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Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Robert Trigaux

Robert Trigaux joined the Times as a business writer in 1991. In 2000, he began writing a business column three times a week. He served as business editor from 2005 to 2008, when he resumed his role as business columnist. While at the Times, he has covered a range of beats including banking and finance, technology, telecommunications, energy and economic development. He has received various awards for business writing, including two Green Eyeshades from the Society of Professional Journalists, a commendation for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a first place in business columns from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists.

In the late 1970s, Robert started his business journalism career in New York writing for various business publications covering topics from technology to the furniture industry. At the American Banker, a daily national newspaper, he covered the financial industry in New York and London, then served for eight years as its bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He holds an economics degree from Colgate University.

Phone: (727) 893-8405


Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

  1. India giant Wipro's $460 million deal for HealthPlan Services spotlights area tech firms


    A major tech company in India just agreed to buy a Tampa health care IT firm for a healthy $460 million in a deal that shows Tampa Bay's rising technology market is very much on the global radar.

    Bangalore-based Wipro said it will pay cash for Tampa's fast growing, 2,000-employee HealthPlan Services. The business offers technology platforms to health insurance companies, connecting them to over 40 public exchanges and over 150 private exchanges in the U.S....

  2. Rays unveil weekday game discounts, season ticket perks to boost low attendance


    On multiple fronts, the Tampa Bay Rays are making key progress.

    Political permission to start looking at potential new stadium sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties? Check. Some sharp-eyed trades in the offseason to beef up the Rays' lean lineup with bigger bats? Check.

    What else could the Rays ask for?

    How about more derrieres planted firmly in too-empty seats at Tropicana Field?...

    To save money, Canadian Dann Oliver packs tubs full of groceries before leaving Canada to come to his winter home in Gulfport. Because of the strong dollar, groceries are cheaper in Canada. (JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times)
  3. Armed with a star hacker brand, Clearwater tech firm KnowBe4 eyes a future IPO



    At 59, serial entrepreneur Stu Sjouwerman is on his fifth startup. This one is called KnowBe4, a security awareness company that trains employees of subscribing businesses how not to get snookered by clever hackers masquerading online as do-gooders or perhaps even the company CEO.

    The hackers' goal: to persuade workers to divulge corporate passwords and private data or, worse, wire money to the hackers by convincing employees they are following orders from up the corporate ladder....

    Stu Sjouwerman, right, founder and CEO of tech security training firm KnowBe4 in Clearwater, recruited former hacker Kevin Mitnick to join the startup as a co-owner and chief hacking officer.
  4. Trigaux: To keep up with Netflix and Walt Disney Co., Tampa Bay companies need better benefits

    Working Life

    Every year, the Tampa Bay Times works with an outside consulting firm to help identify many of the "top workplaces" in the Tampa Bay area. The next annual rankings are expected to appear in April, based on tens of thousands of interviews with employees of area companies nominated by their own workers as potential top workplaces.

    And every year, the Times survey finds that benefits and perks play a commanding role in the minds of employees of what constitutes a top workplace. In this metro area, these perks typically include on-site gyms, free or subsidized meals at work, liberal policies to engage in community service and, of course, the usual array of break rooms, table tennis, company events, performance rewards and strong employer-paid health care benefits....

  5. For too many Floridians, pain of Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme returns in TV miniseries


    Lest investors forget too soon.

    Just over seven years ago, financial adviser Bernie Madoff was arrested for fraud so massive that he has since become known as the perpetrator of the largest Ponzi scheme in history. That's a competitive title, so take note.

    In June of 2009, Madoff was sentenced to a maximum term of 150 years. He's about 5 percent of the way into that term so far. Thousands of investors got scammed by Madoff over many years. After New York, where Madoff ran his Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC for decades, the greatest number of victims of his Ponzi scheme are concentrated in Florida....

    Richard Dreyfuss in "Madoff." (Eric Liebowitz/ABC/TNS)
  6. In global value, Publix brand stands alone representing Florida businesses


    A ranking of the 500 most valuable global brands in business indicates Publix, the Lakeland based grocery chain, is Florida's sole entry on the list.

    Publix is the dominant grocery chain in Florida, on Tuesday announcing its plans to enter the Virginia market, marking its 6th expansion state outside of Florida. Publix ranked 229th in the ranking of brand value in 2016, a sharp uptick from its 259th ranking in 2015. No other Florida-based company or product brand appeared in the annual ranking by Brand Finance, a London consulting firm specializing in valuing major brands, from corporations and product lines to sports teams and even the brand value of nations....

    Publix is the only business in Florida to make a top 500 ranking of the biggest brands in the world. SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES
  7. Tampa bank CEO files for bankruptcy tied to Michigan horse track deal gone bad


    Veteran Michigan banker and horse racing investor Jerry Campbell burst on the Tampa Bay financial scene nearly a decade ago, leading a Tampa bank that would become known as HomeBanc. Last month, Campbell declared personal bankruptcy, citing his inability to pay $9 million in debt.

    According to a voluntary Chapter 11 petition before Judge Rodney May of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Campbell's major debt is $4.8 million owed for a loan he and co-investors borrowed in early 2009 to buy Michigan-based Pinnacle Race Track. The 320-acre track was abandoned in 2010....

    The collapse of his Michigan horse racing track led to HomeBanc CEO Jerry Campbell’s bankruptcy.
  8. Trigaux: Parking. Millennials. Hotels. Rents. Four trends driving Tampa Bay's real estate market

    Real Estate

    Veteran commercial real estate executives gathered at the Urban Land Institute Tampa Bay annual summit at the classy Tampa Theatre this past week, put their brains together and delivered a provocative glimpse ahead. Here are four trends gleaned from their conversation:

    1. Dude, where's my parking? Joke's on you if you think we need more parking, because less is coming. Anthony Everett, partner in Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, predicts new housing developments will require fewer and fewer parking spaces. And Feldman Equities CEO Larry Feldman criticized downtown parking garages for "strangling development."...

