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. Florida fades in use of renewable energy as big utilities call the shots


    Some enterprising lawyer really should sue the state of Florida for misrepresentation. When it comes to energy resources, calling Florida "the Sunshine State" is as bogus as it gets.

    Other slogans come to mind that more realistically capture Florida's energy image. How about "the Pushover State" for starters?

    Fresh numbers are out comparing how each state relied at the start of this century on different fuels to generate electricity, and how that has changed today....

    Charlie Crist didn’t deliver on energy promises as governor.
  2. Amid jittery news, 20 ways the Tampa Bay economy keeps bulling ahead


    Middle East chaos. Stock market jitters. Ebola. It's been a rough week (month and year, too). But take heart. There are still plenty of positive steps under way making the Tampa Bay economy and business scene stronger, more innovative and more confident.

    Here are 20 examples from 2014 so far, ranked from small to big.

    20. Wolf of Wall Street: It's the real Wolf, Jordan Belfort, not the Leonardo DiCaprio character from the movie, coming to speak at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Sept. 15....

    Tech Data is Tampa Bay’s biggest-by-revenue public company.
  3. Top consumer complaints: Amid familiar scams, new and higher-tech fraud gets more aggressive


    Consumer protection advocates this past week described not just the rising tide of old scams, but newer and more aggressive frauds hurting more people across the country and in the Tampa Bay area.

    No wonder so many folks may want to disconnect their phones, unplug their Internet and never answer the front door again.

    If deflecting scams were only that easy.

    Yes, the top consumer complaints about ripoffs once again are dominated by the old standbys. Auto sales and repair complaints are No. 1 on the latest annual top 10 list unveiled this past week by national groups that track these problems. Right behind were gripes related to home improvement and construction, credit and debt matters, retail sales difficulties and utility billing disputes, among other concerns....

  4. Among Duke Energy Florida's goals, better service is nowhere to be found


    Customers can't stand Duke Energy, for good reason.

    Just this past week, there was Duke claiming — with a straight face — to be championing the cause of poor people as it asked state regulators to gut energy-efficiency standards. This comes as other states elevate their own goals. Not part of Duke's presentation: It makes money generating power, not saving it.

    Meanwhile, Duke continues to soak its Florida customers with higher rates to help pay for the nuclear plant it ruined and another it planned but never built....

  5. Looking ahead: 10 agents of change raising the bar in Tampa Bay's economy


    These 10 Tampa Bay folks are on missions worthy of watching in the latter half of 2014. Why? Because they represent our growing crop of change agents. They are people pushing to make things better in this regional economy. They are pressing for better options via mass transportation, economic development and job creation. They are pioneering private business adoption of solar power or building an innovative national network of cancer research and treatment. Kudos to their courage and passion. None of this comes easy. The Tampa Bay area is far better off for their efforts....

     Ron Petrini, CEO of Great Bay Distributors, stands at the company’s construction site where its new headquarters is under construction on Wednesday.
  6. In Tampa, U.S. Special Ops seeks next best thing to Iron Man


    Thanks to military interests based in Tampa, a real Iron Man suit may someday materialize for elite U.S. soldiers.

    The U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base made a public call last year for prototypes of just such a suit. The project is called TALOS, or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.

    In the near term, the project wants to find better armor to protect soldiers still most vulnerable on their underarms and flanks. Longer term, SOCOM is pondering engine-powered, cooled exoskeleton-clad troops with Google Glass-style vision and advanced communications features....

    Mike Fieldson, civilian project manager for the TALOS project, looks at body armor exoskeleton sketches in May in Tampa.
  7. For women, a sad lack of progress in workplace harassment

    Working Life

    The good news for working women? There are more female CEOs running major global corporations, from IBM and GM to Yahoo. In Tampa Bay, women not only head big-name, successful businesses like Bloomin' Brands and HSN, but are in charge of all the major business incubators in this region.

    This country could even be on the verge of its first female president.

    The bad news for women? Workplace harassment remains far too common at both large corporations with household names like American Apparel and Goldman Sachs, and local companies ranging from a SunTrust bank branch to a surprising number of restaurants....

    Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, was ousted last month as CEO. Charney had, the New York Times reports, “long lived under the shadow of speculation about inappropriate behavior with female employees and, in some cases, accusations of sexual harassment and assault that he always denied.”
  8. Trigaux: Failed Florida nuclear plant's costs keep rising


    The costs of prematurely closing Crystal River 3 — Duke Energy's sole nuclear power plant in Florida — keep on rising.

    Duke Energy recently agreed to a settlement that sent at least $55 million to eight minority owners of "CR3." That's the nuke plant Duke closed last year due to a bungled do-it-yourself repair job that the power company finally acknowledged last year would prove too expensive to fix. The bigger settlement sums are going to minority investors like Ocala and the Orlando Utilities Commission. But even smaller towns like Bushnell and Alachua, with small stakes in CR3, will be compensated....

