Former FL Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope Joins EDC Headquarter Recruiting Team

July 22, 2015

In a bold move designed to speed up its quest to land a Fortune 500 headquarters within three years, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC has engaged Gray Swoope and Vision First Advisors (VFA) to advance its corporate headquarter recruiting strategy and lead a series of business development trips to key Northeastern and Midwestern markets.
Swoope, who oversaw record-setting job creation and recruitment wins during his tenure as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce from 2011-2015, will work with the EDC’s Corporate Headquarter Task Force to plan the missions, prospect development strategy and face-to-face meetings. The Task Force, formed in late 2014, is chaired by Gordon Gillette, President of TECO, and Chuck Sykes, CEO of Sykes Enterprises. Since its formation, the Task Force has worked with EDC staff to develop research for the ambitious initiative. Research has included a CEO perception study, identification of criteria to predict the likelihood of a corporate headquarter relocation and development of a list of over 350 corporations headquartered in the Northeast and Midwest that form the foundation of a targeted prospect list.
VFA is led by Swoope, who serves as CEO, and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (2004-2012), who serves as Chairman. VFA is headquartered in Tallahassee and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Butler Snow LLP law firm. Prior to Swoope’s tenure in Florida, he served as Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority.
“Gray is one of the nation’s most respected economic development professionals and has already leveraged his strong relationships with site selection consultants and corporate real estate executives to open doors and develop new contacts for the EDC,” said Rick Homans, EDC President & CEO. “We’re moving fast and have already begun fleshing out the details for our first business mission trip in the fall.”
To learn more about the EDC’s corporate headquarter recruiting initiatives, contact Rick at