is my hope that LT‘13 and LTA can continue to work on this project.

KO: Can members of other LTA classes get involved in this great effort? If so, how?

AM: Yes! This is a great opportunity to take one class’ project and expand it to have an even larger, longer-lasting LTA impact. Please e-mail me at if you’d like to get involved.

RICH House Picture

Member News 4/21/16 – 4/28/16

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LT 2016: TIA/Economic Development Day

By Andrew “Drew” Jenkins, Shareholder, Bush Ross P.A.

JenkinsWith a notebook stolen from my wife and a pen scavenged from our junk drawer in the early morning hours, I joined our LT ’16 class aboard the morning bus headed to what used to be one of the best kept secrets of Tampa.  No, we are not talking about the amazing craft beer scene, any of the successful professional sport franchises, or even that restaurant that started as a local bakery but now is an indispensable Tampa culinary establishment (none of these are secrets anymore).  We are talking about the pride of every Tampanian – Tampa International Airport.  Consistently given good reviews by fliers over the past several years, the cat is well out of the bag as TIA recently received the highest rating possible for large airports from over 170,000 fliers, beating out Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Chicago, and Atlanta.

For LT 2016 TIA/Economic Development Day, there was no better place to start the morning than TIA.  Norwood Smith, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Mainsail Lodging and Development, opened our day at TIA in a modern but cozy conference room tucked into a corner of the main terminal.  After a pop quiz on the economic demographics of the Tampa Bay area, which left many of LT 2016 in shock after not having taken any sort of pop quiz in decades, we were introduced to Al Illustrato, Vice President of Administration and Facilities for TIA.  LT ‘16 was regaled with the history of the airport from the 1971 revolutionary hub and spoke design to the first people movers developed by Westinghouse.  Interesting background even for the long-time Tampa residents, but the main course was yet to come:  the Master Plan.

The Master Plan is an ambitious project and investment in Tampa to say the least.  Phase I of the Master Plan is estimated to cost $953 million and includes the main terminal expansion, concessions redevelopment, the new automated people mover, and the 5-story consolidated rental car facility (ConRAC for people in the know).  The best part was that LT 2016 was able to view a complete three-dimensional virtual walk through of Phase I of the Master Plan.  Put simply, it was impressive.

If you have visited TIA at all recently, you have been in and around the construction of Phase I of the Master Plan.  While the delivery of excellent service from TIA has not been affected, your visit may have caused you some consternation just because there is so much activity.  Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel as Phase I is scheduled to be completed in October 2017.  All indications to our class are that the light is very, very bright.

Next up was Kenneth Strickland, Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation for TIA, who got down to the facts and figures of airline travel in and out of TIA in a presentation on the economic impact and international flights.  Most of the class was likely not sure how a statistician would do following the grandiose Master Plan presentation.  Luckily, Mr. Strickland seemed keen to hone his stand-up skills on what could have been a dry topic, and what ensued was one of the liveliest and interesting discussions LT 2016 had all year (of course my own engineering background may have skewed my perspective to some degree).  The last question posed by LT 2016 was one that many in Tampa have asked: When is the San Francisco flight coming?  No spoiler alert here; the answer is hopefully soon.

From the conference room, LT 2016 divided and conquered, touring the area outside Terminal A to inspect the main terminal expansion then the area containing the history of TIA and even a scaled model of the Master Plan.

LT 16 TIA Econ Day 1

Afterwards, LT 16 was back on the bus and whisked to the top floor of the south Economy Parking Garage to stand under the recently completed TECO solar array, which serves as both a covering for the cars on top of the garage and cranks out 2 megawatts of energy for TECO’s 700,000 customers.

LT 16 TIA Econ Day 2

LT 2016 was not here to ogle the solar panels but to get a bird’s eye view of the construction of the $323 million ConRAC building and associated people mover slated to finish late next year.  Impressive.

LT 16 TIA Econ Day 3

Stomachs growling and breakfast far behind us, LT 2016 boarded the bus for the last time that day for transport to CI Group, a provider of commercial office interiors and industrial warehouse solutions, in Downtown Tampa.  At CI Group, we enjoyed an array of sandwiches and salads from Urban Juice (not just a juice company) and some of its featured juices.   As everyone was wrapping up lunch, Drew Marshall, President of CI Group, introduced the panel for our discussion on the entrepreneurship experience in Tampa.  The panel consisted of Maryann Ferenc, owner of Mise en Place, Todd Lax, owner of Urban Juice, Pat Bhava, owner of PikMyKid (former Startup Scholar), and Rebecca White, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Tampa.

Rebecca White led off the discussion with the formation and expansion of entrepreneurship as a field of study and importantly, how to build and nurture an entrepreneurship eco-system. LT ‘16 was in for a treat as each of the other panel members then gave an introduction to how they got started as entrepreneurs, the struggles they encountered, and their perspectives on the subject.  Never a shy class, LT 2016, many of whom are entrepreneurs in their own right, peppered the panel with questions ranging from personality types that fit more as entrepreneurs to the last question for the panel: What to do when you have that moment when the numbers for the new business are not adding up?  The real life experience and examples provided by the panel members were welcomed by all LT ‘16 class members.

From CI Group, LT ‘16 chose to get some exercise and hoofed it to the Tampa Club for the last stop of the day.  Norwood Smith introduced our moderator for the panel discussion on economic development, Larry Richey, Senior Managing Director for Cushman & Wakefield of Florida.  The panel consisted of Steve Morey, Vice President of Business Development for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Bob McDonaugh, Administrator of Economic Opportunity for the City of Tampa, and Lindsay Kimball, Director of Economic Development for Hillsborough County.  After brief introductions from the moderator and each of the panel members, LT ‘16 was given the opportunity to do what it does best, ask questions (it has been said that we are the “curious” class).  And ask questions we did.  How do you go about targeting companies to move?  What are the top three factors company look for when relocating?  What is an example of a recent successful target and relocation?  What are some detractors of Tampa for site selection firms?  The panel members all had excellent answers and were good sports for the curious class.

The day wrapped up with one last exercise that seemed suspiciously like school work, a business recruitment project simulation, which actually turned out to be a whole lot of fun.  LT ‘16 was divided into five groups, and each group was given a recruitment scenario:  pitch a unique business with specific requirements on locating to Tampa.  The results predictably ranged from fantastic to hilarious.  We may be the curious class, but LT ‘16 can also get a little rowdy.

A special thanks to our sponsor and day chair Brenda Geoghagan, Director of Guest Services for TIA Airport; our day chair Drew Marshall, President of CI Group, who let us invade his space for lunch and into the afternoon; and our day chair Norwood Smith, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Mainsail Lodging and Development, who not only began our day but hosted LT ‘16 after the day was done.  And a big thank you to fellow LT ‘16 classmate Brian Yarborough who long after my phone died exercised his photography skills to help out this blog.