Mason takes reins at Tampa Bay Partnership
Meet the new leadership of the Tampa Bay Partnership. Elected chairman is Steve Mason, (shown at left) president and CEO of BayCare Health System; elected vice chairman is Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida: and elected secretary/treasurer is Gary Sasso, president and
CEO of the Carlton Fields law firm. Said Mason in a release:
“Through a lot of hard work over the past year by an engaged group of leaders from across the region, we have built a new three-year strategic plan that focuses on regional prosperity through productive, inclusive and sustainable growth. Through the Model for Prosperity (the partnership's strategic plan), we will be focusing our efforts on four areas which are critical to the long-term success of our region – vision, jobs, transit and leadership.”
Mason (who took over BayCare in 2004 from another once-prominent area executive, Frank Murphy), Lyash and Sasso will have their hands full. The Tampa Bay Partnership's own report card comparing Tampa Bay's competitive status to five other metro areas puts this area last. And a new survey by Dow Jones-owned MarketWatch of "best business cities" this week cited the Tampa Bay area for suffering the greatest decline among 50 large metro areas. Read more on these surveys here from an earlier Venture posting.
One step the Tampa Bay Partnership is taking right now is to compile a list of "shovel-ready" construction projects in the metro area that lack funding but could be quickly engaged -- if federal stimulus funds could be attracted here. That's a lobbying effort the partnership plans to undertake, as competitive as those funds might be.
Mason succeeds Wachovia regional bank executive Roy McCraw as partnership chairman. McCraw has retired from Wachovia but will continue to consult with the partnership. Lyash, who has risen rapidly as a player in economic development circles (and chairs the private business group effort to find a new site for a Tampa Bay Rays stadium) is expected to succeed Mason as chair of the partnership next year.
And a rising figure in the this area's economic and business leadership, we hear, is lawyer Sasso (shown at left), who also serves as CEO of Carlton Fields. He represents business clients in securities fraud and consumer fraud class actions and other complex litigation at the trial and appellate level, in the financial services industry, energy sector, products manufacturing industry, and services sector. Word is, we'll be hearing much more about him in the coming months and years. (Photos courtesy of Baycare and Carlton Fields.)
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist