Make us your home page

Economy recovery will take time, speakers tell Largo crowd

Bob Sullivan, who headed the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, delivers the keynote address Thursday at Focus on 2009: Tampa Bay Economic Forecast.


Bob Sullivan, who headed the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, delivers the keynote address Thursday at Focus on 2009: Tampa Bay Economic Forecast.

The economy is horrendous and it's not likely to get better soon. But it will eventually turn around and there are lessons to be learned from the current crisis.

That was the basic wisdom offered Thursday by four business leaders at Focus on 2009: Tampa Bay Economic Forecast.

About 200 people attended the forum at the Largo Public Library, which featured leaders with expertise in the economy, tourism, energy and real estate. The discussion was moderated by St. Petersburg Times business columnist Robert Trigaux.

The event was sponsored by the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Largo Library Foundation.

Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James, described the current economy as "the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression."

"We're right in the middle of the storm now," and it's not clear when it will turn around, he said.

He predicted a minimal improvement by mid 2009. But, he said, by the second half of next year, current and future stimulus efforts will start to boost the economy.

Michael Talmadge, executive vice president of Echelon Real Estate Services, focused on positives in the current real estate crisis.

"This is a great economy to learn how to be successful in business," Talmadge said.

In the long run, the dramatic drop in residential housing prices is good for Florida because it will help make it more affordable to live here, he said.

Research projects a general decline in the real estate market in Pinellas County through 2010, he said. But the economy will emerge stronger then.

There wasn't great news on the energy front, either.

Progress Energy bills will be going up 25 percent starting in January, to cover higher fuel costs and early stages of a company nuclear project, said Jeff Lyash, chief executive officer of Progress Energy.

Efforts to combat carbon emissions and find alternative sources of fuel may increase energy costs in the future as well.

Florida's tourism may see a 2 to 4 percent dip unless there is a concerted effort to jump-start the economy, said expert Barry Pitegoff, vice president of research for Visit Florida.

The state has about 84.5-million annual visitors, he said.

Keynote speaker Bob Sullivan, who headed the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, shared how hosting the game drew more than $500-million to the Arizona economy. He said Tampa Bay's hosting of the Super Bowl in February could give the area "an economic shot in the arm."

Economy recovery will take time, speakers tell Largo crowd 11/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 20, 2008 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]