Goodbye 2022, hello 2023: The year of the buffalo

December 21, 2022

Earlier this month I had the privilege of being named an Honorary Commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) at MacDill Air Force Base and was fortunate to be paired with Col. Cory Damon, Vice Commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing.  This extraordinary partnership between the Air Force and the local community has a long tradition in Tampa, and such honors are highly prized in the business community. During the ceremony, Colonel Adam D. Bingham, Commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing, told a great story about leadership that will serve us all well as we head into an uncertain future in 2023. Col. Bingham noted the difference in behavior between cows and buffaloes when storms approach them. Cows turn and walk away from the storm, which means that the storm follows them and prolongs their misery. Buffaloes, on the other hand, face the storm and march into it, suffering straightaway but for a much shorter time. Regardless of unpleasant possibilities that may lie ahead, acting like a buffalo and facing adversity head on is the key to recovering more quickly.

Col. Cory Damon presents Tampa Bay EDC President and CEO Craig Richard as an honorary commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base.

Here at the Tampa Bay EDC, we are diving into our new 2023-2025 strategic plan and aggressively pursuing the many new recruitment project leads coming from across the country. Our business development team has increased their goals for the number of existing businesses we will visit and help to expand. And we have several exciting new initiatives that we’ll announce soon that will have a transformative impact on our community. If and when the storms we can’t control come our way, we’re ready to face them and march right through – just like the buffaloes. Obsessing over what we can’t control is a useless exercise and reminds me of a wise quote from Winston Churchill: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

Imagine looking back on 2023 one year from now. I bet most of the doom and gloom scenarios we’re hearing about today will not come to pass. So my friends, stay focused and positive. Tampa Bay has a bright future, and there’s so much more work for us to do.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!