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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. State of Tampa Bay banking: Who's got the market share, who wants more of it?


    The wild and crazy days of big out-of-state banks swooping into Tampa Bay and Florida to grab control of the state's banking industry are pretty much over. A handful of banks now rule this market, with just 10 banks controlling more than $8 of every $10 in deposits here. Dozens upon dozens of smaller institutions are left to pick over what deposits are left.

    The true game-changer in Florida banking took place in the 1990s when ex-Marine Hugh McColl, the North Carolina CEO of what would become Bank of America, charged into Florida and gobbled up many of its biggest banks. A local Carolina newspaper at the time featured a picture of McColl, wearing a Marine battle helmet, accompanied by a one-word headline: Blitzkrieg. McColl is long retired, but his bank remains the largest in Florida....

    The latest announced deal of a local bank being bought was unveiled Wednesday with Kentucky-based Republic Bank purchasing Cornerstone Community Bank of St. Petersburg, which has this office at 6300 Fourth St. N.  Once merged, they will still control less than 0.5 percent of the deposits in this market. MARTHA RIAL   |   Times
  2. Trigaux: After long love affair with nuclear power, Duke Energy hints romance is ending


    Hard to believe, but the country's biggest power company — the same one that once swore on a stack of fuel rods that nuclear power would always be a big part of how it generates electricity — is finally having second thoughts and, notably, saying so in public.

    "Nuclear will continue to be an important part of energy supplies in the Carolinas," Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good said this week in remarks to the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. "But whether or not new nuclear is a part of the picture remains to be seen."...

    Duke Energy’s love affair with nuclear power appears headed toward divorce. Duke previously shuttered the nuclear plant in Crystal River. [MAURICE RIVENBARK   |   Times (2013)]
  3. STEM jobs: Tampa Bay leads Florida but can it become a bigger tech player?


    If becoming a 21st century metro area means having lots of better paying technology-related job opportunities, then Tampa Bay should give itself a pat on the back — and keeping pushing for more.

    A creative analysis by Bloomberg News recently ranked the nation's 100 top metro areas for STEM jobs — meaning jobs that required education in science, technology, engineering or math. In the process, the analysis revealed a number of lesser known cities that are STEM magnets, defined as places having higher percentages of the kind of tech-related employment that not only offers better pay but will likely assure these metro areas as more competitive players in the future....

  4. Utility watchdogs petition North Carolina attorney general to rein in Duke Energy


    A North Carolina utility watchdog group and well-known critic of Duke Energy joined six other environmental, labor and religious organizations Wednesday to petition North Carolina's attorney general to force Duke to amend its corporate charter due to "a persistent pattern of criminal activity" of harming the environment.

    The watchdog group, N.C. WARN, and its partners want Duke to phase out its coal-fired power plants in five years, stop blocking alternative energy competition, and be prohibited from making political contributions or attempting to influence the political process. While it is illegal for corporations to contribute to political campaigns, they can contribute through political action committees, as Duke Energy does. It is also legal for companies to advocate on behalf of their interests....

     Duke, the complaint contends, also tried to charge ratepayers, inappropriately, for an engineering assessment of Duke Energy's broken Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County. [MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times (2013)]
  5. Recruiting GE headquarters: Why Florida may not be in the major leagues — yet


    Shunning its Connecticut home for a tax-friendlier state, Fortune 100 giant GE recently launched a search for a new site for its headquarters. That decision sparked invitations and promises from major metro areas in 12 states salivating at a rare opportunity to snag the bragging rights of landing America's eighth-largest public company.

    Is this just some ploy by GE, with 5,700 employees in Connecticut, to wrest more tax concessions from the state? Maybe. But the competition for its headquarters is thick, with some major U.S. cities claiming to be on GE's short list. Other prominent spots already have been rejected....

    The bay area offers up Tampa’s evolving downtown, but perhaps not enough amenities for a company the size of GE.
  6. As bank charges keep soaring, Tampa Bay among high-price leaders in ATM fees


    The Tampa Bay market holds the dubious distinction of being one of the more expensive places in the country for consumers to get access to their own money.

    Tampa Bay banking customers pay an average of $4.68 in fees to withdraw cash from an ATM outside their bank's network, ranking the area as the 10th-highest-priced market in a national survey.

    That's higher than the nation's average fee for using an out-of-network ATM, which rose 4 percent over the past year to a record $4.52 per transaction, according to's 18th annual checking survey. The fee has risen 21 percent over the past five years. The charge is a combination of two fees — an "in network" fee plus "out of network" fee — which makes the transaction so expensive....

  7. Jam-packed Disney theme parks to vary admission price to spread out visitors


    Facing record theme park attendance, Disney is taking the next step in crowd control with plans to charge higher admission when times are busy and less when visitors are fewer. The idea is known as demand pricing — some already are calling it "Uber-style" pricing — that Disney hopes will influence tourist behavior, spreading out theme park visits to accommodate more people but with fewer peaks and valleys....

