Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

After Time Warner picks Tampa for big expansion last year, company's now ready for spotlight

Snagging highly coveted Time Warner in September 2011 to expand in Tampa with 500 jobs averaging more than $57,000 promised to be a blockbuster boost for the area's economy and image.

Now, after more than a year of working out of the spotlight, John Bauer wants to start delivering on that promise.

The top executive running Tampa's new Time Warner Business Services LLC, Bauer says the company is on track to honor the original deal, ramping up to 500 employees by 2016.

"Tampa was my favorite among the cities we considered," says Bauer, 53, who has become a quick fan of the area. "It's an amazing community."

After searching for office space from Temple Terrace to Tampa's Rocky Point, Time Warner set up shop in Highwoods Properties' Lakepointe Two building, part of Tampa Bay Park just north of Raymond James Stadium.

Time Warner wanted a central location to attract workers from the entire metro area. So far, 73 employees — all but three are local hires — work on Time Warner's second-floor office.

What Bauer is building here is a one-stop human resources and payroll shop for all of Time Warner. The company's many divisions previously handled their own HR and payroll needs on different systems.

Now tech specialists from consulting firm Accenture are camped out at Time Warner readying a cutting-edge, cloud-based HR system called Workday.

At Time Warner headquarters in New York, spokesman Keith Cocozza says the idea to consolidate all HR and payroll support services in Tampa means company divisions can now focus on what they do best: "create great entertainment content."

Time Warner not only ranks 142nd on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies with about $20 billion in annual revenues and 33,000 employees, but the company is also awash in high-profile household names.

Its Warner Bros. movie studios are behind hits like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Argo. CNN is a huge cable news provider. HBO produces the popular Game of Thrones, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and many other premium cable TV series. And Time Inc. publishes more than 100 magazines beyond such icons as Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated.

Tampa snagged Time Warner's expansion project last year over tough competition from places like Charlotte, N.C.; Rochester, N.Y.; and, finally, Atlanta, where Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting division already is a fixture.

Atlanta lost. Tampa won.

"It was a shot across the bow," bragged Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, the state's front man for job creation. And Florida Gov. Rick Scott wished for "1,400 more" recruitments just like Time Warner to reach his goal of creating 700,000 jobs.

A package of $3 million in state and local tax incentives helped the company pick Tampa. Included are $1.2 million from the state's qualified target industry program, $900,000 from the state's Quick Action Closing Fund, $500,000 in state workforce training funds and $450,000 from Tampa and Hills­borough County.

Bauer worked for 13 years at Warner Bros. in Burbank, Calif., before heading last December to Tampa. Before that, he worked for the New York Times Co. setting up HR support services in Norfolk, Va. Earlier for Macy's, he ran service centers in Arizona, and opened stores in New Orleans and at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Bauer says he's pleased with the ease of finding and hiring people here with specialized big-company HR and payroll experience. And he applauds the area's openness and "Midwestern feel." When Time Warner decided on Tampa for its new HR operation, Bauer says he called Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office and was put right through for a chat.

Last week, economic development executives at the Tampa/Hillsborough EDC invited Bauer to their leadership meeting and publicly saluted Time Warner's presence.

After so much time spent in sprawling Los Angeles, Bauer's not accustomed to such access and inclusion.

And while Bauer travels often to work with corporate divisions to ease the transition to one companywide HR system, the Time Warner vice president says more managers are starting to visit here. Especially this time of year.

Says Bauer: "We're certainly putting Tampa on the map from a Time Warner perspective."

Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As an intensive manhunt continues for the suspect in a Waffle House restaurant shooting that killed four people, police are warning residents of a Nashville neighborhood to beware of the alleged killer. More than 80 Nashville polic...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Moments before the first shot, James Shaw Jr. was watching a Waffle House employee wash dishes, stacking them higher and higher. When the first shot was fired, Shaw thought the tower of plates had come crashing down, he would later recount at a news ...
Updated: 24 minutes ago

The Daystarter: Scott touts term limits in D.C.; Hillsborough teachers get day in court; All Children’s Heart Institute had ‘challenges’; Lightning tickets on sale today

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• We’ll have highs today ranging from the lower 80s to upper 80s with scattered showers and thunderstorms likely throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.• As you h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

The president of a PAC that works to protect Social Security says Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t have the backs of senior citizens.Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, the president of the Social Security Works PAC (and a former member of the band Sha Na Na), blast...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Premier Eye Care CEO Lorna Taylor received the inaugural Winnie Foster Lifetime Achievement Award at a Carter G. Woodson Museum event Sunday in St. Petersburg.The award is as much about what she hopes to do as what she’s already done for the museum. ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

TAMPA — New Tampa was built on sprawl. Big houses, often in gated communities with lots of green space, are the operating principle for developing the area Tampa annexed in pieces starting in the mid 1980s.But residents who love the good schools and ...
Published: 04/23/18
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Developer Bill Bishop created

Developer Bill Bishop created "walkable communities"

Bill Bishop was a developer by definition, but those who know him best considered him to be an artist whose canvas was Hillsborough County.Among the communities he created from scratch are Pebble Creek, Westchase, Waterchase and Highland Park. He als...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: St. Petersburg man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: St. Petersburg man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported. Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27, of St. Petersburg now faces charges o...
Updated: 1 hour ago