Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Business

St. Petersburg unveils plan for jobs recruiting arm similar to Tampa's

A sea change is under way in how St. Petersburg intends to recruit companies to move jobs here.

Once passive, the city was content to lend a hand only if a business came knocking. But emboldened by its downtown renaissance, St. Pete now plans to aggressively pursue companies and jobs in specific industries like marine science and health care.

To accomplish that, the city is creating its own economic development corporation, or EDC, much like the successful Tampa Hillsborough EDC that has become the powerful corporate jobs recruiter on the eastern side of Tampa Bay.

St. Pete's EDC, whose formal name has not yet been set, would be a public-private partnership — meaning it would be backed by leadership and funding by both the city and its private business sector. It would operate as a separate unit of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Details of the EDC were shared with me Tuesday by St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and Alan DeLisle, city development administrator, who most recently helped lead city development in Louisville, Ky., and Durham, N.C. St. Pete Chamber CEO Chris Steinocher called the EDC "an opportunity for St. Petersburg to seize the momentum" of being on the upswing.

The EDC still has plenty of details to be worked out, and its initial funding budget will be modest. But there is clear enthusiasm for the idea. Both city and chamber execs invoke the name of Rick Homans, CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, as the type of go-getter St. Petersburg wants running its own EDC.

Tomalin, DeLisle and Steinocher all say St. Pete wants a "dealmaker" who can help recruit the types of higher-skills jobs any metro area would covet.

Would a St. Pete EDC spur more toe-to-toe competition with Tampa? Homans answered diplomatically. What's good for Tampa is good for St. Petersburg, and vice versa, he suggested.

"Wherever a recruited company lands in the metro market they are hiring people, affecting real estate prices and making a stronger metrowide economy," he said.

Still, there may be some minefields ahead. The state's chief job recruiting organization, Enterprise Florida, operates via a network of EDCs or related groups when handling job leads and structuring incentive deals with companies. Enterprise Florida works with one entity per county to streamline its efforts and minimize potential conflicts. The Tampa Hillsborough EDC is that single entity in Hillsborough County. In Pinellas, it is the county's economic development arm.

How might a St. Pete EDC fit in a statewide network whose seats are already filled?

DeLisle said that concern is not even on the city's radar. He suggests the new EDC could simply become a better conduit for St. Pete to work with the county on potential recruiting projects.

This much we know: The era of passive St. Pete economic development is ending.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestBrieflyLOCAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED: CHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750...
Published: 02/20/18
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Speaking in front of a small crowd gathered on the front lawn of the city’s main library, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Monday that the facility will get a $6 million renovation and be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.The a...
Published: 02/19/18
Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

DUNEDIN –– Pinellas sheriff’s detectives spent their weekend luring in unlicensed electrical, plumbing and other home improvement contractors to a vacant home wired with cameras.It took only hours before a stream of people arrived to work on the outd...
Published: 02/19/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is formally contesting the biting citation the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration handed down in December for a maintenance incident in June that left five workers dead.At a meeting with the Tampa Bay Tim...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18