Member Highlights: February 22 – 28, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

USF to Name its School of Accountancy to Honor Long-time Donor

150217-accountancy-pippenger-callout-mThe University of South Florida announces that its School of Accountancy will be named for Lynn Pippenger, a long-time donor and supporter. The change was made official the morning of Feb. 17 by a vote of the USF Board of Trustees. The Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy naming recognizes a new gift of $10 million from the retired Raymond James executive, whose total giving to the USF Muma College of Business exceeds $21 million.

This announced gift is part of the $1 billion USF: Unstoppable Campaign. Including a prior gift of $1 million to USF Health, Pippenger’s overall contributions to the USF System are more than $22.5 million.

The retired accountant and financial services executive’s first gift to USF was in 1986. This latest generous gift isn’t the end of her support — she fully intends to continue to support USF and the school that helped her as she built her career.

“It is been something I have thought about for more than 20 years,” Pippenger said. “I just finally decided to speak up.” Read more…

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Stageworks Theatre Audition Notice for Ain’t Misbehavin’Stageworks Call for Submissions: 10-minute Plays Set in Tampa Bay

AUDITION NOTICE: Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Stageworks Theatre

Directed by Erica Sutherlin

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a Drama Desk and Tony award winning musical revue, a tribute to African American musicians of the 1920s and ’30s who were part of the Harlem Renaissance.

Saturday February 28th, 12-6 pm

Call backs are scheduled for Sunday March 1st in the evening.

Appointments required.  Email:

Location of Auditions:

Stageworks Theatre
1120 East Kennedy Blvd
Grand Central Bldg West – 1st Floor
Tampa FL 33602

Rehearsals begin April 7th and will be weekday evenings and some weekends. Performances are May 1-24.


3 female African American singer/dancer/actors with vibrant energy and powerful stage presence.

2 male African American singer/dancer/actors with vibrant energy and powerful stage presence.


Please prepare a 1 minute monologue and and 32 bars of a era-appropriate song (1920s-1930s)

Please bring a current headshot and resume.

Stageworks Theatre is accepting submissions of 10-minute stage plays set in Tampa Bay, for our annual TampaWorks festival.

Scripts must be in standard playwriting format, 10 pages maximum. Any subject or style, but the setting must be located in the Tampa Bay area.

Submissions should be directed to Karla Hartley, Producing Artistic Director at

The deadline for submissions is March 31.

Selected plays will be produced as part of TampaWorks, onstage at Stageworks Theatre with the Gorilla Theatre’s Young Dramatists Project, June 11-21.

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Englander Fischer LLP Seeking Rainmaker/Complementary Law Group

Englander Fischer is expanding.  We seek rainmakers and Law Groups in disciplines that complement our existing firm strengths and add value to our core creed of providing big firm expertise with boutique client service. We are a robust collegial practice that engages in Courageous Professionalism, continuing to build on a 25 year reputation of excellence in the Tampa Bay commercial arena.   Offering a robust platform to expand existing practice areas with seasoned and stunning AV colleagues, ideal candidates will possess experience and a solid and portable book of business.  Complementing practice areas include Construction, Government, Health Care, Labor and Employment, Professional Malpractice, Real Estate & Finance, Securities or Tax.

Confidential Inquiries should be directed to Evelyn Delgado COO @ or 727-898-7210

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Member Events

March 2 – District 3 Hosts “A Movie & Music” Every Monday

District 3

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March 13 – The Poynter Institute Hosts “Race & America: Examining Media’s Coverage of Social Justice Issues”


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March 27 – Tampa Bay Storm Business Professional Night

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New Hires & Promotions

Real Estate Attorneys Derek Houston, Amanda Taylor Join Adams and Reese St. Petersburg Office

Adams and Reese is pleased to announce the addition of real estate attorneys Derek Houston and Amanda Taylor as Special Counsel in the Firm’s St. Petersburg office. Houston and Taylor are both recent former shareholders from the Trenam Kemker St. Petersburg office, and they also formerly worked for Holland and Knight.

“We are very excited to add both Derek and Amanda to our real estate practice,” said David Bernstein, Adams and Reese Real Estate Practice Group Leader and a Partner in the St. Petersburg office. “Their transactions and litigation work in the real estate field is extensive and impressive in retail, lending, land use, zoning and several other important industry matters, and their practices will benefit clients not only throughout Florida, but across our Firm’s regional footprint.”

Rick Flowers, Partner in Charge of the Adams and Reese St. Petersburg Office and also a Partner in real estate law, added: “Derek and Amanda are heavily involved and well-vested in leadership positions for various organizations in the St. Petersburg community, and they will be tremendous assets to our office and to our Firm.”

