Signode

Signode is a leading transit-packaging provider with a proud tradition of offering a range of innovative and effective products and solutions to our customers globally.

With over $2B in revenue, 80+ manufacturing facilities across 6 continents and over 9,000 employees worldwide, Signode is a leading manufacturer of a broad spectrum of transit packaging consumables, tools, software, and equipment that optimize end-of-line packaging operations and protect products in transit.  Signode brings this extensive product portfolio together under hundreds of trusted brands to offer complete transit packaging solutions to its customers.




Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART)

Created on October 3, 1979, the Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) is the regional mobility provider in Hillsborough County, serving a population of more than 1.4 million residents in the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and parts of unincorporated Hillsborough County, the fourth most populated county in Florida. Its total service area covers 1,000 square miles. HART operates fixed-route local and express bus service, door-to-door paratransit service, flex-route service, and manages the TECO Line Streetcar System.

HART’s mission is to Take People to Places that Enhance Their Lives.




Adelee Le Grand

Adelee Marie Le Grand is a leader, with over two decades of experience, who is passionate about utilizing mobility as a tool to create and sustain vibrant equitable communities. Her area of specialty is developing and communicating strategies into the implementation of business solutions and innovations.

Adelee has served as a member of the executive team for two transit agencies. She has served as the Chief Mobility Officer for the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (ATL), working closely with the Executive Director and Planning Division to develop a strategic plan to document the new state authority’s suite of services and strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders and regional partners. Adelee also served as the Chief Strategy Officer in service to the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority where her responsibilities included developing the first Strategic Mobility Plan for the New Orleans Region and rebuilding the Planning Department.

She empowers her team to view their portfolio of projects as opportunities to improve the lives of the community they serve. Her motto is, “it is not about the project, it is about how the project improves the community”.

Adelee Le Grand
Chief Executive Officer, Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART)

Vistra Communications

Vistra Communications LLC, (Vistra) is an SBA 8(a) and service-disabled veteran-owned small business providing integrated strategic communications, marketing and consulting services to corporate, government and nonprofit clients, with offices in Tampa, FL and Northern Virginia.  Vistra, founded in 2007, is an award-winning company comprised of a team of nearly 100 diverse professionals with varied experiences, backgrounds and training, producing exceptional results for clients in a variety of industries.




Maureen Butler

As Vistra’s Executive Vice President, Maureen is involved in all aspects of Vistra’s strategy, administration, operations and financial management. She served as CFO from the company’s founding in 2007 until 2016. Maureen was a key player in establishing Vistra’s administrative and financial operations including accounting, HR and contracting.

Maureen’s experiences as a U.S. Army Finance Officer, staff accountant with a property management company and small CPA firm, and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits have enabled her to contribute to the growth and development of Vistra. Maureen spent 4 years as an Accounting Professor at the University of South Florida and 9 years at The University of Tampa where she earned tenure prior to leaving academia to join Vistra full time in 2019. She is an Adjunct Professor of Accounting at The University of Tampa teaching Financial Management in their Nonprofit Management Program. She has published research in the areas of nonprofit management, defense contracting and outsourcing in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Accountancy.

A Certified Public Accountant licensed in Florida and Virginia, Maureen holds a B.S. in Accounting from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville. She is a member of the Hillsborough Education Foundation Program Oversight Committee and a current instructor, former board member and former board treasurer of the Nonprofit Leadership Center.

Maureen Butler
Executive Vice President

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Bradley is a national law firm with a reputation for skilled legal work, exceptional client service, and impeccable integrity. We provide business clients around the world with a full suite of legal services in dozens of industries and practice areas.

With 10 offices located in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and the District of Columbia, we have an extensive geographic base to represent clients on a regional, national, and international basis. We frequently serve as national coordinating counsel, regional counsel, and statewide counsel for clients in various industries.

Although Bradley is a large law firm with almost 600 lawyers, our clients still enjoy the personal attention, responsiveness, and deep relationships they would expect from a boutique firm. Our attorneys combine legal experience and knowledge with a sophisticated understanding of industries to find practical, strategic solutions specifically tailored to our clients’ business operations. Bradley lawyers use their talents, judgment, work ethic, and experience to go above and beyond expectations to help clients meet their goals.

Bradley’s Economic Development Experience

Bradley handles projects throughout the U.S., representing companies with a creative, proactive approach that is fundamentally multidisciplinary. The 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America includes nine Bradley attorneys listed for Economic Development and the firm is listed nationally for Economic Development Law.

We empower our clients by lending our experience to a project from any stage of the development. From the outset, we lead a process that leads to identifying the location that is most profitable for the company. We routinely assist the client’s site selection team, not only in connection with identifying and implementing the economic development incentives, but also in the many aspects of the new project or expansion, including real estate, tax, governmental, planning and zoning, environmental, permitting, financing, labor and employment, and construction.

We are also experienced and staffed to assist companies in connection with expansions and new projects that may be relatively small in terms of capital investment and job creation, but significant for the company.

Bradley has handled economic development deals in thirty-one states.  Our services include the following.

  • Our multidisciplinary efforts integrate experience in real estate and construction, utilities and environmental work, corporate and employment law, and tax incentives.
  • We routinely handle related tax matters at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • We provide experienced interaction with government developers at the state, county, and city levels, including economic and community development groups, chambers of commerce, industrial development boards, power companies, and utility providers.
  • We advocate for clients before governmental agencies in negotiating approvals for various incentives.
  • We have experience in large land assemblies for industrial parks; megasite programs; and all aspects of permitting, entitlements, land use, industrial development revenue, and municipal financing.
  • We help clients facing ongoing disputes in states with viable project sites resolve issues and maximize the number of options available during the decision-making process.

To learn more, visit www.bradley.com/economicdevelopment.




Ben Dachepalli

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.

Ben Dachepalli
Partner

Schiller International University

Schiller International University is a globally recognized university with campuses in Madrid, Paris, Heidelberg, and Tampa. We are accredited in the US and in Europe. We provide students with a truly global experience. A learning-by-living education that enables them to learn immersed in multiple international realities, obtain an accredited degree in future-oriented areas, and create a personalized path to become world-smart professionals. We are honored to be a part of one of the fastest growing cities in the US – Tampa.




Allan Alvarez

Allan Alvarez has more than 20 years of experience in international education. With a master’s degree in Higher Education and specializations in Strategic Leadership and Management and language teaching, he has been a part of the leadership teams in global organizations such as the British Council, Kaplan International, and Amerigo Education. He is the Campus Director at Schiller International University in Tampa since October 2020. Allan speaks four languages, enjoys sports and outdoor activities, and is an avid traveler.

Allan Alvarez
Campus Director, Schiller International University Tampa

USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

The University of South Florida has transformed a community medical school, established by the Florida Legislature in 1965, into a major academic medical center known statewide and nationally for its innovative curriculum with an emphasis on improving health through interprofessional education, research and clinical activities.

The USF College of Medicine, which enrolled its charter class in 1971, was named the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in 2011, signifying its leading role in changing how medical schools teach physicians of the future. Fully accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the college awards doctorates in Medicine (MD), and through its School of Biomedical Sciences, PhD and MS degrees in Medical Sciences. USF’s new SELECT MD program, in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network, focuses on emotional intelligence and leadership development. The School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, established in 1998, offers Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and transitional DPT degrees. Additionally, the college’s Athletic Training Education Program offers both BS and MS degrees. Specially designed programs are available, including combined MD/MBA, MD/MPH, DPT/MPH programs and an Honors Research program. To meet the growing demand for a workforce skilled in science and technology, the college proves a wide range of master’s degrees and graduate certificates in emerging fields, such as biotechnology, bioinformatics, and metabolic and nutritional medicine.




Dr. Charles J. Lockwood

Dr. Charles J. Lockwood is Senior Vice President for USF Health, Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Public Health at the University of South Florida. He serves as an Executive Vice President at Tampa General Hospital. Dr. Lockwood’s research has been funded by over two decades of federal and foundation support, publishing over 300 peer-reviewed publications. He has been named to national and regional “Best Doctors” lists annually since 1995, and has received multiple research awards including the SRI’s Distinguished Scientist Award, the NICHD Frontiers in Reproduction Beacon Award and the SMFM Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a recipient of the U.S. FDA Advisory Committee Service Award and ACOG’s Public Service Award for his “enduring commitment to women’s health.” He has been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Charles J. Lockwood
Senior Vice President, USF Health, and Dean, Morsani College of Medicine

Saltmarsh

Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund is one of the largest full-service accounting and advisory firms in the Southeast, offering deep expertise and specialized consulting for many industries and high net worth individuals with investment management affiliate, Saltmarsh Financial Advisors, LLC.

Our team has been recognized as one of the Top 200 Firms in the U.S. by INSIDE Public Accounting, a Regional Leader by Accounting Today and named one of Forbes‘ Top Recommended U.S. Tax and Accounting Firms.




Lee Bell, CPA

Lee serves as the president of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund and is responsible for promoting the strategic plan of the firm. He also serves clients in certain highly regulated industries, including financial institutions and healthcare.

Lee graduated from Harding University and began his public accounting career in 1991 with an international firm, joining Saltmarsh in 2001. His experience includes consulting and compliance matters, private equity matters, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation and litigation support.

He is active in his community and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries – Suncoast Inc., a member of the Audit Committee for United Way of Tampa Bay and is an Advisory Council Member for the University of South Florida School of Accountancy.

 

Lee Bell, CPA
President

East + Main

East+Main Company is 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.




James Nozar

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.

Prior to joining SPP, James was a Senior Vice President with The JBG Companies (now JBG Smith) in Washington D.C. where he focused on the firm’s overall acquisition and development strategy, and was responsible for acquisition underwriting assumptions, the overall vision and conceptual program, entitlements, and community outreach efforts, as well as the design process on dozens of real estate investments within the Washington, DC metropolitan area. James also worked as a real estate consultant for Ernst & Young and RCLCo after receiving a B.S. in Building Construction and Certificate in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was also a 4-year Letter winner on the men’s swimming team, a 2-year captain and All-American athlete.

James is the 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.

James Nozar
Founder and CEO

Casa Ybor

Casa Ybor is proud to be one of the driving forces behind the exciting revitalization of the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District of Tampa, Florida.

For decades, Ybor City has enjoyed a reputation as a nationally renowned entertainment district. Casa Ybor is focused on contributing to “The Renaissance of Ybor City” as a diverse, vibrant and sustainable business and residential community.

Our properties include a former cigar factory, 7th Avenue storefronts, new mixed-use properties, historic office and retail spaces, warehouse spaces, and contemporary apartment homes for rent and lease in ideal, walkable locations throughout the District.




Darryl Shaw

Darryl Shaw is a developer and investor who is the driving force behind Ybor City’s Gas Worx development – a mixed-use project that will link downtown Tampa, the Channel District and the Latin Quarter.

Named to the Florida 500, as well as the Tampa Bay Power 100 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Shaw was the Co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners.  Shaw led the company starting in 1996 when he and his brother Neil, a board-certified veterinary internist, opened their first specialty animal care hospital in Tampa.  Eventually the pair took BluePearl national, with more than 50 locations, before they sold the business in 2015.  In 2022, Shaw stepped down as CEO to focus solely on Ybor.  Darryl and Neil are recipients of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the State of Florida.

Born in South Africa, Shaw is a graduate of Brown University with a degree in international commerce.  He also has an MBA in finance and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. 

Darryl Shaw
Chief Executive Officer

Ybor City Chamber of Commerce

Ybor City is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida and The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, celebrating its 92nd  anniversary this year, is focused both on preserving and developing the historic district. Founded in 1886 by Vicente Martinez-Ybor when he moved his cigar factory from Key West to Tampa, Ybor City holds a unique place in Florida’s social and economic history as our state’s “first industrial town.” Primarily a regional entertainment center during the past decade, Ybor City’s central location, great transportation and critical mass of “creative industries” is making it the ‘Greenwich Village’ of Tampa. Historic buildings have been turned into stylish offices, in-town residences and boutique hotels without sacrificing their historic character. In addition to being a top tourist destination, Ybor City is a great place to meet, learn, greet and do business.




Lee Bell

Lee Bell joined the Ybor Chamber as President and CEO in 2019.  Lee has worked as a leading executive in the not-for-profit world for over seven years in local and statewide organizations.  Prior to his not-for-profit roles, Lee founded and operated a multi-million-dollar staffing, recruiting, and human resource business until he sold it. For over twenty years Lee held various leadership posts within Ashland Chemical, a $2.7 billion division of Ashland, Inc..  Lee is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree majoring in accounting.

Lee Bell
President and CEO

Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Since our founding 50 years ago, Bernstein has focused solely on investment management and research for clients, which aligns our interests with theirs, and makes us fully accountable for their outcomes. We can deploy a comprehensive range of investment strategies, cutting-edge investment planning, and risk-management services to help clients reach their goals.




Joel R. Stevens II

Joel is a Senior Managing Director with Bernstein Private Wealth Management, overseeing the firm’s Tampa-based private client operations, which includes Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Naples. He also has oversight for our Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Denver offices.

With almost three decades of industry experience, his current role draws upon the full breadth of his experience in the institutional and private wealth management areas. Joel’s passion and expertise benefit high-net-worth individuals and families, executives, business owners and institutions alike in discovering, customizing, and implementing the investment plans that balance their beliefs and objectives.

He joined the firm in 1994 as a private client associate and was named financial advisor in 1996 and then principal in 2000. Before returning to Private Client in early 2015, Joel was a senior leader in AB’s Institutional Client Group, heading the business development and client service practices as well as the consultant-relations efforts for North America beginning in 2011. Previously, he was a Senior Managing Director in the southeast and was responsible for the firm’s private client practice across the region from 2008 through 2010. He opened and served as managing director of the Tampa office from 2004 through 2007.

Joel holds a BS in applied economics from Cornell University, with minors in biology and art history.

Joel R. Stevens II
Senior Managing Director

Charter Communications

Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 31 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand. Over an advanced communications network, the company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice.

For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The company also distributes award-winning news coverage, sports and high-quality original programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks and Spectrum Originals. More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com.




Christopher T. Bailey

Bio coming soon

Christopher T. Bailey
Florida Director, State Government Affairs

Stetson University College of Law

Stetson is ranked #2 in trial advocacy and #5 in legal writing by U.S. News & World Report (2022)

Fully accredited by the American Bar Association and Association of American Law Schools.

As Florida’s first law school, Stetson has educated outstanding lawyers, judges and community leaders for more than a century.

Stetson University College of Law is an active part of the Tampa Bay metro area, with its main law campus in Gulfport/St. Petersburg and a satellite center in Tampa. The law school is a part of Stetson University, with a College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, and School of Music in DeLand.




Michèle Alexandre

Dean Michèle Alexandre joined Stetson University College of Law in 2019 and immediately began laying the groundwork for a 2030 vision for the college to expand the curriculum, increase alumni engagement, and forge new community partnerships.

 

Prior to joining Stetson, Alexandre taught at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis School of Law. Much of her time in the South was devoted to issues of sustainability, economic independence, and social justice for small farmers and poor populations, including launching the Race and Sustainability Conference at The University of Mississippi.

 

Her scholarly areas include constitutional law, international law, civil rights law, disability law, critical race theory, human rights, and gender. She has received Fulbright and Watson Fellowships and is the author of the civil rights textbook, “The New Frontiers of Civil Rights Litigation,” and “Sexploitation: Sexual Profiling and the Illusion of Gender.”

 

Her accolades include being named one of Ebony Magazine’s Top 100 influential African Americans of 2013 and one of the 50 “Most Influential Minority Law Professors 50 Years of Age or Younger” by Lawyers of Color Magazine.

 

Alexandre is the first black valedictorian of Colgate University and earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Michèle Alexandre
Dean

Creative Sign Designs

Creative Sign Designs is a nationally-recognized custom sign company focused on providing design-build architectural signage and lighting solutions. With 30 years of experience as an industry-leader, Creative successfully manages local, regional and national projects. Creative provides consultation, design, project management, fabrication and installation services for a full line of interior, exterior and digital sign and lighting products. Creative was founded in 1986 with national headquarters in Tampa, FL and regional representatives in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Charlotte, North Carolina.




Jamie Harden

Jamie Harden is President and CEO of Creative Sign Designs. Creative employs more than 130 people throughout the state of Florida with the majority based at its Tampa headquarters.

The desire to establish permanent roots in the Tampa community, paired with the goal of acquiring and running a local business led Mr. Harden and his family to return to Tampa in April 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Harden was Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Group Market Executive for Bank of America. He served in this role from 1999 to 2005 in various locations including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Kansas City. Prior to these positions with Bank of America, he was a Commercial Banking Group Team Leader in Tampa for NCNB/NationsBank from 1990 to 1999. While at Bank of America, Mr. Harden achieved a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Mr. Harden is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance.

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS

  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Chairman of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay
  • Board of Governors of the Florida State University College of Business
  • Executive Committee and Treasurer of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), Florida Chapter
  • Honorary Commander of the US Air Force 927 Air Refueling Wing at MacDill AFB
  • Member Chief Executive Organization
  • Member Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club

Jamie has been married to Melanie Turner Harden for more than 27 years and they have three children – Battle (17), Ellee (14) and Turner (14).

Jamie Harden
President and CEO

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida)

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned, independent Coca-Cola bottler. Coke Florida’s exclusive territory covers over 18 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Coke Florida sells, manufactures and distributes over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. Coke Florida is the third largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler and the sixth largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. Coke Florida was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.




Troy D. Taylor

Troy D. Taylor is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida), a family-owned independent Coca-Cola bottler.

Coke Florida is the third largest privately held and sixth largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. The company markets, sells, produces and distributes a diverse portfolio of leading non-alcoholic beverage brands of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. Coke Florida’s exclusive sales and distribution territory covers most of the state of Florida, including the Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville metropolitan areas. The company is Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certified and is the fourth largest black-owned business in America. Coke Florida was founded in May 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa.

Mr. Taylor has extensive experience as an operating executive, investor, banker and strategic advisor. He previously founded and was the Managing Partner of Spinel Investment Company, a Houston-based private investment and advisory firm. He was also an advisor to The Coca-Cola Company and previously held senior-level positions at J.P. Morgan, Accenture and BBVA.

