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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. St. Petersburg gets burned again by a company reneging on promised headquarters move

    Economic Development

    Looks like St. Petersburg got left at the altar — again — but doesn't know it yet.

    In April 2015, a New York company called Twinlab Consolidated Holdings, a maker of wellness and bodybuilding supplements, announced it was moving its headquarters to the city's downtown. Twinlab committed to a long-term lease worth millions, taking two floors of downtown's First Central Tower — the "BB&T building" — on the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street....

    John Hadden II is CEO of New York’s IRX Therapeutics.
  2. For Bill Gates, Lou Pearlman and Donald Trump, a few notable days


    We're rapidly closing on September's two-year anniversary of real estate developer Jeff Vinik teaming up via the joint venture Strategic Property Partners with Cascade Investment LLC, the firm handling a big chunk of the billions owned by Bill Gates. SPP, of course, is leading the Vinik-Cascade charge to develop 40-plus acres around Tampa's downtown Amalie Arena and the nearby Channel District. ...

    Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ investment manager Cascade Investment plan $2 billion in projects for downtown Tampa.
  3. Trigaux: The decline in homeownership in the Tampa Bay area needs to end quickly

    Real Estate

    The rate of homeownership — that cornerstone of middle class status and community stability — is hitting 50-year lows nationwide and continuing to fall in the Tampa Bay market years after the end of the last recession.

    Panic time? No, but this is a trend that needs to end, pronto. Owning your home is a dwindling dream for too many Americans. That's especially true for many who live and rent in increasing numbers in this metro area....

    The rate of home ownership continues to decline in the United States, Florida and Tampa Bay. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD    |    Times
  4. Led by PayKings, 73 Tampa Bay firms make 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growers


    A 5-year-old Apollo Beach credit card processing firm called PayKings racked up a dazzling 7,905 percent growth rate, landing it as the 22nd fastest growing company in the country and tops in the Tampa Bay market, according to a newly released 2016 Inc. 5000 list.

    PayKings had revenues last year of $8 million and six employees, says Inc. Area companies closely trailing PayKings's formidable 3-year growth rate are The Penny Hoarder, a downtown St. Petersburg financial advice website, ranked No. 2 in Tampa Bay and No. 32 nationwide with 6,934 percent growth and $7.5 million in revenues last year. Right behind are three Clearwater companies: telecommunications firm Stratus Video (4,190 percent), Medicare insurance seller E-Telequote Insurance (2,909 percent), and online security provider KnowBe4 (2,528 percent)....

    The Inc. 5000 lists Clearwater digital security company KnowBe4 as one of the fastest growing companies in the region. In this photo, account manager Liz Dawson has a view of downtown, Clearwater Bay and the distant Gulf of Mexico from her office. Photo by Robert La Follette, Courtesy KnowBe4.
  5. Off to quick start in Tampa, EDC chief Craig Richard urges fresh branding effort for region

    Economic Development

    Craig Richard only arrived in Tampa in late June to take on the job of CEO of the job recruiting organization known as the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

    Yet he already has his family relocated from Atlanta to a new home. His wife, Verna, is starting a new job as a kindergarten teacher, and his sons are ready, respectively, for high school and middle school.

    Oh, yeah. He also has had a summer of whirlwind introductions to hundreds of area business and political leaders. He has enjoyed not one, but two, welcome receptions and already participated in a leadership retreat. Now, he's leaping into the EDC's strategic plan to pinpoint objectives out to 2020....

    Craig Richard is the Tampa Hills?borough EDC’s CEO. 
  6. Down but not out: Tampa's Odyssey Marine preps to swap treasure hunting for bigger ocean game


    For more than two decades, Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration has reveled in its reputation as a swashbuckling, deep-ocean treasure hunting enterprise.

    Odyssey has hauled tons of gold and silver from centuries-old U.S., Spanish and British ships sunk deep in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters. The company has enjoyed the limelight of more front page stories over the years in the New York Times than most major U.S. corporations and far more than any other business in the Tampa Bay area. It has been the focus of long sagas in magazines like The New Yorker and was profiled by a National Geographic staffer in the 2005 book Lost Gold of the Republic about what was then the richest monetary and archaeological marine salvage in American history. In 2009 the Discovery Channel launched a reality show called Treasure Quest with 12 episodes devoted to Odyssey Marine's shipwreck adventures....

    Robert Pritchett is CEO of Tampa’s Global Marine Exploration, which says it found four 16th century shipwreck sites off Cape Canaveral in 2015.
  7. Here's what 12 Tampa Bay CEOs have to say about confronting these demanding economic times


    It's one thing to hear what one area CEO has to say. But it's quite another to glean what a bunch of executives face these days in trying to grow — and sometimes trying not to shrink — a significant Tampa Bay-based corporation.

    Here's a thin slice of what a dozen CEOs of publicly traded companies here have said to analysts or the financial media in recent times. The quotes and compilations, some from this past week and others from recent months, are meant to capture some core concern or challenge confronting each of these chief executives....

