You could say Will Packer was born to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural BurgBorn: Celebrating St. Pete's Success Stories.
Packer, 42, is a native son whose Hollywood productions including Straight Outta Compton and Ride Along have grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide. He's also an executive producer of the rebooted miniseries Roots, currently showing on the History channel.
"He's an A-lister," BurgBorn director Olga Bof said Tuesday. "It's so appropriate that he'll help us celebrate local businesses whose reach has really been remarkable."
BurgBorn is a one-day event June 16 at Mahaffey Theater featuring panels with local entrepreneurs in the arts, technology and craft beverage/restaurants whose businesses have garnered national or international attention. The event is cosponsored by Keep Saint Petersburg Local and the Greenhouse, resource and networking agencies for homegrown businesses.
"BurgBorn will demonstrate what we've championed since (Keep Saint Petersburg Local) launched, that local doesn't have to equal small," said Bof, the agency's founder and executive director.
The event begins with a 9 a.m. breakfast that Packer will attend. A VIP ticket ($150) is required for entry. Mayor Rick Kriseman's opening remarks begin at 10, followed by Packer's introduction by Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.
At 11:15, the arts panel brings together Chris Parks of Palehorse digital illustrations, Johnny Vitale of Vitale Bros. artwork, Studio@620 artistic director Bob Devin Jones and Joel Mallzia, co-founder of Pilot Moon Films, a video production company.
After a lunch break, BurgBorn will resume at 1:30 p.m. with a tech panel featuring Intrinio CEO Rachel Carpenter and Marxent senior content strategist Joe Bardi. That 30-minute session will be followed by an online business panel with iLovetheBurg.com editor Andrew Harlan, Molly's Suds founder Monica Leonard and Kyle Nardo of Nardo's Natural skin care products.
The day's final panel, at 3 p.m., will focus on craft beverages and restaurants, featuring Ron Petrini of Great Bay Distributors, Mike Harting of 3 Daughters Brewing and chef Jeffrey Jew of 2BHospitality.
Panels will be moderated by former Tampa Bay Times editor Sandra Gadsden, a recent graduate of St. Petersburg's the Iron Yard code school.
Contact Steve Persall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.