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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. Trigaux: At struggling Frontier Communications, the bleeding cannot go on forever

    Business

    Look at Frontier Communication's performance so far this year and this image might come to mind:

    Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff. While holding an anvil.

    The cartoon's funny. Frontier's plight is not. After spending more than $10 billion to buy Verizon's FiOS business to provide Internet, cable TV and landline phone services to homes and businesses in the Tampa Bay, southern California and other markets, Frontier's business is struggling mightily....

    After spending more than $10 billion to buy Verizon's FiOS business to provide Internet, cable TV and landline phone services to homes and businesses in the Tampa Bay, southern California and other markets, Frontier Communication's business is struggling mightily.
[MONICA HERNDON | Times file photo]
  2. Trigaux: Often out of spotlight, 44 biggest private Tampa Bay companies reveal their clout

    Corporate

    They are a business backbone in Tampa Bay we hear little about, at least compared to the high-profile likes of Raymond James Financial, HSN or Bloomin' Brands. Few have household-recognizable names, but a handful boast brands well-known to most.

    Combined, the top 44 of them employ nearly 60,000 people, mostly in this metro area. Together, their combined revenues top $25 billion.

    "They" are the major private corporations whose headquarters reside in the Tampa Bay market. They are not publicly traded, though plenty of them are big enough to become public companies if they wanted to do so. ...

    TP 25266 Deliver to:  Biz 5/6/96 Tampa Rooms To Go store at 1720 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa Times Photo by: Fraser Hale Story By: Alabright Run Date:  May 19, 1996 Scanned by: fh
  3. Trigaux: As Florida citrus industry wanes, it's time for a Plan B, and Plan C and D

    Agriculture

    The latest citrus industry story coming out of Tallahassee is even grimmer than the usual coverage of a state orange crop beset by disease, overpriced land for groves and a dwindling consumer thirst for OJ.

    "The final forecast of the 2016-2017 season for Florida's struggling citrus industry shows the orange crop falling 16 percent from the previous season — which, itself, had been at a five-decades low."...

    Back in 1971, when citrus was king in Florida, industry promoter Anita Bryant greeted fans at the Dick Mills Clearwater Showroom. Bryant, then famous for singing "Come to the Florida sunshine tree" jingle, was there to promote all things citrus. Those days are fading fast. [Norman Zeisloft, Tampa Bay Times]
  4. One day, the Tampa Bay area will land its Chewy

    Business

    Imagine a Florida startup that recorded an impressive $26 million in sales during its first full year in business in 2011, logged more than $900 million in sales by 2016, and this year expects to increase revenues to nearly $2 billion with 5,000 employees.

    Oh yeah, this Florida startup last month was sold for $3.3 billion — that's "billion" with a B — making it one of the biggest-ever deals in the Florida world of entrepreneurs....

    Jeffrey Korentur is CEO of a startup business in Tampa called Teewinot Life Sciences that specializes in creating cannabinoid substances (without the need for the cannabus plant) for pharmaceutical purposes. It has received 2 rounds of venture capital of just over $19 million. [Photo courtesy of LinkedIn]
  5. Trigaux: HSN ripples: 5 takeaways from sale of a major Tampa Bay public company

    Business

    The sale of one of Tampa Bay's core — if kitschy — public corporations like HSN does not happen often. QVC's announced multi-billion-dollar purchase of HSN this past Thursday will continue to send ripples through the regional economy for years. Yes, Tampa Bay loses a major public corporate headquarters — its seventh largest by market value — but gains a financially more muscular parent company that we need to learn more about. The deal also reminds us what happens when the stock market soars, empowering public companies with added value that can be used to buy other companies and grow. Here are five takeaways to ponder:...

    HSN's $2.1 billion sale to QVC will have a ripple effect throughout the bay area, not the least of which involves the loss of the seventh-largest public company based here. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  6. Trigaux: Can HSN, QVC prosper together to avoid becoming digital dinosaurs?

    Corporate

    What corporate legacy comes to mind with Thursday's news that larger TV shopping rival QVC will scoop up St. Petersburg's HSN for $2 billion and change? Here are three to consider:

    • A TV/digital retailer with a market value of more than $11 billion, QVC chose to gobble up its relatively puny rival in HSN in its moment of weakness, when its CEO had departed and its market value was little more than a 10th the size of its buyer....

    QVC's Mike George, CEO of the online/TV retailing giant that announced Thursday the acquisition of St. Petersburg's HSN for $2.1 billion. [Photo courtesy of QVC]
  7. Trigaux: Amid Tampa Electric workplace tragedy, a reminder too many Floridians die at work

    Working Life

    The lives lost at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power plant in Apollo Beach are a tragedy, the latest frustrating example of too many people dying in too many ways at work in Florida.

    RELATED COVERAGE: Sheriff's Office releases names of victims of industrial accident at Tampa Electric Co. plant ...

    TECO spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs spoke Thursday at a press conference about a "major incident" at Tampa Electric's Big Ben Power Plant in Apollo Beach after two people were killed and four people were seriously injured.
[Luis Santana   |   Times]
  8. Trigaux: Ten Tampa Bay movers and shakers to watch in second half of 2017

    Business

    They are newcomers to Tampa Bay ready to make their mark. They are veterans of Tampa Bay institutions stepping into new and bigger jobs. They are embarking on major development projects that will start to be noticed soon. They are a trio of executives competing to run one of this area's top corporations at a challenging time. They are looking for ways to resuscitate a downtown that is resisting conventional remedies. At this midyear moment, they are ten key business people to watch for the rest of 2017....

    In June, Tonjua Williams broke two glass ceilings by becoming the first woman and the first African-American to be named president of St. Petersburg College. The school plays an increasingly critical role in Pinellas County and Tampa Bay in helping train students in many of the skills most sought after by area businesses. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg College]
  9. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    Okay, so maybe the at-long-last name chosen for Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment's $3 billion, 50-plus-acre redevelopment isn't quite brimming with 21st century pop. No "CoolSpace 2.0" or "BoltsTown" names for this mammoth project.

    It's a far more sedate Water Street Tampa.

    Well, it's certainly dignified.

    It's definitely historical, named for Old Water Street. That's the street that runs through what will be the retail core of the project, right in front of the Tampa Marriott Waterside and the Tampa History Museum. That is the key street Strategic Property Partners (the Vinik-Cascade joint venture heading the project) wants to transform into what it calls "the new heart" of downtown Tampa, connecting people from the current downtown to the waterfront....

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  10. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    At first glance, the answer should be: Splendid. The metro-wide unemployment rate is down to a remarkable 3.8 percent. People are relocating to Tampa Bay and Florida in general at a rapid clip. And just last month we learned Tampa Bay will host the 2021 Super Bowl, its fifth....

    Without the full financial power of job incentives behind the Enterprise Florida state job recruiting agency, can Florida still compete for major business expansions from companies as large as Johnson & Johnson? Here is Gov. Rick Scott and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, center front, joining several hundred employees and guests last October as Johnson & Johnson formally opened its North American Global Services Center in the Hidden River Corporate Park in Hillsborough County. [Jerry Stockfisch   |   Times]
  11. Trigaux: Home appreciation varies widely, fueling wealth disparity, says Harvard report

    Real Estate

    A nationwide look at housing finds the United States increasingly split between the have-mores (those with fast appreciating home values) and the have-less (those with flat or declining home values). It's a troubling trend that raises questions for Tampa Bay and Florida's dependence on newcomers and retirees to keep fueling the state's hot economy.

    People migrating from states and metro areas in rising housing markets, typically along the east coast, will bring that enhanced nest egg of home equity with them when they head to the Sunshine State. Others, especially those from the Midwest where home prices have grown the least or even stalled, may find their new start or planned retiree life in Florida to be more expensive than they anticipated....

    Tampa Bay renters typically spend 50 percent of their income on housing. That high level dollar commitment to cover housing is widespread among renters living in Florida's major metro areas. [Handout photo]
  12. Trigaux: For the class of 2017, words of wisdom that couldn't hurt any of us to hear

    Business

    At graduation time, the buffet table of advice from commencement speakers seems endless. And often indigestible.

    There are exceptions.

    "Whether you are in Tipitina's, the French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3 a.m.," chided actor Helen Mirren to her rapt audience at Tulane University.

    "We build resilience into the people we love. And we build it together, as a community. That's called collective resilience," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Virginia Tech grads. "It's an incredibly powerful force — and it's one that our country and our world need a lot more of right about now."...

    Oprah Winfrey speaks to the Skidmore Class of 2017.
  13. Trigaux: With Jeff Vinik's blessing, Dreamit accelerator urges best urban tech startups to step up

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — What are the most pressing problems re-emerging urban downtowns like Tampa must overcome to blossom into a place people, businesses and investors will want to pour their hearts and money into?

    Established startup companies with innovative solutions to that question: We Want You.

    That, in a nutshell, was the pitch delivered Wednesday evening to about 100 entrepreneurs and urban enthusiasts by Dreamit Ventures managing director Andrew Ackerman at The Attic bar inside the Tampa Bay WaVE incubator building in downtown Tampa. Acknowledging his first visit to Tampa, Ackerman said he's spearheading a new "urban technology" accelerator program starting in September in Tampa. The program aims to pluck eight to ten of the most innovative startups (those with some track record and customers already) for an intense Dreamit-run program to prep these businesses for growth....

    Dreamit Ventures managing director Andrew Ackerman pitched the potential of a new "urban technology" accelerator program that will start with 8-10 hand-picked startup companies in Tampa in conjunction with the Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment-backed Strategic Property Partners $3 billion redevelopment project in the city's downtown area. Vinik has partnererd with New York-based Dreamit to foster more startup activity in Tampa Bay. Ackerman spoke Wednesday evening to about 100 entrepreneurs and enthusiasts at The Attic bar inside the Tampa Bay WaVE incubator building in downtown Tampa.
  14. Trigaux: Will the last old-school retail store please turn off the lights?

    Business

    Update: Retail chain Gymboree sought bankruptcy protection on Sunday, June 11, after this story was first written.

    Another day, another downed retail chain.

    The latest victim? Bankrupt BCBG Max Azria Group LLC said Friday it has agreed to a comprehensive restructuring that includes the possible sale of all its assets to Marquee Brands LLC and Global Brands Group Holding Ltd. BCBG is a contemporary women's designer fashion business based in California with area locations at International Plaza, Westshore Plaza and Westfield Countryside in Clearwater....

    The Nordstrom name appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, June 9. Amid a tough retail environment, members of the Nordstrom family say they are considering taking private the Seattle-based fashion retailer bearing their name. [AP Photo/Richard Drew]
  15. Trigaux: Florida may still show some flash but nation's dynamic economy is in freefall

    Economic Development

    We need to talk.

    There's a growing undercurrent of data, analysis and conversation out there that the United States economy is losing its spark, its willingness to take smart risks and its ability to rebound after failure.

    An economy that once was dynamic is turning brittle. Its skills to adapt to changing times are, quite simply, not what they once were even 10 or 20 years ago.

    Where we once found the grit to go to the moon, we can't even agree to fix potholes or bridges....

    Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University who thinks Americans have gone soft. His book called The Complacent Class tells why he finds the U.S. economy is becoming iess productive and dynamic. [Photo courtesy Mercatus Center]