Coke Florida President and COO Thomas Benford joins board of Tampa Bay EDC

July 28, 2022

Tampa, Fla. (July 28, 2022) – Thomas Benford, president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida), the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, has joined the board of directors of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council.

Coke Florida became an EDC Investor at the Circle of Champions level – the EDC’s highest level of commitment – in January 2020. The Tampa Bay EDC also previously assisted Coke Florida with an expansion of a new 800,000-square-foot sales and distribution center, which broke ground last month at U.S. Highway 301 and Causeway Blvd.

“Not only is Coke Florida one of the largest employers in the state, but they have also been honored as a best managed company and are admired as an outstanding corporate partner and neighbor,” said Craig Richard, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay EDC. “We’re excited and thankful to have Thomas’ leadership on our board. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in strategic planning, marketing and finance that will no doubt serve us well as we continue our placemaking initiatives and marketing Tampa and Hillsborough County as the best place for business.”

As president and COO of Coke Florida, Benford oversees end-to-end commercial operations, including planning, customer management, field sales, product supply, risk management, sustainability, and facilities management. He joined Coke Florida at its inception in 2015, previously serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and Vice President of Strategy and Planning. Prior to Coke Florida, Benford served as marketing and development manager of Baroid Fluid Services and Corporate Finance Manager at Halliburton Company. And he was previously an Investment Banking Analyst in the leveraged finance group at J.P. Morgan Chase. Benford holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degrees in Economics and Computational and Applied Mathematics from Rice University.

Tampa is home to Coke Florida’s headquarters and one of its four manufacturing facilities. Current Tampa operations employ more than 800 associates across sales, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, fleet operations, and professional services. In May of this year, Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal selected Coke Florida as a 2022 US Best Managed Company. The program recognizes outstanding U.S. private companies and the achievements of their management teams in four key areas: strategy, ability to execute, corporate culture, and governance/financial performance.

About the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council

The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment within targeted industry sectors, including Corporate Headquarters, Financial and Professional Services, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Defense and Security, Distribution and Logistics, and Manufacturing. The EDC exists because of the generous support of more than 100 corporations, Hillsborough County, and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.

About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned Coca-Cola bottler. Coke Florida’s exclusive territory covers over 21 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coke Florida manufactures, sells, and distributes over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. Coke Florida is the third largest privately held, and the sixth-largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. A certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), the company is one of America’s largest black-owned businesses. Coke Florida was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. To learn more, visit