Chamber to Pay Tribute to Veterans on November 10


The Greater Tampa, South Tampa and Brandon Chambers invite the Tampa community to the 2014 Veterans Day Celebration at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa at 10 a.m. on Monday, November 10.  Hosted by the Military Council of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, South Tampa Chamber and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature the always popular parade of flags, a concert by local school children and remarks by Vice Admiral Sean Pybus, Deputy Commander, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) SEAL Officer, United States Special Operations Command.

Invited guests include families of those county residents killed in action, combat-wounded patients being treated at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, elected officials, civic leaders and senior military representatives from MacDill Air Force Base. The Progress Village Middle Magnet School band and Orange Grove Middle Magnet School chorus will perform patriotic musical selections, and there will be a reading of the names of Hillsborough Country veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ceremony is co-presented with Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa and Tampa Downtown Partnership and sponsored by USAA, Bank of America, Saint Leo University, Celestar Corporation, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union, Boeing, The Tampa Tribune, and Sam’s Club.  A light lunch and beverages will be served after the ceremony.

Joe Chillura Courthouse Square is located on Kennedy Boulevard between Pierce and Morgan streets in downtown Tampa.

About the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving our members and enhancing our community by building business success.  The Chamber provides a greater return on investment and involvement by providing innovative leadership, inside access, influential advocacy and increased opportunities. 


Chamber Members Form Joint Venture


(Pictured L to R) Donna S. Huneycutt WWC Executive Vice President, Lauren Weiner WWC President & Greg Celestan CEO of Celestar Corporation sign the SBA Mentor/Protege Agreement.

Celestar Corporation and Wittenberg Weiner Consulting are teaming up to form a joint venture that both companies hope will yield more business. The partnership came about thanks to their involvement with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber has opened up doors,” said Lauren Weiner, president of Wittenberg Weiner Consulting. “We’re remarkably plugged in to the business and government contracting community largely because of the Chamber.”

Weiner and Greg Celestan, head of Celestar Corporation, first met at a Chamber networking event. They also served together on the Chamber’s Military Council. Now, they’ve signed a Mentor/Protégé Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration that will benefit both companies.

“As the mentor, we are going to pass on some of our knowledge and experience,” said Celestan, whose company graduated from the SBA’s 8a Program. “This agreement will allow us to compete for business together.”

The Mentor/Protégé Agreement will last for a year with an opportunity to extend. Both CEOs credit the Chamber for their meeting.

“The networking function at the Chamber is key. The membership is diverse,” said Celestan.

Weiner said the opportunities provided through the Chamber were an important part in the next level of growth for WWC. Her advice to members: “Talk to everyone. You never know what contact is going to spark something.”

Military Transition Center at MacDill Air Force Base Now Open

140806-F-DN643-067CareerSource Tampa Bay is pleased to announce the opening of the MacDill Transition Center at MacDill Air Force Base. Located in the MacDill AFB Exchange food court (former GameStop location), the MacDill Transition Center offers services, such as re-employment assistance to transitioning service members and spouses, job search assistance, resume review, (EFM) assistance, employer information sessions, recruitment events, referrals to community partners/agencies and information on our jobs centers.

During our hours of operation of 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, two staff members, including a local veteran employment representative and business services team member, will be available to assist with any of your workforce needs. CareerSource Tampa Bay President and CEO, Edward Peachey explains, “The Transition Center will serve as a job exchange for Veterans who are seeking employment. CareerSource Tampa Bay will host employers who are recruiting for open positions within their respective businesses and provide Veterans with immediate and future opportunities to interview for jobs in the Tampa Bay area. We believe this initiative will provide an efficient process for Veterans to find employment and an effective method of talent recruitment for employers.”

For more information, contact Jason Druding, Veteran Services Lead Recruiter, at 813-397-2088 or via e-mail at:

CareerSource Tampa Bay is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers on this document may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.


