Policy & Transportation Digest


Uber Regulations in Europe

Like the US, Europe is facing question of how to regulate Transportation Networking Companies throughout the region.

Florida House Speaker warns of Budget Deficit

Speaker Corcoran talked this week about the possibility that the Legislature could be faced with a budget deficit by the beginning of the 2017 session in March.

Florida leads the Nation in Autonomous Vehicle Development

During the Florida Automated Vehicle Summit in Tampa this week, experts spoke about how advanced the state is in the discussion and implementation of driverless vehicles.


As things are changing in Tallahassee and in Washington D.C., The Tampa Chamber is watching those issues that are important to the community and your business. Here is some of what we are watching:

  • Possible changes to the Affordable Health Care Act
  • Possible changes with the relations between the U.S. and Cuba
  • Overtime regulations changes and legal rulings
  • Appropriations request rule changes in Tallahassee
  • Medical Marijuana and what that means to Tampa Bay


Upcoming event

2016 Annual Meeting sponsored by HCI will take place on  December 15th.  Space is limited, so register today!

Member News 11/17/16 – 12/1/16

Member News

Member Events

Members Now Hiring

LT 2017: Media Day

hawker-nicoleBy Nicole Hawker, Vistra Communications

The fifth program day of our Leadership Tampa 2017 journey, Media Day, was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Tampa Bay Times. Our program chairs for the day, Scot Kaufman (LT ‘09), Media Sales Manager, WUSF Pubic Media; Dawn Philips (LT ’14), Senior Advertising Manager, Tampa Bay Times; and JoAnn Urofsky (LT ’00), General Manager, WUSF Public Media, were gracious hosts. They organized a fulfilling and engaging program, and set up #MediaDay on Twitter for classmates to tweet thoughts throughout the day.media1


Christopher Rogers ‏‪@csdrogers Nov 16

Thank you to ‪@TB_Times for sponsoring ‪#LT17 ‪#MediaDay & fellow ‪@Tampa_Chamber Board member Bruce Faulmann for rousing kickoff!


Media Day provided insight into the changing media landscape, specifically addressing how media impacted the most recent presidential election. We visited and were engaged by organizations that represent the major mediums that push news, including newspaper, television, radio and social.

We began the day in downtown Tampa at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Skanska Room with a light breakfast to get us energized for everything that was to come. Bruce Faulmann (LT ’03), Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tampa Bay Times, provided a brief introduction on the state of media today and how it is evolving in a time of change. Three key points he made on the state of the media today include: it is a crucial element in our country’s founding, it provides an opinion on where the country should go, and it’s role is to influence opinion.


Our first speaker of the day was Joey Baird, Senior Director, Digital Marketing, Sparxzoo. As brand leaders and digital trendsetters, Sparxzoo fuses branding and marketing to help businesses and organizations market themselves through online platforms.

Joey presented on the age of “always on digital media” and the world we live in today. His focus was on how digital media affects us in general and how it affected the most recent presidential election. He also provided some interesting predictions on how digital media will affect future elections. He said we’ll see an increase in negative campaigning, more people will say things on social media they wouldn’t say in person and email hacking will continue to grow.

WUSF Public Media

Our next stop of the morning was on the University of South Florida campus at WUSF Public Media. Founded in 1963, WUSF offers a variety of programming on television, radio, and online, as well as curriculum-based programming in Title One schools throughout the Tampa Bay region. With four TV stations – WUSF TV, WUSF Create, WUSF Knowledge and WUSF Kids – viewers experience a variety of PBS and other programming that focuses on public affairs, science, nature, travel, drama and kids. Radio listeners have the option of tuning in to WUSF 89.7, west central Florida’s NPR station or Classical WSMR, 89.1 and media2.jpg103.9, which is devoted to classical music.

WUSF Public Media also produces a weekly radio show, Florida Matters, which tackles tough issues, highlights little-known stories about Florida, and provides a greater perspective on what it means to live in the Sunshine State. The weekly show explores issues that are most important to Floridians and covers challenges that face our state. Our class was honored to witness the taping of Florida Matters: Social Media, ‘Fake News’ And Politics. Guests panelists Peter Schorsch, Publisher of SaintPetersblog and Sunburn, Josh Gillin of Politifact Florida, and USF Communications Professor Kelli Burns, sat down with WUSF Host Carson Cooper to discuss how the 2016 presidential election was affected by social media, fake news and fact checking.