    SP_357865_SHAD_Citrusnuke_07  (08/07/12  CRYSTAL RIVER)  A look at the Duke Energy broken Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County Tuesday afternoon (08/07/12). (NOTE: picture taken from the top of the Cross Florida Barge Canal bridge). STORY SUMMARY: What's at stake on the ground in Citrus County as Duke Energy tries to decide what to do with the broken Crystal River nuclear plant.  [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  9. Florida citrus industry calls on new Marvel superhero for help


    Florida's OJ industry is under attack from all sides. It's in desperate need of a superhero. So it has called on experts to create one.

    The Florida Department of Citrus wants to revamp its own cartoon character — a rotund "Captain Citrus" from Planet Orange — by paying about $1 million to Marvel Comics to conjure up a more compelling superhero and orange juice salesman.

    Ever heard of the current Captain Citrus? Me neither. The department created him just three years ago to get the message of OJ nutrition into the classroom....

    Captain Citrus is about to get a million-dollar makeover.
  10. Is cruise ship jinx finally coming to end for Carnival?


    Our mission is to take the world on vacation.

    Carnival Corp., Miami, the world's biggest cruise line company

    • • •

    Thinking of taking that Caribbean cruise someday? Act soon if you're contemplating a Carnival cruise out of Tampa (or other port of departure) because the super-cheap deals to the islands might be starting to dry up....

    Carnival’s Costa Concordia lies stricken off the coast of Italy in 2012, an accident that killed 32 people, which came about a year before the Carnival Triumph stranded more than 3,000 people in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire.
  11. In CNBC survey of best business states, Florida still trails behind

    Economic Development

    Florida's quality workforce ranks among the best in the country, making it one of the state's top selling points to businesses considering where to expand. Too bad Florida cannot say the same about its education, cost of doing business or not so friendly business attitude. All those factors help explain why the Sunshine State does not fare so well in CNBC's annual ranking of the best states for business. CNBC scored each state in 10 categories based on 56 measures of competitiveness using input from business groups, economic development experts, companies and the states themselves. The bad news? Florida came in at No. 20, while neighboring Georgia was No. 1. The good news? Florida gained 10 spots in the ranking from 2013....

  12. As Dow approaches 17,000, wages remain stagnant in lopsided recovery


    The Dow could hit 17,000, yet another record, as early as this week. If not then, it will likely happen soon. Not a bad ride since the Dow tanked to 6,547 little more than five years ago.

    That's remarkable news for folks rich enough to have substantial stock market investments. To most people in this country with little or no assets in stocks, a new Dow high is irrelevant and a nagging reminder how a wealthier slice of America prospers while others do not....

    Specialist Peter Giacchi calls out prices during the IPO of Foresight Energy this month at the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow is closing in on 17,000, but the average person isn’t seeing much of a benefit.
  13. Trigaux: Measuring Tampa Bay's economy through Rays fans, innovation, private companies


    There are ever-growing ways to measure the steps forward — or backward — of the Tampa Bay economy. We tend to report overview data like unemployment rates or housing sales. But sometimes a more focused gauge sheds new light. Here are three different measures of what's happening here that deserve attention.

    1. Rays fans: We report constantly on the standings of the Tampa Bay Rays' play on the field. But what about the status of Rays fans? A new analysis of major-league baseball fans conducted by marketing professors Michael Lewis (no, not the Michael Lewis who wrote Moneyball) and Manish Tripathi of Emory University's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta found that the Tampa Bay Rays trail every other major-league team in translating fan loyalty into revenues....

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30:  A disconcerted New York Mets fan reacts following the Mets' loss to the Florida Marlins during the MLB game at Shea Stadium September 30, 2007 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Marlins defeated the Mets 8-1. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
  14. A probusiness Florida Chamber braces for tight, tough governor's race


    When a Florida Chamber of Commerce official characterizes the governor's race as "John Morgan's employee versus a businessman," it's pretty clear who the probusiness, antiregulation organization wants to see in the governor's mansion next term.

    But neither candidate — former Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Morgan & Morgan lawyer, or current Gov. Rick Scott — is a front-runner. And Florida Chamber vice president and longtime political watcher Brad Swanson, briefing a business audience Wednesday morning at Duke Energy Florida headquarters in St. Petersburg, predicted the race will likely come down to a difference of just 1 or 1.5 percentage points. The Florida Chamber has raised more than $1 million for Scott....

  15. How Florida empowers tourists to hand pick their favorite beaches


    Florida's tourism gurus, ever pressing to hit 120 million visitors a year by 2020, just rolled out a cool online tool to help travelers find just the right beach in the Sunshine State.

    That's no simple task. There are hundreds of very different beaches to choose from along Florida's vast coastline.

    Unveiled quietly, the online tool lets armchair travelers virtually and visually pick and choose from among 740 miles of Sunshine State beaches as diverse as legendary Miami Beach, west coast cool Anna Maria Island and tranquil Caladesi Island, a brief ferry ride off Pinellas County....

    Sean McGeever of St. Petersburg walks the beach at Honeymoon Island last year while documenting the landscape for Google Maps and Visit Florida. Florida Beach Finder uses imagery from Google’s “Beach Views.”