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.

Chamber Presents Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award to Colleen Chappell

Colleen_retouched.jpg smaller for eViewColleen Chappell, president and CEO of ChappellRoberts, was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award, presented by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

As a premier business leader in Florida, Colleen was named both Tampa Bay’s Businesswoman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and University of South Florida’s School of Mass Communications Outstanding Alumnus. She and her team have been recognized as winners of the coveted international Gold Stevie Award for Management Team of the Year and the international Bronze Stevie Award for Business Services Female Executive of the Year. With a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of South Florida, Colleen is a Dale Carnegie graduate and accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America. She has served on the executive boards of the Tampa Bay Partnership, and the American Marketing Association Global Headquarters Professional Chapters Council. Most recently, she served as the Chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

The Woman of Influence Award recognizes a woman whose leadership has made a positive impact in Hillsborough County.  It pays tribute to an individual who exemplifies outstanding professional values; demonstrates the ability to go above and beyond the normal expectations of a leader; and serves as an inspiration to the community. Colleen Chappell received recognition during the Chamber’s annual Women of Influence Luncheon featuring Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc. and owner of the Colorado Rockies.


Member News 4/19/18 – 4/26/18

Member News

Member Accolades

Member Events

Member Job Openings

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 ’18 Tourism Day

Tourism as a Tampa Bay Economic Driver

By Chuck Tiernan, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay with Guest Roving Reporter Leah Millette, BayCare

Leadership Tampa ‘18’s Tourism Day on April 4th had a traveling feel to it thanks to the higher than usual number of stops, giving our class ample opportunity to “explore the upside of downtime.”

The large number of things to see appropriately aligns with the fact that tourism is Florida’s largest revenue source, according to Day Chair Jill Manthey (LT ’10).   Statewide, recent years have seen tourism records broken. With more than 116 million visitors to our state in 2017 (22.6 million in Hillsborough County alone) and over $111 billion in spending by guests in 2016, last year was the 6th straight record setting year ($3.4 billion in the county, according to Visit Tampa Bay).

The day started with a visit to Busch Gardens. President Stewart Clark filled the class in on many “hidden” features of the park, such as the fact that it is a full AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) Zoo in its own right with 300 species and a full animal care center. The park utilizes 4,000 pounds of food per day for its 12,000 animals.  There was a captivating truck safari around the Savannah area where we feed giraffes and took some AWESOME selfies!

While I was enjoying some upside-down time on the Cheetah roller coaster, roving reporter Leah Millette was in the animal care center where she met one of the zookeepers, Trevor and one of their four clinical veterinarians, Dr. Dominique.  They started their tour in the kitchen and discussed how animal nutrition is an important part of the care they provide to the animals.  They even had Dr. Heidi Bissell who on their team, is one of just 26 Zoo Nutritionists in the world. The Zookeeper Trevor introduced us to Vergo, a Ground Kus Kus from New Guinea and one of the animal ambassadors for Busch Gardens, because of how great he is with people. Next they moved to a viewing room to watch the clinical team in action working to remove a fish hook lodged in the stomach of a wild cormorant bird.  It was amazing to see the dedication that Busch Gardens has in taking care of not only the animals in their care but also the animals in the wild.

Finally, Leah reports that four clinical vets are on site at Busch Gardens 365 days per year,  which is a demonstration of their commitment to the health and rehabilitation of animals.

Unfortunately, we were not able to see the new squirrel exhibit since it was still under renovation.  Aw, nuts!

After leaving Busch Gardens, the class headed to the recently rebranded ZooTampa at Lowry Park – another AZA member. Of the 280ish nationwide, we have 2 in the Tampa area.  After another cool vehicle tour, we met the very endangered Painted Dogs and had an up close elephant talent demonstration. President & CEO Joseph Couceiro shared ZooTampa’s journey to rebrand as well as a look into their future as they seek to “inspire a culture” of caring about animals and their guest every day.  The zoo is one of just three sites statewide for emergency Manatee Care – one of dozens of surprising facts we learned about these community assets during the day.  Joe told us the story of an animal rescue for Walter, the Florida Panther who lost a paw in a trap.

