Welcoming the Season of Gratitude

November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving is upon us, and this year many of us will be celebrating differently than we have in the past. This is the season for gathering with friends, family and colleagues, but the pandemic has forced us to rethink seeing those we love and spending time with people in whose company we delight. While these limitations can certainly be a challenge, we can choose instead to focus on the many things for which we are grateful.

For me, that starts with my family, then my team at the EDC, our Investors, and the people in this community. Times of crisis can bring out the best or the worst in people. Thankfully for this EDC, our Investors have been exemplars of steady and supportive leadership. Everyone from our current Chair, Jim Weiss of Fifth Third Bank, and Immediate Past Chair, Marie Chinnici-Everitt of DTCC, to our Executive Committee and Board of Directors – has demonstrated the kind of vision, perseverance, and aligned thinking that is helping our region recover faster.

I was especially happy to see one of Tampa Bay’s icons, our 2019 Chair, President Emerita Judy Genshaft of USF, recognized by the Florida Council of 100 with its first Outstanding Floridian award. In her nearly 20 years at the helm of USF, she not only transformed the institution into a top national research university, she leveraged it to strengthen our economic growth and industry diversity. This prestigious award could not have gone to a more deserving person. Dr. Genshaft’s legacy will continue with the Honors College at USF that bears her name and with the many initiatives she created and continues to support.

Thank you to our partners at the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County. Your efforts during the COVID crisis have been nothing short of Herculean. We’re grateful to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and their remarkable Economic Development staff; Mayor Jane Castor and her team at the City of Tampa; Mayor Rick Lott of Plant City and Mayor Andy Ross in Temple Terrace, for collaborating so well and getting assistance to those who needed it most. You demonstrated the kind of leadership that other regions should learn from and admire.

No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, my team and I wish you all a healthy and happy holiday.