Glenn Zimmerman ‏‪@GlennZimmerman Nov 16

“Anyone who makes an all or nothing statement, be wary” ‪@jpgillin ‪#MediaDay ‪#medialiteracy ‪@Tampa_Chamber ‪@wusf


Class members Ray Wong, Gresham, Smith and Partners; Maggie McCleland, Academy Prep Center of Tampa; Ethan Shipiro, Hill Ward Henderson, PA; Dean Rustin, Bisk Education, Inc.; Krsiti Tozer, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo; Ryan Garlow, 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill AFB; Calvin Williams, University of South Florida; Glenn Zimmerman, MadBear Productions; and Randall Woods, Florida Blue were brave enough to ask the panelists challenging questions during the audience engagement portion of the show.


Maggie ‏‪@maggiemccleland Nov 16

Tampa, FL

Learning about fake news sites, the 2016 election & discussing ammunition vs information during ‪#mediaday ‪#lt17 ‪@wusf ‪@FloridaMatters


media3An interesting tidbit from Peter Schorsch – he said, “Political candidates are selling an idea and vision. If you are searching for facts in politics, you will never find it.” A key thought into the state of our political climate today and the challenges media outlets face when covering politics.

Florida Matters: Social Media, ‘Fake News” And Politics was produced by Robin Sussingham.  The show aired on WUSF 89.7 on Tuesday, November 22 and is available to stream online at http://www.wusf.usf.edu/news/program/florida_matters.

After the taping of Florida Matters, we broke into groups and participated in various media exercises, including mock radio newscasts and television segments.


media4Next we headed back downtown to WFLA, Tampa’s NBC affiliate television broadcast station. We were greeted by Andy Alford, President & General Manager, WFLA, News Channel 8 & WTTA, Great 38 and Bill Berra, Vice President, News, WFLA, and were given a brief overview of the station during lunch.  As a part of this community for 60 years, WFLA’s first broadcast was of the Gasparilla Parade. The station now produces more than 60 hours a week of locally-produced content, including shows such as Daytime, exclusive coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and news.

During the recent political season, WFLA provided local coverage of rallies and local elections, as well as broadcast the national debates and conventions. Financially, this time of year is significant for television stations, as ad revenue for WFLA topped more than $70 million.

media5As the 11th largest market in the country, WFLA faces many challenges as to how they cover politics in the future. It is common for people to think television news outlets have an agenda, which they say they don’t. And anticipating the sensitivities on the way they cover politics now that the election is over is important. With the industry changing so much, WFLA is focused on serving the local community through a multi-platform approach for both editorial and advertising.

After the presentation by Mr. Alford and Mr. Berra, we were given a tour of the News and Daytime sets. We had the privilege of meeting Daytime hosts Jerry Penacolic and Cyndi Edwards.media6

 Tampa Bay Times

We ended the day at the Tampa Bay Times. Joe Deluca, Vice President and Publisher, Tampa Bay Times, provided an interesting overview of the future of newspapers in an ever changing media environment. As a publisher he sees many challenges the newspaper industry is facing. He conveyed the perception that newspapers are a dying industry and said that is self-inflicted.  After review of several statistics on the newspaper industry and readership numbers during the past two decades, it was presented that the decline is not about the product. It is about the way it is being delivered. Journalism is still as important as ever, but technology has changed the behavior of consumers.  In order to overcome these challenges, the newspaper industry must understand the product and its value, and provide locally relevant news, high caliber journalism and locally relevant advertising, while continuing to build a portfolio of distribution channels that make sense for the consumer.

We then had the privilege of witnessing Sue Carlton, Columnist, Tampa Bay Times, interview Paul Tash, Chairman and CEO, Times Publishing Company. Mr. Tash answered questions that were submitted by members of the class. He discussed the acquisition of the Tampa Tribune and the opportunities and surprises that have come from it. He also discussed the election coverage and the Times’ approach to balance.

And last but not least, Ernest Hooper (LT ’03), East Hillsborough County Bureau Chief & Columnist, Tampa Bay Times, took our class through “The Front Page Exercise”. We broke into groups and were tasked with determining the headlines for the Tampa Bay Times 1A and 1B sections for next edition. We were provided a list of headlines to choose from, and were interrupted throughout the session with breaking news items or additional information on stories we were already aware. The exercise was helpful in better understanding how the newsroom makes editorial decisions every day.