While eating lunch at the zoo, Jason Carroll shared the perspectives of Friends of the Riverwalk, a community asset known to most of us fairly well but with interesting backstories….such as the monuments with the memorialized persons height. We all will stop by those a bit longer now. Admit it.  We also heard about the evolution of Tampa’s signature event, Gasparilla Parade/Festival from Maiken Stefany of Eventfest.  This 3-month celebration of Florida culture has grown into the largest child parade in the U.S., the largest pirate invasion in the U.S. (trumping Seattle and their Seafair Pirates), and the third largest pirate parade with about 500,000 spectators.  It also features the only fully rigged pirate ship for the invasion, built/launched in 1954.  For you accountants in our class, the pirate weekend alone is estimated to have a $22 million economic impact.

We also heard from our visitor bureaus from both sides of Tampa Bay, which offer vastly different amenities to guests to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.  With 21,000 and 38,000 rooms respectively, Tampa & St. Petersburg areas generate $84 million in “bed” taxes annually ($30m + $54m).  One fact that surprised me – Visit Tampa Bay isn’t allowed to spend money inside the county, so our Tampa airport only has Visit St. Pete/Clearwater advertising.  We heard interesting facts about the out-of-state markets for whom those entities collectively compete, including Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philly, Toronto and Boston. While Visit Tampa Bay takes advantage of the convention center to attract business guests for “BLeisure” travel, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater attracts 90% of its people for leisure days on the beautiful beaches, creating the necessity for 5% of their budget to be spent of “beach re-nourishment”. (Sounds like a good theme for a LT ’18 debriefing session!)

Next, Fresh off its 23rd birthday, The Florida Aquarium was next, and we took a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming 100,000 gallon habitat for sharks, coral and turtles among other sea creatures.  Thanks to Rick Waterhouse (Was he born to work in an aquarium, or what?) for the information on this 8-month project, which takes two different moves of sea life to facilitate.

Eric Blanc introduced us to the Tampa Convention Center and discussed the hotel industry surrounding the center with General Managers Ron McAnaugh and Jeff Weinthaler of Marriott Waterside & Embassy Suites.  A renovation for the convention center is gradually getting underway, including improved food service options and “look and feel” like carpeting, etc.  While the walking tour made it hard to take copious notes, it was fascinating to hear the scale of projects like light replacement in the Exhibit Hall.  There have been as many as 10,000 folks at the center for one event. Why wouldn’t tons of people come to one of the only convention centers in the U.S. with a navigable body of water adjacent to it?  The GMs also shared some of the upcoming plans for additional hotel facilities around town adding more capacity for a community already in demand.

Another surprise awaited us aboard the Yacht Star Ship. Friends and family awaited us for our third meal of the day out on the town (just like real tourists!) and a wonderful tour around the bay and channels during our very casual debrief session.

Many thanks to our sponsors Agentry Real Estate and NFM Lending for the day, as well as our Day Chairs and the hosts at the many guest friendly locations that make Tampa a wonderful place to live, work, play and visit.





LT ’18 Tampa International Airport & Economic Development Day

Rachel Feinman, Florida-Israel Business Accelerator

As someone who recently transitioned to a career that is focused on shining a bright light on innovation with a goal of stimulating economic development, I can say that I was truly inspired and, frankly, a little surprised by the creative ingenuity fueling the current pace of economic development in our awesome town.  It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, but creativity and a little chutzpah (look it up, people) are needed to stand out.

Tampa International Airport

We began Economic Development Day at Tampa International Airport or TPA (just never TIA or so we were told), and it was the perfect place to start. This particular Wednesday morning, the airport was bustling with all kinds of travelers. At a glance, it was clear there were tourists, business travelers, locals, tourists, foreigners, you name it, they were buzzing around TPA that morning.

We were shuttled through the airport hubbub and into the TPA conference room.  We were welcomed by some of the airport’s executive team, Kenneth Strickland (Director of Air Service Development and Research) and Al Illustrato (Executive Vice President of Facilities and Administration).

Al began his remarks with a video produced by the airport back in the 1960s, which revealed that our airport has been innovative and thinking creatively about how to improve the traveler experience at the airport for the past 80 some odd years.  Apparently, TPA was the first airport to implement the hub and spoke model and use the automatic people mover—both of which minimize the amount of time travelers need to walk with luggage and all from terminal to gate.  Al also unveiled details of the airport’s Master Plan, which is currently beginning Phase 2- the gateway development area and curbside expansion.  Phase 1 was the construction of the rental car center and updating the concessions within the terminal and airsides.  The focus with concessions was to include local restaurateurs—what a great way to showcase the best and brightest of our emerging culinary superstars.  Phase 3 will involve a new 16 gate airside that will accommodate the increasing amount of international travel to and from TPA.

