Member News 7/13

Member News

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VetCor RC

VetCor Ribbon Cutting on July 7th, 2020

Vetcor celebrated the Grand Opening of their new corporate headquarters with a Ribbon Cutting last week. VetCor is a restoration company that solves water and mold damage problems in commercial and residential properties, staffed primarily by veterans of the U.S. military. VetCor is a Florida state certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), and an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) certified firm. VetCor provides services in six counties surrounding Tampa Bay as well as the gulf coast and southeast Florida from two satellite offices. Check them out here!

Member News 7/6

Member News

  • The Center for Cyber Safety and Education has launched a new program called “Garfield at Home” to teach children how to be safe and secure online.
  • ChappellRoberts earns international awards for Outstanding Creative.
  • Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Tampa shareholders received special honors at this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame.
  • The LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network has launched a new program called Complete Tampa Bay.
  • PRESS|PR + Marketing has put together a community initiative called Above the Fold to help amplify the voices of the BIPOC community.
  • Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP Tampa Partner, Willard A. Blair, has been appointed as Chair of the Corporations, Securities & Financial Services Committee of the Florida Bar Business Law Section; Shumaker announces Tampa Partner, Michele Hintson, and Sarasota Associates, Erin Hope Christy and Jade Davis, have been appointed to the Florida Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion committee.
  • The Tampa Bay Wave has opened applications for the 2020 TechWomen Rising Accelerator.

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Finding a New Normal

Finding a New Normal
Lorena R. Hardwick
Director of Government Relations

“Finding a new normal”, is probably the most often used phrase of the last three months. I say it when I talk with my eight-year-old daughter about todays’ world, I say it when I talk with friends about what it means to reintegrate, and I hear it every day from businesses, colleagues, and as part of headlines in the constant news cycles. Part of “finding a new normal” for me was to engage with organizations and programs that are making a difference and enhancing the life of those that benefit from their services. A few years ago, I attended the kick off to a new program by the Tampa Bay Chamber, the Minority Business Accelerator. I did not know then that in a few short years I would be an avid advocate and serve as their Recruitment Task Force Chair with a focus on Latino/Hispanic owned businesses. The opportunity the MBA staff and volunteers have offered me is invaluable. My life has revolved around public service, I worked for non-profits during and post college and spent most of my professional career with the City of Tampa. As I continue to grow in my profession, I find it rewarding to use my knowledge and network to benefit those that need a little help to reach the next step in their journey to success and/or well-being. I would not be where I am today without the assistance, guidance and support of others that took the time to listen and believe in my ability to grow and contribute, so I seek out opportunities where I can do the same for others.

As I familiarized myself with the Minority Business Accelerator, and met the current cohort, I was amazed with their collective grit. When Covid-19 hit, many of them reinvented themselves, they pivoted, reimagined their business plans and never missed a step. Their mentors have been there every step of the way, facilitating meetings, offering advice, helping with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) woes, just to name a few, but mostly offering a shoulder to lean on. In regards to PPP, a recent ABC news report shared that the Small Business Administration’s Inspector General reviewed PPP at the request of Congress. Its findings are not surprising to many Latino and other minority owned businesses, it highlighted that socially or economically disadvantaged businesses were not prioritized, further stating: “Because SBA did not provide guidance to lenders about prioritizing borrowers in underserved and rural markets, these borrowers, including rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received the loans as intended”. In general, this does not inspire confidence amongst minority owned businesses, since statistically speaking, black and brown business owners find it more challenging to get financing and can encounter other challenges as they attempt to grow their business.

That is why my focus has been connecting with Latino/Hispanic based organizations and groups to help disseminate information about the Minority Business Accelerator. The Latino elected officials in Tampa have received information and are actively sharing it with their constituent base. In addition, I had fun speaking to one of the local Latino radio stations on one of their podcasts about the program and have had great conversations with community leaders willing to help identify potential candidates. There are so many deserving small businesses out there and we hope we can reach them; the Tampa Bay Chamber has many resources and partnerships that will provide the boost needed to get through these challenging times.

A good friend, entrepreneur and small business owner uses the phrase “I’m hungry” to say that they are going to fight harder, work smarter, reach for all the resources available to them and rise to the top while bringing others along with them, because success is not a solitary achievement. That is what the Minority Business Accelerator is about, a community of successful individuals excited to lift up those that are hungry enough to leap into that next step of business growth and success.

