Mayor Buckhorn, StandUp Tampa CEOs join EDC on mission to Washington, D.C.


June 19, 2017



Tampa is increasingly in the national spotlight – and with good reason. Whether it’s a rise in the rankings, coverage in major media outlets, or a headline-grabbing recruiting win like Amgen, Cigar City is on everyone’s radar these days.

The EDC took a trip last month to Washington, D.C. to capitalize on our momentum and share why the Tampa area holds such promise for companies and people that want to have a role in shaping its exciting future. Over 36 hours, our small but mighty delegation left no doubt in the minds of site selectors and national media that Tampa’s new mojo isn’t a fluke – it’s just the beginning of a new era of opportunity that will pay huge dividends for those smart enough to stake their claim in the city now.

City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and three leaders from StandUp Tampa – Ryan Clarke, CEO of SiteReady, Omar Soliman, CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk, and Roberto Torres, founder of Black and Denim Apparel and Blind Tiger Café – joined Craig Richard and EDC staff on the whirlwind trip. Clarke, Soliman and Torres, along with nine other founders of the StandUp Tampa group, advise the EDC and serve as ambassadors for business recruiting and talent attraction initiatives.

The group at down to a two hour lunch meeting with five top site selectors, who peppered them with questions about Tampa’s talent pool, cost of doing business, and why the entrepreneurs chose the area as their headquarters location. The Mayor shared the story of Tampa’s comeback since the recession and gave a progress report on significant developments in downtown and other parts of the city. The site consultants, most of whom have been keeping an eye on Tampa, hadn’t had the opportunity to hear directly from the city’s young, highly successful entrepreneurs before. Their perspectives left the site selectors, who care first and foremost about Tampa’s ability to attract and keep great talent, with increased confidence in Hillsborough County as a prime location for projects.

Bookending the lunch were interviews with the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and Kiplinger’s. Check out the U.S. News story featuring Mayor Buckhorn’s interview here.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of trips like these in helping Tampa and Hillsborough County to secure more high value projects and get top tier media coverage,” said Craig J. Richard, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC. “There is no substitute for meeting these influencers on their home turf, and bringing the story and the key players to them. This short trip was successful in so many ways that will bring dividends to our community.”

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