Make us your home page
Instagram

CEO survey: To recruit headquarters, tell companies you want them

A long-term project to recruit a brand name corporate headquarters here took a key, early step Thursday when survey results capturing the perceptions of this area by 350 CEOs and senior executives nationwide were delivered to local business and political leaders.

In a 47-slide PowerPoint presentation, market research consultant Barry Quarles outlined his findings to several dozen executives, as well as Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, at the downtown Tampa Club.

In the end, it all boils down to this: "Companies want to move where they are wanted."

Sounds simple enough. It's good news, because the survey results found CEOs much more positive about Tampa since Quarles conducted a similar poll in 2002.

A task force to recruit the headquarters of a corporation with national name recognition was recently launched by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. The effort is a sign that this area finally feels confident enough to pursue bigger game.

The survey found CEOs increasingly perceive Tampa and its public officials as having a pro-business attitude. That, Quarles stressed, is critical to eventual success in headquarters recruitment.

But the consultant also shared executive perceptions that show this area has some gaping holes to address.

"Transportation is your greatest vulnerability," warned Quarles, who heads Market Enhancement Group. It's the latest reminder that the mass transit referendums rejected earlier this month in Pinellas and Polk counties will need to be reconsidered to make them more appealing to tax-wary area voters.

Given all these survey findings, what's next for the task force?

Identifying the types of corporations most likely to consider an HQ relocation here.

Among the 350 CEO survey participants were 50 executives running companies that are based elsewhere but have existing operations in the Tampa Bay area. These are businesses, many of them based in the expensive Northeast and New York metropolitan areas, already familiar with this metro market.

Among this group are prime targets for relocation, Quarles urged. They operate in expensive states, many of them considered to be unfriendly to business.

The key to reach these executives, Quarles said, is to make the sales pitch for relocation as personal as possible.

Visit these executives. Assemble seven top leaders, pitch a relocation face to face, he said. Be prepared to answer every conceivable question.

Show these companies they are wanted.

For Tampa, I can already picture a headquarters recruitment dream team. How about Mayor Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Commission Chair Sandy Murman, EDC chief Rick Homans, USF president Judy Genshaft, CEO Chuck Sykes of Sykes Enterprises, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Hillsborough public school superintendent MaryEllen Elia?

Who's on your Dream Team?

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com.

CEO survey: To recruit headquarters, tell companies you want them 11/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, November 20, 2014 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]