Driven by the zeal to make Tampa and Hillsborough County the most desirable destination for fast-growing companies and talented people, the EDC team shows up every day ready to help move our community forward.
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 Greater Tampa 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.
As the Executive Administrator & Board Liaison, Monica provides principal support to the President & CEO, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. Monica acts as the point of contact between the Board of Directors and the organization.
Monica brings several years of multi-industry experience, specializing in global corporate communications, stakeholder and investor relations, program management, employee engagement programs, content development, and media relations as well as culture and philanthropy programs. Prior to joining the EDC, Monica was a communications and investor relations manager for a global electronic manufacturing product solutions company in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Outside of work, Monica enjoys exercising, being outdoors, and traveling abroad, experiencing different cultures and cuisines.
An association and nonprofit executive with over 15 years of experience, Nealy Wheat is the Controller of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
Her professional experiences include statewide trade and professional organizations, international, charitable foundations and chambers of commerce. In her current role with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Nealy oversees all financial, accounting and human resources compliances and practices.
Nealy earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2008 and graduated from The University of West Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Management. She earned a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Administration from Kennesaw State University. Nealy has presented at national and state conferences on best practices in association/non-profit financial and organizational management.
Nealy was honored as a CFO of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2019. She is a member of Junior League of Tampa and serves on the board of directors for the Coalition on Collegiate Women’s Leadership. Nealy lives in Tampa with her husband and two rescue dogs.
As Director of Investor Relations, David leads the Investor Relations and fundraising efforts for the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council (EDC), serving as the primary contact for current EDC investors, maximizing investor engagement, and developing relationships with investor prospects. He has many connections in this community and brings a rare blend of industry knowledge, corporate relations and fundraising skills to our organization. David began his career in economic development, serving Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Florida, and then the Tampa Bay Partnership. In the past decade he has held executive positions at the Collins Center for Public Policy and the Florida Council on Economic Education, where he served as Executive Director prior to joining the EDC. When not working, David enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, live music, college football, and being outside as much as possible.
As the Senior Vice President of Business Development, Steve Morey is responsible for directing the EDC’s Business Development Activities including domestic and international business recruitment strategies, and business retention and expansion programs.
Steve has been in the Economic Development Industry for more than 10 years in both Florida and the Midwest. Utilizing his knowledge and experience, Steve showcases the Tampa Bay region as a great place to work and live to site selectors, CEOs and other decision-makers.
Prior to Economic Development, Steve enjoyed a successful career in banking and commercial finance, serving in various roles for Transamerica, Deutsche Bank, and National City Corporation. He earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio University and his MBA from Cleveland State University. Steve has held several leadership and board positions at the state, regional, and local levels.
Steve lives with his wife and two daughters in Carrollwood Village. He is an avid cyclist and enjoys volunteer roles in youth sports in Hillsborough County.
Tony has dedicated his life’s work to transforming neighborhoods by helping communities and businesses secure capital to finance real estate development projects and create jobs across America. Tony’s capital solutions have resulted in over $10 billion in private capital, to flow into underserved areas across America.
As the previous Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund- United States Department of Treasury, Tony successfully implemented the New Markets Tax Credit Program. In this role he supervised the first $6 billion in tax credit authority allocated. He provided regulatory oversight of billions in CDFI Fund assets and measured the impact of the nation’s investments in community development entities and financial institutions. Tony was honored by then Secretary of Treasury, John Snow, for his “Contributions to the effective and efficient operations of the Department of Treasury.”
As a teenager, Tony experienced the disparate impact of grocery store closings that result in food deserts. He often carried his family’s grocery bags for several miles to have fresh meats and vegetables. Years later, our nation’s largest traditional grocer, Kroger Co., entrusted Tony to design and implement their Healthy Food Initiative for low-income communities.
Tony began his career in banking where he joined Bank of America in Florida through the acquisition of Barnett Banks, Inc.; and led the bank’s community development banking group. His past accomplishments include serving as executive director of the Riviera Beach CRA; and as the founding President & CEO of the Uptown Consortium in his hometown of Cincinnati.
Tony earned both his Bachelor and Master Degree in Business Administration/Finance from Xavier University (Ohio). Tony spends his weekends golfing and enjoying a good movie.
As Director, Business Development, Adam Myers works with businesses to help bring new jobs and investment to the community through retention, expansion and recruitment of target sector industries. Adam has had the pleasure of working with companies like IRONMAN®, North American Roofing Services, United Airlines, Velocity Resource Group, and Greenway Health to locate and expand in Tampa.
Adam is a graduate of the University of West Florida, receiving a BA in Communications, specializing in film and television production. Prior to starting a career in Economic Development, Adam spent three years working in film production doing script consulting and on set production work for independent production companies.
Recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, Adam is currently studying to become a Certified Economic Developer. Outside of work, Adam is a major movie enthusiast and never misses a Tampa Bay Rays game.
As a Business Development Manager, Jonathan Wolf works with new and existing Hillsborough County companies, focusing primarily on retention and expansion efforts through community resources and workforce development programs that help employers get the skills and talent they need. He has worked with such companies as Bausch + Lomb, Tampa Bay Brewing Company and Minimise USA.
