Tampa Bay & Co. hires away Tampa City Hall chief of staff
Tampa Bay & Co., Hillsborough County's publicly-funded, privately-run tourism agency didn't have to go far to find its new president and CEO. Santiago Corrada, chief of staff for Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, was hired for the job on Tuesday morning.
The three-month search ended when Tampa Bay & Co.'s leadership approved the choice in a meeting Tuesday. Corrada was offered the job and accepted it, according to the agency.
It's a big loss for Buckhorn, who is on vacation but released a statement through City Hall.
“Santiago has served the city of Tampa for almost nine years in a number of different roles, and he has excelled in every capacity," he said. "For an adopted son of Tampa, he has given this city his all. I am confident that he will do a great job for Tampa Bay & Co."
Corrada has spent two decades in local government, first in Miami and then in Tampa. He has served under former Mayor Pam Iorio and now under Buckhorn. His unofficial job, though, has been city troubleshooter. Since the city of Tampa hired him in 2004, he's helped plan Super Bowl XLIII and the Republican National Convention, helped clean up Gasparilla and helped the Tampa Convention Center solve its budget problems.
Corrada grew up in Miami, the son of Cuban immigrants. His father worked on the assembly line at a Ford Motor Company plant in New Jersey and as a carpenter in Miami. His mother was a seamstress and then a cashier at Publix.
Corrada graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and exceptional student education, and earned a master's degree in educational leadership in 1991.
Before coming to Tampa City Hall, Corrada was a public school principal in Miami. There, he wept at funerals for students, mediated fights between children from rival migrant labor camps and presided over a high school with the highest concentration of students in the nation who speak Creole.
This is how the Miami Herald described him in a front-page profile in 2003: "Santiago Corrada ... is Edison Senior High. He hasn't missed a football game in his five years as principal. He swings by senior picnics and Saturday tutoring. He squeezes hands and bumps chests. He knows his kids by name."
Corrada will start for Tampa Bay & Co. in May, and his salary was not released by the agency. He replaces former Tampa Bay & Co. CEO Kelly Miller, who resigned Oct. 31 after just 11 months on the job. Miller's annual salary was $214,000 and his predecessor, Paul Catoe, made $316,000 in 2010.
Several members of Tampa Bay & Co.'s board of directors began courting Corrada back in November, before the official search process even began.
Tampa Bay & Co. is a $10 million nonprofit that receives 80 percent of its funding from the county's tourist development tax on hotel beds. Its job is to promote tourism in Tampa and Hillsborough and book events for the Tampa Convention Center.
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