Investor Spotlight: Amazon

February 27, 2024

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon.

Sam Blatt, Manager, Economic Development

Sam Blatt is Amazon’s Economic Development Manager for the Southeast United States and is charged with advocating for the approval and development of Amazon’s fulfillment network in partnership with policymakers and community stakeholders. His work involves reducing time, cost, and uncertainty associated with projects, and ensuring Amazon is positioned to be a successful long-term community partner.

A few years ago, the Tampa Bay EDC outlined five strategic growth areas, including supply chain management technology, to target with our business development and marketing efforts. And we’ve certainly seen a lot of activity in the logistics sector over the last couple of years. What do you think makes Tampa a great place for companies in this space and a prime location for growth in this industry?

Simply put, I think the reason Tampa is a great place for Amazon — and why we continue to grow — is because our customers see Tampa as a great place to live, work, and play. Amazon’s logistics and supply chain strategy concentrates on effectively servicing our customers, and we have a lot of customers in Tampa. As Tampa’s population grows, so will our logistics network to better meet the demand of our customers.

Why is it important for the business community to support local economic development efforts?

When companies choose to locate to a community, they are also choosing to become a corporate citizen in that community. A good corporate citizen should strive to foster economic prosperity and community well-being in the place their business calls home. Business growth and diversification helps generate new opportunities for existing firms, and talent development means a better talent pool for companies to choose from. Economic development isn’t a zero-sum game, but a dynamic process that creates broader community and economic benefits.

What is the number one thing that you believe will impact Tampa Bay’s competitiveness in the coming decade?

Tampa Bay’s competitiveness will be impacted most by its available workforce in the coming decade. I am optimistic Tampa can maintain and grow its quality talent pool, and one way to do that is by upskilling existing talent. Amazon is working to do its part through our Career Choice program. Career Choice offers pre-paid college tuition, foundational skills, and career certificates for eligible hourly employees. Amazon has 27 Career Choice partner schools across Florida including several in the Tampa Bay area such as Hillsborough Community College and University of South Florida.

What makes Tampa Bay stand out from the other markets in your covered territory?

I may be a little biased because while I cover multiple states across the southeast, Tampa Bay is my adopted home. My family lives in St. Petersburg, and the way I often describe Tampa Bay is that it is the “goldilocks” community in Florida. It has peaceful beaches, a diverse arts and entertainment scene, but it also has big city amenities with one of the best international airports that can get you anywhere you need to go. For Amazon, Tampa Bay is one of our biggest markets in Florida, and Amazon will continue to invest in its supply chain to best serve its customers in the coming years. Plus, Tampa Bay is home to Amazon’s first Florida fulfillment center down in Ruskin where we currently employ more than 3,000employees.