Tampa Bay EDC


For more information about becoming an Investor, please contact:


Alison Gelbaugh


The Southern Group

When The Southern Group was founded twenty years ago, our firm pioneered the lobbying industry in Florida and beyond. We were the first to offer a unique type of advocacy that was driven by aligning the best and brightest candidates from business, government, and politics, and establishing a network of offices that offer our clients unparalleled access to local and state government.

Over the last two decades we have cultivated and retained a strong team of experts who help our clients build winning strategies, navigate the pathways to power, and connect with decision makers—whether in government or business. We know how to navigate the halls of government because most of us already served in them.

Today, the sharp lines between government, business, and constituencies have blurred. Applying calculated influence demands dynamic strategies that keep pace with societal trends and economic outlooks. Survival of the smartest, fastest, and most connected is the new norm. While lobbying will always be our foundation, tomorrow has reshaped who we are and how we access, advocate, and influence.

Seth McKeel

Managing Partner – Tampa Bay office

Seth McKeel joined The Southern Group’s Tampa office as Managing Partner in 2014 after a long and distinguished career in public service. Seth has developed expertise in numerous areas, including economic and business development, energy, health care, land use and development, marine science, policy, public and private partnerships, telecommunications, transportation, and water.

Seth’s political career began in 1999 with his election to the Lakeland City Commission at age 24, its youngest member. This experience in municipal government allowed Seth to hone his expertise in achieving local consensus. Seth was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2006 and re-elected until the conclusion of his eight-year term limit in November of 2014. As a legislator, Seth tackled tough issues, including agriculture, energy, higher education reform, and natural resources policy. He chaired the Polk County and Hillsborough County Legislative Delegations for two consecutive years, as well as the larger nine-county Bay Area Legislative Delegation.

A strong commitment to fiscal responsibility earned Seth the trust of House Speaker Will Weatherford, who in 2012 tapped Seth to chair the Appropriations Committee, where he led the Florida House’s efforts to balance the $77 billion budget of the third largest state in the Union. Under Seth’s leadership, Florida maintained AAA bond rating and set aside more than $3 billion in healthy reserves.

Seth proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Seth is also the founding director of The Schools of McKeel Academy Charter School. Seth was recognized with the YMCA’s Servant Leadership Award and is a graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Lakeland, and a member of Florida Blue Key.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Seth was awarded the Presidential Medallion, one of the university’s highest awards, for his service to UF and higher education. Seth is among the fifth generation in his family to call Florida home. Seth and his wife, Kim, live in Lakeland with their two children.

Cost of Living in Tampa Bay

Compare Tampa Bay with where you correctly live and see how far your salary will go.