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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

Email: trigaux@tampabay.com

Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

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  1. Trigaux: 'Love Where You Live' author likes what he sees in Tampa Bay

    Economic Development

    Four years ago, Peter Kageyama introduced us to the powerful concept that cities need a growing core of people who show great passion and involvement in their metro area.

    That theme was the basis for For the Love of Cities — Kageyama's 2011 book that launched the St. Petersburg resident as a community development consultant visiting cities across the globe. His message: There's great value in strengthening emotional connections between a city and its residents, often through small acts of civic love....

    SP_337359_DIEZ_Trigaux_1 of 2 (04/18/2011)     Peter Kageyama, local entrepreneur and "creative class" proponent, chose to be photographed in the beautiful tree just to the right (southern end) of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Kageyama has written a book called For The Love of Cities. It says cities benefit greatly when they can get more residents to love them and help make them better. He explains how to make that happen. Kageyama's been an activist in this area for Tampa Bay for years.  [CHERIE DIEZ, Times]
  2. As Tampa Bay tech firms scramble for talent, boot camp aims to boost supply

    Business

    At one of Tampa Bay's largest technology companies, 116 Tech Data Corp. employees report to marketing vice president Angie Beltz. But only seven of them hold technology degrees.

    Beltz rattles off the history, marketing, communications and psychology degrees that many of her workers possess. It makes for a striking message. There are lots of promising career opportunities in "technology" firms that, unbeknownst to many entering the workforce, do not require engineering or formal technical educations....

    Angela Beltz, vice president of Cisco solutions group at Clearwater's Tech Data Corp.  Photos courtesy of Tech Data Corp.
  3. Tampa Bay business leaders shudder at loss of MaryEllen Elia

    Business

    Just three weeks into a new year, Tuesday's dismissal of Hillsborough County's school superintendent by a 4-3 School Board vote may stand as 2015's most damaging self-inflicted blow to our regional economy.

    MaryEllen Elia will survive and prosper — elsewhere. But come next election, do not forget these four School Board names whose vindictive votes forced out Florida's Superintendent of the Year at a cost of $1.1 million. Make sure your own vote ensures the public careers of tone-deaf board members Susan Valdes, April Griffin, Cindy Stuart and Sally Harris end quickly....

    MaryEllen Elia was a key part of Tampa/Hillsborough's economic dream team, the business and education leadership group that has become so influential in selling this metro area to corporations looking to expand or relocate. Elia also won business kudos for helping shape education to better prepare students as a relevant future workforce, Robert Trigaux writes. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  4. Speculation grows that Kroger will buy Winn-Dixie to enter Florida

    Retail

    Monday proved to be a slow day for economic news, owing to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. But it was a good day for business rumors.

    That might explain rising speculation that grocery giant Kroger Co. of Cincinnati is eyeballing Florida, and possibly the company Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie, as an acquisition to help push the nation's second-largest supermarket company into the Sunshine State....

    A Cincinnati Business Courier report noting that expansion-minded Kroger, the nation’s second-largest supermarket company, lacks a Florida presence was picked up in recent days by some Florida publications, which suggested Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie was a logical target.
  5. In Tampa Bay economy, 20 bullish signs for a stronger 2015

    Economic Development

    The start of 2015 brings an abundance of positive economic signs for the Tampa Bay region. Here are just 20 to ponder:

    1. JOBS PIPELINE: A lot of business recruiting and expansion projects will occur this year, especially in Tampa and Hillsborough County. A decade ago, Tampa/Hillsborough delivered 10 projects promising 749 jobs and $38 million worth of investment. In 2014, 31 projects were announced, promising 4,532 jobs and $614 million of investments. That's the kind of momentum now under way....

  6. Trigaux: Gray Swoope exits just as state's economy gets going

    Economic Development

    When Enterprise Florida CEO Gray Swoope stood at the podium in Tampa last month to praise the unveiling of Jeff Vinik's ambitious downtown redevelopment project, he deftly summed up his role at the top of this state's immense economic development machine.

    "Our sole mission is selling Florida from a business perspective," said an enthusiastic Swoope. He then promised to help Vinik bring jobs and maybe even a corporate headquarters to downtown Tampa....

  7. Trigaux: At start of 2015, rising economic expectations hint of higher pay

    Personal Finance

    We may be about to see something in Florida that's been downright scarce for years.