Member News 11/10/16 – 11/17/16

Member Events

Members Now Hiring

Member New Hires & Promotions

  • Labor & Employment Attorney Lisa McGlynn Joins Fisher Phillips‘ Tampa Office

Member Accolades


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 http://www.tampachamber.com/Your-Chamber/Newsroom/MemberNews.aspx.

LT 2017: Arts & Culture Day

holmes-mirayBy Miray Holmes, City of Tampa

The fourth program of our Leadership Tampa ’17 adventure, Arts & Culture Day, was generously sponsored by the law firm of Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen. Our gracious chairs for the day who kept us on time and informed were Jeff Gibson (LT’13), Partner, Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen & Jim Porter (LT’99 & LT’15 Chair), Partner, acday1Adams and Reese. The Arts and Culture Day program provided a behind the scenes look at the breadth and scope of the creative industries in Tampa. While the economic impact in spending, jobs and events can be measured, the arts contribution to the heart, soul and fabric of the city, county and region cannot be quantified.

Our first stop was the Graphicstudio, Institute for Research in Arts at the University of South Florida. The USF Institute for Research in Art is the umbrella organization for Graphicstudio, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Public Art program. Many of us were experiencing for the first time this unique experiment in art and education, one of only three in the country, including the University of New Mexico and the University of Wisconsin. Through the art on display, we were able to view the Institute’s philosophy of providing artists with the freedom to experiment and pursue innovative directions to advance their creative discipline.

The dynamic Director Margaret A. Miller graciously rearranged her schedule to join us and acday2provided the history and unique collaborative model the Institute has created which serves students, faculty, visiting artists and the Research Partners. Margaret explained the business model of the Institute and how the Research Partners Programs allows participants to collect significant art while supporting research and education commitments. Some of the leading museums and collectors including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library and the Centre Pompidou in Paris continue to acquire Graphicstudio editions.

We viewed a variety of works of art that used traditional and experimental printmaking techniques, bronze casting, wood, stainless steel, digital output of film, dead insects (yes insects!) and other pioneering mixed media materials. Research Associate/Printer Tim Baker demonstrated the intricate printmaking process. In addition to the exhibitions, collection development, publication of limited edition graphics and sculpture, multiples and commissioned public art works, the Institute also hosts lectures, workshops and special events designed to bring an awareness about the role of contemporary artists in shaping our culture and society.

Our next stop of the morning was the iconic City of Tampa landmark, the Tampa Theatre. acday4The magnificent Tampa Theatre was designed and built by John Eberson, one of the most internationally renowned and prolific movie palace designers of his time, responsible for building about 100 theaters all over the world including works that still survive in Miami, Chicago, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Texas, Paris, France and Sydney, Australia. The Tampa Theatre opened October 15, 1926 to immense anticipation and was enormously popular.

Our host and guide was Tampa Theatre President and CEO John Bell. John came to Tampa from North Carolina where he managed the historic Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, NC. John spoke with knowledge and passion about the history and significance of the Tampa Theatre. Sitting the in the red velvet seats, we were transported back to 1926 when the lavish downtown movie palace opened allowing common citizens for the first time in history access to opulence on a scale never before imagined. For 25 cents people could escape into a fantasyland for two hours, enjoy first-class entertainment and be treated like royalty by uniformed platoons of ushers and attendants. The Tampa Theatre remained a jewel at the center of Tampa’s cultural landscape for several decades allowing generations of people who stole their first kiss in the balcony to follow the world through the newsreels and grow up coming to the Theatre week after week.

But by the 1960s, times had changed. America’s flight to the suburbs was having a damaging effect on downtown businesses, and among the hardest hit were the movie palaces that lit up America’s main streets, especially with the advent of television. Audiences dwindled and costs rose. Many of our nation’s finest movie palaces were demolished as the land beneath them became more valuable than the theater’s operations and in 1973 the Tampa Theatre faced the same fate. But Tampa’s citizens rallied, committees were formed and community leaders got involved, leading to a deal for the City to rescue the Theatre. By the time the Theatre reopened to the public in January 1977, it had become something of a national model on how to save an endangered theater. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

acday3 The Theatre is managed by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation and is one of the most heavily utilized venues of its kind in the United States. Tampa Theatre’s single auditorium hosts more than 600 events each year, including a full schedule of first-run and classic films, concerts, special events, corporate events, tours and educational programs. Since its rescue in 1977, more than 5 million visitors to downtown Tampa, including 1 million school children for field trips and summer camps, have visited this passionately protected and beloved community landmark. The theatre is currently embarking on an $11 million capital campaign to renovate the seating throughout the theatre.

