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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

Email: trigaux@tampabay.com

Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

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  1. Coal-dependent Seminole Electric Cooperative seeks options as EPA crackdown looms

    Energy

    Barely two years into her role as CEO of Tampa's Seminole Electric Cooperative — a provider of electricity to 1.4 million Floridians and businesses across 42 counties — Lisa Johnson faces a looming challenge.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cracking down on carbon emissions, is targeting coal-fueled power plants in a federal initiative called the Clean Power Plan. In Florida, that could force the early closing of most of the remaining coal plants in the state. Seminole Electric provides wholesale electric power to its nine-member distribution electric cooperatives. They, in turn, deliver electricity to their mostly rural and often lower-income customers....

    Seminole Electric Cooperative CEO Lisa Johnson says the Clean Power Plan challenges coal plants, like this Seminole Generating Station.
  2. As Tampa Bay housing rebounds, don't forget grim foreclosure era

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay's housing market sure seems to be roaring back to life. Just look at some headlines on recent stories from my fellow staff writers.

    As Tampa Bay foreclosures plunge, prices jump

    Tampa Bay home sales soared in June

    Is Tampa Bay's real estate market Florida's best-kept secret?

    They are all completely legitimate stories. But let's not carried away just yet. And let's definitely not forget the reasons this metro market and state are still crawling out of the dark hole left behind by the burst housing bubble of nine years ago....

  3. Allegiant Air's emergency landings don't bother Wall Street

    Airlines

    The parent company of Allegiant Air reported boffo second-quarter gains in profits and growth late Wednesday, winning bravos from Wall Street analysts in a conference call with Allegiant executives.

    But there was not a single peep about safety concerns from analysts nor any explanation volunteered by airline execs stemming from a series of emergency landings in recent months. The most recent nail biter involved a flight forced to land last week at a Fargo, N.D., airport with only minutes of fuel left in its tanks. Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating why the plane was not properly fueled and the pilots were unaware of reports earlier made to Allegiant that the airport would be closed for the Blue Angels practicing for an air show....

    Allegiant Air reported a 62 percent jump in net income to $54.3 million in the quarter ended June 30 over the same quarter of 2014, and an even larger 76 percent leap in the first half of 2015 over the same period a year ago. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  4. As Bass Pro Shops pursues rapid Florida expansion, it sheds jobs elsewhere

    Retail

    A much-anticipated Bass Pro Shops store opens Wednesday in Brandon, a 130,000-square-foot, 300-employee reminder that the outdoor recreation company has pegged Florida as big enough to handle at least 15 such stores — far more, so far, than any other state.

    It's a clever strategy. Rival and similar-sized outdoor sports company Cabela's, also spreading nationwide from its Nebraska base, has yet to enter Florida and will now be sure to find it crowded....

    Bass Pro Shop has been expanding into Florida, including a store to open this week in Brandon and this store in Orlando, even as it has been cutting staff elsewhere. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.   |   Times] 
  5. Flights increasing at smaller airports like St. Pete-Clearwater

    Business

    When it comes to airlines' flights, it's proved feast or famine for many Florida airports in recent years.

    Of 200 U.S. airports, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport saw the greatest percentage increase, a whopping 94 percent, in flights over the past four years, topping No. 2 Orlando Sanford International's gain of 71 percent. The dramatic increases in airline flights at Tampa Bay's and the Orlando area's secondary airports speak well for the nation's growing interest in Central Florida's tourism and business markets....

    Allegiant Air passenger planes are parked on the tarmac at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. St. Pete-Clearwater and some other smaller airports are seeing an increase in flights, while consolidation among larger airlines is causing flights to decrease at some larger ones like Tampa International.
  6. Ranking Tampa Bay cities where small businesses more likely to flourish

    Business

    Are you more likely to succeed in starting a small business in one Florida city over another? Nerdwallet thinks so.

    Statewide, cities based in Central Florida and the suburbs of Miami are among those topping the list of 268 Florida cities for launching a small business as rated by Nerdwallet, a website that crunches financial data. Orlando suburb Maitland was ranked No. 1, thanks to its small businesses averaging revenues of more than $4.5 million, higher than any other city....

  7. What price might we pay if TECO Energy is sold to Duke Energy or FPL?

    Energy

    Headquartered in the heart of downtown Tampa, TECO Energy must feel sandwiched between neighboring behemoths Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light like a mom-and-pop store squeezed by Walmart and Amazon.

    Small wonder TECO — parent of Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas and, more recently, New Mexico Gas — said Thursday that it has hired Wall Street dealmaker Morgan Stanley to test the waters about selling TECO to the highest bidder....

