Rep. Bilirakis to Host Employment Fair December 6

On Tuesday, December 6, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09) will again be hosting a FREE Employment Fair, which will provide job-seekers with an opportunity to meet with potential employers in the Tampa Bay area. The fair will be held at Spartan Manor at 6121 Massachusetts Avenue in New Port Richey.

“At a time when so many people in our community are in need of employment, it’s imperative that they are put in touch with those businesses and employers that are hiring, and these fairs provide that opportunity,” Bilirakis said.

Nearly two dozen local businesses and employers will be on hand to meet with those seeking careers. Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally, bring resumes and be prepared for potential interviews.

For more information, call 727.773.2871. Visit for a confirmed list of participating employers.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Avenue, New Port Richey, FL 34653
MEDIA: Reporters, Cameras permitted. Media RSVP to Creighton Welch at 202.225.5755

NOTE: On Friday, December 10, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Bilirakis will also be hosting a free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop. Given the current downturn in the housing market, many families are insecure about their most important investment and this workshop will bring together leaders in home finance to aid families and individuals in navigating these uncertain times. It will be held at Mitchell High School, 2323 Little Road, New Port Richey.

Night of 1,000 Toys

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is participating in the 3rd Annual Night of 1,000 Toys and needs your help in collecting toys and basic items of need, benefiting MacDill Air Force Base and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay this holiday season.

How you can help:

  1. Donate a new, unwrapped toy. Toys for all ages are needed.
  2. Donate an item of need. Items of need listed below.
  3. Host a collection box at your place of employment. Please contact (Felicia Harvey or Emily Chinowth (813) 228-0652, if you are interested.)

Collection boxes will be set up in the Tampa Chamber lobby starting Monday, Nov. 21 through Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is always in need of these items:

Baby Wipes
Diaper Rash Ointment
Adult Diapers
Feminine Hygiene Products
Shaving Cream
Ethnic Hair Products
Laundry Detergent
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper
Fabric Softener Sheets
Non-perishable food items
Wal-Mart gift cards
Target gift cards
Michael’s gift cards
McDonald’s gift cards
Gas Cards
Craft Kits
Construction Paper

Norwegian Cruise Line makes splash celebrating Tampa as its newest homeport

The Tampa Port Authority officially welcomed Norwegian Star to Tampa during a plaque exchange ceremony commemorating Tampa as Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest homeport. In addition to attendance by port officials and local tourism leaders, more than 100 travel agents, together with media representatives, enjoyed a guided tour of the Freestyle Cruising® vessel. The 2,348-passenger ship is sailing a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 8, 2012 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two relaxing days at sea.

“The addition of Norwegian Cruise Line is very exciting for us and a testament that Tampa exemplifies a strong and growing cruise market. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with our new cruise partner,” said Richard Wainio, port director and Tampa Port Authority chief executive.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s presence will result in the addition of an estimated 130,000 guests to the Port’s growing passenger numbers, projected to reach a total of 950,000 passengers arriving and departing via Tampa this coming year. Over the course of the season, it is estimated that passenger and crew spending resulting from Norwegian Star will have an impact of over $8 million on the local economy.

Norwegian Cruise Line will continue to make Tampa its home again next year when Norwegian Dawn will replace Norwegian Star in November 2012.

Tampa Port Authority ( ) administers Florida’s largest and one of the nation’s most diversified ports, handling a wide mix of bulk, break bulk, RoRo and containerized cargoes, and is also one of the nation’s premier cruise home ports, as well as a major center for shipbuilding and repair. The Port of Tampa is the largest economic engine in west and central Florida, generating nearly 100,000 jobs and some $8 billion in economic impact.

Member Spotlight: United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service delivers more than just mail. We offer training opportunities and assistance to anyone who wants to learn more about using the mail for cost-effective business growth. Whether you’re a small or large business owner looking for training in direct mail, a mail professional looking for workshops and certification, or you’d like to join the greater community of business mailers, we’re here to help.

Postal Customer Council® (PCC)
Your local PCC is a great way to get training, stay on top of mail innovations, and work hand-in-hand with local Post Offices™ to develop more effective, efficient, and profitable mailings. Visit for more information.

