Message from 2016 Leadership Tampa Alumni Chair Reid Haney

Haney, RI consider it a genuine privilege to serve as LTA Chair for 2016. As a graduate of the Leadership Tampa Class of 1996, I value and remember with fondness the experiences I had then, and I am energized by my continued involvement with the program. I continue to find fulfillment through the valuable relationships, unique experiences, and community leadership opportunities offered by LTA – thus my willingness to serve as Chair. Likewise, I urge all Leadership Tampa grads to continue your LT experience through LTA. 

LTA has worked hard to plan a dynamic and enjoyable slate of events for 2016.  Our Annual Meeting at Steinbrenner Field was a great success, and heartfelt congratulations to our Parke Wright III Award winner, John Babson (LT ’77). 

Our newly branded “Connect with Coffee, featuring Tampa’s New Water Taxi Service” kicks off our February programing with an insider and early look at Tampa’s exciting new transportation option. We will celebrate spring with a fling, welcome the newest LT graduating class, get educated about Tampa Bay’s burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem, mix and mingle with EMERGE, and much more. 

2016 Outreach activities will focus on assisting our military veterans with housing, job placement and counseling on the availability of benefits. These women and men represent a tremendous asset to our community and, as a leading community organization, LTA needs to commit to helping them reach their full potential, which promises to further elevate Tampa.   

It is my priority to enhance the value proposition for all our LTA members.  Whether a member finds value in gaining more knowledge about the community and access to community leaders, or enhancing professional development or business by expanding and cultivating a robust network, or simply by helping others through community service, I strongly believe LTA provides a superlative platform for realizing that value. 

If you are a graduate of Leadership Tampa and have not joined LTA, I personally welcome you to join us so you can discover the same value that I have found through my experiences.

If you have thought about Leadership Tampa, now is the time.  Applications will be available soon and we invite you to attend an Information Session in April to find out what you need to know to apply for the Leadership Tampa Class of 2017.

LT 2016: Health Care Day

by Brian Harris, Akerman, LLP



On January 13, 2016, the Leadership Tampa Class of 2016 got a firsthand look into the state of heath care in Tampa.  We started at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel with a presentation by Denyse Bales-Chubb, President and CEO of Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. Already an impressive facility, Florida Hospital was built with expansion in mind.  As the needs of the region have grown, so too will the hospital.  The hospital is in the middle of an expansion that will double the size of its patient rooms, operating rooms and emergency rooms.  The grand opening for the new additions is currently scheduled for December 2016.

One of the interesting things that we learned is that the success of Florida Hospital is due in no small part to its mission, which is to provide a higher level of patient engagement and care.  Florida Hospital seeks doctors and staff who want to be truly engaged in all aspects of patient care.  Part of this mission is visible in its Creation Health program, which focuses on choice, rest, environment, activity, trust, interpersonal relationships, outlook and nutrition.  We concluded our outing to Florida Hospital in Wesley Chapel with a tour of its 50,000 sq ft. health and wellness facility.  The facility is one way that the Florida Hospital engages the community to focus on total wellness.  It includes a state-of-the-art fitness facility and aquatic center, and it has programs which focus on healthy eating, stress management, physical conditioning and weight management.  It also offers a variety of educational programs and seminars on healthy living.

Next, it was on to Moffitt Cancer Center.  To say Moffitt is impressive would be an understatement.  It is a $1 billion organization housed in a two million sq. ft. facility.  It has over 5,000 team members and provides cutting edge cancer treatment.  It is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center based in Florida and is one of only 45 in the entire country.  Moffitt sees 15,000 new patients per year and more than 320,000 total patient visits.  Approximately 300,000 sq. ft. of the facility and a yearly budget of $60 million is devoted to research.  There are 155 faculty members and 700 staff fellows.

