Rohrlack named new CEO of Tampa Chamber
Robert J. Rohrlack Jr., 47, a familiar name to many in the Tampa Bay area and in statewide economic development circles, was just named the new president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. He's twice worked for the Chamber which, in announcing Rohrlack, called his talent for "managing public policy issues and engaging political leaders" key factors in his selection.
Rohrlack formerly was the senior vice president of business retention and recruitment for Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm. Before that he worked for Progress Energy on matters of economic development.
He starts at the Chamber on Monday, April 27.
In an interview with me in 2005, when he joined Enterprise Florida, Rohrlack was focused on keeping businesses already in Florida happy, and guarding against incentive-laden recruiting expeditions into Florida by other states. States from Oklahoma to Georgia, with far bigger business incentive packages than Florida, were waving some juicy deals under the noses of Florida businesses, he said at the time.
The Chamber search to find Rohrlack took a lengthy nine months, which left the chamber with an interim CEO Joe House during the nastiest parts of this recession. The CEO serves as the chamber's chief of staff.
Rohrlack's predecessor, Kim Scheeler, left the Tampa Chamber after seven years to run the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce in Virginia. (In a brief exchange a few months ago, Scheeler said the tough economy was challenging in Richmond, too, and was at the time making it hard to sell his home here. Photo of Scheeler by Jim Damaske of the St. Petersburg Times.)
“Bob Rohrlack has a proven track record of sound strategic planning and a true sense of collaboration,” Henry Gonzalez,executive vice president of The Bank of Tampa and the 2009 chair of the Tampa Chamber. “We feel confident that his breadth of experience and range of skills will successfully move the Tampa Bay business community forward.”
Rohrlack earlier served as CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and held executive positions at Progress Energy Service Com., Mississippi Development Authority, Florida Department of Commerce and Brevard Economic Development Council. He also served in executive positions within the Tampa Chamber’s economic development department in the late 80s and early 90s.
He's served on the Florida Bio-Technology Competitiveness Council via an appointment from Gov. Charlie Crist, and on the Manufacturer’s Association of Florida, the International Economic Development Council, Florida Economic Development Council and the Jobs and Education Partnership. Rohrlack is a graduate of Troy University and is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist