Capping off a milestone year at Annual Meeting

October 24, 2018

Earlier this month, more than 500 business and community leaders gathered at the Straz Center to celebrate the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s 2018 fiscal year and all I can say is WOW!

The energy in the room was electrifying. I could really feel the excitement everyone shares for the Tampa area and the growth and development that is underway.

EDC Chair Dr. Alan List and I kicked off the program recapping a stellar year of numerous wins. Our Business Development team closed a total of 31 projects, representing 3,441 new jobs and more than $187 million in capital investment. They helped local companies like IRONMAN, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Metlife and Greenway Health expand in this market. And they brought new companies to the area for the first time, including Frank Recruitment Group, WebstaurantStore and Automated Industrial Machinery.

But perhaps the most notable milestone this year was the recruitment of Tampa’s first Fortune 500 corporate headquarters. In May, The Mosaic Company announced it will move its corporate headquarters to Hillsborough County to amplify its already large presence in Central Florida and move closer to its operations in Brazil.

As Chair of the International Economic Development Council, I had the honor of selecting this year’s recipient for the Chairman’s Award for Leadership in Economic Development. The award is given to individuals who have shown exemplary commitment to economic development throughout their careers. There were many worthy candidates, but after much thought there was only one obvious choice, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He is the best ambassador Tampa could ever ask for and his contributions to Tampa’s economic resurgence have been remarkable. I had the pleasure of presenting the award to him at both the IEDC Annual Meeting in Atlanta, as well as ours.

Our 2019 Chair, Dr. Judy Genshaft, closed out the program with a preview of what to expect in the upcoming year. She noted that the EDC would reach an important milestone – our 10th anniversary. Now that Tampa has recovered from the Great Recession and has stepped out on the global stage, we’ll start out our second decade with an ambitious new strategic plan. This coming year we’ll also unveil a new brand that highlights our prominence as a center for global commerce and launch a new 501 (C)(3) foundation that will conduct research and develop educational campaigns designed to enhance economic prosperity for all.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our Investors, Board members, staff and partners for their hard work and dedication to this organization. Our incredible year wouldn’t have been possible without you.

And another big thank you goes out to our Annual Meeting sponsors. Their generosity allowed us to put on such a memorable event.

If you missed the Annual Meeting or want to relive it all over again, you can check out all the event photos and program videos in our media center.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM