Times' Outdoors writer Terry Tomalin knew the swamps, beaches and forests of the Sunshine State about as well as anyone. He brought them all alive for readers with dozens of first-person narratives, often funny, sometimes poignant, always pure Florida. Here are a few from over the years.
In pursuit of the famous Skunk Ape
Knife in hand, Tomalin hopes to capture one of Florida's most elusive creatures. He wrote: ...
07/03/15 Human Interest
Spindly legs dangle from the frame of my glasses. A black body rappels down a silk filament, itsy-bitsy arachnid feet tickling my nose.
I throw down my bike, and rip off my glasses and helmet. My head convulses in a futile bid to jar the web loose.
The spider drops into my open collar. It's only 3 inches long but might as well be a Humboldt squid.
"Truck!" I wail, or a word that rhymes with it....
We started the Top Workplaces section five years ago during the turmoil left by the worst recession in decades.
The downturn had clobbered home sales, stifled tourism and crippled companies that made things. Still, our list of Tampa Bay's top workplaces was peppered with real estate companies, hotels and manufacturers.
The primary question back then: How did they overcome such long odds to create a workplace their employees so cherished?...
You still have time to nominate your company for the Tampa Bay Times' fifth Top Workplaces special section.
The pace of nominations has already exceeded the previous four years, but we've also heard from some of the procrastinators hoping for some extra time. You've got it. We've extended the deadline to Nov. 22.
Last year's list included some well-known names like T-Mobile and Capitol One. But it also showcased the talent at Tampa's BKS-Partner, a boutique insurance company, St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School and the Pinellas/Pasco Public Defender's Office, where employees had not received a raise in six years but still loved the work. ...
Do you love your job? Do you love your company?
Here's your chance to show it off.
The Tampa Bay Times is accepting nominations for its Top Workplaces 2014 special section.
Can your workplace break into the Top 100? Last year's list included some well-known names like T-Mobile and Capitol One. But it also showcased the talent at Tampa's BKS-Partner, a boutique insurance company, St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School and the Pinellas/Pasco Public Defender's Office, where employees had not received a raise in six years but still loved the work....
The stories in these pages are about what it takes to build a top workplace. They are about resilience and loyalty forged during tough times. They are about why workers put such a premium on a sense of engagement. They are about how personality — and a heavy dose of fun — can help the bottom line.
Think of them as a blueprint to business success, a roadmap to creating the perfect workplace. There is something for everyone — workers looking for better opportunities, managers struggling to motivate employees, executives aiming to instill the right company culture....
Blackstone Groups says it's looking at Tampa Bay for rental properties but won't be spending $1 billion09/21/12Business
The Blackstone Group said Friday that it might buy homes in the Tampa Bay area and turn them into rentals, but that it will not be spending $1 billion here.
The response comes after the Tampa Bay Times published a story in Friday's newspaper saying that the private equity firm would spend $1 billion over the next three years in this area buying up to 15,000 homes, many of them foreclosures. ...
If you work for a great company, here's your chance to show it off.
The Tampa Bay Times is accepting nominations for its Top Workplaces 2013 special section.
Can your workplace make the Top 75 list? Maybe even dethrone last year's top scorers — Capital One (large), Residence at Timber Pines (midsize) or St. Mary's Episcopal Day School (small)?
Last year almost 23,000 workers from more than 130 companies took the survey. The Times' research partner, Workplace Dynamics, ranks employers within their size category based solely on the employee responses to the survey statements. The Times doesn't choose the winners; the employees of the companies do....
Our latest wakeup call from Mother Nature chewed up roofs, snapped trees and turned cars into soggy husks. • The mess needs repairing and replacing. That means spending, and spending is good for our anemic economy, right? Call it a storm stimulus. • If only it were that simple.
The storm is a windfall for the roofer whose phone won't stop ringing, or the carpenter called to fix the backyard shed, or the auto repair shop open late with new business. ...
More than anything else, creating a great workplace takes a sense of direction.
How do I know that? Almost 23,000 local workers said so. They participated in the Tampa Bay Times third annual survey to find the area's top workplaces.
More than 70 percent of the collective workforce at the Top 75 Workplaces said a belief that their company was heading in the "right" direction was the most important factor in creating a great place to work. ...
Just how good is your workplace? How does it stack up when it comes to providing a creative, supportive, energetic and inclusive environment?
We've extended the deadline for you to find out. You now have until Dec. 2 to register for the St. Petersburg Times' Top Workplaces survey. Here's how it works:
Any employee from the chief executive down to a part-time worker can nominate an organization. Our research partner, Workplace Dynamics, will contact nominated organizations and ask them to participate in a survey. ...
Do you work for one of the top companies in Tampa Bay? Does it provide a creative, supportive, energetic and inclusive environment?
Why don't you find out for sure?
The St. Petersburg Times is undertaking its third Top Workplaces survey. Last time, more than 24,500 employees from 131 companies participated. The Top 70 workplaces were revealed in a 32-page special section.
Can your workplace dethrone the 2011 category winners: New York Life (large), American Strategic Insurance (medium) and St. Mary's Episcopal Day School (small)? ...
When Greece ran up a debt that would make a degenerate gambler blush, you barely paid attention. Thanks again for the Olympics and for moussaka, but we have our own financial problems here in America.
Ireland, Portugal and Spain followed with their own versions of economic mea culpas. But talk of "European economic contagion" and "sovereign debt crisis" put most people to sleep faster than a couple of Ambien with a Wild Turkey chaser. Austerity programs sounded like real downers, too....
It's the time of year when taxes weigh heavily on the mind for so many of us. Not only is the federal income tax filing deadline today, it is also traditionally about when Florida's Tax Freedom Day falls. Last year, the average Floridian worked until April 5 to pay all federal, state and local taxes for the year. That's about middle of the pack compared with other states. Alaskans get there fastest (March 26). They take the longest in Connecticut (April 27). So just how does Florida stack up when it comes to paying state taxes? Take a look. You might be surprised....
The accomplishments this section acknowledges reveal a lot about what makes a top workplace.
It's a mix of strong, evenhanded leadership and a true sense of direction. Competitive pay and benefits matter, but not as much to these Top 70 workplaces as making sure employees believe in the mission. That also requires managers to reinforce the message.
Many of these top workplaces have hiring down to a science. They know that bad hires doom the workplace. And once they have the right people, they get out of their way....