Mr. Taylor serves on the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Jacksonville Branch, Florida Chamber of Commerce, American Beverage Association, and Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association. He is a Trustee of the Boys & Girls Club of America Southeast Region and is a member of the Coca-Cola Hispanic Advisory Council and Florida Council of 100. He was previously a member of the Tampa Bay Partnership Council of Governors and the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees.

Mr. Taylor has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Business Law from Marshall University. He was the recipient of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 award in Florida for the Consumer Products category.

Troy D. Taylor
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Johnson & Johnson

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based health care company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity.




Barbara Dondarski

Barbara is currently the VP of Service Excellence, which is part of the GS Service Excellence and Experience team.  She is responsible globally for initiatives driving Continuous Improvement, Service Recovery and Quality, Integrated Service Management, Data Strategy and Governance and Reporting & Analytics across the GS functions.  In July of 2016, Barbara joined Johnson & Johnson as the Senior Director in charge of Procurement Service Delivery for the North America Region.  In this role, she was responsible for the delivery of the end-to-end Source-to-Settle process from requisition to invoice payment with teams in the US, Manila and in India supporting the regional activity.

Prior to her role at J&J, Barbara was the Director of EMEA Enterprise Supply Chain (ESC) Operations at Citibank, where she was responsible for day-to-day management of Account Payable, T&E and Procurement Operations.  She led a team of 140 Operations staff, with matrix responsibility for all ESC functions at the site.   Barbara has held a variety of Procurement roles in her career, including Strategic Sourcing, Project Management, Systems and Service Delivery.  For her different roles, she has lived in several places in the US, including CT, FL and NJ, and then moved to Budapest, Hungary for 3 years, before returning to Tampa to take her current position at J&J.

She earned her MBA at the University of Florida, and holds an undergraduate degree in Business and Psychology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

Barbara Dondarski
VP of Service Excellence

Hancock Whitney

Since the late 1800s, Hancock Whitney has embodied core values of Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney offices and financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas offer comprehensive financial products and services, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; private banking; trust and investment services; healthcare banking; certain insurance services; and mortgage services.

 

 




Joe Fontana, Jr.

For almost the last 15 years Joe Fontana has worked in the financial industry, with the last decade being in banking. Currently, he works with middle market and corporate clients to maximize both short and long term capital needs; including obtaining senior debt financing (working capital, acquisitions, real estate and capital restructuring), risk & cash management, international banking, and guiding strategic dialogue around ownership and liquidity events.  Additionally, Joe co-authored a proprietary financial insight report/consultative selling tool which has been rolled out to 200+ bankers across 7 states. His range of commercial banking experience includes traditional C&I lending, underwriting C&I and CRE loans, portfolio management, and special asset management.

 

Joe is an active participant in a number of professional and civic organizations within the Tampa Bay area.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Economic Club of Tampa, Leadership Advisory Committee and Finance Committee with South Tampa Fellowship, and is an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth.  He previously was a member of Leadership St. Pete Class of 2016, served as Director and Treasurer for MyChoice Counts, a local non- profit, and on the Finance Committee with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County.

 

Joe has earned distinctions at all levels; locally, as the 2010 recipient of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s Recognition Award; regionally, as an honoree of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “2012 Up & Comers” award; and nationally, as a National Achiever in Business Banking in 2013 and 2014, awarded by JP Morgan Chase.

 

He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration for Management from the University of Central Florida, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.  He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida, where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Theta Honors Society.

 

Joe and his wife, Christina, were both born in Tampa Bay where they currently live with their three young children.  Beyond his family and work, Joe is an avid golfer and a third-degree black belt.

Joe Fontana, Jr.
Vice President - Middle Market Banking

The Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment.




Roger Germann

Roger Germann is the President & Chief Executive Officer of The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL. He brings a strong history of leadership experience with 25+ years of experience in the private and public sector; Roger is widely recognized as one of the zoological community’s top leaders and strategists. Since joining The Florida Aquarium in June 2017, he is actively elevating the organization with several high-profile recognitions.

Under his leadership, some of the most recent successes and accolades include being recognized from USA Today as one of North America’s Top 2 Aquariums, growing attendance and operations by opening several world-class exhibits, including Moon Bay, only the fourth of its kind in North America, a unique moon jellies interactive touch experience and in 2018, the Aquarium’s second-largest exhibit, Heart of the Sea. Besides, these important successes have been the Aquarium’s huge step forward with its conservation initiatives which has focused on increasing the Aquarium’s commitment to saving wildlife, including the opening of a $4M sea turtle rehabilitation center and becoming the first organization to successfully reproduce Atlantic pillar coral in human care, and increasing revenue and philanthropic support of the Aquarium’s critical conservation, education and community initiatives.

Prior to The Florida Aquarium, Roger earned his strong business and conservation leadership reputation serving as Executive Vice President for more than 16 years at the world-renowned John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. He began his career in television and worked in the public sector for the State of Illinois.

Roger is active in leadership roles on several local and national committees and non-profit boards. In 2019, Roger was appointed by Governor DeSantis to the Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and serves on the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, Visit Tampa Bay, and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. He has served in several national leadership positions, including a White House appointed member of the Great Lakes Advisory Council.

Beyond his work at The Florida Aquarium, Roger is heavily involved in the community. He dedicates his time in support of Mitchell Elementary School, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Bayshore Little League, along with mentoring students from underserved areas.

Roger and his family reside in South Tampa.

Roger Germann
President & Chief Executive Officer

The Southern Group

When The Southern Group was founded twenty years ago, our firm pioneered the lobbying industry in Florida and beyond. We were the first to offer a unique type of advocacy that was driven by aligning the best and brightest candidates from business, government, and politics, and establishing a network of offices that offer our clients unparalleled access to local and state government.

Over the last two decades we have cultivated and retained a strong team of experts who help our clients build winning strategies, navigate the pathways to power, and connect with decision makers—whether in government or business. We know how to navigate the halls of government because most of us already served in them.

Today, the sharp lines between government, business, and constituencies have blurred. Applying calculated influence demands dynamic strategies that keep pace with societal trends and economic outlooks. Survival of the smartest, fastest, and most connected is the new norm. While lobbying will always be our foundation, tomorrow has reshaped who we are and how we access, advocate, and influence.




Seth McKeel

Seth McKeel joined The Southern Group’s Tampa office as Managing Partner in 2014 after a long and distinguished career in public service. Seth has developed expertise in numerous areas, including economic and business development, energy, health care, land use and development, marine science, policy, public and private partnerships, telecommunications, transportation, and water.

Seth’s political career began in 1999 with his election to the Lakeland City Commission at age 24, its youngest member. This experience in municipal government allowed Seth to hone his expertise in achieving local consensus. Seth was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2006 and re-elected until the conclusion of his eight-year term limit in November of 2014. As a legislator, Seth tackled tough issues, including agriculture, energy, higher education reform, and natural resources policy. He chaired the Polk County and Hillsborough County Legislative Delegations for two consecutive years, as well as the larger nine-county Bay Area Legislative Delegation.

A strong commitment to fiscal responsibility earned Seth the trust of House Speaker Will Weatherford, who in 2012 tapped Seth to chair the Appropriations Committee, where he led the Florida House’s efforts to balance the $77 billion budget of the third largest state in the Union. Under Seth’s leadership, Florida maintained AAA bond rating and set aside more than $3 billion in healthy reserves.

Seth proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Seth is also the founding director of The Schools of McKeel Academy Charter School. Seth was recognized with the YMCA’s Servant Leadership Award and is a graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Lakeland, and a member of Florida Blue Key.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Seth was awarded the Presidential Medallion, one of the university’s highest awards, for his service to UF and higher education. Seth is among the fifth generation in his family to call Florida home. Seth and his wife, Kim, live in Lakeland with their two children

Seth McKeel
Managing Partner - Tampa Bay office

Helios Education Foundation

Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to achieve a postsecondary education. The Foundation’s work is driven by four fundamental beliefs in Community, Investment, Equity, and Partnership. Helios invests in programs and initiatives across the full education continuum – from early grade success through postsecondary education. In Arizona, where Latino students comprise the largest percentage of the K-12 public school population, the Foundation is implementing its Arizona Latino Student Success initiative focused on preparing all students – especially students in high poverty, underserved Latino communities – for success. Through Helios’ Florida Regional Student Success Initiative, the Foundation is helping underserved, minority, first-generation students from the state’s large population centers in of Tampa, Orlando, and Miami achieve a postsecondary education. Since 2006, the Foundation has invested more than $233 million in education programs and initiatives in both states.




Charles Hokanson

Charles Hokanson is Senior Vice President, Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships for Helios Education Foundation, where he leads Helios’ staff engagement with the community and stakeholders to improve quality, access, and achievement across the birth-16 education continuum.