  9. 'Florida: The Future Is Here' is unveiled as slogan of state's new business branding campaign

    Economic Development

    Florida unveiled its new state business brand — "Florida: The Future Is Here" — in an extensive campaign presentation Friday that shows a sleek, 21st century theme for a state that very much wants to become a bigger economic player in the new century.

    The campaign will roll out swiftly across various media, from major business and trade publications to radio, TV and across social media, backed by an initial $10 million in funding approved by state legislators. No less key, the Legislature has approved $8.5 million in recurring annual funding to help sustain the campaign after its debut....

    Florida unveiled its new state business brand - "Florida: The Future Is Here" - Friday morning, Jan. 29, 2016, with an extensive campaign presentation Friday that shows a sleek, 21st-century theme for a state that very much wants to be a bigger economic player in the new century. [Enterprise Florida]
  10. Trigaux: Florida to launch fresher, better-funded business branding campaign

    Economic Development

    A new state branding campaign will be unveiled Friday backed by an initial $10 million that touts Florida as a great place to grow a business.

    Enterprise Florida, the state's job-recruiting arm, will introduce the new campaign at its board meeting in Tallahassee. The new state business brand was fast-tracked, as Enterprise Florida quickly sifted through dozens of potential advertising agencies and, later, dozens of storyboard campaign ideas before picking one....

    Joe Hice is Enterprise Florida’s chief marketing officer.
  11. Pursuing workplace talent, Tampa Hillsborough EDC targets young entrepreneur needs

    Economic Development


    The chief job-recruiting arm of Tampa and Hills­borough County is riding a traditional wave of big-name corporate expansion, from Bristol-Myers Squibb to Johnson & Johnson, with many more deals in the pipeline soon to be announced.

    Why rock the boat?

    In what might seem a counter-intuitive move, the leaders of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. are about to reach out to young entrepreneurial companies operating in this area and ask:...

    Some of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.’s leaders take a selfie at their annual meeting last fall. Leading the 2016 EDC are chair Colleen Chappell, bottom left, and interim CEO J.P. DuBuque, center. Also shown, clockwise from left, are Ron Vaughn; Rick Homans; Gray Swoope; Yvette Segura; Keith O’Malley; Plant City Mayor Rick Lott; Paul Anderson; and Joe Lopano. Rhea Law is behind DuBuque in white.
  12. Trigaux: If Charlotte, N.C., thinks its name can stand alone, when can Tampa Bay say the same?


    Though advancing in age, Hugh McColl still stands out among the South's great business revivalists and as a key builder behind Charlotte's rise from sleepy North Carolina city to one of the economic leaders of the Southeastern states.

    Florida knows McColl best as the hard-charging North Carolina banker, the ex-Marine who pushed his North Carolina National Bank into the Sunshine State, purchased deer-in-the-headlight Florida banks by the bushel and ultimately created Bank of America as Florida's biggest bank — and based in Charlotte....

    As the Carolina Panthers head to the Super Bowl, there’s a feeling in their hometown, Charlotte, N.C., that the city is well known enough that it can be recognized without the North Carolina behind it. Is Tampa Bay nearing that point, too? Charlotte’s skyline is pictured last week. (Getty Images)
  13. Hotel legend Bill Marriott stops by Vinoy to praise Tampa Bay's potential


    When J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. last visited his company's Vinoy Renaissance resort in downtown St. Petersburg, hotel staff recall, he inspected the nooks and crannies of the hotel kitchen, making sure all was clean.

    That was nearly a decade ago when Marriott was well into his remarkable 60-plus-year run, 40 as its CEO, of his namesake Marriott International.

    On Monday's visit, Marriott stopped by the Vinoy, this time to smile for the cameras and thank the 400-plus Marriott staff of the landmark downtown hotel for working so hard to take care of their guests and customers....

    J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., chairman of Marriott International, stands outside the Vinoy Renaissance resort in downtown St. Petersburg, where he stopped by Monday to thank the 400-plus Marriott staff of the landmark hotel for their hard work.
  14. Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith named an industry power player amid challenges


    Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith landed this month on Nation's Restaurant News' prestigious "Power List 2016" spotlighting the 50 most powerful people to watch in the food service industry. Smith was anointed, says the industry publication, because she is "leading the charge to overcome the casual-dining segment slowdown."

    In other words, she was picked because so many casual dining chains — including Bloomin's own Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill brands — have suffered drop-offs in customers, and Smith wants to reverse the course....

    Liz Smith is working to reverse a slowdown in casual dining.
  15. 2016 debuts with better startups, smarter mentoring, rising venture capital interest


    The Tampa Bay startup community's resolution for the new year must have been to kick into higher gear. From venture capital investing to clever new entrepreneurial ventures, the region is starting to leverage all those earlier years spent building an infrastructure to help sharp, committed people launch — and execute — new business ideas.

    The good news is the area startup scene is starting to get more notice from VC firms and from Silicon Valley itself — ground zero for successful entrepreneurs and money. Even Forbes, after casting a wide net and conducting extensive interviews in search of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs, picked the co-founders of a Tampa startup for its Class of 2016 30-Under-30 list. And fresh programs are taking shape in Clearwater and St. Petersburg to spur new momentum and bring more muscle to entrepreneurs as they become greater players in this region's economy. Read on to get just a sampling of what's afoot....

    Tampa startup Tembo, made up of, from left, Ulixes Hawili, Samantha Taranto, Phil Michaels, Sercan Topcu and Brent Caramanica, uses mobile phone technology to provide early childhood education in the world’s slums.