  8. Florida, always short on venture capital, attracts 17 deals for startups in quarter

    Economic Development

    Florida enjoyed a second-quarter boost in venture capital, with 17 of its young and cash-hungry companies attracting investments, including six in the Tampa Bay area.

    Tampa's AquaVenture Holdings led the way locally in the quarter with $30 million committed by several venture capital firms, including Advent Morro Equity Partners. AquaVenture owns Seven Seas Water, a provider of water-management solutions for municipal and industrial clients, and Quench, a water-technology company that services U.S. businesses with filtered water and related ice, coffee and tea services....

  9. Trigaux: Keen to preserve own power, Florida electric utilities up fight against solar

    Energy

    Got to hand it to the powers who so deftly control Florida's electricity market.

    Just when solar power finally shows signs of progress in the Sunshine State, the cabal of electric utility monopolies and the Tallahassee political machine so beholden to their cash contributions find a new way to say No.

    On Wednesday, a group with the quick-stamped name of Consumers for Smart Solar unveiled a petition drive to place an amendment dealing with solar energy on the 2016 ballot. It will need to collect nearly 700,000 signatures....

  10. Ex-Enterprise Florida's Gray Swoope joins Tampa hunt for corporate headquarters

    Economic Development

    Tampa's pursuit of a corporation (or two) willing to relocate its headquarters here just gained added muscle with the addition of Gray Swoope, the former chief of Enterprise Florida, and his new consulting firm to a task force dedicated to pitching this metro area as a hidden gem for Fortune 1000 companies.

    "From my role at Enterprise Florida" — which Swoope left in early 2015 after four years — "the state of Florida is getting a lot of looks" by relocating businesses, Swoope said....

    Gray Swoope of VisionFirst Advisors says Florida is getting “a lot of looks” by relocating businesses.
  11. As Allegiant Air wavers, Pinellas airport and tourism industry cross fingers

    Tourism

    The burst of recent troubles at Allegiant Air is not just about a booming upstart airline suffering too many emergency landings and canceled flights at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

    The expansion here of Las Vegas-based Allegiant is not only driving record passenger numbers at Pinellas County's airport but also feeding the dazzling growth in Pinellas and nearby tourism....

    An Allegiant Air plane sits at the gate at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport on a recent afternoon. The discount airline has had a number of emergency landings and canceled flights recently as its pilots union complains about maintenance issues.
  12. Trigaux: As TECO deal stalls, company asks: Anybody want some coal mines?

    Energy

    TECO Energy now knows what it feels like to try and sell the energy industry's version of buggy whips.

    The Tampa power company — and parent of Tampa Electric, People's Gas and New Mexico Gas — announced a deal last fall to sell TECO Coal, its Appalachian coal business, to Cambrian Coal.

    "This transaction will result in a complete exit from the coal mining business," TECO Energy CEO John Ramil said in October....

  13. What 'drives' Tampa Bay business market? A quest to shed a bland brand

    Real Estate

    What would happen if "Tampa Bay" was trying to pitch itself as a compelling partner on Match.com? What would stand out? How could this place sell itself competitively when compared to the better-known and presumably more exciting Orlando, the tourism king, or Miami, the unofficial northern capital of Latin America?

    What are Tampa Bay's drivers?

    This is the crux of a recent conversation I had with Ryan Severino, senior economist and research director of Reis, a 35-year provider of commercial real estate information and analysis that monitors office vacancy trends across the country....

  14. Leaner St. Joe Co. wants boomers to retire in its 'national park' development

    Economic Development

    A company that has single-handedly transformed the Florida Panhandle from the Redneck Riviera to a land festooned with upscale second homes, beachfront communities and its own jet-capable airport is at it again.

    St. Joe Co., once the largest private landowner in Florida, told shareholders at its annual meeting this week that it has the green light to build a vast "active adult" community to woo baby boomer retirees....

  15. Index says diners' satisfaction at restaurants is decreasing

    Retail

    Consumers may continue to eat out about four times a week on average, but their dining satisfaction at full-service places is stagnating — and even falling among fast-food joints. Those trends suggest consumers are not likely to spend more money at restaurants even as the economy improves.

    So concludes the findings of the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, to be unveiled today, which ranks the consumer dining experience on a 100-point scale at both full- and limited-service restaurants....

    Outback Steakhouse, owned by Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands, saw its scores on the American Customer Satisfaction Index drop from 80 in 2014 to 78 in 2015.