Chamber Celebrates Annual Meeting

Click here to view the full-size program.

On Thursday, December 15, we marked our 126th anniversary at our Annual Meeting. More than 650 attendees celebrated our 2011 achievements. 2010/2011 Chamber Chair Chuck Sykes of Sykes Enterprises Incorporated passed the gavel to 2012 Chair Chuck Black of Black & Black Consulting Services.

Black offered a preview of the Chamber’s priorities in 2012 which include focusing on MacDill Air Force Base, downtown Tampa, education, jobs and working with our partners to build a brand for the Tampa Bay region. The city for the Chamber’s 2012 Benchmarking Visit was also announced – Baltimore, Maryland. Black also introduced the Chamber’s 2012 Executive Committee Members.

In addition, we presented the 2011 H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award to A. Gerald Divers. The award, established in 1997 by Leadership Tampa Alumni, a program of the Chamber, is presented annually to recognize an individual whose leadership made a positive impact within the greater Tampa community.

CEO of the Bank of Tampa, Divers co-chaired the original capital campaign for the new Tampa Museum of Art and served as its president. He served as past President of Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, past Chairman of the Southwest Florida Blood Drive and past Chairman of The Spring of Tampa Bay. Under his leadership, the Bank of Tampa has given both time and money to over 150 local organizations.

For more information on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, please visit or check out the event program!

Member Spotlight: Hampton Inn Westshore & Hyatt Place Westshore

Sister Properties Working as One

The Hampton Inn Tampa Westshore and the Hyatt Place Tampa Westshore, both managed by Pillar Hotels and Resorts are hotels working together to bring an unforgettable experience for their guests. Located in the thriving Westshore District, the Hampton Inn offers 133 renovated rooms and the Hyatt Place offers 124 contemporary, spacious suites.
The newly renovated Hampton Inn Tampa Westshore offers all of the conveniences of the Hampton brand including  complimentary On The House hot breakfast each morning, Cloud Nine bedding experience, and the new Perfect Mix Lobby. The Hampton Inn also offers complimentary 24 hour shuttle within 3 miles of the hotel which includes Tampa International Airport, outdoor swimming pool, 24 hour fitness center and complimentary wireless internet throughout the hotel. For a comfortable guest room at a superior value, please visit to make your reservation today.
The Hyatt Place Tampa Westshore is a new kind of Hyatt designed for you. Each spacious suite includes 42” flat panel HDTV with the Hyatt Plug Panel for connecting your laptop or personal media devices, Hyatt Grand Bed, Cozy Corner Sectional sofa-sleeper and complimentary wireless internet. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning , 24/7 dining options, and wine or beer in the Galley. The Hyatt  Place Westshore also offers flexible meeting space for your company or social event with unique food and beverage options. Visit the Hyatt Place at  to find out more details about this unique and exciting hotel.
Both hotels are located conveniently in the Westshore Business District only minutes from two shopping plazas, numerous dining options, the Tampa International Airport, and Raymond James Stadium. An easy drive will also take you to the Port of Tampa, Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico Beaches. For any of your hotel needs, please contact the sales staff for more information.

Rep. Bilirakis to Host Employment Fair December 6

On Tuesday, December 6, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09) will again be hosting a FREE Employment Fair, which will provide job-seekers with an opportunity to meet with potential employers in the Tampa Bay area. The fair will be held at Spartan Manor at 6121 Massachusetts Avenue in New Port Richey.

“At a time when so many people in our community are in need of employment, it’s imperative that they are put in touch with those businesses and employers that are hiring, and these fairs provide that opportunity,” Bilirakis said.

Nearly two dozen local businesses and employers will be on hand to meet with those seeking careers. Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally, bring resumes and be prepared for potential interviews.

For more information, call 727.773.2871. Visit for a confirmed list of participating employers.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Avenue, New Port Richey, FL 34653
MEDIA: Reporters, Cameras permitted. Media RSVP to Creighton Welch at 202.225.5755

NOTE: On Friday, December 10, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bilirakis will also be hosting a free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop. Given the current downturn in the housing market, many families are insecure about their most important investment and this workshop will bring together leaders in home finance to aid families and individuals in navigating these uncertain times. It will be held at Mitchell High School, 2323 Little Road, New Port Richey.