    Mindy Grossman
  8. Sagging sales challenge Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands to reboot Outback Steakhouse and other chains


    Can Bloomin' get boomin' again?

    Bloomin' Brands, the Tampa restaurant chain giant that runs Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's, on Friday reported a quartet of woes. In addition to an unexpected second-quarter earnings loss, revenues dropped, its stock price fell more than 5 percent to end the week, and the company lowered its forecast for its full-year performance....

    CEO Liz Smith continues to battle a decline in casual dining.
  9. Reviving the U.S. middle class: Trump, Clinton tout different ideas — but will any of them work?


    For a U.S. middle class shrinking before our eyes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and their supporters spend a lot of time and sound bites offering ways to reinflate (or blame his or her opponent for hurting) that core slice of American life.

    Will any of them work?

    The middle class made up 61 percent of American households in 1971. Since then it has steadily declined to about 50 percent as of 2015. Now it may no longer represent an economic majority of this country....

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says bad trade deals have led to the shrinking of the middle class. Evan Vucci | AP
  10. Florida GDP outpacing U.S. economic output thanks to strong real estate, construction sectors


    Florida's GDP growth of 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016 not only outpaced the country as a whole, but all of the other top population states and every state in the Southeast but one.

    Not a bad economic scorecard for the Sunshine State. A key measure of economic vitality, gross domestic product (GDP) by state is the market value of goods and services produced by the labor and property located in a state....

    Much like the millions of lights in this image of Florida from space, the Sunshine State's GDP has been humming along. 

Image Credit: NASA
  11. With St. Petersburg's C1 Bank sale to Bank of the Ozarks, C1 CEO Trevor Burgess unexpectedly resigns


    Less than a week after completing the sale of St. Petersburg's C1 Bank to Bank of the Ozarks, C1 CEO Trevor Burgess said he was resigning at the close of business Tuesday to spend time with his husband and child "before thinking what's next for me." The unexpected news came in an email Burgess sent to C1 Bank's staff, calling his time at the bank an "amazing entrepreneurial adventure" and thanking his employees for their efforts....

    Bank of the Ozarks referred to Trevor Burgess’ departure as unexpected.
  12. Trigaux: Tampa Bay's rising tech scene helps secure nonstop San Francisco flight


    Legendary crooner Tony Bennett can still leave his heart in San Francisco. But Tampa Bay startups may soon find both vital California venture capital funding and collaboration with Silicon Valley are about to get easier for young companies here.

    The reason, of course, is Tampa International Airport's announcement Monday that its long quest to win a nonstop flight from Tampa to San Francisco has been achieved. United Airlines starts daily service on the new route next year on Feb. 16....

    Jim Ferea, left, United Airlines Managing Director of Domestic Planning and Joe Lopano, right, Chief Executive Officer of Tampa International Airport, pull back the curtains unveiling new nonstop flights to San Francisco on United Airlines. The nonstop flights will begin in February and will connect Tampa Bay's small but growing startup scene to the tech capital of the wolrd. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
  13. Take a look at how the biggest companies in Florida and Tampa Bay are driving the economy


    What do e-commerce firm Triad Retail Media, document imaging business Dex Imaging, Heritage Insurance Holdings and beverage maker Cott Corp. have in common?

    They are among a handful of larger Tampa Bay area-based public and private companies to register sales gains of 30 percent or more last year, making them recent growth leaders in revenues in this region's metropolitan economy. Heritage revenues soared 69 percent last year, though the company has had to tighten its belt since then. Cott, pushing into new turf with coffee and water sales, rebounded from declining consumption in soda products with a 40 percent sales gain in 2015....

    St. Petersburg's Raymond James Financial is the fourth largest public company by revenue in the Tampa Bay area and ranks 18th in Florida. 
DAVID W DOONAN   |    Special to Times
  14. Expanding grocery titans Publix and Wegmans are about to battle it out in Virginia


    FREDERICKSBURG, VA. — In a Virginia suburb not far from where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War, a 21st century clash of a different kind of superpowers is looming.

    Two of the nation's most highly touted supermarkets are about to meet and fight for supremacy in Virginia.

    From upstate New York, the highly regarded Wegmans chain of grocery stores is pushing south with a seriously loyal following. And from Florida, the much touted Publix, the Sunshine State's dominant supermarket chain, is spreading into Virginia after successfully expanding and taking on all comers in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South and North Carolina....

    Wegmans grocery store, based in upstate New York, is moving south while Florida-based Publix moves north. They are starting to square off in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Wegmans.
  15. Trigaux: Tampa Bay area venture capital funding is still lean, but vital


    Nationwide, venture capitalists invested $15.3 billion in 961 deals in the second quarter of 2016.

    Sounds impressive. And it is, with more VC dollars funneling into the hands of fewer and more mature startups like rideshare phenom Uber gobbling up $3.5 billion, photo-sharing Snapchat nabbing $1.27 billion and genome diagnostic firm Human Longevity claiming $220 million.

    That's a third of all VC money in the quarter going to just three firms....