Mr. Hokanson’s career has bridged the worlds of nonprofit, private sector, and government policy development and executive management. As President and CEO of Hokanson Consulting Group LLC, Mr. Hokanson provided strategic and public policy advice to nonprofit, think tank, trade association, and federal and state agency clients.  Mr. Hokanson previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, as president or executive vice president of three national education reform nonprofits, and as professional staff to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Mr. Hokanson graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, earning a BA in History and American Studies and an MA in History, before earning JD and Master of Public Policy degrees at the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Florida Education Foundation’s Board of Directors and Vice Chair of Hostelling International USA, and sits on the governing boards of the Florida Chamber Foundation (investment committee chair) and Florida Philanthropic Network (policy committee chair). Mr. Hokanson is also a member of the advisory boards for the Florida College Access Network (Chairman), Florida TaxWatch’s Education and Workforce Policy Council (Vice Chairman), the Florida College System’s Student Success Center, the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations, and the Center for Postsecondary Success at Florida State University.

Charles Hokanson
Senior Vice President, Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships

DEX Imaging

DEX imaging was founded in 2002 with the goal of becoming the nation’s largest independent imaging dealer. Our chairman, Dan Doyle, pioneered the mega-dealer imaging industry, having founded Danka Business Systems in 1977, where he implemented innovative strategies that revolutionized how dealers do business today. His insights have been instrumental in helping his son and DEX imaging’s CEO, Dan Doyle Jr, to reach the company’s short-term benchmarks and long-term goals. We are a dominant force in the marketplace due to our focus on quality service and community outreach.




Dan Doyle Jr.

From a start-up with 11 employees at a single branch location in Tampa, Florida, Dan Doyle Jr has grown DEX imaging to 48 locations nationwide, with over 3,000 employees and over $300 million in annual revenue. Doyle Jr has developed DEX imaging from the ground-up using a slow and steady approach to growth, starting in Florida and expanding via acquisition throughout the Continental United States.

Doyle Jr has been instrumental in conceiving and overseeing innovative business strategies, such as DEX’s Employee Profit Sharing Program, which awards bonuses based on exceptional job performance, and DEX’s Community Outreach Program, which donates one third of the company’s profits to charities and educational programs within the communities it serves. Since DEX’s inception, the company has donated millions of dollars to charities, foundations, and educational programs.

DEX imaging is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the prestigious Diamond Premier Dealer award by Kyocera for the past 20 years consecutively, the ProTech Service award by Konica Minolta for the past 16 years consecutively, the Elite Dealer Award by OfficeDEALER Magazine, and the Elite Dealer award by ENX Magazine for numerous years since the company’s inception. DEX has also consistently been recognized by JD Power & Associates for Best Customer Experience. Other accolades include being named Best Place to Work by various business journals in the markets where DEX does business.

In June of 2013, Doyle Jr was awarded the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of theYear award in the Technology Industries category. This is an honor only bestowed on businessmen and businesswomen who have founded their own companies while also investing their time, resources and finances to philanthropic initiatives.

In March of 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Doyle Jr to his Board of Governors, which governs over the State of Florida’s Public University System. Doyle Jr was quickly confirmed, and was honored to participate in the process of promoting quality higher education for all.

In October of 2020, Doyle Jr was inducted into the prestigious Wayne Huizenga College of Business Hall Of Fame at Nova Southeastern University. Celebrating its 31st year, the Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame honors the lifetime achievements of outstanding business leaders in the South Florida community.

Prior to founding DEX Imaging, Doyle Jr was the founder and managing partner of a real-estate development and holding company based in St. Petersburg, Florida, responsible for developing, building and managing some of the most distinguished landmark properties in the Tampa Bay area.

Doyle Jr is a Chair of YPO (Young Presidents Organization) and also serves on the Board of Directors for National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the Community Foundation of Tampa, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Paul’s School, and The Doyle Foundation.

Dan Doyle Jr.
Chief Executive Officer

Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Poly is the nation’s leading institution of change, engineered from the ground up to push the boundaries of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Florida Poly has about 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 31 programs of study. The University is the only state university in Florida dedicated exclusively to STEM education.




Randy K. Avent

Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University, the newest of the state’s 12 public universities and the only polytechnic university in the State University System of Florida.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s inaugural president, Avent is responsible for the development and operation of the university and is committed to strategically developing Florida Poly as a research and jobs university, an agent for growth and a beacon for the economy.

His career exemplifies the qualities of innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship the university seeks to instill in students. An accomplished academician, senior administrator and research scientist, Avent has an extensive background teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At Florida Polytechnic, Avent focused on the core STEM disciplines of engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, which are considered key to economic growth and prosperity for Florida and the nation as a whole. He created a strategic plan that addressed the four largest pressures on higher education in Florida – degree alignment, student success, economic development and affordability – and helped open the university in under two years by creatively building the campus using combinations of state funding, private investments and Public-Private Partnerships (P3s). He formed over 200 partnerships with industry and is working with a local developer to create a 4,500 acre “live-work-play” research park that brings together industry, government and academia. Under Avent’s leadership, the university received both SACSCOC and ABET accreditation in under five years and have built relationships with Fulbright, Killam and other international partners in India and Brazil.

Randy K. Avent
President

Verséa

Verséa is a diversified global healthcare company engaged in scientific discovery, development and commercialization of innovative products and services intended to diagnose, manage, and treat debilitating diseases. Verséa is committed to transforming scientific discoveries into applicable healthcare & wellness solutions that are critical to improving patients’ lives. Research & education remain as the foundation of Verséa’s seven core divisions: Verséa Diagnostics, Verséa Ophthalmics, Verséa Biologics, Verséa Discovery, Verséa Health, Verséa Wellness and Verséa AgroTech.




Sean Fetcho

Sean Fetcho is the co-founder and CEO of Verséa Holdings, Inc., a global healthcare company committed to transforming scientific discoveries into applicable health and wellness solutions.

Sean’s shared passion for the evolving healthcare industry and for building early-stage companies prompted him to drive explosive growth for Verséa over the past few years.

Prior to Verséa, Sean’s roster of early stage and start-up companies includes multiple industries spanning from Agrotech, online consumer magazines and finance.

Sean successfully created, launched, and oversaw 8 highly successful print and digital publication that targeted oncology, pain management and cardiology professionals, all of which remain in circulation today. He was then recruited into a Continuing Medical Education (CME) company where Sean developed and executed on new revenue streams that helped structure the business for an exit. Within 3 years, Aventine (PAINWeek) sold to a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange.

Sean Fetcho
Co-Founder and CEO

BMO Harris

BMO is a leading bank driven by a single purpose: to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. Everywhere we do business, we’re focused on building, investing, and transforming how we work to drive performance and continue growing the good. BMO’s expansion into Tampa was driven by the diversity of industries in the region and the surge of companies relocating here. The commercial banking team is focused on a variety of industries, including manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, engineering and construction, food and business services – providing customers with access to BMO’s full array of financial services and industry expertise. commercial.bmo.com. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.




John Astrab

John Astrab
West Florida Managing Director of Corporate and Middle Market Banking

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie helps clients overcome the challenges of competing in the global economy. We solve complex legal problems across borders and practice areas. Our unique culture, developed over 65 years, enables our 13,000 people to understand local markets and navigate multiple jurisdictions, working together as trusted colleagues and friends to instill confidence in our clients. Baker McKenzie chose Tampa for the site of its new Global Services Center, the first of its kind in North America, following the success of similar sites in the Philippines and Northern
Ireland.




Jamie Lawless

Jamie Lawless is the Executive Director of Baker McKenzie’s strategic center in Tampa, Florida. Prior to this role, she served as the Director of Implementation for the Firm, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of the Washington D.C. and New York offices.

Before joining Baker McKenzie, Jamie held several Vice President roles at Swiss Post Solutions, a global organization providing document management services, business process services, and intelligent automation solutions to global organizations. During her time with SPS, Jamie was based in Los Angeles, then in Washington, D.C., and led the expansion of services in the Western United States and Mid-Atlantic regions. Early in her career, Jamie worked as a supply chain process consultant for Accenture in New York. She focused on the areas of manufacturing, packaging, distribution/logistics and inventory management for global organizations.

Jamie is passionate about serving the community, ensuring a diverse and inclusive business environment, and promoting the economic independence of women.  She has served as the Advisory Council Chair for Dress for Success Worldwide, is a Founding & Advisory Board Member for Women to Know aimed at elevating and accelerating the careers and leadership of women in the legal industry, and is a founding member of (Fe)League , a network of women building a community of the interested, the interesting, and the influential. Jamie has also served as a business partner to the Association of Legal Administrators in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and co-led the Emerging Leaders Committee for the International Facilities Management Association in Washington.

Jamie was elected to the 2020 Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, focused on attracting and retaining top companies and talent, and was recently recognized by Baker McKenzie as the business professional recipient of the Firm’s annual award for the promotion of gender diversity.

 

Jamie Lawless
Executive Director , Tampa Center

AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a modern media company whose mission is to inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment.

We bring together premium video content, a large base of direct-to-consumer relationships, high-speed networks optimized for video and advertising technology to lead the next revolution in technology, media and telecommunications.

AT&T has recorded 35 consecutive years of quarterly dividend growth and is a Fortune 10 company.




Edwin Narain

Former Representative Edwin “Ed” Narain has served the Tampa Bay Community for almost twenty-five years. He has dedicated his life to helping children and the working poor. He has served on the Hillsborough County Community Action Board, the Headstart Policy council and is a member of the Pinellas PACE Center for Girls Board of Directors, and the Saint Leo University Board of Directors.

