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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. Trigaux: If you're not mad at Duke Energy, you're not paying attention


    If Duke Energy keeps up its remarkably self-serving agenda, the company should update its corporate slogan. Here's a suggestion.

    Duke Energy: Me First, Customers Last.

    In 2014, Duke's delivered little but calamity, especially in Florida, where customers serve as company punching bags. But even in its home state of North Carolina, Duke fumbled. Now it's busy downplaying a horrible environmental spill of its own making. A toxic sludge of 39,000 tons of arsenic-laced coal ash and 27,000 gallons of contaminated water now coats nearly 70 miles of the once-scenic Dan River....

    Liz Barrett, owner of Lizard Beach Bungalows on Indian Shores, “sticks it to Duke Energy” as she hoists a power bill to the sky using her pitch fork during the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s recent pitchfork protest in downtown St. Petersburg on Oct. 29.
  2. CEO survey: To recruit headquarters, tell companies you want them

    Economic Development

    A long-term project to recruit a brand name corporate headquarters here took a key, early step Thursday when survey results capturing the perceptions of this area by 350 CEOs and senior executives nationwide were delivered to local business and political leaders.

    In a 47-slide PowerPoint presentation, market research consultant Barry Quarles outlined his findings to several dozen executives, as well as Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, at the downtown Tampa Club....

  3. Trigaux: As Tampa Bay Partnership marks 20 years, buzz grows for new blood

    Economic Development

    The Tampa Bay Partnership celebrates 20 years this Friday as a group challenged since the start to market the Tampa Bay area as a single economic region even as it still refuses to act as one.

    Stuart Rogel, partnership CEO since 1994, has starred in that era as the modern day Sisyphus — pushing the We Are One Economy pitch up the hill all these years only to see it too often roll back down....

    Tampa Bay Partnership CEO Stuart Rogel has faced challenges trying to get the bay area to act as one.
  4. As SeaWorld suffers 'Blackfish' impact, Busch Gardens suffers, too


    Busch Gardens is many miles away from the first drenched rows of SeaWorld's Shamu shows in Orlando. But Tampa Bay's top theme park is still getting soaked.

    Busch Gardens finds itself caught in a financial and public opinion maelstrom not quite of its own making. The park is part of SeaWorld Entertainment, composed mostly of multiple SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, plus a few smaller brand parks in the United States....

    The killer whale Tilikum in a scene from Blackfish. The orca killed a trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2010.
  5. Is Tampa apartment and condo tower boom the start of a bubble?


    Not to pooh-pooh the growing celebration of more and more apartment and condo towers proposed or already under construction in downtown Tampa. But — please — let's not become so euphoric that we end up in a real estate bubble in the core of this emerging city.

    The good news is that after far too many fits and starts downtown Tampa is showing renewed signs of life and, more to the point, the promise of more to come. Witness the early sketches of the massive Jeff Vinik overhaul of Channelside (with a Bill Gates good housekeeping seal of approval in financing part of it), the possibility of USF's medical school relocating downtown and the burst of boutique hotels. People are noticing the completion of Riverwalk and, of course, the jolt of lofty apartment and condo towers suddenly slated to rise in an arc across the city's downtown....

    A view of downtown Tampa shows a number of residential towers near the Channelside district. Can the city's downtown handle nine more apartment towers? CHERIE DIEZ  | Times
  6. At Tampa auto show, vehicles come closer to driving themselves


    Tampa Bay's auto show opens Friday with every manner of sports car, gas-sipping hybrid, zippy runaround and carbon fiber-crafted luxury vehicle among its 400 offerings of 2015 models from three dozen brands.

    The show has come a long way from the first time I previewed it in 2003, when automakers pitched flip-down screens for built-in DVD movie watching as the hottest innovation around.

    How quaint....

    Mike Spurlock of Lamborghini Sarasota sits in a Gallardo, which can be had for about $200,000.
  7. United Way: 45 percent of Florida households can't afford cost of living

    Working Life

    The 15 percent of Floridians stuck in poverty is bad enough. But the real shocker is the alarming number of Floridians who hold jobs but still cannot meet the basic needs of their households.

    A new United Way of Florida report out Tuesday finds a startling 45 percent — or 3.2 million — of all households in this state cannot afford basic housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. In the broader Tampa Bay area alone, that translates to more than 600,000 households in seven counties that are unable to consistently afford the cost of living in Florida. Conditions in those households still lag behind prerecession levels, the "Study on Financial Hardship" report says....

  8. For sale: Florida billionaire's Calif. mansion — the most expensive in U.S. (w/gallery)

    Real Estate

    A California mansion set on 25 acres in the heart of Beverly Hills that features 53,000 square feet of livable space and garage parking for 27 vehicles hit the market this month priced at $195 million by owner and Florida billionaire Jeff Greene. Listing real estate firm Coldwell Banker calls the property "the most expensive residential property currently for sale in the United States."

