It took less than 24 hours for conservative media to sound the alarm over tea party leader and Green Tea Coalition founder Debbie Dooley's decision to speak out at Wednesday's "Pitchfork Protest" in St. Petersburg against Duke Energy and its attempts to squelch alternative energy in Florida.
"A divide has begun to unfold in the usually conservative Tea Party movement in Florida and more generally in the Southeast," warned a blog posting Thursday morning on Breitbart.com, the conservative news and opinion website founded by Andrew Breitbart. ...
There's a winner in the "Talent Dividend Prize" competition pitting 57 metro areas, including Tampa Bay, to see which one could most increase the percentage of area students earning college degrees between 2010 and 2013. The winner, announced this week: Akron, Ohio, which showed a rise of more than 20 percent of students earning associate, bachelor or advanced degrees.
The winner receives $1 million....
With Florida's Election Day just around the corner, one figure has emerged as every politician's chief villain: Duke Energy.
In this year's tight campaign races, better to touch a live electric wire than Duke.
This is the power company that pummeled its Florida customers with electricity rates far above its peers. The company that charged billions for broken and undelivered nuclear power plants. The utility that unapologetically continues to provide rock-bottom service and too often exudes corporate arrogance. ...
After a post-recession lull in giving by the wealthy, Tampa Bay area universities are enjoying a charitable bonanza that some area philanthropists hope will accelerate in the coming years.
In recent months, two of the University of South Florida business schools have become recipients of a total of $35 million. In Tampa, USF named its school the Muma College of Business following a $25 million gift from USF boosters Les and Pam Muma. And retired entrepreneur Kate Tiedemann's $10 million gift to the school at smaller USF St. Petersburg resulted in its new name: the Kate Tiedemann College of Business....
When Forbes Alexander started working for Jabil Circuit in his home country of Scotland more than 20 years ago, the scrappy U.S. electronics manufacturer had little more than 1,000 employees and revenues approaching $200 million.
Now Jabil's chief financial officer at its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Alexander helps run a vastly larger and more complex enterprise. With more than 142,000 employees and annual revenues near $16 billion, Jabil ranks 155th on the latest Fortune 500 ranking of largest public U.S. corporations. And it is clearly the most global business based in the Tampa Bay metro area....
10/22/14 Economic Development
Let's call them Team Swagger.
The core of business and political leaders keen on taking Tampa and Hillsborough County to the next level celebrated the area's recent success in economic development with this big promise:
We've only just begun.
Such was the can-do theme at Tuesday evening's fifth annual meeting of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. A pro-expansion group with a too-long name, the EDC in short order emerged quickly as the region's high-energy leader in pushing forward bolder economic ambitions....
10/20/14 Economic Development
Tampa Bay ought to pool its smartest demographic and marketing experts and come up with a fresh, focused campaign to recruit well-educated young adults to this metro area. That will work, of course, only if we can offer more and better jobs here. Those jobs are coming, but too slowly.
So slowly that I am worried too many college grads ignore us and follow the herd to overhyped cities like Washington, D.C., or Denver with cool reputations for those seeking strong career opportunities and cities with style....
The twist of fate that delivered actor Bryan Cranston, who brilliantly played a school teacher-turned-meth mogul in Breaking Bad, to star in the upcoming movie The Infiltrator as an undercover DEA agent is not lost on Robert Mazur.
Mazur, who lives and works in Tampa Bay, was that DEA agent. He wrote the 2009 book The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel that will serve as the basis for the Cranston movie. Filming starts early next year. Much of the film will be shot in England but some scenes will be shot in March in the Tampa Bay area, thanks to the recent approval of some local film incentives....
Venture capitalists invested $9.9 billion in 1,023 deals nationwide in the third quarter of 2014. Although that's a 27 percent drop from the second quarter of the year, 2014 totals thus far have eclipsed those for all of 2013.
In Florida, VC investing dropped to $36.8 million among just six deals in the third quarter. That's down 67 percent from the second quarter's investing of nearly $114 million in 13 deals in the state. The numbers come from MoneyTree data compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters....
Jerry and Mary-Jo Robinson ran a Central Avenue marketing firm in St. Petersburg before deciding to found a startup called HubCentrix aimed at helping companies better manage their files online.
Monica Stynchula launched ReunionCare to help families better manage home care for aging parents.
Fran Snyder created Listening Room Festival to help build a new market for up-and-coming musicians by booking gigs in people's homes and in corporate offices....
For the first time, the United Way Suncoast decided this week to thank its "most generous workplaces" by releasing a ranking of the top 100 of the nearly 800 bay area companies and organizations whose employees give to this region's dominant coalition of charitable organizations.
"Our intent was to give recognition and highlight those that are so generous in so many ways," Suzanne McCormick, who was named CEO of United Way Suncoast last month, said Tuesday. "It is important for the community to know — and make a strong statement about — the level of corporate citizenship."...
Every state gets its share of economic smacks to the head. Some hits are geographic, like water-starved California's forest fires or earthquakes. Some are environmental, like the rapid decline of coal as a valuable fuel hurting West Virginia and Kentucky. Still others are self-inflicted by states, like those of the Rust Belt that depended too long on fading industries before trying to reinvent themselves....
10/10/14 Economic Development
On the surface, these maps of Tampa Bay, Denver and Pittsburgh — all metro markets of similar job size — display the relative challenge of getting to a job via public transit.
But what these three maps really indicate is economic mobility. If you're looking to get ahead, to start or advance a career, where would you rather live?
In Denver, where 20,467 jobs are reachable, on average, within a 30-minute commute by foot and transit leaving between 7 and 9 a.m.?...
TAMPA — It's a very good time to be a College of Business at the University of South Florida. • USF president Judy Genshaft announced at a Friday morning community unveiling that Les and Pam Muma — long-standing contributors, leaders in money raising for the university and both USF graduates — are donating $25 million to name the College of Business in Tampa. • The gift is the single largest donation in USF's 58-year history. And it means the college will be known as the USF Muma College of Business. • During a ceremony in the college's atrium, a drum roll sounded and a banner dropped, revealing the new name. A crowd of students, faculty, staff and guests gave a standing ovation and watched as the Mumas exchanged hugs with Genshaft and a beaming Moez Limayem, dean of the College of Business....
10/03/14 Mass Transit
Let's be crystal clear from the get-go.
Whether approved or defeated by county voters next month, the Greenlight Pinellas mass transit plan that promises more robust bus service and a 24-mile light rail line from Clearwater to St. Petersburg won't go away. Ultimately, a regional mass transit system, whether kick-started first in Pinellas or in neighboring Hillsborough County, is going to happen....