Professionally, Ed is Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs with AT&T and has earned three Florida Top Performance Manager of the Year awards and two AT&T Summit Awards.

Ed holds a BA degree in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration from Saint Leo University. In 2013, he completed a Leadership Certificate and earned a Jurist Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law.

As a state legislator, Ed was elected Chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus in 2015, received the 2015 Florida Association of Counties County Champion Award, the 2016 Legislative Appreciation Award from the Florida League of Cities, and earned two Distinguished Advocate Awards.

He and his wife Monica are co-founders of the USF Black Leadership Network that provides scholarships to African American college students.

Edwin Narain
Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs

CareerSource Tampa Bay

 

 

CareerSource Tampa Bay (CSTB) serves as the workforce development board under the Workforce Investment Act and is a driving force in delivering workforce solutions that support economic development in Hillsborough County. CSTB has centers located in Tampa, Brandon, Plant City and a satellite office in Ruskin, offering a full range of career planning services for professional and entry-level candidates. CSTB also strengthens the competitive edge of local businesses in measurable ways that lead to the economic vitality of the region. A team of business consultants works as a partner with local businesses to provide a wide range of professional services, including employee referral and recruitment, training and retraining, workshops and business seminars on a variety of human resource and workforce topics, labor market statistics, targeted career fairs, downsizing and retention support strategies, tax credit information and other customized support for a well-trained workforce.




John Flanagan

John Flanagan is the CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay. Mr. Flanagan started his official duties on January 22, 2019. Mr. Flanagan was previously the Executive Director of the Bucks County Workforce Development Board, a county of approximately 630,000 in the Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Statistical area. He was a key player in regional initiatives with multiple Workforce Development Boards in PA and NJ that provided integrated center operations and Career Pathway initiatives for a region of more than 6 million people.

 

John holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Public Administration from Gannon University has more than 13 years’ experience in workforce development, both within and outside of the public workforce system. He has held Director positions in Colorado, and in NW PA as Director of Title I programs for a 6 county region.

 

Mr. Flanagan is happily married for more than 11 years to his wife, Emily. They have a 4 year old son, jack. The family are avid outdoor enthusiasts.

John Flanagan
CEO

City of Tampa

 

 

The City of Tampa is the largest city in Hillsborough County, is the county seat and is the third most populous city in Florida. It is located on the west coast of Florida, approximately 200 miles northwest of Miami, 180 southwest of Jacksonville, and 20 miles northeast of St. Petersburg. The population of the city represents approximately one-third of the total population of Hillsborough County. Tampa’s economy is founded on a diverse base that includes tourism, agriculture, construction, finance, health care, government, technology, and the port of Tampa. Contributing to the success of our community is the way businesses, City government, and citizens work together to make Tampa a better place to live.




The Honorable Jane Castor

Jane Castor is the 59th Mayor of the City of Tampa. She was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, graduated from Chamberlain High and attended the University of Tampa on an athletic scholarship.

Mayor Castor is a 31-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department serving in nearly every capacity of the department and every area of the city. In October 2009, Mayor Castor became the first woman to be named Police Chief in the City of Tampa, serving for six years in that role. During her time as a senior staff member, Mayor Castor worked to reduce major crimes 70% citywide.

Mayor Castor continues to be very active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for several organizations including Gracepoint Mental Health and Wellness; Starting Right, Now; RISE Tampa Police Foundation; Bike Walk Tampa Bay; and The Athena Society. She also serves on the GTE Financial Supervisory Committee and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and a Police Foundation Fellow.

On a national and local level, Mayor Castor has been recognized for her leadership in both law enforcement and community involvement. She is the proud recipient of numerous awards including the 2015 University of South Florida President’s Distinguished Citizen Award, 2015 Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014 Tampa Chamber of Commerce Woman of Influence, Leadership Tampa Alumni Parke Wright III Leadership Award, 2014 Florida Holocaust Museum Lobenberg Humanitarian Award, 2013 Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Community Advocate Award, 2011 Tampa Connection Betty Tribble Citizen of the Year Award, 2010 University of Tampa Alumni Achievement Award, 2009 National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executive’s Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award, 2007 Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award for Community Engagement, and a 2006 University of Tampa Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

The Honorable Jane Castor
Mayor

Fifth Third Bank

 

 

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Established in 1858, the company has $130 billion in assets and operates 17 affiliates with 1,311 full-service banking centers and 2,605 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Investment Advisors. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest, and as of December 31, 2013, they had $302 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $27 billion for individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations. The Tampa Bay affiliate operates 48 banking centers throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties.




Jim Weiss

Jim Weiss is regional president of Fifth Third Bank, N.A. (South Florida). He is responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of our Business, Commercial, Wealth & Asset Management and Consumer businesses to deliver distinctive value to our customers and community impact in the region.

Jim has a decade’s experience in Florida banking with Fifth Third, most recently as credit risk executive, with oversight for Middle Market, Business Banking, Wealth & Asset Management, Treasury Management, Dealer Floorplan and Asset Based lending. He previously served three years as Tampa city president and before that as senior commercial banker in the North Florida region and as Tampa business banking executive.

Jim relocated to Florida after four years with Fifth Third in St. Louis, where he served as Wealth & Asset Management executive and commercial sales manager. Before coming to Fifth Third in 2007, he served as first vice president and middle market team lead for Commerce Bank, N.A., in St. Louis. He has more than 25 years of commercial management experience.

Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in finance from Saint Louis University, where he also earned certification in economic development.

Jim serves as chairman of the board of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, on the board of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and on the executive board of directors for the Florida Aquarium. In addition to his commitment to the community and nonprofit work, Jim also enjoys spending time with his wife and three grown children traveling, scuba diving, watching baseball and cruising.

Jim Weiss
Regional President, South Florida

Florida Blue

 

 

Florida Blue is a leader in Florida’s health industry. Since 1944, their members have counted on them to continuously develop better solutions that promote more affordable health care across the state. Florida Blue’s mission to help people and communities achieve better health is central to all that they do. Helping people in their pursuit of health reflects Florida Blue’s commitment to ensuring affordable plans, providing personal support for health and wellness, and building strong communities that enable health and wellness for all. Florida Blue has approximately 4 million health care members and serves 15.5 million people in 16 states through its affiliated companies. Florida Blue is a nonprofit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.




David Pizzo

David Pizzo is Florida Blue’s Market President, West Florida Region, overseeing operations in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee, Lee and other western counties south to Collier. Prior to this role, Pizzo served as Florida Blue’s Vice President of advertising, brand management and market communications since 1997. Prior to joining Florida Blue, Pizzo served as Senior Vice President for Commonhealth, the world’s largest health care marketing communications firm. In addition to being involved with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and serving as Chairman in 2013, he currently works with the following organizations in various capacities: Tampa Bay Partnership Council of Governors, MacDill AFB Honorary Commander, The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, CEO Council of Tampa Bay, Museum of Science and Industry, United Way Suncoast, American Cancer Society and the Eckerd College President’s Associates. Pizzo holds a bachelor’s in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a master’s in marketing and international business from NYU’s Stern Business School.

David Pizzo
Market President, West Florida Region

GTE Financial

 

 

GTE Financial is a leading not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than $1.6 billion in assets and 21 Community Financial Centers located throughout West Central Florida. GTE Financial offers every needed financial product and service for individuals in the community, such as checking and savings accounts, business services, personal, home and auto loans, credit cards, insurance and investments, but typically at better rates and with fewer fees than traditional banks. Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial remains locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area and currently serves more than 212,000 individuals and businesses.




Brian Best

As President and CEO of GTE Financial, Brian Best’s approach to leadership is all about serving others and ensuring that people always come first. With the support and guidance of a seasoned Board of Directors and an invaluable Executive Management Team, he is focused on maximizing return and value to the GTE membership and local community. Through elevating the employee experience, members gain a caring financial advocate that ensures they earn more, save more and live better. Additionally, GTE is focused on providing innovation through a service lens, ensuring the credit union stays relevant within an ever-changing industry permeated by new technology and sophisticated services.

 

Prior to joining GTE, Best worked at Grow Financial Federal Credit Union where he served as the Chief Lending and Operations Officer. He has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years, holding senior management positions at some of the nation’s most preeminent banks and credit unions. He brings a diverse background in commercial and consumer banking, collections, operations, retail strategy, process improvement, investment and risk portfolio management, organizational branding and troubled business restructuring.

 

Best holds a bachelor’s in marketing from Wright State University, as well as a master’s from Saint Leo University. He has also graduated from the RMA School of Commercial Underwriting and Portfolio Management, and has received his accreditation with Six Sigma as a master black belt.

Brian Best
President and CEO

Hillsborough Community College

 

 

Hillsborough Community College is a comprehensive community college located in Tampa. Founded in 1968, HCC serves over 46,000 students annually at five campuses, three centers and through online offerings. The college offers more than 160 academic programs including the associate in arts and associate in science degrees, college credit certificates and postsecondary adult vocational certificates. Hillsborough Community College employs more than 2,500 and has an annual budget of $212 million. Approximately 85 percent of all HCC graduates remain in the area, and through their contributions in increased business productivity combined with college operations contribute to an annual economic impact of over $1.1 billion in Hillsborough County. HCC is the fifth largest community college in Florida and is the nation’s fifth leading producer of associate degrees among two-year community colleges. HCC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.




