For more information about our Leadership, please contact:
President & CEO
The Tampa Bay EDC has attracted some of the brightest business leaders in the Tampa and Hillsborough County community. Each year, new executive officers are elected to help lead the organization on yet another successful year.
Angel Gonzalez is the Hillsborough Regional President for SouthState, the largest Community Bank in Florida. He has been with SouthState since 2007 where he began his career as a Management Trainee. He graduated with a B.S. in Finance from Southeastern University. As he rose through the ranks, Angel exceeded expectations in production and leadership. He was responsible for the successful launch of the banks current underwriting and approval software. As a Commercial Loan Officer, he was consistently a top performer finishing in the top 3 year after year. During his short time as the Marion County Market President, he successfully restructured the leadership team, met the market’s production goals for the first time in 5 years, and doubled its ROA in a single year.
SouthState Bank found its first opportunity to enter the Tampa Bay Market in 2017, creating an opportunity for Angel to join a larger market. He is responsible for managing the staff and the growth of the loan and deposit portfolios. The Hillsborough Market was created by acquiring four banks in 2 years. Angel is a true community partner, taking every opportunity to be involved in the continued progress of the communities he serves. He has served on multiple boards for non-profits and government services agencies. He has also been honored with the designation of “40 under 40” by both the Tampa Bay Business Journal and the Business Observer.
Angel has been married to Rosalie Gonzalez for 14 years and they have 2 children. As a family, they are involved in multiple civic organizations, including Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful, Voices for Children, the YMCA, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and the Guardian Ad Litem Agency. He enjoys golfing and traveling with his friends and family.
Joe Lopano arrived in Tampa on January 1, 2011, as Tampa International Airport’s new CEO. He has worked 37 years in the aviation industry. Prior to accepting the CEO position in Tampa, he worked at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for 14 years as its Executive Vice President for Marketing and Terminal Management. His experience also encompasses 19 years in the airline industry, including serving in leadership positions at Continental Airlines.
Joe serves on the boards of the Tampa Bay Chamber, Visit Tampa Bay, the Westshore Alliance, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance, the U.S. Travel Association’s Gateway Airports Council and the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. He is a member of the executive committees for the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, the Airports Council International–North America U.S. Policy Board and the Tony Jannus Society. He is an Honorary Commander at MacDill Air Force Base, and was selected to participate in Leadership Florida.
Joe was named Visit Tampa Bay’s 2015 Ambassador of the Year and received the 2015 Aviation Professional of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Joe received a bachelor’s in finance and accounting from Pace University in New York. He and his wife, Janet, live in South Tampa and have three grown children.
Known for connecting and building relationships within the community, Ron Christaldi is a hard-working and intensely prepared lawyer with a broad practice, comprised of both transactions and complex litigation. He has also been recognized as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Best Lawyers in America by a variety of associations and magazines. As a Board Certified Health Lawyer, Ron is committed to his clients and attributes his success to the fact he identifies his clients’ goals at the outset of the engagement and works collaboratively with them on the best, most efficient strategy to achieve their goals. Ron is also a State of Florida Licensed Realtor.
Ron is proud and honored to give back to the community he loves and he has served a variety of organizations in a leadership capacity, including serving as the past chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber, past chair for the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and Arts, and past chair of the 2018 Leukemia Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk. He has been front and center in the effort to keep Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa. Ron also has been involved in connecting Tampa Bay with the world with his work in international relations, including the process of normalizing the relations in Cuba and maintaining sister city relationships in Ireland and Italy. In the rare times he is not working or serving the community, Ron enjoys spending time with his three children, who are his world.
Ben Dachepalli has extensive experience negotiating and drafting construction-related agreements, and litigating complex construction claims regarding contract disputes, construction defects, design errors, surety bonds and construction liens. He is dedicated to understanding each client’s business to provide comprehensive strategies that go beyond legal issues, disputes or contracts.
Ben is board certified by the Florida Bar in Construction Law. He was selected as national coordinating counsel for a large, publicly traded REIT with projects all across the United States. In this role, Ben advised and counseled this client on matters that affect their multi-family apartment projects across their entire portfolio and addresses legal issues that are critical to executing the company’s strategic business goals.
As a former board member of the Construction Industry Licensing Board for the State of Florida, Ben is also experienced in licensing matters and disputes for contractors and subcontractors.
Immediate Past Chair
James Nozar lives in Tampa, FL and is the founder and chief executive officer of East+Main Company, a real estate owner and developer focused on transforming and maintaining urban neighborhood-oriented properties that contribute to the fabric of the communities in which they exist. Founded in 2021, East+Main Company’s first asset is a historic downtown mixed-use building in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where James is also restoring and renovating a waterfront mid-century home. Through East+Main Company, James has also been engaged as an advisor and consultant to other landowners and developers seeking expertise in the planning and development of urban, mixed-use properties.
Before founding East+Main Company, James was the CEO of Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”), a full-service commercial real estate developer, owner and operator based in Tampa, Florida. James joined SPP in March of 2016 as the company’s first Chief Executive Officer and was tasked with building a full-service development company while concurrently leading and overseeing the design and construction of the Water Street Tampa project. As one of the largest active urban redevelopment projects in the United States, Water Street Tampa spans across 74 acres in downtown Tampa that formerly consisted of mostly blighted surface parking lots and features an entirely new urban street network that creates new connections to existing surrounding neighborhoods and the central business district.
James is a past chair of the Board of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council and a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Tech Alexander-Tharpe Fund.
Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM
President and CEO
Craig J. Richard is a certified economic developer with over two decades of economic development leadership experience in major markets such as Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. Career highlights include more than 308 successful projects representing more than 126,246 jobs and $9.3 billion in capital investment
Craig has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and currently serves on the boards of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, Film Tampa Bay, Visit Tampa Bay and the Downtown Tampa Partnership. He was recognized as one of Florida’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders by Florida Trend and one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect. Craig was also designated a “Fellow Member” by IEDC for his contributions to the economic development profession.
Craig earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree, with a concentration in economic development, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.
Craig and his wife Verna have two boys. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, fishing and hunting.
Tampa ranked the state’s #1 best big city to live in