As a Tampa native, I have always been impressed by how much better our airport is than EVERY other airport I have ever travelled to or through. There is no better indicator of this than the fact that 9 out of 10 times my checked luggage is looping around the conveyer belt before I even get to baggage claim. I was interested to learn that the baggage handlers are not TPA employees and are managed by the individual carriers rather than the airport.  How do they achieve such consistency and results across all the different airlines?  Well, a pizza party, of course!  TPA management understands that it is their responsibility to create the overall experience for the travelers coming through the airport.  For this reason, they motivate baggage handlers, TSA employees and other groups of individuals with awards, rewards and a healthy sense of competition.  Creative AND effective.

For Ken Strickland, it is clearly all about Big Data.  TPA is in lock step with many other industries in expanding its use of and reliance on data to achieve its goals.  Again, super innovative in the way they leverage this data to identify and recruit additional flights out of TPA is really cool.  I was particularly impressed to hear that we are successful in encouraging airlines to try new flights at TPA because our cost to operate for the carriers is much less expensive compared to other similarly situated airports.

We next went on a tour of TPA with a focus on the results of Phase 1 of the Master Plan—the Rental Car Center.  The space was well-designed, wonderfully lit and full of beautiful public art.  A key aspect of the Rental Car Center is the SkyConnect train, which can effectively transport passengers to and from the terminal.  We saw behind the scenes and heard directly from the TPA and Mitsubishi team members how they service and maintain these vehicles.  The airport is on the cutting edge of transportation in our market. They have the tracks and the plans waiting for integrated rail into the airport—it is just up to the rest of us to catch up!

Armature Works—The Heights

Sometimes innovation isn’t always about what is new and shiny.  Sometimes, it is about seeing opportunity in the old.  The team at Soho Capital quietly amassed a parcel of land approximately 50 acres along Hillsborough River for redevelopment.  The cornerstone of this redevelopment is Armature Works, which long sat abandoned and was previously slated for demolition on more than one occasion.  Thankfully for all of us, the Soho Capital team had the vision to reinvent this incredible space, tell the story of its history and reinvent it into something beautiful and useful.  The first part of this project to open to the Tampa public is the Heights Public Market, where we were fortunate to have lunch sitting outside along the Hillsborough River on a breezy and sunny March day.  It was one of those days that makes you feel almost guilty you get to live in such a beautiful place.  We dined on our choice of ramen, sushi burritos, house made barbeque, artisan pizza, and more.


After lunch we wondered over to Beck to hear from some of the leaders in the redevelopment of the Hillsborough River.  Speaking of creativity, the leaders of Beck were the true trailblazers in recognizing the potential of the Heights.  Mark House and his team built their space long before there were food halls, collective eateries, waterfront parks, craft breweries and art fairs abounding.

Adam Harden, Principal of Soho Capital, spoke to us in more detail about the vision for the Heights project and some of the trials and tribulations of completing a project as ambitious as the renovation and reinvention of the Armature Works.  His story about preserving the history was most impactful to me—it is important to keep in mind that sometimes development means honoring the past, not just building the new.

We were also fortunate to hear from Leroy Moore, Senior VP and COO for Tampa Housing Authority.   Mr. Moore reminded us that the Heights area has long been home to most.

Bob McDonough, Economic opportunity Administrator, City of Tampa, spoke with us briefly about the Mayor’s continued vision to make the river the center of the city.  The soon to open Julien B. Lane park is a true example of this vision and an amazing way to activate the other side of the river.

Hall on Franklin

It was a true pleasure to spend time at The Hall on Franklin for a coffee pick-me-up and an informal conversation with its ingenious founder, Jamal Wilson.  Jamal’s self-effacing style was genuine, but he is clearly an up and coming powerhouse in the Tampa dining scene.  Again, his combination of ingenuity and a new outlook resulted in what he claims is the first full service food hall in the country.  It makes perfect sense—all of the dining options you would want with waiter service to boot!  If only he can secure that pizza concept he claims is still missing from the Hall.  It will be a pleasure to watch his success as the concept undoubtedly expands to other regions.

Tampa Bay Rays 2020

We ended the day back at the Chamber offices for an engaging presentation by Ron Christaldi, Partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP.  He, together with Chuck Sykes, President and CEO of Sykes Enterprises, is taking the lead on engaging the private business community in an effort to secure funding and support for the new Tampa Bay Rays stadium.  Acknowledging the Tampa community’s limited tolerance for spending public dollars on the stadium development, the leaders of the Rays 2020 initiative are using innovative techniques to galvanize community support and build funds.  The Rays stadium will be transformative for the Ybor City neighborhood, and the design will be iconic and groundbreaking.