Dr. Ken Atwater

Dr. Ken Atwater became the seventh president of Hillsborough Community College (HCC) on July 1, 2010. He is the past chairman of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), serves on the Museum of Science & Industry’s National Board, and became the chairman on October 1, 2016 of the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Dr. Atwater earned his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

Dr. Ken Atwater
President

Hillsborough County

 

 

Located midway on the west coast of Florida along beautiful Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County is a thriving, diverse community. Fully grounded in a rich history yet embracing all the opportunities of the technical age, the County’s boundaries embrace a modern skyline, major tourist destinations, world-class entertainment venues, a nationally-recognized airport, one of the largest shipping ports in the country, major educational institutions, a bustling agricultural industry, professional sports teams and more. A wide range of lifestyles offers residents the ability to live in high-energy urban environments, suburban planned communities or rural landscapes. Huge national and international events, including four Super Bowls, NCAA competitions, the Republican National Convention and the International Indian Film Academy’s 2014 Awards, bring global attention and many visitors to Hillsborough’s doorstep. People of all ages from all walks of life and companies representing a vast array of industries choose to make Hillsborough County their home.




Patricia “Pat” Kemp

Patricia “Pat” Kemp was elected to the County Commission in 2016 and in 2020 representing Countywide District 6. Commissioner Kemp has more than three decades of public service in Hillsborough County. She was chief aide to Congresswoman Kathy Castor when Castor served on the Hillsborough County Commission. Commissioner Kemp also served as aide to State Rep. Sara Romeo. As an attorney, she worked both in private practice and for Bay Area Legal Services, providing civil legal services for low-income clients. As a journalist, she served as news director and a radio talk show host at WUSF and WMNF. Over the years, Commissioner Kemp has volunteered for many community projects and organizations. She co-founded the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. She served in leadership roles for the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay and on the board of Tampa Crossroads, a nonprofit that provides counseling, treatment, housing and other services to veterans, the disabled, and others in need of assistance. Commissioner Kemp has long been an advocate for improving transportation in the county and the region.

Patricia “Pat” Kemp
Chair, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners

Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 50 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,500 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.5 billion.




Merritt Martin

Merritt Martin has worked for Moffitt Cancer Center since 2008 and currently serves as the Chief of Staff for their CEO, Dr. Patrick Hwu. In the last decade at Moffitt, she has been the Director of Public Affairs in the Government Relations Department. Her responsibilities include advocating for Moffitt and cancer patients before the Legislature, Cabinet, and local government offices. She also works diligently to increase Moffitt’s awareness in the community and state.

Prior to her role at Moffitt, Ms. Martin worked for the Florida House of Representatives as a legislative aide for State Representative Bill Heller. She also managed his successful re-election campaign in 2008.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master’s of Public Administration degree from the University of South Florida where she serves on the Foundation Board and is the immediate past Chair of their Alumni Board of Directors. Ms. Martin has been named the Young Professional of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, “40 under 40” by the Business Observer, a Tampa Bay “Up and Comer” and “Business Women on the Year” in 2018. She is a graduate of Leadership Tampa, Leadership Florida, and Moffitt’s Leadership Academy.

Merritt Martin
Chief of Staff, External Affairs

Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay’s longstanding supremacy among Florida ports is based largely on its leadership in handling of bulk and break‐bulk cargos, including phosphate, steel and petroleum, as well as in the shipbuilding industry. Over the past decade, Port Tampa Bay has impressively advanced its container-handling capabilities and seen a rapid growth in regional distribution facilities. Port Tampa Bay handles more than 34 million tons of cargo a year, nearly 40 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the state of Florida. This embraces virtually every imaginable commodity, including vehicles and oversized project cargos, from all corners of the world. Top trade partners include India, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad, Canada, Russia, Australia, Japan, Argentina and Turkey. At the same time, the Port of Tampa has emerged among the top eight U.S. cruise ports, smoothly handling nearly 1 million passenger moves a year.




Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson is a Former Federal Maritime Commissioner and joined Port Tampa Bay as Chief Executive Officer in December 2012 after holding a series of high-profile leadership positions in the public and private sectors. Nominated to the Federal Maritime Commission by President George W. Bush in 2003, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2004, Anderson served a five-year term ending in 2008. In addition, the president designated Anderson as the Commission’s Chairman and re-nominated him for a second five-year term. A highlight of Anderson’s service included his appointment to the Committee on Marine Transportation, a cabinet-level strategy group responsible for the nation’s seaports and reporting directly to the president.

 

He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Jacksonville Port Authority and spent 10 years as an executive with JM Family Enterprises, a diversified automobile business headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Anderson also served as a senior director of Seabulk Marine, Inc., an international marine transportation company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 

Anderson has served as an advisor on intermodal issues to multiple governors including former Florida governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. He worked closely with U.S. Senator Rick Scott during his time as Florida’s governor and maintains a close relationship with the state’s current Governor, Ron DeSantis.

 

Anderson holds several leadership positions in national and state-wide trade organizations and foundations. He recently completed a second term as the Chairman of the Florida Ports Council, having been reelected by his fellow Florida port directors. Anderson also serves on the board of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC). Anderson has lived in Florida for over 35 years, except during the period of his public service in Washington, D.C. Anderson is a 1982 graduate of the University of Florida and completed the Senior Managers in Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Paul Anderson
President and CEO

Strategic Property Partners

 

 

Strategic Property Partners, LLC (“SPP”) is a full-service commercial real estate developer, owner and operator based in Tampa, Florida. With a thoughtful long-term approach to real estate, the firm is focused on creating enduring, sustainable and high-quality experiential places. SPP’s first project, Water Street Tampa, is being developed on 74 acres of land in downtown Tampa. The phased Water Street Tampa development project commenced vertical construction in 2018 and is revitalizing a currently underutilized tract of land into an urban, mixed-use waterfront district consisting of approximately 9 million square feet of new office, retail, residential, hospitality, cultural, entertainment, and educational uses, totaling over $3.5 billion in private investment from SPP. Integrating principles of walkability, sustainability, connectivity, design quality, and wellness, SPP intends to own and operate this new world-class neighborhood in Tampa for the long-term, while also working to elevate the city’s national prominence. The company is owned and capitalized through a partnership between Cascade Investment LLC, and Jeff Vinik. For more information on Water Street Tampa, visit www.waterstreettampa.com.




James Nozar

James Nozar is the Strategic Advisor to the Board of Strategic Property Partners (“SPP”), the owner and developer of one of the largest active urban redevelopment projects in the United States – Water Street Tampa.

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 commencing design and construction on the transformational $3.5 billion, 9 million square-foot Water Street Tampa project. With its first new buildings delivering over the past year – the JW Marriott hotel, Sparkman Wharf waterfront offices retail, the Heron apartment buildings and the city’s first trophy downtown office tower in over two decades (Thousand & One) – the company is poised for several more building deliveries in the coming months as well as future phases of Water Street Tampa. In late 2020 James’ role with the company transitioned to a Strategic Advisor to the Board where he has shifted focus towards new investment and development opportunities for the firm.

Passionate about the built environment and how it can positively shape surrounding communities, James helped shape the vision of Water Street Tampa and the mix of building typologies, the various design collaborators, and the neighborhood’s interwoven relationship with its expansive public realm.

Prior to joining SPP, James was a Senior Vice President with The JBG Companies in Washington D.C. where he focused on the firm’s overall acquisition and development strategy, and was responsible for acquisition underwriting assumptions, the overall vision and conceptual program, entitlements, and community outreach efforts, as well as the design process on dozens of real estate investments within the Washington, DC metro area.  During his time at The JBG Companies, James managed the development of 25 multi-use real estate projects with associated development budgets totaling more than $2 billion and the entitlement of over 10 million square feet of new development.

James also worked as a real estate consultant for Ernst & Young and RCLCo after receiving a B.S. in Building Construction and Certificate in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was also a 4-year Letter winner on the men’s swimming team, a 2-year captain and All-American athlete.

James is the incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council and sit on the Boards of the Georgia Tech Alexander-Tharpe Fund, and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

James Nozar
Strategic Advisor to the Board

Truist

 

 

Are you ready for a better banking experience? BB&T and SunTrust have combined to bring you even greater access to your finances while maintaining the personal support and advice you’ve come to know. Truist is dedicated to transforming tomorrow for the people we’re so proud to serve. We want to build a better future for our clients, employees and communities. Here’s what we’re doing to make sure we deliver on those promises.

 




Tim Schar

Tim is the Market President for the Tampa Bay Area in the Florida Division of Truist Bank. He has primary market responsibility for the Bank’s Commercial Banking activities, including relationships with for profit, not for profit, government and education institutions.

 

Tim has over two decades of leadership and investment banking experience with Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse, Wachovia and Wells Fargo. Tim held various leadership positions, including Head of Convertibles and Equity Derivatives Group at Wachovia (2002 – 2007), Managing Director of West Coast Global Market Solutions at Credit Suisse (2007-2009) and Head of Tech, Media Telecom Equity Capital Markets at Wells Fargo (2010 – 2016). In these roles, he built and managed high-performing teams and focused on originating and executing complex capital markets transactions. Tim has advised public and private companies on financing and strategic transactions across multiple industries and geographies, with significant expertise in technology, media, telecom, fintech, healthcare and industrial sectors.

