From RNC: Election views from an Ohio CEO, Jabil's CEO and aboard 147-foot yacht 'Cracker Bay'
Wake up and good morning. More than one CEO aired their views of the upcoming election during the Republican National Convention in Tampa. First up: Serial entrepreneur Stephen Spoonamore (photo, left), chief executive of ABSMaterials in Wooster, Ohio, who we got a chance to chat with while attending the Huffington Post's panel discussion (moderated by Tom Brokaw, read more here) on jobs at Ybor City's Cuban Club on Wednesday. Spoonamore says he's not much of a political follower and is in town because Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, involved him in some business policy groups and because ABSMaterials (which provides chemical analysis, pollution services (read more on that in the New York Times) and security products) also does business with SOCOM -- U.S. Special Operations Command -- based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base. (Photo courtesy of ABSMaterials.)
Unsolicited, Spoonamore offered plenty of perspective about the positive role of government in helping businesses get off the ground, including Microsoft and citing some of his own businesses (he's started and sold several). He also disagreed with the Ohio governor's contention that the federal bailout by the Obama administration of General Motors and Chrysler did not play a major role in the resurgence of Ohio and its job creation. It was big, Spoonamore counters, and says he expects Obama will take the key swing state of Ohio come the November election.
Spoonamore's been around. His company is a member of Forbes' list of America's Most Promising Companies and is quoted by Forbes here as calling tech start-ups "balls out fun." He did seem to be enjoying life.
He's a registered independent. But Tim Main (photo, right), CEO of global electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit in St. Petersburg, enjoyed a video interview this week by the Wall Street Journal's "Mean Street" during the Republican National Convention under way in Tampa Bay. The WSJ jabbed him for contributing to President Obama but Main says he also gives to the Republicans. Either party, Main emphasized, needs to get its act together in order to help get the sluggish recovery to pick up speed. (Photo: Tampa Bay Times.)
Best line? "I'm looking for a little bit of sanity from either side of the aisle," Main says. Here's a link to the interview.
Main is asked: If Mitt Romney walked into your office right now, what two things would you tell him need the most attention to turn around the economy? Main was ready -- with three comments. First, he says, is "comprehensive" tax reform addressing personal and corporate tax rates -- "not a tax cut or no tax increase, but comprehensive." Second, immigration reform so people from elsewhere with PhDs and good ideas are not forced to leave this county. And third, "a change in fiscal policy" that alleviates the concern of most Americans that we are headed toward ruination" from excessive debt.
Finally, let's mention the good ship Cracker Bay before leaving. That's the 147-foot yacht that on Wednesday took Mitt Romney and his biggest campaign donors -- part of his Victory Council -- out for a celebratory spin in Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg. As ABC News first reported here, the yacht flies the Cayman Islands flag, prompting plenty of Democratic criticism that the flag representing a major international tax haven (especially given the controversy over Romney's personal investments in such tax havens). Cracker Bay is owned by Gary Morse, Florida real estate developer of The Villages. a sprawling retirement community northeast of Tampa and an enclave of Republican support.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times