International Town Hall to Highlight TBEA Progress, Exporter’s Stories, and Opportunities in Canada and Cuba

March 16, 2015

The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA), a partnership between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, will host the 2015 International Town Hall on Friday, May 8 from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Carillon in St. Petersburg. This annual event kicks off World Trade Month with an in-depth look at the people and programs driving international business growth on both sides of Tampa Bay.
The half-day event will begin with breakfast and feature an expo for guests to visit before and after the program. The expo will offer attendees the chance to mingle with experts who provide services and support to exporters including training, counseling, grants, financing, and logistics.
Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties will commemorate World Trade Month and the 2015 Tampa Bay International Town Hall with a joint proclamation emphasizing the importance of exports and trade to the region’s economy.
Agenda highlights include:
• An opening keynote presentation from Lufthansa, the newest  carrier to begin service from Tampa Bay with direct flights to Frankfurt beginning Fall 2015
• A panel discussion, “State of International:  An Overview of Collaborative Efforts,” featuring Paul Anderson, President & CEO of Port Tampa Bay; Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit Tampa Bay; David Downing, Executive Director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater; Rick Homans, President & CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation; Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport; and Mike Meidel, Director, Pinellas County Economic Development
• In “Trade Behind the Scenes: The Real Story Told By Veterans,” a panel of experienced trade mission participants will share how relationships are created and deals get done during these brief yet intense business trips.  Panelists will include representatives from Enterprise Florida, Ex-Im Bank, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), U.S. Commercial Service, Custom Manufacturing and Engineering, and SOS Technologies
• A spotlight session on Canada will feature a discussion with Roxanne Dubé, Consul General of Canada in Miami. She will provide an overview on doing business with Canada, share top growth sectors, and offer insights into Canada’s current economic and business climate.  The significance of the Tampa Bay – Canada relationship will be explored, and tips will be offered from companies already doing business there. Attendees will also learn more about the TBEA mission to Canada in October and how they can participate.
• An expert panel on Cuba will host an open, interactive and candid dialogue about the realities of Cuba from both the public and private sector point of views. From policy, treaty compliance to logistics – what does it take to get a product on the ground in Cuba and what does this all mean now for Tampa Bay. This not-to-be-missed discussion will feature:
– John Andersen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere U.S. Department Of Commerce International Trade Administration
– Anthony Christino III, Director of the Foreign Policy Division, Office of Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce
– Jay Brickman, Vice President of Government and Cuba Services for Crowley Liner Services
– Walter P. Bastian, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere U.S. Department Of Commerce, International Trade Administration.
Tampa International Airport is the presenting sponsor of the 2015 International Town Hall. Other major sponsors include Port Tampa Bay, and Copa Airlines and the Tampa Bay Trade and Protocol Council are among the event partners.  Expo participants include Enterprise Florida, Ex Im Bank, Small Business Development Center, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  For a full list of expo participants, visit
Tickets, which cost $45 per person and include breakfast, may be purchased online.  Discounts are available through promotional partners. The International Town Hall will open for registration and networking at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m.
For more information about the Tampa Bay Export Alliance and to register for the International Town Hall, visit
Sponsorships are still available. Interested? Please contact Lorrie Belovich, Director of International Business Development, at or (813)518-2654 to discuss opportunities.