Simplified Mailing
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the U.S. Postal Service makes Direct Mail easier and less costly for local businesses. With EDDM, you can target specific areas in your local market without the need of a mailing list. And since you don’t have to buy customer addresses or pay to have names and addresses printed on your mailpieces, EDDM can save you time and money! For information contact Patricia Meredith or visit

Self Service Ship and Mail Centers are available in Tampa at the following locations:
Carrollwood Branch
Ehrlich Branch
Forest Hills Station
Main Office Window Unit
New Tampa Station
Peninsula Station
Temple Terrace Branch
Town N Country Branch

Our various community-minded programs help foster community spirit, while educating and supporting worthwhile causes. The United States Postal Service helps America connect in more ways than just the mail. Whether it’s finding missing children, fundraising stamps, or bone marrow donor programs, USPS gets involved – in your community and nationwide. Keep informed about USPS activities such as our Stamp Out Hunger food drive and how our employees act as local heroes. We deliver more than mail to you – we deliver community service.

Tampa Wins National League of Cities Award for Afterschool Programs, Celebrates Lights on Afterschool Day Oct. 20

Celebrating the Importance of Afterschool Programs TAMPA, FL (Oct. 20, 2011) – The National League of Cities has named Tampa one of the 27 most advanced cities in the U.S. for its efforts to coordinate afterschool opportunities for children and youth. The announcement is the result of a research report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation and published by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families.

Other cities include Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, the only other Florida city represented. Six key elements identified by the Wallace Foundation as essential for building sustainable, coordinated afterschool systems include:  committed leadership, a public or private coordinating entity, multi-year planning, reliable information, expanding participation, and a commitment to quality. 

The honor came as Tampa and Hillsborough County out-of-school programs took part in the nationwide Afterschool Alliance 12th Annual Lights On Afterschool rallies the afternoon of Oct. 20. The local rallies – held at Boys & Girls Clubs, schools, parks and recreation locations, and faith-based and other providers – brought attention to afterschool programs, which have suffered recent budget cuts across the country.  As part of the “Lights On” rallies the Suntrust Building in Tampa was fully lit the evening of Oct. 20.

“Afterschool programs inspire children to learn, keep kids safe and allow parents to work,” said Bobbi Davis, resource development manager at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, head of the Hillsborough Out-of-School Time committee and an ambassador with the Afterschool Alliance. Davis secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, the only federal afterschool funding in the country, which goes through the Children’s Board to benefit three Tampa Boys & Girls Clubs.

For more information about the National League of Cities announcement and the complete list of winners, click here.  For more information about the Afterschool Alliance Lights On Afterschool initiative, click here.

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County serves as the leading voice and advocate for children and families in our community. The board is the only organization of its kind in Hillsborough County that generates revenue to help children and families. The Children’s Board is recognized nationally for its contributions to best practices in policies and programs aiding children and families. Citizens may visit to learn more about the board’s programs.

Keiser University Celebrates 35 Years and Not-for-Profit Status

Keiser University, which celebrates 35 years of successfully providing career-focused education, will provide another $1 million in new scholarships in honor of its transition to not-for-profit status. The regionally accredited independent university received final approval from the Department of Education to complete its transition to not-for-profit status this summer. To mark the occasion, the university will provide $1 million in new scholarship funds and hold events at its campuses throughout Florida.

Keiser University serves nearly 18,000 students on 15 campuses, employing over 3,000 staff and faculty. The university is Florida’s leading statewide provider of career-focused, post-secondary education and is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Join Keiser University at the 5002 W. Waters Ave. campus on October 19 at 6 p.m.  to celebrate their 35th year serving Florida!

The transition to a not-for-profit university marks the multi-decade vision of the Keiser team to provide an educational legacy for future generations of students and graduates in the state and nation.

RSVP to (use event code KU35) or by calling Ashley Brewer at 813.885.4900.

Volunteers Inspire Hillsborough County 8th Graders

More than 200 volunteers stepped back into the classroom today to help inspire 8th graders in Hillsborough County during our annual Diploma-See Initiative. Participants who sign on to present Junior Achievement‘s Economics for Success may be business people, company employees, educators, parents, students or community leaders.

The objective? Share personal work and life experiences which reinforce the importance of staying in school.

