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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. Can Jeff Vinik the hockey owner also become Tampa's rainmaker?

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — If the man with a $1 billion "vision plan" for Tampa's downtown Channelside district —Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik — can deliver on his "world class" and newly dubbed "Waterfront District," then all the hype at Wednesday's project unveiling can be forgiven — and may prove well deserved.

    Nearly 40 contiguous acres are slated to be transformed by a Vinik-led team in a mega-redevelopment surrounding the Amelie Arena (home to the Lightning) and stretching along the waterfront from the Tampa Convention Center in the west to the soon-to-be-renovated Channelside Bay Plaza shopping center to the east....

    An artist's rendering shows what the southern end of downtown Tampa will look like once Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's new project is complete, bringing 3 million square feet of new development around Amalie Arena. [Strategic Property Partners LLC]
  2. Worth asking again: How does Jeb Bush make a living?


    What exactly does Jeb Bush do for a living?

    That's the first sentence of a 1998 profile I co-wrote about Jeb with fellow staff writer Alecia Swasy. Back then, Bush was a 45-year-old of more modest means, a Republican nominee for governor eager to become wealthy whose business ventures often involved rich backers of Jeb's father, former President George Bush.

    Sixteen years later, the former two-term governor is winning national street cred as an education reformer. He's rebuilding his personal coffers in South Florida. And he's back in the news as a likely Republican candidate to run for president in 2016....

    Foreign investors are part of a business model that creates income for former Gov. Jeb Bush.
  3. Compared to other states, Florida's average wages slip badly


    When it comes to wage growth, Florida trails... almost everybody.

    Compare the annual average pay from 2004 and 2013 and one-third of all U.S. counties have seen their pay decline, when the figures are adjusted for inflation.

    But in Florida, three quarters of its counties suffered wage declines in that period, indicating the standard of living in Florida has declined even as most states show at least some modest gains. And states rich in energy jobs — like Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and the Dakotas — show booming wage increases....

  4. Tampa Bay gas prices are the biggest economic boost of 2014


    In a year when many parts of the Tampa Bay business market rebounded, what single trend rises above all others to win the 2014 Award for Best Boost to the bay area economy?

    A stock market flirting with 18,000 in recent weeks was one top contender. With the Dow kicking off 2014 at 15,698, it has again been a good year for investing.

    What about the shrinking unemployment rate? It deserves high praise and competed mightily for the top 2014 award (my own concoction for our regional economy). Tampa Bay's regional jobless rate now sits at a respectable 6 percent, down from 6.8 percent a year ago and a perilous 12 percent this time in 2010....

    The RaceTrac at 204 E Bearss Ave. had some of the cheapest gas in Tampa on Thursday. Four other stations within a mile of it also was selling regular unleaded gas for $2.39, more than $1.50 per gallon less than the peak in 2008.
  5. Why the CEO of SeaWorld, parent of Tampa's Busch Gardens, stepped down


    Was it declining theme park attendance? Weaker profits and a plunging stock price? The nagging impact from the animal rights Blackfish film against keeping killer whales in captivity? Perhaps the long delay by Tampa's Busch Gardens to get this year's big new attraction — the Falcon's Fury ride — up and running?

    Whatever the combo of ills, it was enough Thursday for SeaWorld Entertainment, the parent of the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and some lesser theme parks, to unseat CEO Jim Atchison, name an interim chief and announce a companywide overhaul that will include layoffs....

    Jim Atchison, who is stepping down as CEO, will become vice chairman of the board and consultant.
  6. Trigaux: New iQor corporate headquarters fills gap in St. Petersburg's allure

    Economic Development

    Downtown St. Petersburg's been on a roll with the rise of its arts economy, a condo boom on and off Beach Drive, a spike in new apartment buildings, a retail re-do of BayWalk as the new Sundial, goals to grow USF St. Petersburg, a master waterfront plan and — maybe — even a new pier someday.

    Amid so much abundance, one thing's been lagging.

    New businesses. Quality jobs. Corporate clout....

  7. Trigaux: Is Duke Energy's iron grasp on Tallahassee slipping?


    State legislators, apparently waking from a long winter's nap, are introducing measures that would crack down on big power companies like Duke Energy Florida that are relentlessly gouging ratepayers.

    Is Christmas coming early? Curtailing utilities' Grinch-like ways in Florida, even by a smidgen, would be quite a gift.

    One bipartisan legislative proposal announced Monday seeks to "reform" the Florida Public Service Commission — the state's stooge organization that is supposed to (but does not) regulate power companies in this state....

  8. What Tampa Bay employees tell Glassdoor about their companies


    What do employees at many of Tampa Bay's larger corporate and public organizations think of their workplaces and the top boss?

    Worker feedback can be a lot like movie reviews. They range from celebrating likely award winners to panning those not worth the price of admission.

    According to an online ranking, Publix Super Markets rocks, many of its workers say, and CEO Ed Crenshaw gets one of the higher approval ratings of area executives — even ranking 29th of all major CEOs in the country. Close behind come the higher-rated workplaces of the University of South Florida, Raymond James Financial and, believe it or not, the Hillsborough County Public Schools system....

  9. How high can the value of the Bucs, Rays and Lightning go?


    It's hard to believe but the team value of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is approaching that of twice the worth of the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning — combined.

    In 2014, the Bucs are valued at just over $1.2 billion, up an impressive 15 percent in the past year. The Rays trail far behind at $485 million while the Lightning bring up the rear at just $230 million, according to Forbes, which has tracked sports team values for 17 years....

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) high-fives first baseman James Loney after Loney scores a run against the Los Angeles Angels in August. The Rays’ team value of $485 million ranks last among 30 teams in Major League Baseball.
  10. 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.
  11. 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....

  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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, a service manager at Lamborghini Sarasota, takes a video selfie as he drives a Lamborghini Gallardo through the Tampa Convention Center in preparation for the Tampa Bay International Auto Show Thursday, November 13, 2014. The show is open to the public Friday through Saturday.