Got advertising dollars to spend? Advertise with the Chamber!

If you’re looking for a great way to get the word out about your company, consider advertising with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. We have several on-going advertising opportunities available:

2012 Location Guide
Our location guide is distributed to members, individuals looking to relocate to the Tampa Bay area and those seeking more information about our local economy, business and industry, arts, healthcare, education and local neighborhoods. Advertising in our guide allows companies to make a great initial impression to new residents and visitors. Tampa Bay is truly a great place to work, live, play and stay – don’t miss this opportunity to market your company’s message to an engaged audience.

Time is running out to secure a prime space! The back cover and inside back cover are still available, along with a wide-array of sizes for the inside of the magazine.

For more information about advertising in the 2012 Location Guide, download the spec sheet or contact Felicia Harvey, Director of Communications.

Electronic Advertising
Semi-Weekly Newsletters
The Chamber’s two weekly electronic newsletters are sent to representatives from our 1600 member companies, as well as nearly 500 non-members, for a total distribution of over 6,500. The Chamber offers one banner ad per month, per issue as an advertising opportunity to only Chamber members.

• eView focuses on both Chamber and member news and is released on Thursdays.
• Events highlights the Chamber’s upcoming events and is released on Tuesdays.

Website Advertising
Advertising on the Chamber website is a cost effective way to market your business to thousands of visitors each month. The Chamber offers one banner ad per month on each of our most visible pages:

About Tampa
Chamber Events
Chamber Programs
Business Resources
Business Advocacy
Your Chamber

For more information about newsletter or website advertising, download the spec sheet or contact Brianna Faulkner, Graphic Designer. You can also view the newsletter archives on our website.

To read more about these advertising opportunities, please download our 2012 Media Kit.

Bolts of Brilliance with the Tampa Bay Lightning

Join the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa and Presenting Sponsor AT&T on Tuesday, November 8 at the St. Pete Times Forum for our Annual Tampa Bay Lightning event!

Go behind the net with Tampa Bay Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke, Head Coach Guy Boucher, Center Steven Stamkos and other Lightning players for autographs and a panel discussion.

In addition to Stamkos, you’ll be able to meet and get autographs from:

  • Center Dominic Moore
  • Right Wing Teddy Purcell
  • Center Nate Thompson
  • Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron
  • Defenseman Matt Gilroy

Get the jump in leadership and mentoring and face-off with players and executives while gaining their insights and the keys to success.

Cost to attend is $35 for all Emerge and Young Professional group members or $45 for all others. Registration and networking begin at 5:45 p.m. and the program will run from 7 to 8 p.m. Afterwards, join Emerge Tampa and community leaders for a power play of networking and celebration at the new Bud Light party deck.

For more information or to register, visit or call 813.276.9448.

Member Spotlight: United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service delivers more than just mail. We offer training opportunities and assistance to anyone who wants to learn more about using the mail for cost-effective business growth. Whether you’re a small or large business owner looking for training in direct mail, a mail professional looking for workshops and certification, or you’d like to join the greater community of business mailers, we’re here to help.

Postal Customer Council® (PCC)
Your local PCC is a great way to get training, stay on top of mail innovations, and work hand-in-hand with local Post Offices™ to develop more effective, efficient, and profitable mailings. Visit for more information.

Simplified Mailing
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the U.S. Postal Service makes Direct Mail easier and less costly for local businesses. With EDDM, you can target specific areas in your local market without the need of a mailing list. And since you don’t have to buy customer addresses or pay to have names and addresses printed on your mailpieces, EDDM can save you time and money! For information contact Patricia Meredith or visit

Self Service Ship and Mail Centers are available in Tampa at the following locations:
Carrollwood Branch
Ehrlich Branch
Forest Hills Station
Main Office Window Unit
New Tampa Station
Peninsula Station
Temple Terrace Branch
Town N Country Branch

Our various community-minded programs help foster community spirit, while educating and supporting worthwhile causes. The United States Postal Service helps America connect in more ways than just the mail. Whether it’s finding missing children, fundraising stamps, or bone marrow donor programs, USPS gets involved – in your community and nationwide. Keep informed about USPS activities such as our Stamp Out Hunger food drive and how our employees act as local heroes. We deliver more than mail to you – we deliver community service.