Prior to joining the EDC, Jonathan was a project manager with CareerSource Tampa Bay. His previous recruitment/career services experience includes roles with Everest University Online and The Fountain Group. Jonathan earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Ohio University.
Outside of work Jonathan enjoys fishing, the beach, and anything sports related.
Anna Vega is the Executive Coordinator, Business Development for the Tampa Bay EDC. Playing a large role behind the scenes, Anna has been working with the EDC since 1991 when she joined the economic development organization.
Anna’s multi-tasking skills make her a perfect fit for the spontaneous nature of economic development. She ensures that prospect site visits run smoothly, business development activity reports are accurate and timely, and that the EDC’s office is well maintained.
Anna is fluent in English and Spanish. Born in Puerto Rico and growing up in New Jersey, she worked as a legal assistant to the senior partner at the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer for 20 years before moving to Tampa in 1989 with her husband and son.
Madison Lawson joined the Tampa Bay EDC in August of 2018. Lawson serves regional companies in assisting with export advice, international business development, and coordinating trade missions for companies interested in growing export sales. In addition to export assistance, Lawson promotes the Tampa region as a global platform to do business through Foreign Direct Investment missions and managing international project referrals.
Prior to the EDC, Lawson lived and studied in the UK where she worked as a communications and research specialist for a global non-profit and served as a consultant for 180 Degrees Consulting in London. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London in Emerging Economies and International Development.
Lawson was originally drawn to Tampa Bay for her bachelor’s degree in International and Cultural Studies at the University of Tampa. During this time, she lived in Cusco, Peru where she completed research on the informal economy and worked in northern Ghana to co-found a social enterprise.
In March 2021, Alison Gelbaugh joined the Tampa Bay EDC team as Economic Development Manager. In this role, she will work to maximize economic impact through new business recruitment as well as retention and expansion throughout Hillsborough County.
A graduate of the University of West Florida with a B.S.B.A in Marketing & Sales Management, Alison brings more than nine years of professional experience. Alison comes to the EDC after serving as AVP Business Consultant with Bank of America, where she established new client relationships and provided comprehensive merchant services to the small business sector. She also served as VP of Corporate Partnerships and Marketing at Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties.
Alison resides in the Channelside area of Downtown Tampa with her husband and enjoys exploring all the city of Tampa has to offer.
As Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Bauer provides strategic leadership and operational oversight for the EDC. She leads the investor relations and award-winning marketing and research teams. Michelle is responsible for directing the marketing, media relations, research, and special events initiatives that are positioning Tampa and Hillsborough County as one of the top business destinations in North America.
Prior to joining the EDC in November 2014, Michelle was the president of Common Language, a strategic communications firm in St. Petersburg, Florida. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of South Florida and is a proud supporter of her alma mater. Go Bulls!
Laura Fontanills joined the Tampa Bay EDC as Marketing and Communications Director in May 2018. In this role, she is responsible for generating content, managing events, and engaging with local, national and international business media to gain positive coverage for Tampa and Hillsborough County and the economic development initiatives of the EDC.
Laura brings more than 10 years of public relations agency experience to the organization. Most recently, Laura served as an account manager at B2 Communications, managing public relations activities for such clients as Valley Bank, Feld Entertainment, Ybor City Development Corporation, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and SPCA Tampa Bay. Prior to B2, Laura was account director at Common Language, a boutique PR firm in St. Petersburg, where she secured coverage for clients in top tier business and consumer media including the New York Times and Washington Post.
Highly engaged in the local community, Laura is a board member and past president of Ekhos, a group of professional female leaders who support one another personally and professionally; a member of PRSA Tampa Bay; and a graduate of Leadership Tampa Bay’s Class of 2008. She also serves on the strategic communications committee for LEAP Tampa Bay. Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida and earned her Accreditation in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America.
Laura enjoys the urban life in downtown Tampa with her boyfriend and their adorable Cavalier Spaniel.
Robin joined the EDC as the Market Research Analyst in July 2015. She works closely with the marketing and business development teams to provide statistical data about the Tampa Bay region, manage data content from workforce and industry trends, and lead quarterly data collection for the cost of living. She is also the database administrator for several research tools; e.g. GIS WebTech, C2ER, D&B Hoovers, and Esri ArcGIS Online.
Prior to the EDC, Robin worked in the media industry, including the research departments at local newspapers and broadcast companies. Her research included comprehensive competitive and consumer behavioral analysis for local and national advertising. Robin graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in marketing.
Robin enjoys spending her spare time with her husband Vince and their PC cats (Tiger and Blue), as well as reading, cooking, and cheering on her favorite sports teams.
Hussain Shamseddine joined the Tampa Bay EDC as the Digital Marketing Manager at the beginning of January 2017. As the Digital Marketing Manager, he is responsible for the creation and implementation of new web and social media campaigns and leads in the execution of the EDC’s Make It Tampa Bay talent attraction initiatives.
Previously, Shamseddine served as a marketing manager for a media company in Naples, where he conceptualized, managed and supported the development and implementation of digital marketing campaigns for the newsroom and advertising departments. He was one of 10 individuals selected nationwide by the Newspaper Association of America in Washington, D.C., where he completed a Digital Media Fellowship.
While earning his bachelor’s in business management at the University of South Florida, he was the owner and creative mind behind a clothing company based in the Tampa Bay area.
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