    Disney plans to charge higher admission when times are busy and less when visitors are fewer in an effort to influence tourist behavior and accommodate more people, but with fewer peaks and valleys.
  8. Who's Tampa Bay's 'biggest' public company? Tech Data versus Raymond James


    Tech Data Corp. or Raymond James Financial?

    That's today's choice when trying to answer the question: What is the "biggest" publicly traded corporation headquartered in the Tampa Bay metro area?

    Tech Data, the Clearwater technology distributor, over the years has ruled the No. 1 spot whenever the Tampa Bay Times ranks the 10 largest bay area public companies. Tech Data produces annual revenues of nearly $28 billion. That's nearly as much as Jabil and WellCare Health Plans — ranked No. 2 and 3 in revenues — generate together....

    The Data Tech Building located at 5350 Tech Data Drive in Clearwater, Florida.
DAVID W DOONAN   |    Special to Times
  9. Tampa Bay's GDP growth above average — and not so good

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay's gross domestic product continued to expand steadily in the past several years. The GDP may have taken a licking — to paraphrase the old Timex watch ads — but it has kept on ticking.

    The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area in 2014 recorded a $118 billion GDP, a measure of economic output, up 2.7 percent from the GDP of 2013. That performance landed Tampa Bay's GDP growth at No. 11 in Florida — smack dab in the middle of 22 state metro areas. The figures were included in a U.S. Department of Commerce survey of GDP growth in 381 larger metro areas....

  10. Nuclear fallout: Crystal River area tops nation in GDP loss after plant closure


    Only now are we starting to realize the profound economic impact of losing a nuclear power plant before its time.

    In an assessment of the gross domestic product growth in each of nation's largest 382 metropolitan areas, the one metro whose GDP contracted the most in 2014 was Florida's Homosassa Springs — an area that includes Citrus County and the town of Crystal River, home of the now-defunct Crystal River nuclear power plant owned by Duke Energy....

    The area surrounding the now-defunct nuclear plant in Crystal River suffered the largest contraction in GDP in the nation in 2014. The plant, shown in this February 2013 photo, was shuttered by Duke Energy after a previous attempt by then-owner Progress Energy failed to fix cracks in a containment vessel.
  11. Trigaux: Moffitt Cancer Center again on list of best employers for working moms


    The good news is Working Mother magazine this week published its 30th year of the 100 best companies for women seeking the best work-life balance and, once again, Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center made the list.

    Moffitt has made the list an impressive seven times. The health care firm says it was included this year for its corporate culture that offers working mothers education assistance, flexible work schedules, and backup child and elder care. Parental leave offers new moms an additional four weeks of paid leave, as well as one week of paid leave for new dads and job protection for mothers beyond the 12 weeks provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act, paying 100 percent of their salary, according to Moffitt....

  12. Trigaux: Rising rents may suck more than half the income from more households

    Real Estate

    Do you know someone who spends half their income on rent? You will know more of them soon.

    A confluence of events is happening that may force millions more Americans to spend more than half of what they earn just to keep a rental roof over their heads. The latest red flag appears in a new report from Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable-housing nonprofit group, and Harvard's Joint Center on Housing Studies. The study found that the number of U.S. households that spend at least half their income on rent could increase 25 percent to 14.8 million over the next decade. More than 1 million households headed by Hispanics and more than another million headed by the elderly could pass into those ranks....

  13. Trigaux: When you only count jobs, it's too easy to call Florida an economic success


    In decades of covering the highs and lows of the U.S. economy, I've never encountered a governor quite like Florida's Rick Scott. His singular obsession with creating more jobs — jobs of any kind as long as there are more of them today than yesterday — is commendable for its disciplined, if tunnel-visioned, focus. Yet, it's disappointing for ignoring broader economic pressures in a state suffering stagnant wages, rising costs and, yes, rising poverty....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott often praises adding more jobs to the state, but counting jobs doesn’t show the whole picture of the economy. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  14. Amazon's Jeff Bezos brings rocket business back to reignite Florida's space passion

    Economic Development

    Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos came to Florida this past week not to expand his giant online shopping empire's footprint here but to plant his Blue Origin space business — his first love — on Florida's Space Coast.

    Long ago, there were hints this might happen. In his 1982 high-school valedictory speech at Palmetto High School in Miami, the National Merit scholar spoke about colonizing space to secure humanity's future....

    Gov. Rick Scott, left, presents an award to Jeff Bezos during the announcement of plans to bring Blue Origin to Florida.
  15. In Trump vs. Fiorina, Carly scores big with 'Face' ad (w/video)


    In an unruly 3-hour debate of 11 GOP presidential candidates that one CNN moderator aptly described as "herding cats," two mainstream participants tried to demonstrate that their extensive business backgrounds gave them the experience – without the perceived taint of being career politicians – to move the United States forward if they are elected president.

    So far, it may be working....

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina takes part in Wednesday's presidential debates at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.