 

Immediately prior to joining SunTrust, Tim was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for ApplePie Capital, the leading online alternative lender focused on franchised businesses. He also served as VP of finance and interim-CFO at ServiceSource International, prior to its IPO in 2011.

 

Tim received a BA degree in Economics, with concentrations in Mathematics and Computer Science from Macalester College.

 

Tim and his wife are raising four daughters and live in Tampa, FL. When he is not working or spending time with his family, he enjoys cycling, running, swimming and skiing..

Tim Schar
President, Tampa Market

Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas

 

 

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves almost 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utility operations in Florida through Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Peoples Gas System, Florida’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serves almost 350,000 customers in most of Florida’s major metropolitan areas and beyond. TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.




Archie Collins

Archie Collins is president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric.

 

Collins has more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry. He began his career at Nova Scotia Power in 1990, and he has held increasingly senior roles since then. Prior to joining Tampa Electric, Collins served in leadership roles at Nova Scotia Power and Emera Energy, as president and chief executive officer of Grand Bahama Power Co., and as president and chief operating officer of Emera Caribbean. Most recently, he served as chief operating officer of Tampa Electric.

 

Collins is a professional chemical engineer, and he holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from St. Francis Xavier University and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Dalhousie University.

 

He sits on the boards of the Florida Council of 100 and of Enterprise Florida. He also serves on the boards of Southeastern Electric Exchange, The Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, Florida Reliability Coordinating Council and Tampa Theatre.

 

Archie Collins
President and Chief Executive Officer

Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital, a 1010-bed not-for-profit academic medical center, delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Advancing medicine through innovation, Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, an 82-bed Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and a state-certified spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation center. For more information, go to www.tgh.org.

 

 




John Couris

John D. Couris is a nationally recognized leader in the health care industry. Over the course of his career, John has achieved tremendous success through innovation, technological integration and strategic collaborations while ensuring world-class performance.

 

Prior to joining Tampa General Hospital, Couris served as president and chief executive officer of Jupiter Medical Center, the region’s leading medical center. Under his leadership, Jupiter Medical Center expanded its services and forged innovative partnerships with some of the leading organizations in the nation—from IBM Watson, Mount Sinai, New York to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly Miami Children’s) and NuVista Living—with the primary goal of providing world-class care to its patients at every stage of their health care journey. In the process, Jupiter Medical Center received numerous accolades for hospital quality, safety and patient satisfaction, placing the organization in the top 10% within the state of Florida and the top 20% in the nation.

 

During his tenure, Jupiter Medical Center completed a $50 million expansion plan, installed $30 million in medical technology and established the hospitals’ new pediatric wing as well as the oncology campus. Finally, he led the organization in their efforts of raising $300 million to meet the region’s growing demand for critical health services, such as advanced cardiac care, expanded pediatric services and comprehensive stroke care. Funds raised through the campaign will also support the construction of new high-tech treatment and research facilities, including a Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Jupiter Medical Center.

 

Couris is active in numerous community and philanthropic activities and serves on the board of the American Hospital Association (Southeastern Region), Loggerhead Marinelife Center and The Honda Classic. In addition, he is the immediate past chairman of both the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, MyClinic (a free clinic for the uninsured) and the Board of the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce. He is also active in many national professional health associations. Couris is the recipient of multiple awards, including being named one of the top 10 “Ultimate CEOs” in Palm Beach County as well as a “Power Leader in Health Care” for 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the South Florida Business Journal. In 2016, he was awarded with the “Health Care Innovator Hero” by the Palm Beach County Medical Society. In 2014, he was awarded the “Healthcare Professional of the Year” by the Chamber of the Palm Beaches and was named the “Healthcare Business Leader of the Year” by the Palm Beach Medical Society. Couris is also an active member of the Young Presidents Organization.

 

In addition to Couris’ tenure at Jupiter Medical Center, he also served as Chief Operating Officer/Administrator for Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, part of the BayCare Health System in Tampa Bay. He began his career at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Couris is a graduate of Boston University and holds a Master of Science in Management from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He resides in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, Dianne, and their two children, Benjamin and Isabelle.

John Couris
President and CEO

Tampa International Airport

 

 

Tampa International Airport is the Tampa Bay region’s gateway to the West Coast of Florida, serving nearly 17 million passengers each year with nonstop service to more than 70 domestic destinations as well as locations in Europe and Latin America. The airport is widely regarded as one of the best in the world for its focus on customer service and convenience. The main terminal, built in 1971, features a groundbreaking hub-and-spoke design with the world’s first airport people mover. The airport is a significant economic engine for the region. The airport and its tenants employ more than 7,500 people and have an economic impact of more than $7.1 billion each year.




Joe Lopano

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.

Joe Lopano
CEO

University of South Florida

 

 

The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university, among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.




Rhea Law

Rhea Law is a proud fifth-generation Floridian who is passionate about the success of the state. Actively involved in corporate, public policy, civic and charitable work, Law holds top leadership positions with many Florida-based organizations. She received gubernatorial appointments to serve on the inaugural Board of Trustees for the University of South Florida, as well as the Board of the Florida Council of 100, the public policy liaison with Florida’s governor, cabinet, legislative leadership and Supreme Court. Rhea served as Chair of the Board for both organizations. Further, she served on the Presidential Search Committee for the University of South Florida in 1999 and 2019. In addition, she was a two-time Chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and the Tampa Bay Partnership during times of reorganization and expansion. She also served as Chair of the University of South Florida Health Professions Conferencing Corporation which operates the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation and Chair of the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees of Stetson University.

Currently, Law serves on the Board of Directors of Tampa Electric Company, which supplies electricity to the Tampa area, and Peoples Gas, which provides gas throughout Florida. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, the Tampa Bay Chamber, and on the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Directors and National Board of Advisors. As a member of the USF President’s Council Society, she is among honored donors who have made a lifetime commitment of $100,000 or more or a legacy gift to USF.

Law is the former CEO and Chair of the Board of Fowler White Boggs, a Florida law firm. She led the merger of Fowler with a national firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in 2014 where she continued to serve as Chair, Florida Offices until 2021. The consolidation of the firms created a powerhouse firm with law offices throughout the country and hundreds of lawyers who specialize in a broad spectrum of business areas such as Energy, Finance, Healthcare and Life Sciences.

Her areas of practice included higher education, economic development, government, environment and land use. Over the course of her 35-year-plus career, Law has worked with clients on land use and strategic planning to meet the needs of a growing Florida.

Recent recognitions include:

  • Florida Trend magazine: Named to Florida 500 – Florida’s Most Influential Business Leaders – since 2018; Living Legend in 2021.
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal: Named #6 in the Power 100 – Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Business Leaders with greatest impact and influence on the local business community.
  • Tampa Bay Times: Named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Business Players in Tampa Bay.
  • The Best Lawyers in America® and Florida Super Lawyers since 2006; “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers list and in the Top 50 Female Lawyers.

 

 

Rhea Law
President

University of Tampa

 

 

The University of Tampa is a world-class institution of higher education, offering dynamic opportunities for all learners. Celebrated scholars from around the globe and 7,500 students from all 50 states and 136 countries join in the daily rigors and rewards of an innovative curriculum focused on students’ success. A medium-sized, private university in the heart of downtown, UT offers 150 areas of undergraduate study, 12 graduate programs and ample opportunities for continuing education. The University’s 105-acre residential campus in downtown Tampa provides a historical and cultural setting for learning both on and off campus. With its emphasis on academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience, UT is ranked as one of the best environments in the country to live and learn.




Ronald L. Vaughn, Ph.D.

Ronald L. Vaughn has served as President of The University of Tampa since January 1995. During his tenure, University of Tampa’s enrollments has nearly tripled, new enrollment records have been set in each of the last 17 years, and academic programs have been expanded to more than 150 areas of study, including 12 graduate programs with nine concentrations in the fields of business, nursing, education, writing and exercise science. Vaughn came to The University of Tampa in 1984 as the coordinator of the marketing department and holder of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. He also served as director of the MBA program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies and co-chief academic officer. Vaughn has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s of business administration from Indiana State University, as well as a doctorate in marketing from the University of Georgia.

Ronald L. Vaughn, Ph.D.
President

VoltAir Consulting Engineers

 

 

VoltAir Consulting Engineers is a minority-owned engineering firm that affords mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering design with offices located in Texas and Florida. Julius D. Davis, P.E., LEED®AP, President and CEO, of VoltAir has provided quality professional engineering and related services for over 19 years. VoltAir is highly skilled in developing appropriate engineering solutions to meet the requirements of owners, architects and contractors on public and private projects involving renovations, additions, continuing services and new construction. VoltAir provides engineering design services for a variety of building types including airports, hotels, hospitals, prisons, schools, museums, retail, theatres, recreational facilities and office buildings. They are consistently seeking new and challenging opportunities in the A/E industry to help the business meet its full potential. VoltAir’s mission is to practice quality engineering as well as providing personal, cost efficient, dependable and professional services.

