Gray Swoope’s company now working with Tampa EDC on HQ recruitment

July 9, 2015

Chris Wilkerson | Tampa Bay Business Journal
The Tampa Hillsborough EDC has hired Gray Swoope, the man who led Enterprise Florida and served as Gov. Rick Scott’s chief business recruiter from 2010 to 2014, to help with the EDC’s corporate headquarter recruiting strategy.
Swoope’s company, VisionFirst Advisors was formed with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour earlier this year. Swoope’s office is in Tallahassee.
VisionFirst will lead three business development trips to northeastern and midwestern markets seen as ripe for business headquarters recruitment. The terms of the one-year agreement between the EDC and VisionFirst Advisors were not disclosed.
The EDC’s Corporate Headquarter Task Force charged with bringing a big company HQ to Hillsborough is led by Gordon Gillette, president of TECO, and Chuck Sykes, CEO of Sykes Enterprises. It was formed in late 2014.
“We’re moving fast and have already begun fleshing out the details for our first business mission trip in the fall,” EDC President and CEO Rick Homans said in a release.
The task force has been in research mode since formation getting a clear strategy together to meet its goals.
Swoope and Barbour see the South on an economic development upswing right now.
“You will continue to see the South have a surge in economic activity and particularly in terms of manufacturing, including the manufacturing of the future,” Barbour told Jacksonville Business Journal in March.
VisionFirst Advisors is a subsidiary of Butler Snow, a law firm with 300 attorneys and 17 offices mostly across the South, but none in Florida.