Tampa Bay EDC

Tampa Bay Economic Development Council celebrates 2023 fiscal year and introduces new slate of executive officers at “Driven” Annual Meeting

Coke Florida recognized for its investments and impact on our region with the 5th Annual Community Transformer Award presented by TECO

 Tampa, Fla. (November 1, 2023) – The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council (EDC) celebrated its 2023 fiscal year with more than 500 business and community leaders during its Driven Annual Meeting presented by SouthState Bank on October 25 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“Our Annual Meeting is an excellent opportunity for us to update our Investors, elected officials and community partners on the progress we’ve made on our strategic plan and the notable initiatives we have underway,” said Craig J. Richard, president and CEO, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. “Our board also approved our 2024 executive officers, a group of business leaders who are absolute giants in our community, and I’m so proud to serve with them.”

Those executive officers include:

  • Chair, Joe Lopano, Tampa International Airport
  • Vice Chair, Ron Christaldi, Shumaker
  • Secretary/Treasurer Archie Collins, TECO
  • General Counsel, Ben Dachepalli, Bradley

During the program, the Tampa Bay EDC unveiled the highly anticipated new “Welcome to Tampa Bay” video, which emphasizes many of the area’s shining attributes that make it a best place to live and a top business destination. The video, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and produced by Diamond View, is a key marketing asset for the Tampa Bay EDC to use when pitching the area to prospective companies that are evaluating markets for a relocation or expansion.

For the fifth consecutive year, TECO presented the Community Transformer Award to a Tampa Bay EDC project company that has had an impact on the region beyond creating jobs and capital investment. This year’s winner, Coca Cola Beverages of Florida, is the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S. and a family-owned company headquartered in Tampa. Since its founding in 2015, Coke Florida has been committed to serving the community, focusing on three pillars: Sustainability, Economic Empowerment and Education.

Among its many initiatives is the Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship. This 10-year, multimillion-dollar commitment will fund the dreams of 250 economically disadvantaged students by providing full tuition for two or four-year degree programs.

Other highlights from the program, include:

  • The business development team helped 21 companies relocate or expand to the Tampa community, representing 1,301 new jobs and more than $189 million in capital investment.
  • The team conducted 160 business visits with local companies through the business retention and expansion program, Expand Tampa Bay. Of this group, nearly half reported year-over-year increase in sales and about a third of them are planning expansions in the next three years.
  • The marketing team’s efforts through LinkedIn advertising, social media activity and media coverage, generated more than a million impressions on social media, and 84,000 visitors to the Tampa Bay EDC website.
  • Interest from international companies was one of this year’s top stories. Six foreign direct investment projects were closed and more than 40% of the Tampa Bay EDC’s current pipeline is from companies based overseas.
  • Travel ramped back up for the Global Tampa Bay partnership with Pasco EDC and Pinellas County Economic Development as the team traveled to the UK to meet with prospects and brought local companies to the Dominican Republic for an export trade mission.
  • With funding from Hillsborough County, and a partnership with Visit Tampa Bay, the Make It Tampa Bay talent attraction campaign once again ran in key markets nationwide, generating a whopping 58 million impressions this year.
  • The Investor Relations department had an impressive year with 92% of existing Investors retained and 16 new Investors coming on board.
  • Rapid progress was made this year on the Tampa Bay EDC’s placemaking initiatives, including the completion of a redevelopment plan for an industrial corridor in East Tampa, and the creation of Opportunity Tampa Bay Inc., a 501 c 3 to provide capital and economic development services in low-income areas.
  • The Tampa Bay Economic Prosperity Foundation’s CertUp Career Awareness Campaign completed its first-year pilot with digital campaigns generating 33 million impressions and a thousand clicks per week to the CertUpTampa website.
  • One of the Tampa Bay EDC’s newest and most significant partnerships this year is with Tampa General Hospital to develop and promote the Tampa Medical and Research District. A video about the partnership premiered during the program featuring Richard, TGH CEO John Couris and USF Health Executive Vice President Dr. Charles Lockwood sharing their visions for the district.

“I can’t think of a more exciting time to chair the Tampa Bay EDC,” said Joe Lopano, 2024 chair of the Tampa Bay EDC and CEO of Tampa International Airport. “The global recognition Tampa is getting right now is unprecedented. I look forward to working with Craig, the EDC staff, and my fellow board members to keep the momentum and make sure Tampa remains in the spotlight.”

About Tampa Bay Economic Development Council

The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to advance a diversified local economy that is beneficial to all by attracting, expanding and retaining quality employers, a talented workforce and investment, focusing within targeted industry sectors, including Corporate Headquarters, Financial and Professional Services, Information Technology, Life Science and Health Care, Defense and Security, Distribution and Logistics, and Manufacturing. The EDC exists because of the generous support of more than 100 corporations, Hillsborough County, and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.


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