Tampa Wins National League of Cities Award for Afterschool Programs, Celebrates Lights on Afterschool Day Oct. 20

Celebrating the Importance of Afterschool Programs TAMPA, FL (Oct. 20, 2011) – The National League of Cities has named Tampa one of the 27 most advanced cities in the U.S. for its efforts to coordinate afterschool opportunities for children and youth. The announcement is the result of a research report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation and published by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families.

Other cities include Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, the only other Florida city represented. Six key elements identified by the Wallace Foundation as essential for building sustainable, coordinated afterschool systems include:  committed leadership, a public or private coordinating entity, multi-year planning, reliable information, expanding participation, and a commitment to quality. 

The honor came as Tampa and Hillsborough County out-of-school programs took part in the nationwide Afterschool Alliance 12th Annual Lights On Afterschool rallies the afternoon of Oct. 20. The local rallies – held at Boys & Girls Clubs, schools, parks and recreation locations, and faith-based and other providers – brought attention to afterschool programs, which have suffered recent budget cuts across the country.  As part of the “Lights On” rallies the Suntrust Building in Tampa was fully lit the evening of Oct. 20.

“Afterschool programs inspire children to learn, keep kids safe and allow parents to work,” said Bobbi Davis, resource development manager at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, head of the Hillsborough Out-of-School Time committee and an ambassador with the Afterschool Alliance. Davis secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, the only federal afterschool funding in the country, which goes through the Children’s Board to benefit three Tampa Boys & Girls Clubs.

For more information about the National League of Cities announcement and the complete list of winners, click here.  For more information about the Afterschool Alliance Lights On Afterschool initiative, click here.

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County serves as the leading voice and advocate for children and families in our community. The board is the only organization of its kind in Hillsborough County that generates revenue to help children and families. The Children’s Board is recognized nationally for its contributions to best practices in policies and programs aiding children and families. Citizens may visit to learn more about the board’s programs.

Keiser University Celebrates 35 Years and Not-for-Profit Status

Keiser University, which celebrates 35 years of successfully providing career-focused education, will provide another $1 million in new scholarships in honor of its transition to not-for-profit status. The regionally accredited independent university received final approval from the Department of Education to complete its transition to not-for-profit status this summer. To mark the occasion, the university will provide $1 million in new scholarship funds and hold events at its campuses throughout Florida.

Keiser University serves nearly 18,000 students on 15 campuses, employing over 3,000 staff and faculty. The university is Florida’s leading statewide provider of career-focused, post-secondary education and is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Join Keiser University at the 5002 W. Waters Ave. campus on October 19 at 6 p.m.  to celebrate their 35th year serving Florida!

The transition to a not-for-profit university marks the multi-decade vision of the Keiser team to provide an educational legacy for future generations of students and graduates in the state and nation.

RSVP to (use event code KU35) or by calling Ashley Brewer at 813.885.4900.

Volunteers Inspire Hillsborough County 8th Graders

More than 200 volunteers stepped back into the classroom today to help inspire 8th graders in Hillsborough County during our annual Diploma-See Initiative. Participants who sign on to present Junior Achievement‘s Economics for Success may be business people, company employees, educators, parents, students or community leaders.

The objective? Share personal work and life experiences which reinforce the importance of staying in school.

Here’s a peek at some of the happenings at Franklin, Ferrell and Young Middle Schools. For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Couldn’t Make it to SBOY? Check out the photos!

Just in case you couldn’t attend our Annual Small Business of the Year Awards banquet on September 16, we’re happy to share some photos from the evening! Visit our Facebook page to see more.