The award-winning Tampa Museum of Art was the next stop on our tour and one of the newest buildings complimenting the Tampa arts and culture landscape. We first had a delicious lunch at Sono Café, operated by the iconic Mise en Place, on the Museum’s expansive, covered terrace with an unparalleled view of the University of Tampa Minarets, Curtis Hixon Park and the downtown skyline overlooking the banks of the Hillsborough River.

The Tampa Bay Art Center (founded in 1923) and the Tampa Junior Museum (founded in acday61958) served Tampa’s cultural needs until 1964. At that time the City of Tampa requested that the Arts Council of Tampa/Hillsborough County, in consultation with community arts organizations, develop a plan for a City art museum to be built with funding from a bond issue. The following year, the plan was approved and began to materialize under a newly created private/public partnership with the City of Tampa known as the Tampa Museum Federation. The Federation was the genesis of what is now the Tampa Museum of Art. In 1979, the new art museum opened and operated in downtown Tampa on a riverfront site behind the Convention Center for 8 years until it relocated to West Tampa in 1987. To prepare for construction of a new museum facility in downtown Tampa, the Museum relocated to an interim facility in West Tampa in December of 2007. Construction began in April 2008 and the new Museum opened on February 6, 2010 with a commitment to providing innovative public programs with a strong focus on antiquities and modern and contemporary art.

Dr. Michael A. Tomor, the Museums Executive Director since April of 2015 initially addressed the group in the expansive lobby. Dr. Tomor came to Tampa from the El Paso Museum of Art and prior to that, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Dr. Tomor described how the Museum balances a growing collection with a dynamic annual schedule of special exhibitions that bring the world’s finest visual arts to the region. The Tampa Museum of Art, Inc., a private IRS 501(c)(3) entity, owns the permanent collection. The City of Tampa owns the museum building and provides a grant for partial operational support. Through its Board of Trustees, the Museum is responsible for all operational policies and procedures, as well as for funding for the collection, exhibitions, education programs, and staffing. Dr. Tomor has implemented free general admission to all university, college, and higher education students. He has also created Connections, a community engagement program for those experiencing depression, dementia, and trauma, in partnership with the University of South Florida Honors College.

The building was designed with clean lines and tall white walls that allow the art to stand out and not compete with its surroundings. The exhibitions we toured with the curators were:

  • Complicated Beauty: Contemporary Cuban Art is the Museum’s first survey of contemporary Cuban art from the 1970s to the present, reflecting a cross-generational look at recent trends in Cuban art.
  • Manuel Carrillo: Mi Querido Mexico (My Beloved Mexico) is an exhibit by Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989), known as “El Maestro Mexicano,” and is a collection of intimate black and white photographic images of workers, the elderly, and families in his native Mexico.
  • Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum which propose reframing American folk art through the concept of “self-taught genius,” as an elastic and enduring notion whose meaning has evolved over time.

A short walk away was our next the stop, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts venue which anchors the downtown cultural stretch along the Hillsborough River that includes the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children’s Museum, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.

We gathered in the Jaeb Theater, one of the smaller of the five theaters within the world-class David Straz Center complex. Judith Lisi, the President and Chief Executive Officer joined us in the theater. Judith is an accomplished theater producer, director and playwright whose deep theater roots began at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music as well as the Metropolitan Opera, Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Judith described the evolution of the humble beginnings on an abandoned gravel lot in a city that was lacking cultural offerings to the Straz Center of today, the largest performing arts center in the Southeast and the only one with an on-site performing arts conservatory and the first in the state of Florida with multiple venues.

Florida Governor Bob Martinez laid the groundwork for the center when he was Tampa Mayor from 1979 to 1986. Mayor Martinez campaigned on building a performing arts center and didn’t want a city-run facility but rather a nonprofit board to oversee it. Martinez was passionate about offering the hundreds of kids that don’t play sports an opportunity to experience the fine arts.

While it was slow getting started, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts was incorporated in 1980. Although Martinez resigned in 1986 to make a successful run for governor, Tampa’s next mayor, Sandy Freedman, continued the support for the center, which opened the following year on September 12, 1987 as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

With an annual $110 million economic impact, more than 2,200 events per year, a loyal base of patrons and season ticket holders and 600,000 patrons annually, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has become a major cultural asset for Tampa. Since its opening, more than 12 million patrons have walked through its doors and thousands of performers — actors, musicians, singers, dancers and comedians — have stood on its stages. Theater goers have enjoyed performances ranging from Broadway productions such as of Jersey Boys, Lion King, Wicked and Flashdance, to performances by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the classic opera “La Bohème” and the musical group The Carolina Chocolate Drops.