Member News 6/29

Member News

  • Brimmer, Burek & Keelan, LLP announced two new partners, Susan Evans and Cong Nguyen.
  • Carlton Fields Tampa Office Managing Shareholder Lori Baggett received the Stetson Lawyers Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Representative award.
  • Chamber Members included on Periphery Media’s COVID-19 Heroes of Tampa Bay ballot.
  • ChappellRoberts announced the promotions of two team members, Tommy Eliason to designer and Amber VanHaerents to accounting specialist.
  • Florida Polytechnic University‘s fall reopening plan approved by Board of Governors.
  • PBX-Change is covering the costs for families at Tempo at ENCORE! to receive free high-speed internet.
  • Saltmarsh included in Accounting Today‘s list of 2020 Gulf Coast Regional Leaders.
  • Tampa International Airport has launched a community-wide survey to gauge traveler intent for the next 12 months.

Member Events

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Dress for Success

Dress for Success RC

Dress for Success Ribbon Cutting on June 18th, 2020

Dress for Success Tampa Bay celebrating the Grand Opening of their 2nd location at CareerSource Tampa Bay with a ribbon cutting last week! Dress for Success is a worldwide organization with a mission to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Check them out here!

Member News 6/22

Member News

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is now offering virtual volunteer orientations.
  • BKS-Partners‘ Business Development Director, Nicole Negvesky, has been recognized among Employee Benefit Adviser’s 2020 Top Influential Women in Benefit Advising.
  • The Florida Aquarium has launched “(M)asking for Your Support” in honor of their 25th anniversary, when you donate $25 or more you will receive a free mask of your choice that showcases which animal you’re helping to protect while protecting yourself.
  • Hillsborough County Government is asking residents to complete the anonymous Hillsborough County Hurricane Preparedness survey measuring respondents’ attitudes about a variety of factors related to hurricane season and disaster preparedness.
  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has been honored again by U.S. News & World Report on their annual best children’s hospital list.
  • Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP announced Tampa partner M. John Burgess has been re-appointed to the Employee Benefits Conference Committee for the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA).

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2020 Small Business of the Year Semi-Finalists

Congratulations to our Small Business of the Year Semi-Finalists! Check them out below:

Nominated for Outstanding Leader:

Nick Friedman – College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving

Mike Harting – 3 Daughters Brewing 

Doug Pace – Stonehill

Nominated for Startup of the Year:

Appleton Reiss, PLLC


Ecover Global

Imperium Data Networks

NextPath Career Partners

Taylor Financial

Nominated for Small Business of the Year (5-20 Employees):

Ark Naturals Company

Bake More Pies

Digital South Communications, Inc

HCP Associates

McKay Advertising + Activation

Meter Technology Werks (MTW)

Optimal Performance and Physical Therapies, Hyde Park LLC


Sunshine Animal Hospital


Nominated for Small Business of the Year (21-50 Employees):

Ackerman Jewelers

Bay Food Brokerage

Keel Farms

MidFlorida Armored & ATM Services

Nominated for Small Business of the Year (51-250 Employees):

Member News 6/15

Member News

Member Events

  • June 2, 2020: Develop Your Leadership Potential: Stop Doing, Start Leading by Dale Carnegie
  • June 16-18, 2020: Dale Carnegie Course
  • June 18, 2020: Women United: Cocktails and Conversation
  • June 19, 2020: Time Management for Leaders by Dale Carnegie
  • June 19, 2020: Beach Blonde Day at 3 Daughters Brewing
  • June 21, 2020: Father’s Day BBQ and Market at 3 Daughters Brewing
  • June 23, 2020: Supporting Diverse Startups to Build Thriving Ecosystems by Tampa Bay Wave
  • June 25, 2020: Dale Carnegie Leadership Free Session: Stop Managing and Start Leading
  • June 30, 2020: Dale Carnegie Virtual Selling: How to Build Relationships

Member Job Openings

Member News 6/8

Member News

  • Florida Polytechnic University has a new scholarship named for Trustee Frank T. Martin designed to provide more opportunity to African American students and help them achieve their STEM career ambitions.
  • The Henry Plant Museum will reopen to the public on June 16.
  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital researchers were featured in the Journal of Pediatrics Supplement on Translational Research.
  • Saint Leo University is offering a free, 4-Part Webinar Series: Business Reimagined.
  • Tampa General Hospital has announced TGH Prevention Response Outreach (TPRO), a consulting service that will offer the hospital’s expertise in infection prevention to organizations in Tampa Bay and beyond. 

Member Events

  • June 2, 2020: Develop Your Leadership Potential: Stop Doing, Start Leading by Dale Carnegie
  • June 18, 2020: Women United: Cocktails and Conversation

Member Job Openings