We started with a briefing from Dr. Thomas Sellers, Director, Cancer Center and Moffitt Research Institute, Executive Vice President, on some of the cancer research that is being done at Moffitt.  Following that introduction, we were treated to an in depth lecture on Integrated Mathematical Oncology by Drs. Robert Gatenby and Alexander Anderson.  I wish I could say that I followed every word of their lecture, but ….  Seriously though, they did a great job breaking down a very complicated topic in a manner in which even we could understand.  They are developing complex models to describe cancer growth and treatment, but they are not focusing on just the cancer itself.  The important part of their work is not looking at the cancers in isolation but in the context of how cancers interact with various systems and processes of the body.  We often hear of cancer research in the abstract, but now we have some idea of the complex work that is being done in this field.

As with every class day, lunch is another opportunity to learn.  We heard a distinguished panel discuss current health care issues.  The panel with moderated by Mary Shedden (News Director WUSF) and included Randall Woods (Senior Director of Sales Florida Blue West Region), Dr. Edmund Funai (COO and Vice President for Administration, USF Health), Dr. Margarita Cabrera-Cancio (Infectious Disease Associates of Tampa Bay), Lorraine Lutton (President, St. Joseph’s Hospital) and Yvette Tremonti (Executive Vice President and CFO, Moffitt Cancer Center).  If there was any question of the importance of health care to the state and country, we learned that over 30% of Florida’s budget is spent on Medicaid, and 20% of the United States GDP is spent on health care.  This was a great opportunity to learn more about this important issue and pose some tough questions to the panel members.

After lunch the class traveled downtown to the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS).  If you have ever wondered where doctors and other medical professionals train and keep their skills up to date, it is here.  This facility provides a variety of different medical simulations that allow doctors to practice and learn in a manner that is as close to possible to working on actual patents.  Several of our class members tried their hand at delivering babies, minimally invasive surgery and trauma care.  Needless to say, it’s not easy and nobody from the class is going to be moonlighting at one of our local hospitals.  In addition to training, CAMLS also provides a facility where doctors and others can work on developing the next generation of medical devices, from initial concept and creation of prototypes through to final products.

The day ended with an informative presentation by Debbie Rinde-Hoffman who is the director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at Tampa General Hospital.  We learned about the current state of organ transplants and the great work that her team is doing right here in Tampa.  And if that were not enough, we concluded with an inspirational testimonial from Melissa Ranieri who’s own son received a life-saving transplant.

While we have no doubt that the day just scratched the surface on health care, it was exciting to learn about all the great facilities, state of the art treatment and cutting edge research going on right here in Tampa.  We are truly lucky to have all these resources in our community.


Tampa Area Business Leaders To Gather in Support of Lowering Florida’s Business Rent Tax

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2016) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Business Rent Tax Coalition, will host a press conference on Thursday, February 4, in Tampa with local business leaders to call on state legislators to cut Florida’s business rent tax.

• Bob Rohrlack, President & CEO, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
• Andrew Smith, Owner, Salt Pines
• Mike Griffin, Senior Managing Director, Transaction Management, Savills Studley Occupier Services
• Kimberlee DeBosier, Vice President, JMT
• Greg Blosé, Grassroots Development and Engagement Manager, Florida Chamber of Commerce

WHAT: Florida Chamber of Commerce and Business Rent Tax Coalition Press Conference

Salt Pines
1619 W Snow Circle
Tampa, FL 33606

WHEN: February 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

After the press conference, Business Rent Tax Coalition members will walk door-to-door to hear from local businesses on how Florida’s business rent tax has affected their competitiveness and ability to hire new talent.  

Media are invited to attend and should RSVP to Kassie Elekes at

Policy & Transportation Digest

By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce


Moffitt part of White House’s “moonshot” to cure cancer: Executives with Moffitt Cancer Center were in Washington Thursday as President Obama signed a memorandum creating a White House task force on cancer. The effort will be led by Vice President Biden, who called for a “moonshot” to cure cancer by marshalling all levels of government, similar to the efforts to put a man on the moon in the 1960s. Moffitt director Dr. Thomas Sellers contacted Biden’s office in November, following Biden’s announcement that he wanted to take on cancer research following the death of his son Beau to brain cancer. Biden has already made an impact by securing from Congress a $264 million increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute. He also mentioned working with Moffitt during his appearance at the Davos World Economic Forum.