We had an opportunity to tour the 2,6100seat Carol Morsani Hall and the three-story, 45,000 square-foot Patel Conservatory. The Conservatory sits at the north end of the Center offering more than 100 performing arts classes in dance, theater and music for students of all ages and experience levels. The Patel Conservatory provides the finest performing arts training in an inspirational setting by giving students the tools to dream, reach, discover and create the performing arts; integrate them into everyday life; and contribute to the community.

acday12The last stop of the day was StageWorks Theatre. A theatre that while small in its stage stature, is large in its mission to showcase socially conscious theater. StagewWorks is nestled in the courtyard among a complex of beautiful gleaming hi-rise condos known as Grand Central. This one-of-kind theater is the bridge from the Straz Center to Ybor City’s vibrant arts scene and a gathering place for Channel District residents. The co-developers of Grand Central at Kennedy, who kindly lease the space to Stage Works for $10 a year, are Ken Stoltenberg and Frank Bombeeck.

StageWorks founding Artistic director was Anna Brennen, whose career accomplishments have included actor, director and all things related to building and sustaining an up-and-coming theater. Anyone who’s met Brennen or worked with her — actors, colleagues, students, critics, donors, developers, subscribers, even construction workers — describe her as a bit larger than life. Brennan was able to keep a theater company going for 28 years without a home of its own, including the seven years it took to plan, build and fundraise for the $1.2 million, 8,000-square-foot Channel District space.

We were educated and entertained by StageWorks’ exuberant Producing Artistic Director/Technical Director/Jill-of-all trades, Karla Hartley. Karla received a BFA in Theater Studies from Boston University and is the owner of three Theatre Tampa Bay awards for Best Director. She also directed the inaugural show, the David Friedman musical revue, Listen to My Heart, when StageWorks opened in its current location in 2011. She was named Best Director 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015 in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Awards as well as The Artist Most Likely to Have Been Born on the Planet Krypton. We all understood why after spending just 20 minutes with her. Karla works alongside an eight-member board, 5 full-time staff, six part-time staff, 168 artists and over 100 volunteers.

Karla passionately lives and breathes the StageWorks mission: “We provide the highest quality professional theater that respects, ignites and celebrates the human spirit while challenging the thresholds of intolerance and sensitivity”. StageWorks is renowned in the theatre community for it’s commitment to offering a home for diverse at risk youth to learn and ‘do’ theater, while being sanctuary for artists to congregate, create and perform. Over 20,000 people annually experience performances that give voice to those marginalized by circumstance and explore the cultural tension inherent in living in a multi-cultural society that is still struggling with painful legacies of racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.

Policy & Transportation Digest

Are Driverless Buses the Next Phase of Autonomous Vehicles? 

A pilot project in Finland is testing the technology for small buses to move through the streets without a driver, steering wheel, or even brakes by using sensors.

How well did Transportation Initiatives make out on Tuesday? 

Check out this report that shows how many of the 280 ballot measures passed this week.

The Cross-Bay Ferry Reports Strong Numbers in First Week  

According to a recent press release, the Cross-Bay Ferry is doing well in its first week of operation. Many people from both sides of the bay are enjoying this new transportation option.

Upcoming event

Last day to register for the Chamber’s 2016 Election Wrap Up on Monday November 14th. This event will be an opportunity to hear more about what the election results will mean to Florida.  Our expert panelist are former House Speaker Will Weatherford and State Representative Ed Narain.  This event, moderated by Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam Smith, is sure to be great.

Senator Jeff Brandes would like to extend to you an invitation to the 4th Florida Automated Vehicles Summit being held in Tampa, FL at the Tampa Marriott Waterside on November 29th and 30th. This conference, featuring national experts and industry leaders, is designed to explore the progress that is being made in Florida and across the country in the space of autonomous vehicles (AV).

For an agenda and registration, please click here.

Member News 11/3/16 – 11/10/16

Member Events

Members Now Hiring

Member Accolades

  • Victoria Jorgensen of A Media Marketing Appointed to Board of Directors of Women in Film & Television Florida


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 http://www.tampachamber.com/Your-Chamber/Newsroom/MemberNews.aspx.