While it is true that we are still a town focused on economic development of the real estate variety, it was encouraging to see that an innovative spirit and risk-taking approach pervades this town’s most recent flurry of economic development.  I see big things for the future of Tampa Bay!

LT ‘18 Tallahassee

LaKisha M. Kinsey-Sallis, Johnson Jackson LLC

Recently, people from all different walks of life participated in the March for Our Lives to advocate for gun control. At the forefront of the march are teens from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who, in a little over six minutes, had their lives forever changed when a shooter killed 17 of their classmates.  Media outlets have described the march as one of the biggest youth protests since the Vietnam War and the largest single day protest in the history of the nation’s capital.

On the heels of this march, I write this blog post to recap those two days in February 2018, when LT ‘18 watched, not from a TV or some other remote means but up close and personal, these same students demonstrate on our state’s Capitol in a rally cry for legislative action. To be clear, this blog post is not about Parkland or its current impact on the political climate; there is a bigger theme at play here. On February 21st and 22nd, 2018, LT ‘18 had a front seat to what would lead to this historical moment and what has taken over the political scene in Florida and nationally.  This. Is. LT ‘18’s Tallahassee Retreat.

The Lead Up

It’s 7:00 a.m.  LT ‘18 traveled to Tallahassee joined by Joanne Sullivan (LT’91), Director of Community Relations, USF Health, who is a real trooper for embarking on this journey with us. Upon arrival in Tallahassee, LT ‘18 received greetings and a specific charge from Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Greater Tampa Camber of Commerce. That charge was for LT ‘18 to be engaged, to ask questions, and to be mindful of the Chamber’s efforts to strengthen its voice and create a strategic position to advance Vision 2026.  LT ‘18 accepted and tackled that challenge. Josh Baumgartner, the Chamber’s Senior VP of Strategy, reviewed the Chamber’s state legislative agenda and highlighted the guiding principles as the framework for that agenda. Workforce Development. Healthcare. Transportation. Business Economic Development. With that, LT ‘18 was off to watch the state political machine in motion.

The Main Event

Day 1 at the Capitol

 To set the stage for the days ahead, through a panel led by H. Lee Moffitt, LT ‘18 received a preview of the state legislative agenda from experienced fixtures in the state political landscape—Jan Gorrie, Darrick McGee, Mac Stipanovich, and Mark Walsh. Naturally, giving the timing of the Tallahassee trip, a significant portion of the panel talk centered around the Parkland shooting and how it had changed the direction of the legislative agenda. However, for Moffit, efforts to receive an increase in the distribution Moffit Cancer Center receives from Florida’s cigarette tax, were also an important aspect of this legislative session.  This became abundantly clear as Moffit reminded LT ‘18 of the impetus of what is now known as the #1 cancer hospital in the Southeast and Florida—the loss of his friends Joseph Lumia, Honorable George Edgecomb, and Judy Barnett to cancer. According to Moffit, it took him seven years to persuade the legislature to sway the cigarette tax distribution and now he was “at it again” because the Center is out of room and in need of expansion.

The shared perspective of the panel was that the Parkland tragedy was a “gamechanger”.  In fact, Moffitt commented that he couldn’t remember a time when the legislature acted as quickly as they were doing right then and there.  Stipanovich’s opinion was that the Parkland tragedy and what’s happening in state government is all about a measure of the gun culture in Florida and the strength of the NRA. According to him, there’s aura of being “untouchable” as it relates to the NRA and that there will only be some change if the NRA suffers some defeat. The lawyer in Stipanovich could not help but to take to task the argument that regulating guns would somehow impair the Second Amendment where there already exists restriction on guns as it relates to ex-felons, concealing weapons in Florida, etc.

The panel also discussed the idea that placing more guns in schools may be the solution.  Walsh shared his belief that schools are targeted for mass shootings because weapons are not allowed on campus. However, according to Walsh, there remains a shared belief that this restriction remains the best way to proceed and that bringing extra guns on campus will not help the situation. It’s his belief that the legislature will continue to back this notion.

The million-dollar question . . . how is Governor Scott going to respond to the call to action?  Well, according to McGee, it is going to take the Senate to lead the charge on proposing legislation to keep schools safe. He mentioned his thought that many members of the House  do not want to lose NRA funding and hope the issue will die down by the primaries. It was his thought that, because Governor Scott has his own money to support an election campaign, the call-to-action may not phase him much.  Stipanovich disagreed saying that what really happens in Florida on this issue depends on what happens on the national level; three weeks from now, he surmised, neither school safety, gun issues, nor mental illness will be an issue.  Walsh added that the NRA is as powerful as it is because of the strong number of voters who support its agenda and who turnout to vote.