Legislature releases budget proposals: The Florida House and Senate each released their budgets Friday. The Senate has the largest of the two budgets, proposing $80.9 billion. The House is at $79.9 billion. The Senate would increase public school spending by 3-percent, and is slightly larger than Gov. Rick Scott’s and the House’s proposal. Rep. Dana Young has submitted the request for USF’s Morsani College of Medicine downtown campus, which was one of the few requests that survived the Governor’s veto pen last year. The Senate budget would also use general revenue funds for healthcare to offset losses from the reduction of funds from the federal Low Income Pool.

Ridesharing bills on collision course in capitol: The Florida House passed legislation 108-10 that would prevent local authorities from regulating ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber. It would also set minimum insurance requirements for ridesharing companies. The Florida Senate would also create minimum insurance requirements, but local authorities could still regulate service providers, which is opposed by ridesharing companies.

Miami & Orlando building the projects Tampa Bay dreams of: As Tampa Bay drivers endure the final year of 275’s reconstruction, driving to Orlando and Miami would reveal a future beyond the interstate. Both of those seats are embarking on major highway and transit projects in 2016. In Orlando’s case, the second anniversary of SunRail means extensions on both ends of the line, and the associated transit oriented development. Miami Beach is pushing forward on a rail link to the mainland, while All Aboard Florida’s service from Miami to Orlando moves closer to reality.

In Tampa Bay, there is optimism we could have the same thing in 2040. But, Tampa Bay is moving ahead with a regional transit fare system, and a new way to get from the mainland to Clearwater Beach.

“Boundless” promotes Florida’s business climate: Enterprise Florida released Florida: The Future Is Here as the state’s new business campaign. Each advertisement is a play on “boundless”: boundless markets, boundless innovation. More are available at

Military Appreciation Banquet: Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks! Registration is now open for corporate tables and individual tickets. We are over 90% capacity and will sell out!

Join us as we honor those who serve in our community, and defend our nation. Visit our website for more information, and to purchase tickets.

Leadership Tampa Alumni Honors John A. Brabson, Jr. with Parke Wright III Award

Brabson PictureTampa, Fla. – John A. Brabson, Jr. received the 2015 Parke Wright, III Award from Leadership Tampa Alumni at the group’s annual meeting on January 28. Established in 2002, the award is presented annually to a member of Leadership Tampa Alumni who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and made a significant difference in the Tampa Bay community.

Brabson spent much of his career with Peoples Gas System, Inc. He was elected Executive Vice President in 1982, President in 1985 and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in 1989. He served as Chairman of the Board of Lykes Bros, Inc. from September 1996 until 2001 and has been a member of that board since 1977. Lykes Bros. is a large privately owned agricultural based company headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

His past board affiliations include; American Cancer Society, American Gas Association, American Gas Cooling Center (chairman 1996-97), Council of 100, Florida Land Council, Outback Steakhouse (1992-2007), Southern Gas Association (chairman 1993-94), St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation (chairman 1994-97), Tampa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Tampa Bay Partnership (chairman 1998-99), Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA, Tampa Community Foundation (past chair), and United Way of Tampa Bay (chairman 1996).

Brabson is currently the Chairman of the Board of Tampa General Hospital and on the board of Lykes Bros. Inc. He is a 1977 graduate of Leadership Tampa and a Leadership Tampa Alumni member.

He is a graduate of Harvard Advanced Management Program and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina.



