Greater Tampa Chamber Supports Education Tax Referendum

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce voted in their Board meeting this morning to support the Hillsborough County School Board Resolution 2018-05 for a one-half cent sales tax. This tax would help to provide our students with a suitable and productive learning environment, as part of a long-term sustainable plan for the Hillsborough County School District.

In alignment with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s guiding principle on workforce development, our business community is committed to partnering with stakeholders and policy makers to advocate for adequate resources to help recruit, develop, and retain talent in Hillsborough County. This initiative requires support from multiple funding sources and elected officials, and to help satisfy those critical funding needs the Chamber supports the education referendum.

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Greater Tampa Chamber Wins Communications Excellence Award

ACE

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has been named an “Award of Excellence” winner in the Communications Excellence awards program presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). ACCE, an Alexandria, Va.-based association, represents more than 8,000 chamber of commerce professionals, and 1,300 chambers of commerce, around the world.

ACCE’s annual Awards for Communications Excellence, sponsored by Golden Openings, Inc., is designed to showcase top communications and marketing work of chambers of commerce and similar organizations. Several thousand award entries have been submitted since the launch of the organization’s Awards for Communications Excellence, which is now in its thirty-fourth year.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce received an Award of Excellence for its marketing campaign for the launch of the Minority Business Accelerator. The campaign branded the MBA program and promoted it using print, social media, digital, web, media, chamber stakeholders, and community information sessions.

A panel of communications and marketing professionals from five U.S.-based chambers of commerce evaluated entries, which were organized by category — based on the chamber’s annual budget — and entry type: advertising and marketing, campaigns, digital and publications. With more than 150 entries submitted in 2018, judges recognized 13 entries as Grand Award winners and 41 as Award of Excellence winners. Three Best in Show awards will be announced July 18 at the ACCE Annual Convention in Des Moines, Iowa.

Tampa Bay recognized as a Great American Defense Community

Tampa Bay has been selected as one of five cities nationwide to receive the 2018 Great American Defense Community designation. On February 15th, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will host the 20th Annual Military Appreciation Awards at Raymond James Stadium, where the Association of Defense Communities will exclusively announce Tampa Bay’s reception of this prestigious award.

“We are so appreciative of the support we receive from the Tampa Bay community,” said Colonel April D. Vogel, 6th Air Mobility Wing Commander.  “When military members move here, they’re not just moving to a city, they’re moving to a place they feel comfortable calling “home.” This community provides remarkable support to our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and their families and I’m excited this community is being recognized!”

In a joint effort, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance nominated Tampa Bay for the program based on community initiatives that create a high quality of life for military families. The Chamber thanks Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, and Representative Kathy Castor for their letters of support to recognize Tampa as a Great American Defense Community.

“We are grateful that Tampa Bay has been recognized as a community that embraces and supports our military, veterans, and their families” said Lisa Monnet, President of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.

Selected communities are recognized nationally for their exceptional commitment to improve the lives of service members, veterans and their families as a model for all communities. Tampa Bay’s application included community initiatives like the Chamber’s Operation Partnership program, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Salute to Service initiatives, and Tinker Elementary School.

“We are excited that Tampa Bay is being recognized as a model military community” said president and CEO Bob Rohrlack. “This award is a reflection of our community’s ongoing dedication to our military, veterans and their families.”

Great American Defense Communities
 The Great American Defense Communities program was designed by the Association of Defense Communities in conjunction with the House and Senate Defense Communities Caucuses to recognize and celebrate communities whose exceptional commitment to improve the lives of service members, veterans and their families as a model for all communities.

Chamber installs new leadership at 132nd Annual Meeting

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:

Chair Steven Bernstein, Esq. Fisher Phillips
Chair-Elect Jamie Harden Creative Sign Designs
Treasurer Maryann Ferenc Mise en Place
Finance Scott DeThomas GTE Financial
At Large
 
Hugh Campbell AC4S
Laura Crouch TECO
Scott Daigle TD Bank
Steve Griggs Tampa Bay Lightning
Christopher Rogers Sykes Enterprises Incorporated
Yvette Segura USAA
Kareem Spratling, Esq. Bryant Miller Olive P.A.
John Tomlin Tomlin St. Cyr & Associates
Legal Counsel Andy Mayts, Esq. GrayRobinson

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.

Tampa Bay named 2018 Great American Defense Community

Tampa, Fla. – Tampa Bay has been recognized as a 2018 Great American Defense Community. Selected communities are recognized nationally for their exceptional commitment to improve the lives of service members, veterans and their families as a model for all communities.

In a joint effort, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance nominated Tampa Bay for the program based on community initiatives that support installations and create a high quality of life for military families and veterans. The Chamber and Defense Alliance thank Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Bill Nelson and Representative Kathy Castor for their letters of support for the joint application to recognize Tampa Bay as a Great American Defense Community.

“We are grateful that Tampa Bay has been recognized as a community that embraces and supports our military, veterans, and their families,” said Lisa Monnet, President of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Tampa Bay Defense Alliance application included the Chamber’s Operation Partnership program, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Salute to Service initiatives and the Tinker K-8 School  success story.

“This designation is a proud moment for Tampa Bay and validates the many community partners that work to make us a model military community,” said Chamber president and CEO Bob Rohrlack. “This award reflects our community’s ongoing dedication to our military, veterans and their families.”

Great American Defense Communities

The Great American Defense Communities program was designed by the Association of Defense Communities in conjunction with the House and Senate Defense Communities Caucuses to recognize and celebrate communities whose exceptional commitment to improve the lives of service members, veterans and their families as a model for all communities.

About the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance

The mission of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance is to champion their defense community. They promote a collaborative and engaged environment that vigorously supports a robust and growing defense community. Unified in actions, they are a forum of community leaders supporting veterans, our military personnel and their families.

 

Chamber Applauds Tampa Bay Rays Stadium Announcement

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce applauds Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan’s announcement of the Ybor City site as the next step in the stadium selection process to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay.

“After many years of thoughtful discussion, this is an important step forward for Rays fans and our community,” said Chair Mike Griffin.  “The Chamber looks forward to continuing its leadership on this issue as we work together to mobilize the business community’s support of Rays baseball.”

In addition to the Rays’ faithful throughout Tampa Bay and beyond, the proposed site between Channelside and Ybor City could draw an energetic fan base who works and lives in the greater downtown Tampa area and increase the economic engine in the historic Ybor City district.

Recognizing there is much more planning ahead, the Chamber thanks Hillsborough County Commissioner Hagan and Rays leadership for working tirelessly to get to this stage in negotiations.

“Historic Ybor City is a central location for the new stadium,” said Chair Elect Steven Bernstein.  “Thank you to Commissioner Hagan and the Rays for their well-deserved progress.”

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mike Griffin appointed to Tampa Port Authority

Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday appointed Mike Griffin to the Tampa Port Authority. Governor Scott said, “I am confident that Mike Griffin will do a great job on the Tampa Port Authority and will work with the entire board to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

“The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce extends our congratulations to Mike. He has been a dynamic leader for the Chamber Board of Directors and we know he will take that same leadership to the Port Authority,” said Chamber President and CEO Bob Rohrlack. “Mike’s commitment to Tampa Bay and his focus on strengthening the regional economy will make him an asset in his new role.”

Mike is a Senior Managing Director for Savills Studley Occupier Services. In addition to his Chairmanship, Mike is a graduate of Leadership Tampa Class of 2004 and Leadership Florida (Class 26). He was co-founder and Executive Co-Chair of the Chamber’s Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay program. Mike was also the inaugural recipient of the Chamber’s Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award.