Here’s a peek at some of the happenings at Franklin, Ferrell and Young Middle Schools. For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Couldn’t Make it to SBOY? Check out the photos!

Just in case you couldn’t attend our Annual Small Business of the Year Awards banquet on September 16, we’re happy to share some photos from the evening! Visit our Facebook page to see more.

Come out and support Tampa Bay’s 2015 Super Bowl Bid!

Tampa Bay is bidding to host its 5th Super Bowl in 2015, and Tampa Bay & Company needs the community’s help!  Tampa Bay’s bid video is culminating with a group video shoot this Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Skyway Park in Tampa.

Tampa Bay & Company is asking that community supporters and their family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, neighbors, staff and other supporters come out to be a part of Tampa Bays’ bid to host Super Bowl XLIX.  Here are the details:

Who:        ALL Tampa Bay area residents and supporters

What:        Video shoot for Tampa Bay’s bid to host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015

When:        Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011.  Please arrive promptly at 7:30pm.

Where:    Skyway Park in Tampa – 3901 George Rd., Tampa, FL 33634.

Details:    Participants will gather on the field at approximately 7:30pm to support Tampa Bay’s bid to host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.  Collectively, the group will welcome the NFL and team owners back to Tampa Bay.  The entire Tampa Bay community is invited to attend to show their support.  Those who plan to attend are requested to RSVP by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011.

RSVP:    Please RSVP to Tony Diaz at

This is a tremendous opportunity for the community to show its support for Tampa Bay’s efforts to bring the Super Bowl back home to Tampa Bay.  Those who plan to attend should confirm their attendance and how many representatives they’ll be bringing to Tony Diaz at

Courtesy of Tampa Bay & Company

Congratulations to the 2011 Small Business of the Year Award Winners!!!

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2011 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony on Friday, September 16, at the Tampa Convention Center.  More than 850 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay’s small business community and toasted the evening’s big winners.

This year’s event was presented by Sam’s Club and represents the 31st year the Chamber has recognized this key segment of the region’s economy.  Small business awards were presented in three categories based on the number of employees.  Companies are evaluated on financial success, community involvement and ethical business practices. An award was also presented to the Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year.

The 2011 Small Business of the Year Award winners are:

Outstanding Leader: Olin Mott, Olin Mott Tire Stores

Olin Mott opened the first location of Olin Mott Tire Stores in 1955 on Hillsborough Avenue.  Since then, the company has grown to four company-owned locations and two franchise locations.  Mott’s dedication to his customers and employees is paramount; one great example is his financing of an employee’s dream – resulting in Big John’s Alabama Barbeque.  Mott is dedicated to the community as well, establishing the Michelin/Joshua House Golf Classic in 1994 and Tutor-a-Bull in 2005 – a partnership between the Michelin Golf Classic, the USF College of Education and Hillsborough County Public Schools – designed to provide one-on-one tutoring for middle and high-school students.

5 – 20 Employees: Majesty Title Services, LLC

Majesty Title Services, LLC (MTS) is a National Title and Settlement Agency headquartered in Tampa, offering buyers and lenders a full range of title insurance and escrow services for real estate transactions.  Majesty Title’s focus is on serving clients in Florida and New York, and wherever their business takes them throughout the United States.  MTS began as a New York/New Jersey regional title agency in the 1990’s.  In 2006, three partners acquired the infrastructure of the NY/NJ agency and re-branded the company as Majesty Title Services.

21 – 50 Employees: Italiano Insurance

Italiano Insurance Services, Inc. is a family owned and operated insurance agency whose principals have served West Central and South Florida for over 50 years.  The agency has grown into a thriving, full service agency offering commercial, home, auto, boat, flood, life, and health insurance.   Even though their client base includes many large corporations and multi-national firms, Italiano Insurance has never allowed its focus to stray away from their core business – individual consumers and locally-owned small businesses.

51 – 250 Employees: Creative Sign Designs

Creative Sign Designs (CSD) serves the commercial and architectural signage market on a national basis, providing a full array of interior, exterior, and digital signage solutions. CSD is a turn-key operation offering consultation, design, engineering, permitting, fabrication, installation, and ongoing maintenance for signage projects of all shapes and sizes. CSD has supported many causes over the years including Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Tampa General Hospital Foundation and Berkeley Preparatory School.