Turning to the mental health piece that has also been a hot topic following the Parkland shooting, our very own Dean Julie Serovich shared that her program has been at the center of the discussion. According to the Dean, there has been a significant decline in coordinated mental health services even though 25% of the population experiences mental health issues. The Dean highlighted the fact that individuals who are mentally ill are more often times victims of a crime than they are the ones committing the crimes.  She ended by noting that her program has observed a “change” since 2016; there has been a increase in violent occurrences. On this issue, the panel appeared to agree that, while legislative action might result in more money targeted toward mental health as a result of Parkland, there was some concern that the money might not be directed to the agencies with expertise in addressing the issue.  As a final thought on the topic, Gorrie shared her thoughts that the Florida House has been an advocate for SafetyNet providers such as TGH and Moffitt whereas the Senate has taken a different approach by spreading money across all hospitals.

Speaking of funding, the panel shared their perspective on whether there is money available in Florida or nationally to take legislative measures to make schools safer.  Walsh stated that while we can expect to see some increase in K-12 funding by the end of the legislative session, that increase would not be enough to make an impact given the growth in the number of schools in Florida. Moffitt agreed stating that Florida’s budget is not keeping up the population, which he believes is putting a strain on the government’s ability  to fund certain causes like education.

#MeToo. The panel discussion would not complete without a discussion regarding the MeToo movement and the impact on state government. On that, the panel members who spoke on it primarily shared that there will be a lot of change in that area and that it was time for change. Before LT ‘18 moved on to the next activity, McGee directed LT ‘18 to keep an eye on the Constitution Revision Committee while Moffit directed LT ‘18 to be more informed and involved citizens in the legislative/political process.

After the informative panel discussion, LT ‘18 took on the Capitol. . . . literally. Our Day Chairs, Clint Shouppe and Merritt Martin, sent us off on a scavenger hunt that required us to reach out to (and in some cases, stalk, due to the competitive nature of LT ‘18) our local legislators and to explore the historic Capitol grounds.

Next, LT ‘18 enjoyed a presentation in the Florida Senate Chambers followed by greetings from Senator Dana Young (District 18). Senator Young provided LT ‘18 a preview into certain bills she filed this session including her bill to move 25 million from rail funds to TBARTA and a bill to ban fracking in Florida.  Regarding the first bill, Senator Young shared “it’s a big lift” but “it’s moving” along. With respect to the second bill, Senator Young mentioned that 77% of Hillsborough County residents live in areas where fracking is prohibited. According to her, Tampa is in a good legal position on the issue but she wanted to be sure to send a message that it’s not good for Florida. [Quick commercial break here . . . for anyone like me who is new to “fracking” . . . fracking or “hydraulic fracturing” is a drilling technique that involves shooting water and chemicals deep underground, breaking up rock to get at oil and natural gas that cannot be reached by typical drilling methods].

Senator Young also discussed other local issues impacting Florida politics including school safety, bikesharing, and teacher pay issues. On the Parkland shooting, Senator Young disclosed that the Senate had been in caucus trying to figure out what they could do.  Some bills or discussions have centered around increasing funds to pilot a mental health program in schools, placing more school resource officers in schools, and developing a process that allows a party to seek a protective order in instances where a person experiencing mental illness is in possession of a firearm.

The day ended with a reception at the Governor’s Club where LT ‘18 had the opportunity to host and network with members of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation, including Representative Sean Shaw, Senator Bill Galvano, Representative Jackie Toledo, Representative Ross Spano, and Senator Jeff Brandes. Because no LT ‘18 program day would be complete without a “debrief” of sorts, LT ‘18 capped off the night with dinner at the Township.

Day 2 at the Capitol

It’s the top of the morning.  LT ‘18 participated in a breakfast and briefing with political communications expert Sarah Bascom and political strategist, Steve Schale, on the present and future political scene.  Schale defined politics as “combustible” due to its back and forth nature in terms of who runs government—Republicans or Democrats.  He predicted that it will be that way for a while.  According to Schale, the signs are that the Democrats will have a good year in state and national elections . . . “the ‘blue wave’ is coming”, he said.  Bascom agreed, stating that while you cannot predict what will happen with any surety, she is hearing that the Democrats are poised to take on Republicans except in the House and the Senate on a national level.  Schale left LT ‘18 with his prediction that Former Vice President Joe Biden may make a bid for the presidency in 2020 and that the “showdown” will be between Biden and President Trump.