Tampa Chamber issues statement on the Congressional District 13 race

Chamber President & CEO Bob Rohrlack released the statement below on the Congressional District 13 race:

“With the passing last year of Congressman Bill Young, the Tampa Bay area lost a tireless fighter for MacDill Air Force Base.  While we recognize MacDill lies in Congressional District 14 and we’ve worked closely with Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who is a great supporter of our Base – it is equally important that the person elected to Congressional District 13 understand MacDill’s significant regional economic impact.  Our congressional delegation has traditionally been supportive of MacDill, but it is essential that those members of Congress that represent any portion of Hillsborough or Pinellas counties take a special interest in helping to protect MacDill Air Force Base, our service members, veterans and their families. No matter who is elected, we stand ready to work with them on issues important to our military. We ask all three candidates for the Congressional District 13 seat to firmly commit to fight for MacDill and our military servicemen and women.”

For more information on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, please visit

Lieutenant General Russel Honoré to Speak at Military Appreciation Banquet

Headshot large with AP croppedToday, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, United States Army (Ret.) will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at the Marriott Waterside. Registration is now available at

LTG Honoré, an army veteran who’s illustrious career within the U.S. Army spans over 37 years, is widely known as the “Category 5 General” who led Task Force Katrina in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast. LTG Honoré is currently a Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization, where he is working on developing questions to determine levels of preparedness, and a CNN Preparedness Contributor. He is committed to a new mission: Creating a “Culture of Preparedness” in America by traveling around the states on public speaking occasions, fund-raisers and writing books. LTG Honoré has been featured on The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and The Costa Report.

This year’s event marks the 15th year the Chamber will honor our community’s military personnel.  Following the keynote address by LTG Honoré, awards will be presented in categories including Civilian awards, Military Citizen of the Year for each branch and ROTC Cadet of the Year for each branch.

For more information on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, please visit

U.S. Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes Program Announces 2nd Annual Employer Award Finalists

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its National Chamber Foundation today announced the finalists for the 2nd Annual Hiring Our Heroes awards. The 25 nominated employers have demonstrated leadership in addressing the challenges faced by veterans, transitioning servicemembers, and military families in their search for meaningful employment. The announcement comes as Hiring Our Heroes crossed the 14,000 hire milestone since the program began in March 2011.
“The finalists for this year’s awards are employers from across America that have stepped up not only to hire talented veterans and military spouses but to recognize the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel (Ret.), executive director of the Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes program. “These 25 employers represent all sectors of the economy, but they share one invaluable quality—they recognize the value of hiring a hero. It is commitment from employers like these that has helped create a movement and truly make a difference on the issue of veteran and military spouse unemployment.”

The Hiring Our Heroes awards are given in five categories: Veteran and Military Spouse Employment; Wounded Warrior Employment; Post-9/11 Veteran Employment; Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring; and Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment. This year’s finalists are:

Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award, for demonstrated leadership in hiring veterans and military spouses and honoring the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation: Comcast/NBCUniversal; Goldman Sachs; Sears; United States Automobile Association (USAA); Walmart

Don Weber Wounded Warrior Employment Award, for demonstrated leadership in addressing the unique challenges and demands for wounded warriors, spouses, and caregivers in their search for meaningful employment: CACI; Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC); Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI); Southwest Airlines; VSE Corporation

Post-9/11 Veteran Employment Award, for demonstrated leadership in enhancing the ability of post-9/11 veterans to find meaningful employment in the private sector: Chesapeake Energy; GE; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Prudential; Ryder

Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award, for demonstrated leadership in supporting military spouses in their search for meaningful employment in the private sector: Booz Allen Hamilton; Capital One; Hospital Corporation of America (HCA); Hunt Companies; The Major Group

Capital One Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment, for demonstrated leadership in hiring veterans and military spouses and honoring the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation: Aaron’s, Inc.; Meineke Car Care Center of Pensacola, Florida; National Military Family Association; Will Bros T&D Services; Wittenberg Weiner Consulting, LLC

The winners in each category will be announced at the 2nd Annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Dinner at the Chamber on November 14, 2012. A peer committee of veterans and military spouses will select the winners

In March 2011, the Chamber, in conjunction with the National Chamber Foundation, launched Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide effort to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. The Chamber started the program to improve public-private sector coordination in local communities, where veterans and their families are returning every day. To date, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted more than 330 hiring fairs in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, helping 14,100 veterans and military spouses find employment.