Houston-Derek-hsDerek Houston has practiced since 2004 and focuses his legal practice on lending, commercial real estate and real estate development transactions and construction contracting. Houston is a former co-chair of the Real Property Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association, and a current active member of the Legal Opinions Committee of Florida Bar’s RPPTL Section, Real Estate Investment Council of Tampa Bay, International Council of Shopping Centers, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association, UF Bergstrom Center Real Estate Council, the National Association of Development Companies, the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and Florida Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. He is a graduate of both Leadership St. Petersburg and Leadership Tampa Bay.

In the community, he is the President-Elect and a member of the Executive Committee of the Suncoasters of St. Petersburg, Inc.; he is a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, and he is on the Public Private Partnership Working Group and membership committee of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the advisory board of Tampa Bay Watch, ESPN’s /BitCoin St. Petersburg Bowl and First Night St. Petersburg.

Houston received his J.D. in 2004 from Loyola University School of Law, and he earned his B.S. in 1998 from Auburn University.

Taylor-Amanda-hsAmanda Taylor has practiced law since 2005 and focuses on land use, zoning, real estate development, agricultural and environmental law along with commercial litigation focused on real estate and banking. She has been named among the Florida Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars in Business Litigation and Real Estate Law.

A native of Florida, Taylor earned her J.D., magna cum laude, in 2005, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She earned her B.S. in animal science, in 2002, from the University of Florida.

Taylor is an active member of The Real Estate Investment Council, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, International Council of Shopping Centers and UF Bergstrom Center Real Estate Council. She is a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources and currently serves on The Wedgworth Alumni Association Board of Directors. She is also a graduate of Leadership St. Petersburg.

In the community, she is a member of All Children’s Hospital Foundation Development Council, and the Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg. For the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Amanda serves as co-chair of the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan Task Force, co-chair of the Public Private Partnership Working Group, and serves on the public policy and membership committees.

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Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs Welcomes Catherine Carver and Mark Hays

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm headquartered in Tallahassee, welcomes Catherine Carver and Mark Hays to the firm.

Catherine CarverA graduate of Valdosta State University, Catherine graduate summa cum laude with her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance.  Originally from Atlanta, she moved to Tallahassee to pursue her career with Thomas Howell Ferguson, where she will serve as a Staff team member in the Assurance Services Department.  The Assurance Services Department serves the specialized needs of a variety of clients across multiple industry groups to include insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental clients.

Mark HaysAlthough a native of Boca Raton, Mark moved to Tallahassee at age four.  He graduated from Chiles High School and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and Master of Taxation degrees from Florida State University.  Prior to working at Thomas Howell Ferguson, Mark volunteered with the United Way’s BEST project, helping individuals with their tax returns.

At THF, Mark will work as a Staff team member in the Tax Services Department providing an innovative and creative approach to furnishing tax services for all size clientele.

Both Catherine and Mark will be sitting for their CPA exam in the next year.

To be the valued resource that our clients have grown to expect requires a diverse group of professionals such as Catherine and Mark, each with their own interests and skillsets.

Thomas Howell Ferguson welcomes Catherine and Mark to the THF team!

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Laser Spine Institute Promotes Lisa Melamed to Vice President/Corporate Compliance Officer

Lisa MelamedLaser Spine Institute, the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, announced today that Lisa Melamed, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, has been promoted to Vice President/Corporate Compliance Officer. Melamed will oversee the company’s Compliance Department, a role that encompasses both organizational compliance and regulatory performance, including the detailed diligence of the company’s auditors and its other educational and audit activities.

Melamed joined Laser Spine Institute as Associate Counsel in June 2010, before being promoted to General Counsel in September 2012, and Vice President of Legal Affairs in March 2014.

“Lisa has served Laser Spine Institute well since her arrival, as evidenced by her continued growth within our leadership team,” said Bill Horne, Chief Executive Officer, Laser Spine Institute. “We’re excited to have her take on this new role, one that is of critical importance as the organization continues to grow across the country.”

Prior to joining Laser Spine Institute, Melamed served as the Vice President of Legal and Compliance for Horizon Bay Senior Communities in Tampa. Her legal background includes extensive litigation experience, with Melamed practicing law in both West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale before joining Laser Spine Institute in 2010.

Melamed received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami, her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and a Master’s Certificate in Healthcare Corporate Compliance from George Washington University.

For more information, visit

Laser Spine Institute Promotes Chris Knopik to Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel

Chris KnopikLaser Spine Institute, the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, announced today that Chris Knopik, Chief Trial Counsel, has been promoted to Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel. In his new role, Knopik will lead a team of staff attorneys and paralegals, overseeing all legal affairs for the organization, including corporate legal and litigation needs, insurance acquisition, licensing and credentialing.