The two panelists ended their presentation with the following recommendations to LT ‘18 for connecting with legislators so we can be more involved in the process: (1) make it personal; (2) be respectful of the legislator’s time; (3) make friends with the legislator’s aide (they are the gatekeepers to the legislators); (4) be careful of what you do and say while at the capitol; and (5) do not speak to legislators on social media outlines.

Before we could head to the Capitol for our second day on the hill, our Day Chairs had to announce the winner of the scavenger hunt . . . there was no “you are all winners in our eyes” in this battle.  Congratulations to Nikki Foster for showing us all up and clearly studying day and night to plot how she was going to be “the” winner of the LT ‘18 Tallahassee Retreat Scavenger Hunt.  Now back to the serious stuff . . .

Unlike Day 1, where LT ‘18 moved about the Capitol building with an ease and much like a group of tourists, Day 2 had a different feel.  On Day 2, the Capitol was busy with media outlets, protesters and posters, politicians and constituents, and us.  Students from Parkland and friends of the cause had taken over the Capitol this time and impacted everything that was happening that day.  According to our planned agenda, we were to have a House Chamber talk with Minority Leader Janet Cruz followed by a Senate session viewing and recognition. However, the presence and political activism of the Parkland students changed our course.

First, we had a tour of the House. There we learned that there are currently only 120 members of the House, 13 of which represent the city of Miami alone. We also learned that the House Speaker selects seating and that Minority Leader Cruz’s seat is located in the back aisle, which  is reflective of her experience and power in the House. Following the House Tour, we sat in the halls between the House and the Senate above the words “We, the people of the State of Florida” (which are etched in the capitol’s structure) and observed the Senate in session. There, we watched how the Senate, in recognition of the 17 lives lost in Parkland, took the longest 17 seconds in history in the most moving moment of silence.  There, we listened as the Senate Speaker spoke with a spirit of admiration coupled with grief about Peter Wong who sacrificed his own life on February 14, 2018, to save the lives of some of his Stoneman Douglas classmates.  There, LT ‘18 witnessed the aftermath of the “gamechanger” in action.

Before we left the Capitol, we had a special session in which we heard from local legislative contacts including Sarah Scwirian (legislative aide to Senator Tom Lee), Senator Jeff Brandes, Andrew Wiggins (Florida Chamber of Commerce), Representative James Grant, and Representative Jackie Toledo. From this presentation, LT ‘18 learned about the Chamber’s increased advocacy efforts, how LT ‘18 can increase its advocacy efforts, what Tampa politicians are working on in Tallahassee to help us locally and on a state-level, projections of what issues like transportation, criminal justice, and gun control will look like in the next 5 to 10 years, and just how significant the 2018 election year really is for our state.

By midday, the Capitol building bid LT ‘18 farewell but only pointedly against the backdrop of a demonstration right on its stairs in the name of change.  And, LT ‘18 was right there in the midst of it all.  I cannot speak for the entire class, but I would be shortchanging the experience if I did not admit that the LT ‘18 Tallahassee Retreat left me forever changed. As I walked back from the Capitol building to the board the bus home, I stumbled upon these words in a marker on the ground . . . “There were hundreds and thousands of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.” LT ‘18 shall be in that number of ordinary people who will do extraordinary things.

Thank you Clint and Merritt for your vision and work on this retreat!

Canada and the Sunshine State: Partnering for Prosperity


Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Rohrlack, Consulate General of Canada Susan Harper, President and CEO of Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Andrew McIntosh of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Chair Steve Bernstein

Tampa, Fla. – The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce hosted the Honourable Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on April 18 for a lunch at the University Club of Tampa. The event was sponsored by Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and featured a speech from Mr. Beatty that was titled “Canada and the Sunshine State: Partnering for Prosperity.” He spoke about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and trade issues in the context of the important Canada-Florida partnership.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa, along with other business leaders attended the event and got further insight into the economic impact that Canada has not only in Florida but in the Tampa Bay region. The discussion focused on the partnership that Canada and Florida have and the business success that both countries have provided for one another, with hopes of continuing that partnership.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will take 100 business leaders to Toronto in October for the Annual Benchmarking Trip. It will be the first benchmarking trip outside of the U.S.

Member News 4/12/18 – 4/19/18

Member News

Member Events

Member Job Openings

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.