The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce held its 132nd Annual Meeting presented by HCI today at the Tampa Convention Center. A sold-out crowd of almost 1,000 attendees came together to celebrate the Chamber’s 2017 achievements. 2017 Chamber Chair Mike Griffin of Savills Studley Occupier Services, passed the gavel to 2018 Chair Steven Bernstein, Esq., Fisher Phillips. The Chamber also received greetings from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Sandy Murman. The Chamber collected toys at the event, teaming with Metropolitan Ministries to help bring gifts to the Holiday Tent, which serves more than 19,000 children in the Bay area.
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Clark Thomason recognized the Chamber with a 5-star accreditation designation – the highest designation. “There are only 112 5-Star Chambers in the U.S.” Thomason said. “That puts the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in the top 1.6% of all Chambers in the nation.”
Griffin highlighted the Chamber’s 2017 accomplishments, which aligned with the 10-year vision plan, Vision 2026. He also announced the inaugural cohort of the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) program. Chameleon Custom Solutions, Matcon Construction Services, Inc., McKenzie Contracting, LLC, and MidFlorida Armored & ATM Service will begin the two-year program in January 2018. Founding sponsors of the program are Tampa International Airport, TECO, Vinik Family Foundation and Valley National Bank previously USAmeriBank.
Bernstein said that he hopes to build strong relationships not only in Tampa but throughout the entire Bay area by working cooperatively with other business organizations. He introduced the Chamber’s 2018 Executive Committee Members, including:
||Steven Bernstein, Esq.
||Creative Sign Designs
||Mise en Place
||Tampa Bay Lightning
||Sykes Enterprises Incorporated
|Kareem Spratling, Esq.
||Bryant Miller Olive P.A.
||Tomlin St. Cyr & Associates
||Andy Mayts, Esq.
The Chamber also presented the 2017 H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award to Alex Sink. The award is presented annually in recognition of an individual whose leadership has made a positive impact within the greater Tampa community.
Alex Sink served as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2007 to 2011 as one of four statewide elected officials. She managed over $15 billion in state treasury funds, was responsible for state accounting, and implemented reforms in contracting and transparency for citizens. Before elected office, Alex had a 26-year career with Bank of America. She retired as President of Florida operations in 2000, managing the state’s largest bank leading 9000 employees. From 2011 to 2013, she was Senior Advisor to Hyde Park Capital Advisors, a middle market boutique M&A firm. Alex founded Florida Next Foundation, a non-profit devoted to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Florida. She subsequently joined the board of Tampa Wave in 2016 to continue her work in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Florida. She is a Life Trustee at Wake Forest University, serves on the boards of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, United Way Worldwide Leadership Council, United Way Suncoast, and Junior Achievement.
In addition, the guest speakers for the first two signature events of 2017 were also revealed. The 20th Annual Military Appreciation Awards on February 15th will feature Corporal Michael Jernigan, USMC (Ret.). While deployed in Iraq, Michael suffered life-changing injuries including the loss of both eyes. The guest speaker for the Women of Influence Luncheon on April 26th is Linda Alvarado, CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc. – a large, Denver-based industrial contracting/site design firm. Linda made history as the first female owner and the first Hispanic owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, the Colorado Rockies.