Make us your home page

Tampa Hillsborough economic development group considers leadership changes

TAMPA — The nonprofit agency that leads economic development efforts for Hillsborough County and its three cities is looking at expanding its leadership team, including maybe bringing in a new president.

Interestingly, the push to consider the changes comes from the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.'s current president, Keith Norden, whose contract expires in January.

"It would be unfair for me to say, 'Let's look at everyone's position except mine,' " Norden said Tuesday.

Norden proposed an agency-wide analysis of administrative positions, including the idea of adding to the leadership team, on July 22. The same day, he proposed two other initiatives:

• A two-year plan to expand international business recruiting, first in Germany and later in the United Kingdom, Canada and Latin America.

• An increase in business recruiting missions to key domestic areas, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California.

Now is a good time to take stock, the agency's leaders say, because the organization has changed a lot in recent years.

It originally was known as the Committee of One Hundred and was part of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Norden was hired in January 2009 to be the committee's executive managing director.

In December 2009, the committee split from the chamber and became known as the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

It is a private, independent group with contracts to lead economic development efforts for Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City.

Since the split, the EDC has led an assessment of Hillsborough's strengths, identified clusters of industries it wants to target and changed where it gets most of its money.

At one time, the county and cities provided 70 percent of the EDC's budget, currently about $1.4 million.

Now that has shrunk to 43 percent as funding from private companies has gone up 300 percent.

Also gone is the Committee of One Hundred's five-member governing board.

In its place is a 28-member executive committee that includes the County Commission chairman and the mayors of the three cities. There's also a 31-member board of directors, with executives, local officials and educators.

With all those changes, it makes sense to ensure that the right people are in the right jobs and to consider growing the organization, said Rhea Law, who chairs the EDC's executive committee.

Law expects the process to take about four months and it could end up with Norden in the job he's got, or in another role.

"Keith has been doing a great job of filling the gaps over time," Law said.

Law said the possible changes do not have anything to do with recent controversy over the $1.1 million in incentives that Hillsborough and Tampa elected officials recently approved for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The EDC prepared an application, submitted to the county on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers, that said 1,633 of the firm's jobs in Tampa were "at risk" and that it had competing offers from as far away as India.

Later, an executive of the firm said there was never any thought of moving the Tampa jobs. Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers withdrew its application.

Norden made his proposal to the EDC after local officials approved the incentives, but before the PricewaterhouseCoopers executive's disclosure that the jobs were not at risk.

"This has nothing to do with that," Law said. "This all predated that. That is not an issue."

Norden also said there was no connection between his proposals and the Pricewaterhouse­Coopers controversy. But he said the EDC has looked at its procedures since the incentive package made headlines.

"The process can always be improved," he said. "The project has made us look at the process and the way things are presented to the political leadership, and hopefully it will improve the way things are presented."

Tampa Hillsborough economic development group considers leadership changes 08/09/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  2. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  5. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.