Prior to joining Laser Spine Institute, Knopik founded and managed Knopik Deskins Law Group, a firm of trial lawyers in Tampa, Florida. Knopik has extensive experience in matters related to medical litigation, products liability litigation and commercial litigation, in both state and federal courts. In addition, he has served as national trial counsel for one of the world’s largest product manufacturers and defense trial counsel for three of Florida’s largest electric utilities.

“Chris is a well-accomplished attorney who brings a wealth of professionalism and knowledge to this role,” said Bill Horne, Chief Executive Officer, Laser Spine Institute. “His previous experience, both at Laser Spine Institute and in private practice, provides him with a unique perspective that makes our organization stronger.”

Knopik’s work has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, and he has been lauded in Florida Trend magazine as a member of “Florida’s Legal Elite” and the “Florida Trend Legal Elite’s Hall of Fame.” Additionally, Knopik has been selected as one of “Tampa’s Best Lawyers” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal each year since 2009. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Florida State University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Knopik is also active within the Tampa Bay community, serving as a member of Leadership Florida (Class XVIII) and a founding member and President (2005-2010) of the Board of Directors of Warrick Dunn Charities. He proudly served as a Big Brother in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hillsborough County, Florida, from 1984 until 1995 and was also a member of the Operational Oversight Committee of the Metropolitan YMCA of Hillsborough County (2003-2005) and its Board of Directors (1989-2003).

For more information, visit

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Member Accolades

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Earns Recognition at 2015 Keep America Beautiful National Conference

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful received top honors at the annual Keep America Beautiful (KAB) National Awards Dinner, held during the recent 2015 KAB National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful was recognized with the first place KAB Affiliate Award for its outstanding community improvement programs and for distinguishing itself as an exemplary affiliate organization in the greater than 200,000 population category.

“It’s my privilege to honor Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and celebrate its dedication in engaging volunteers to make its community vibrant,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Award-winning affiliates, such as Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, serve as a great inspiration in our national effort to keep America beautiful.”

Those efforts helped to initiate over 600 projects that planted 530 trees and 8,000 seedlings, flowers, and shrubs, and created more than 100 community green spaces and edible gardens throughout Hillsborough County.

”Our success is a direct reflection of the dedication of our volunteers, partners and sponsors who are committed to the environmental health of our community,” stated Debra Evenson, Executive Director of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

The KAB Affiliate Awards were open to all KAB affiliates for program activities during the 12-month period from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014 that help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. Established in 1953, KAB consists of a national network of more than 600 community-based affiliates whose programs, initiatives and efforts aim to transform public spaces into beautiful places.

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The American Hospital Association Exclusively Endorses Physician Leadership Training and Development Services from The Physician Leadership Institute

The American Hospital Association (AHA) announced today that it has exclusively endorsed Physician Leadership Training and Development Services from The Physician Leadership Institute™(PLI). AHA Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of the AHA, awards the AHA endorsement to products and services that help member hospitals and health care organizations achieve operational excellence.

Following a proprietary due diligence process, The Physician Leadership Institute™was identified as a leader in physician leadership training and development services. Hospitals are moving from a payment system that reimbursed for procedures performed to one where quality of care becomes the focus. Collaboration between physicians and hospitals is critical in such a transition, as hospitals need physicians to lead endeavors to increase efficiency, clinical quality and reduce cost. A recent study found that hospitals with the greatest clinician participation in management scored about 50 percent higher on important drivers of performance.(1) Many physicians, however, are typically not educated formally on collaborative leadership.

“The Physician Leadership Institute™ services stand apart for their exclusive focus on physician leadership development, which ensures a deep knowledge of hospital and physician challenges and trends,” said Anthony Burke, senior vice president of the AHA, and president and CEO of AHA Solutions, Inc. “PLI’s unique evidence-based, on-site customized approach to physician development results in physicians’ personal and professional growth, improved physician engagement and performance and long-term succession planning for hospitals.” PLI physician leadership programs range from assessment and coaching sessions to on-site Physician Leadership Academies and Fellowships designed to implement a lasting culture of leadership and protect physician productivity. A wide array of experts from academia, the military and business teach on-site, and coach physicians while working on real-life projects. Typical outcomes for participating physicians include: 133 percent improvement in the ability to lead others

  • 200 percent improvement in the ability to work in teams and with administrators
  • 350 percent in the ability to think strategically
  • 80 percent improvement in loyalty to the organization

“We are proud that the AHA has awarded its exclusive endorsement to our physician leadership training solutions,” said Mo Kasti, CEO and founder of The Physician Leadership Institute. “The AHA due diligence process will reduce time for hospitals to find a trusted partner that will help them with their physician engagement and leadership. Together, we can build bridges between physicians and administrators to better serve patients, achieve clinical and operational excellence, and transform the future of health care.”

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About Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.