 




Julius Davis

Julius Davis, a native of Tampa, is President and CEO of VoltAir Consulting Engineers. Davis has over 18 years of experience in all phases of electrical engineering services, such as building interior and exterior lighting, power distribution and generation and specialty systems such as voice/data and security for a variety of building types including airports, hospitals and office buildings. Davis is currently pursuing his master’s in business administration through the Executive MBA Program at the University of South Florida, where he also completed his undergraduate. In addition to the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, he serves on the board for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Hillsborough Community College, City of Tampa Planning Arts Committee and 100 Black Men. In 2013, Davis was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to the Board of Directors for Enterprise Florida, Inc. and Space Florida Board of Directors.

Julius Davis
President and CEO

Elevate, Inc.

 

 

Elevate, Inc. (“Elevate”) is a Florida-based strategic business development consulting firm providing a multitude of services. Founded by community leader Aakash M. Patel in 2011, Elevate is in the business of helping our clients Learn, Connect and Grow.  Whether you are looking to expand your public relations efforts, community relations activities, or general marketing endeavors, the Elevate, Inc. team has the talent, experience, and resources to meet and exceed your organization’s goals. More than a traditional business development consulting company, Elevate, Inc. uses public relations efforts, community relations activities and general marketing endeavors to help clients achieve their goals. Through our unique relationship based approach, we set ourselves apart from our competitors.




Aakash Patel

As the founder of Elevate, Inc., Aakash Patel helps business owners learn, connect and grow in the community. Patel is a graduate of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa, FBI Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Police Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Mayor’s Neighborhood University, Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, Leadership Tampa Bay (Executive Committee since 2014), Tampa Connection, and College Leadership Florida. He is a current class member in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership St. Pete program. Prior to Elevate, Inc.’s launch, Patel served as an Editorial Assistant at the Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, the Public Relations Coordinator for the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua restaurant, and was the founding Business Development Director for Chamber.com.

Aakash Patel
President & Founder

Blind Tiger Cafe LLC

 

 

Blind Tiger Cafe is a 1920’s speakeasy style coffee shop. All pastries have been inspired by the ethnicities that make up Ybor City. Cuban, Italian, German and Spanish inspired vegan cookies, breads and cakes are the perfect pairings with their drink offerings.

Black & Denim
Made and sourced with 100% American Raw Materials, Black & Denim is a Lifestyle brand with a spirit as resilient as the American Dream. It conserves the essence of the History of American craftsmanship where it was born. Its authenticity is expressed through its collections made of casual articles of clothes & accessories for men & women that are inspired by Americana, Music, & the American lifestyle.




Roberto Torres

Roberto is the co-Founder and Managing Partner of Black & Denim Apparel Company, The Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters & Cass Street New York Style Deli. He is an entrepreneur specializing in the areas of accounting, audit, operations, logistics and financial services segments. He brings his expertise in retail and operations, both as a consultant and an executive, to assist start-ups and early companies with strategic, operational and expansion plans.

Black & Denim is a Lifestyle brand rooted in the Americana, Music & Lifestyle. Over the last eleven years, he has helped and advised numerous companies in the realm of retail, apparel, merchandising and technology. Roberto is a proud Seminole having earned a BS in Accounting and a BS in Finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters is a speakeasy inspired coffee house in the heart of the Historic Ybor City District. Founded in November of 2014, the Café has a Coffee, Tea & full service breakfast & lunch offerings. It houses the flagship store for Black & Denim. It has over 8 locations in the Tampa Bay area.

Cass Street New York Style Deli is a New York style delicatessen serving the best Pastrami, Corned Beef, Latkes, Matzo Ball soup and the staples of a traditional New York Deli.

In the community, Roberto is the Marketing Committee Chair for the Ybor City Development Corporation. The YCDC is the Community Redevelopment Area designated by the City of Tampa. He has been a member for 6 years. Roberto is also a board member for the Tampa Bay Economic Development Corporation. He is also a Board Member for Feeding Tampa Bay (Tampa affiliate for Feeding America).

www.blackanddenim.com

www.blindtigercafe.com

www.cassstreetdeli.com

Roberto Torres
President

Shea Barclay Group

 

 

Shea Barclay Group is a Tampa based insurance firm focusing on professional liability, commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits predominantly in the professional services arena.




Michael P. Shea

 

 

Mike P. Shea is a native of Tampa and a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. After a brief career in the banking industry, Mike accepted an advisor position at Shea Barclay Group.  At that time, Shea Barclay Group consisted of two partners and no employees operating only in Florida.  Mike became responsible for the firm’s geographic expansion and quickly grew the client base nationally.  Today, Mike is President/CEO of Shea Barclay Group, which maintains two offices, 20+ employees and clients in 42 states.  Mike is an advisory board member of the Downtown Tampa YMCA, services on the executive council of the Florida State University Risk Management and Insurance Council.  Mike resides in Tampa with his wife Leila Pallardy Shea and their two young boys, Reilly and Braden.

Michael P. Shea
President

Newgentek

 

 

Newgentek is a systems integrator focused on being a strategic partner for our clients.  Our Restaurant and Retail division serves multi-unit restaurant and retail operators and our Unified Communications division serves corporate and enterprise clients.  Our goal in both divisions is to turn customers’ infrastructure, network, point-of-sale, and audio visual requirements of any complexity into manageable, easy to use solutions through our industry leading workplace transformation processes.




Chon Nguyen

Chon Nguyen is a successful entrepreneur based in Tampa, Florida. At a young age, he started an IT managed services business that is still growing today. His strong interest in the hospitality industry led him to develop a kitchen recipe solution software for multi-unit restaurants, and he also became a partner at The Proper House restaurant group. In 2017, he created Newgentek to provide end-to-end, turnkey technology solutions for multi-unit operators, hospitality and enterprise markets.

Chon Nguyen
Founder and CEO

Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield is the world’s largest privately‐held commercial real estate services firm. The company advises and represents clients on all aspects of property occupancy and investment and has established a preeminent position in the world’s major markets, as evidenced by its frequent involvement in many of the most significant property leases, sales and management assignments. Founded in 1917, it has approximately 250 offices in 60 countries, employing more than 16,000 professionals. It offers a complete range of services for all property types, including leasing, sales and acquisitions, equity, debt and structured finance, corporate finance and investment banking, corporate services, property management, facilities management, project management, consulting and appraisal. The firm has nearly $4 billion in assets under management globally. Cushman & Wakefield is a recognized leader in local and global real estate research that publishes its market information and studies online.




Larry D. Richey

Managing Principal Larry D. Richey is responsible for the Cushman & Wakefield’s offices in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, which consistently rank at or near the top of the competitive commercial real estate services industry in their respective markets. Before joining Cushman & Wakefield 32 years ago, Richey was a Certified Public Accountant with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in Atlanta. Richey was the 2008 Chairman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, is a past Chair of the Board of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and currently serves on the Board of Neighborhood Lending Partners, Inc. He is active on the Board of The Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk and is the most recent past President of the Board of the Florida Gulf Coast Association of Realtors. Richey received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Florida State University and his law degree from Georgia State University.

Larry D. Richey
Managing Principal, Florida

Carlton Fields

Carlton Fields serves business clients in key industries across the country and around the globe. Through their core practices, they help their clients grow their businesses and protect their vital interests. Their national and international litigation teams handle the most complex business trials, arbitrations and appeals. They have deep experience in the defense of class actions and mass actions, white collar representation, high-stakes business litigation and government investigations. The cases they handle cut across every subject area, including consumer and business fraud, FCPA enforcement, contracts, shareholder disputes, antitrust, insurance, securities, products liability, construction, real estate, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy, labor and employment, intellectual property, health care, telecommunications and federal and state governmental disputes. Carlton Fields also advises clients on sophisticated business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, securities compliance and disclosures, tax planning, ERISA, capital formation, debt financing, corporate governance and transactions and cyber security concerns.




Gary Sasso

Gary Sasso represents business clients in securities fraud and consumer fraud class actions and other complex litigation at the trial and appellate level, in the financial services industry, energy sector, products manufacturing industry, and services sector. Gary has tried cases in the areas of securities fraud, business contracts, product liability, professional malpractice, employment discrimination and termination, eminent domain, bankruptcy, construction, administrative law, and land use in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Gary has argued appeals on diverse issues including business fraud, federal and state constitutional claims, product liability, personal injury, insurance coverage, national bank regulation, employment discrimination, federal occupational safety and health regulation, eminent domain, county taxation, and public utilities law.

Before joining the firm in 1987, Gary worked as a law clerk for Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a law clerk for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Gary Sasso
President and CEO

Bank of Tampa

The Bank of Tampa is one of the largest community banks in the Tampa Bay area. It has been privately held by our staff, directors and clients since the banks inception in 1984. The Bank of Tampa has offices in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and assets totaling more than $1.5 billion.




Donna Walsh

Donna brings more than 20 years of professional banking experience to Tampa Bay. In addition to the Tampa Bay EDC, she serves on the board of The Spring of Tampa Bay as well as on the Board of the volunteer group, Sunset Park Area Homeowner’s Association. Donna likes to spend time at the beach, reading, shopping and hanging out with friends. She is married and has an active 11 year old daughter.

Donna Walsh
Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager