Member News 1/11/18 – 1/18/18

Member News

Member Events

Member Job Openings

Member New Hires & Promotions

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.

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Chamber Hires New Leadership Programs Director

HeadshotMichelle Ciudad Real was born and raised in the Tampa area and graduated from Sickles high school. Michelle is a graduate from Valencia Community College with an AA in Dance Performance and Florida International University where she majored in Marketing. Michelle started her career at Fontainebleau Hotel and worked her way up within the company. She worked in multiple departments, including front desk, group sales, and marketing. Her most recent work experience was at Triad Retail Media where she was a Conference and Event Specialist working with one of the major ecommerce players in the market. Michelle was promoted to Account Manager working with national brands and managing around 100 digital marketing campaigns within a year advertising on CVS.com.

She is ready to make a meaningful impact in the future of Tampa Bay. Please welcome Michelle Ciudad Real to the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Hires New Government Relations Manager

011_GTCC_LopezKatie_1-5-18webKatie Lopez holds a Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Western Kentucky University. A native of Clearwater, Florida Mrs. Lopez moved to the Fort Campbell, KY region in 2013 while her husband was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). She began working for the Christian County Chamber of Commerce in 2014 as the Director of Military Affairs and was named the 2017 Staff Member of the Year by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Currently she serves as Co- Chair for the Association of Defense Communities National Military Family Council, and her past community involvement has included serving on the AUSA Fort Campbell Chapter Board and West Kentucky Workforce Board. Katie’s portfolio includes legislative advocacy for defense communities and chamber membership.

Member News 12/14/17 – 12/21/17

Member News

  • Michigan and South Carolina to Meet in Outback Bowl – Luxury Suites Available
  • Saint Leo University Poll Shows Americans Will Make New Years Resolutions
  • Hill Ward Henderson Timothy Zehnder Elected to Gasparilla International Film Festival Board of Directors

Member Events

Member Accolades

Member Job Openings

Member New Hires & Promotions

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.

Message from HCPS Superintendent Jeff Eakins

As a member of the Tampa Bay community, you understand the value of connecting history with present day issues. Similarly, as a teacher, I taught my students the value of learning all sides of our past to improve what happens to us in the future. And I carry this same commitment to you as your Superintendent.

By now, you probably heard about the financial struggles plaguing Hillsborough County Public Schools. But, how did we get here? The best way to answer that question starts with some background and facts.

– HCPS owes $1 Billion in debt service
– HCPS needs $1 Billion for deferred maintenance on buildings
– HCPS needs $1 Billion to accommodate future growth

Even though each Billion deals with different parts of the budget, all three connect to our past in a very unique way.

In the 1990’s, Florida experienced historic growth. Between 1995 and 2009, HCPS built 68 schools to keep up with the massive increases in student enrollment. Like most families and businesses, HCPS borrowed the money to build schools. Neither the state of Florida nor the federal government provided funds to support growth. In other words, the citizens of Hillsborough County shouldered the burden of this debt.

Then in 2002, the citizens of Florida passed the Class Size Reduction Amendment. I was a principal in South County when class size reduction passed. My school’s capacity dramatically decreased overnight from 1000 students down to only 700. Suddenly, HCPS needed more teachers, more classrooms, and more schools. Again, the burden fell locally on our community to meet these mandates.

But how did we accumulate $1 billion in deferred maintenance? We built incredible schools during that 15-year growth period. But, just like our homes, schools age over time. Our air conditioners and roofs lasted 15 to 20 years and now many of them must be replaced. Did you know that just one high school HVAC unit costs at least $12 million to replace? Remember, we built 68 schools in a short period of time, and although they have aged remarkably well, things do break after 20 years and must be fixed or replaced. Unfortunately, during this same period, the state of Florida decreased the capital funding it provided traditional public schools.

The last “B” is obvious to anyone who lives in our community. Hillsborough County is growing again at record pace, and HCPS needs to build more schools to keep up with this growth. Once again, our community will bear the burden of these costs as we address these issues locally.

So, when you put these “3 B’s” together, it brings clarity to a very difficult financial situation. But, I believe we can work together to find real solutions. For example, in the past local school boards could levy, by simple majority vote, a greater millage amount for capital purposes. Additionally, school boards had the authority to determine how to use local capital outlay millage revenue. But recent legislation removed our school board’s autonomy and decreased millage. This type of legislation stressed your local school budget. What’s the solution? Restore the authority back to our local community.

Other solutions include right-sizing our organization while harnessing the power of local businesses and stakeholders. That means offering students more professional industry certifications. It also means paying for students to take college level coursework in partnership with local community colleges and universities. We’re doing all of these things and I believe paying for these certifications and courses is a smart investment by our community so students graduate from school debt-free and ready to launch a career right here in Tampa Bay.

Despite some financial setbacks, I remain extremely optimistic about our school district’s future. I believe we can work together to turn the tide in order to make the very best decisions for our children.

Jeff Eakins, Superintendent
Hillsborough County Public Schools

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.

Member News 11/9/17 – 11/16/17

Member News

Member Events

Member Accolades

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.