Monday, December 18, 2017
Business

Familiar face joins search for Port of Tampa's next director

TAMPA — Eight years ago, Bill Starkey calmed the stormy relations between Port of Tampa's tenants and its governing board. He served as interim director until Richard Wainio got the permanent job in 2005.

Now Starkey is back to help the Tampa Port Authority pick Wainio's successor.

Starkey, a retired GTE executive, and two other local business leaders will join the search committee. Port chairman William "Hoe" Brown announced the committee's lineup at Tuesday's board of commissioners meeting.

Also joining the search committee will be Vincent Dolan, who will step down at the end of the year as president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida, and Gordon Gillette, the president of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. Brown and Arthur Savage, the president of shipping agent A.R. Savage & Son LLC, round out the committee's lineup.

The port has already hired headhunting firm Boyden Global Executive Search to identify candidates for the director's job. The job of the five-member search committee will be to pare that list of candidates and identify finalists for the board to pick from.

"That's an excellent group," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who serves on the board, "and I think they will definitely give us the right person that we need."

The board's chairman expects the search to take from 90 to 120 days — or even longer.

"If that doesn't work, if we don't feel we have the right applicants," Brown said, "we'll do it again."

All deliberations by the search committee and the board of commissioners in choosing a port director will be held publicly under Florida's open government laws. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn warned his fellow commissioners not to speak to candidates privately.

"I think it would be in the port's best interest and our best interests not to meet with anyone outside of this process," he said.

"We want this process to be as pure as possible."

Once the finalists are selected, however, they can meet with board members privately.

Dolan was tabbed for the search committee because he's the chairman of the Tampa Bay Partnership.

But he's been in the headlines lately as regulators scrutinize Progress Energy's botched attempt to fix its Crystal River nuclear plant and its recent acquisition by Duke Energy.

Gillette, the TECO executive, is on the search committee because of his role as chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

Starkey is a former president of GTE, now Verizon, who has served on the boards of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and Bayfront Medical Center, among others.

In 2004 he was named the port's interim director after three commissioners appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush tried — and failed — to hire a new director without advanced public notice.

The board on Tuesday also named deputy director of administration and port counsel Charles Klug to serve as interim director. Wainio's last day is Sept. 7.

Tuesday was his last meeting. He noted that including his time in Tampa and with the Panama Canal, he has sat through more than 200 board meetings.

"That's enough board meetings," Wainio said. The board got a laugh out of that.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404.

Comments
Tampa International Airport hasn’t suffered an Atlanta-style loss of power, but it is prepared for one

Tampa International Airport hasn’t suffered an Atlanta-style loss of power, but it is prepared for one

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport sees about one-fifth as many passengers as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but a major power outage here could cause disruptions to air travel, too.That said, TIA has taken steps to create "redund...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
First-Citizens Bank & Trust acquires Tampa-based HomeBancorp

First-Citizens Bank & Trust acquires Tampa-based HomeBancorp

TAMPA — North Carolina-based First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. is acquiring Tampa-headquartered HomeBancorp, which operates HomeBanc. First Citizens Bank will pay $15.03 per share in cash, a Monday release said, and the deal is expected to close by mid...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay? Down payments are lower here

Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay? Down payments are lower here

Homebuyers in the Tampa Bay area don’t have to shell out as much on downpayments as buyers in many other places. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the median downpayment for a bay area home in the quarter ended in September was $13,750 compare...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Chick fil-A is normally closed on Sundays, but it made an exception for the thousands who were stranded at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The travelers were left in the dark following a power outage that forced cancellation of mor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

CLEARWATER — With passenger traffic picking up on Monday and expected to stay strong through Dec. 29, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport says it could run out of parking spaces, so passengers should consider making arrangements to be dropped o...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida gas prices back to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels

Florida gas prices back to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels

Just in time for one of the busiest travel periods of the year, gas prices across Florida are back down to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels. Tampa Bay gas hit $2.30 per gallon today, while state prices averaged $2.37 per gallon, according to AAA, The Auto...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Published: 12/17/17
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/17/17
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17