Investor Spotlight: The Florida Aquarium
February 25, 2020
The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit facility that aims to engage people through education, entertainment, conservation and research to inspire stewardship of our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium opened in 1995 with a mission to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about the natural environment. Today, the Aquarium is an integral part of the Tampa Bay community and beyond with programs and conservation initiatives that focus on coral reef research, sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation, river otter rescue and rehabilitation, providing environmental and conservation education to youths, and much more. USA Today recognized The Florida Aquarium as one of North America’s Top 2 aquariums
Roger Germann, President & CEO
Roger Germann brings a strong history of leadership experience in the private and public sector to his responsibilities as President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. Germann is widely recognized as one of the zoological community’s top leaders and strategists. Since joining The Florida Aquarium in June 2017, he has actively elevated the organization with several high-profile recognitions including growing attendance and operations with the opening of several world-class exhibits and leading the Aquarium’s ground-breaking conversation initiatives.
The Florida Aquarium recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. What’s next?
As we celebrate our 25th anniversary over the next 13 months, we are proud of our past, but excited for our future. We’re making no little plans at The Florida Aquarium because our guests, our schoolchildren, our community and wildlife are counting on us to be THE Florida Aquarium. We’ve invested nearly $9M in new exhibits, experiences, STEM programs and conservation efforts around the state since I arrived in June 2017, and in celebration of our 25th, we announced in January another $14M in future investments as part of a capital campaign that supports the advancement of our mission and growth of our business operations. As a not-for-profit we take “no margin, no mission” to heart.
Downtown Tampa is going through a transformational change right now. How do you think it will impact the Florida Aquarium and how does the Aquarium fit into the future of downtown?
We love what’s happening around The Florida Aquarium. The vision our founders had for downtown Tampa is finally being realized thanks to the efforts of many, including the EDC. The revitalization of the Downtown District, especially Water Street, is game changing. I grew up in a city that burned down but took advantage of the opportunity and built a globally influential city thanks to Daniel Burnham and civic and corporate leaders. What SPP, Jeff Vinik and Cascade are doing is truly game-changing in 21st Century urban planning. Port Tampa Bay is growing and is a vital player in the redevelopment as well. And of course, the leadership of Mayors Castor and Buckhorn and the EDC is critical.
The Florida Aquarium plays a major role in this historic reimagining, and our success directly impacts future growth and investment. Corporations and people are seeking a high-quality of life when it comes to where they want to live, work and play. Competing with other cities on the basis of tax incentives will only go so far. Knowing that Tampa Bay offers world-class cultural experiences, like they get at The Florida Aquarium, is a strong selling point, along with schools, public transportation, and connectivity to nature.
When you are traveling or talking to people from outside of the market, what do you tell them about the Tampa Bay community?
The Tampa Bay community is extremely welcoming, it’s innovative, creative, exploding with opportunity, and is home to world-class experiences – including USA Today’s #2 ranked aquarium, The Florida Aquarium. I also tell them that here, anyone who wants to truly have their fingerprints on developing a 21st Century, internationally significant region, this is the place. There are very few opportunities that exist like this in the history of the world, so why not be part of something that will far outlive our time on this planet.