Policy & Transportation Digest

By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce


Governor approves Legislature’s priorities; would also like his approved: Gov. Rick Scott signed into law the legislature’s priorities this week: the House’s water bill, and the Senate’s intellectually disabled programs bill. The Governor continued his push for $1 billion in tax cuts, and $250 million for Enterprise Florida incentives. The Senate is backing EFI funding, but tax cuts will be competing with healthcare for a share of the state’s surplus. The House will try to accomplish the Governor’s tax cut goal.
Film incentives could be part of the Senate’s incentive package. The lack of state film incentives has gained notoriety in Tampa, following the decision to film the Ybor City scenes of the movie “Live By Night” in Georgia.
275’s present and future in the news: Interstate 275’s reconstruction between Westshore and Downtown Tampa is within a few months of completion. But, the interim realignment has led to long backups on northbound 275 that were not anticipated. The issue should be fixed in a few weeks, and the entire reconstruction should be done by Fall 2016.
Following the completion of the 275 rebuild, FDOT is planning express lanes in the median of 275 and I-4. Called Tampa Bay Express (TBX), the lanes would be tolled, and give drivers an option between congested general use lanes and the express lanes. This week, the US Public Interest Research Group called TBX a “highway boondoggle.” Those who are opposed to TBX want the $3.3 billion plan used for improved transit, while FDOT says TBX will make transit possible in the interstate corridors.
Computer, you can drive my car: The USDOT announced a $4 billion plan for “accelerating the development and adoption” of automated vehicles and connected vehicle infrastructure. There is a race between the regulations needed for automated vehicles, and the engineering that makes them possible. It’s more likely that the technology “may get here before we’re ready.”
The University of Michigan released a study this week confirming what many suspected: there are less new drivers, compared to previous generations. For Tampa, that could mean more automated vehicles, or an urgent need for mass transit. Either way, this song might become outdated.
Military Appreciation Banquet: Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks! Registration is now open for corporate tables and individual tickets.
The 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet will showcase our servicemen and women. Join us as we honor those who serve in our community, and defend our nation. Visit our website for more information, and to purchase tickets.

Policy & Transportation Digest

By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce


Uber is rolling, or not rolling: Ridesharing legislation this week took another step to the State House floor when the House Economic Affairs Committee approved a bill that would allow companies like Uber to operate in Florida. Ridesharing companies would be subject to stronger insurance requirements, but not the same background checks as taxi drivers. The bill also would allow state regulations to override local regulations. Despite the early success of the bill, it has no Senate companion.

Earlier this week in downtown Tampa, Uber drivers protested recent rate cuts. Driver rates have gone from $1.80 per mile to $0.65 per mile in the last 16 months. At one point, an Uber user would have pulled up the app in downtown Tampa and found no cars available, due to the protest.  

Editorial – Build the Gandy connector: In an editorial published today, the Tampa Bay Times backed the concept of an elevated highway in the median of Gandy Blvd., connecting the Selmon Expressway to the Gandy Bridge. The Gandy connector would serve the nearly 40% of drivers that use Gandy as a pass-through. The Times argues that the connector’s regional scope is valuable, and it could be built in a manner that improves the pedestrian experience on Gandy Blvd.

St. Pete continues their legacy of supporting Tampa Bay Baseball: By a 5-3 vote, the St. Petersburg City Council approved an agreement that would allow the Tampa Bay Rays to look for a new stadium outside St. Pete, including Tampa and Hillsborough County. The vote breaks a stalemate that has lasted since 2009. The vote was a reminder of another St. Pete City Council decision in favor of Tampa Bay Baseball: the 1986 council vote to build what would become Tropicana Field.

MacDill has a chance at new tankers: MacDill Air Force Base is one of several bases that could host 36 new KC-46 air refueling tankers by 2020, according to Rep. Kathy Castor. The current tankers at MacDill were built in the 1950s. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited MacDill on Thursday.

Military Appreciation Banquet: Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks! Registration is now open for corporate tables and individual tickets.

This year’s keynote speaker is Vincent Jackson, of the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For his work with military families, Vincent is a 2015 NFL Man of the Year nominee.

The 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet will showcase our servicemen and women. Join us as we honor those who serve in our community, and defend our nation. Visit our website for more information, and to purchase tickets.