    After purchasing the property, Greene invested tens of millions to complete and expand Palazzo di Amore ("palace of love"), finishing the second floor of the main residence and building a 15,000-square-foot entertainment center that includes a disco/ballroom with a revolving turn table style dance floor, DJ booth and a laser-light system. The entertainment complex also features a 50-seat private screening room, a bowling alley and a game room, and can host up to 250 guests for a seated dinner or event, says Coldwell Banker....

    Real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene, who owns properties in Florida, New York and California is selling this gated 25-acre estate in Beverly Hills for $195 million, making it the most expensive home to be publicly listed for sale in the U.S. [Coldwell Banker]
  9. Mindy Grossman: HSN's cult of selling via every technology


    The rise of today's HSN, consummate retailer on TV and in the digital world, can be traced in large part to the arrival of CEO Mindy Grossman. Her insatiable ability to sell — harder, faster and in ever creative ways — has driven shares in the St. Petersburg company from less than $20 five years ago to just under $70 at Monday's close. The stock has climbed 26 percent in just the past 12 months. ...

    HSN CEO Mindy Grossman does not often share her insights with the local media, but she did appear on Bloomberg TV this past week when her company released its quarterly earnings and increased its dividend. [HSN Inc. (2013)]
  10. Big-name HQs: Tampa Bay pursues leap up evolutionary ladder

    Economic Development

    As an adolescent in the 1980s and 1990s, the Tampa Bay business community was delighted to be dubbed the nation's Call Center Capital. During its latter teen years, the metro area tried on such nicknames as Wall Street South, eager to leverage its ability to attract more sophisticated back office operations of major financial institutions and corporations based elsewhere.

    Now Tampa Bay's economic developers want the world to know the economy here has become an adult, capable of recruiting and sustaining corporate headquarters — ones with real name-brand recognition. That's why the first meeting of a task force devoted to recruiting corporate headquarters was held here this past Tuesday. ...

    Rick Homans, CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., says the time to recruit is right.
  11. 3 post-election takeaways on Florida's economy


    What will Floridians do now that all those truthful and uplifting campaign ads are over? Before we all get caught up in the soon-to-start 2016 presidential campaigns, here are three takeaways for Florida's economy from the outcome of this week's elections.

    1. What's the economic encore? Anticipating the election a year ago, I wrote: "The barrage of political advertising coming our way praising (Rick) Scott's single-handed success in saving Florida's job market will be stunning. Charlie Crist better have a darn good response."...

  12. Bloomin' Brands selling Roy's chain to try and fatten bottom line


    The idea of belt-tightening feels funny for a company whose mission is to persuade more people to eat as often as possible at restaurant chains like Outback Steakhouse — home of the 2,000-calorie Bloomin' Onion — or the pasta-laden Carrabba's Italian Grill.

    But that was the Big Message delivered Tuesday by Liz Smith, CEO of Tampa's Bloomin' Brands, the successful parent of Outback, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy's....

  13. Tampa's Bloomin' Brands puts Roy's restaurant chain up for sale


    Tampa's Bloomin' Brands, parent of five restaurant chains that include Outback Steakhouse, says it is preparing to sell Roy's, its upscale chain of "Pacific Rim" cuisine. Founded in 1988 in Honolulu by chef Roy Yamaguchi, the Roy's chain operates in 20 locations, including Tampa.

    Bloomin' Brands disclosed its plan to sell Roy's Tuesday while announcing quarterly earnings, noting the chain is not considered one of its "core concepts" like Outback, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill or Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar....

    Bloomin' Brands' Roy's location in Tampa. [STEFANIE FLETCHER   |   Times (2005)]
  14. In latest state battle of business rankings, Florida comes in No. 12

    Economic Development

    A new state ranking of top business climates places Florida at No. 12.

    That's not bad, of course. But it means the Sunshine State did not even crack the top 10 states for business at a time when the leaders of Florida prefer to think it's closing the gap on No. 1 Texas.

    Welcome to more of the business rankings wars.

    Site Selection, a prominent publication influencing where companies decide to put manufacturing plants, released its 2014 ranking of states, with Georgia taking the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row....

  15. Wary of homeownership, percentage of first-time buyers shrinks

    Real Estate

    First-time home buyers, where art thou?

    We knew younger adults were skittish about buying their first home, but this might border on paranoid. Data out Monday from the latest annual survey of the nation's housing market by the National Association of Realtors show the share of first-time buyers dropped 5 percentage points from a year ago to 33 percent. That's the lowest share since 1987 (30 percent) and well below the typical 40 percent that first-timers have represented since 1981....