    A Florida panther? Nope. Lower electric rates? No way. A hurricane? Let's hope not.

    Try bigger paychecks.

    After too many years of stagnant earnings, the new year has ushered in a fresh wave of bullish expectations about the prospects for real raises in 2015.

    "There are new signs that American workers, especially at the middle and low end of the pay scale, may finally start having enough negotiating leverage to demand wage increases in excess of inflation," writes Neil Irwin, the "Everyday Economics" writer for the New York Times....

  8. Three visions to remake three downtowns: Who will best deliver?

    Economic Development

    H e says he's not nervous.

    No one would blame him if he were. The future of a big chunk of downtown rests in his hands, and a lot of people are watching.

    We're talking, of course, about Jeff Vinik and his large-scale, visionary waterfront redevelopment plan surrounding Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa — right?

    Nope. Those lines, paraphrased from the Orlando Sentinel, are about a Central Florida developer named Craig Ustler who is several years into a bold refashioning of a large piece of downtown Orlando to be known as Creative Village....

    This artist 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 the Amalie Arena.
  9. In 2015, watch these people in a rebounding Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    Look for 2015 to kick-start the Tampa Bay economy from the get go, with a flurry of announcements of new business expansions and promises of more jobs. Watch these folks in particular, all focused on making things better in the new year:

    1. Suzanne McCormick, CEO of United Way Suncoast. Since her Tampa arrival from Maine in September, she's put an unapologetic spotlight on corporate giving here, publicizing companies that are big United Way givers and, by omission, those that do less. Several United Ways in the state also issued an important report in November that found a startling 45 percent, or 3.2 million, of all households in Florida cannot afford basic housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. In a seven-county Tampa Bay area, that affects more than 600,000 households. What steps might McCormick conjure in 2015 to help ease the plight of such a large and overlooked portion of the community?...

    Suzanne McCormick, the president and CEO of United Way Suncoast, has made a quick impression on the  Tampa Bay region the group serves.
  10. To those who made Tampa Bay economy better in 2014 — thanks

    Bravo to every person noted here for making the 2014 Tampa Bay economy stronger, smarter and more confident to try new things. Many more deserve thanks, so consider this list just the tip of an impressive iceberg. Well done to all. Hearty appreciation goes to:

    1. Les and Pam Muma and Kate Tiedemann, whose combined $35 million in gifts this year to the USF College of Business in Tampa ($25 million by the Mumas) and USF St. Petersburg's College of Business ($10 million by Tiedemann) are record donations sure to elevate two key institutions....

    From left, Les and Pam Muma and USF College of Business dean Moez Limayem celebrate after an interview at the Tampa Bay Times. The Mumas become the largest single donor to the University of South Florida after giving $25 million to the College of Business in Tampa.
  11. Economic hopes kindle as Florida puts New York in rear-view mirror

    Business

    To honor the holidays and celebrate Florida officially becoming the No. 3 state in population in the country, we offer two simple greetings.

    Ho ho ho.

    Hey New York, eat our dust.

    It's isn't every decade that the Sunshine State gets to overtake the Empire State.

    New York was a behemoth compared to us not so long ago. When my Florida-born father-in-law turned 11 — granted, more than a century ago — New York boasted 12 times the number of Floridians....

    Crowds populate Clearwater Beach on a Friday afternoon. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  12. Reinventing Jeff Vinik: From Wall Street to hockey to real estate

    Economic Development

    Analysts at Morningstar, the mutual fund consulting firm in Chicago, are so dazzled by Jeff Vinik that they call him ''Amazin' Jeff.'' At 32 years of age, Mr. Vinik has a limited track record. Yet his performance to date is undeniably stellar.New York Times, 1991.

     

    The low-key guy once known as "Amazin' Jeff" Vinik bristles when people call his new and as-yet unbranded $1 billion redo of much of downtown Tampa's Channelside district ''Vinikville.''...

    Jeff Vinik unveiled his plan Wednesday to transform 40 acres surrounding the Amalie Arena into a carefully crafted, mixed-use urban neighborhood.
  13. 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]
  14. Worth asking again: How does Jeb Bush make a living?

    Business

    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....

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at commencement exercises for The University of South Carolina Monday in Columbia, S.C. [AP photo]
  15. Compared to other states, Florida's average wages slip badly

    Business

    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....