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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: Veteran market watcher looks past weak economic signs, sees S&P 500 doubling

    Business

    America's GDP shrank in the first quarter. Awaiting more solid economic ground, the Federal Reserve keeps delaying its promise to start raising interest rates. And a few economic watchers of the 18,000 Dow are starting to whisper words like "bubble" and "recession."

    Small wonder there's talk of a market correction. Or worse.

    Unless you are listening to Jeffrey Saut. He's the chief investment strategist at Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, and a veteran of 44 years of stock market volatility — and long-term growth....

    Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James, sees the S&P 500 doubling.
  2. Economic progress: 8 matters that could move Tampa Bay forward

    Business

    Signs of progress, signs of stagnation and, yes, signs of idiocy abound in any regional economy like Tampa Bay's. Fortunately, there's more to celebrate than lament. A few important events are mired in ideology. Their outcomes could yet become a plus or minus to the pace of job and business expansion. Here are eight matters worthy of closer attention.

    • • •

    1. Keeping more Floridians healthy. Monday marks the start of Tallahassee's special legislative session to try to resolve the health insurance fate of 800,000-plus Florida residents. Most work at low-wage jobs and do not receive health coverage benefits as part of their employment. The House and Gov. Rick Scott refuse to consider a Medicaid expansion based on federal funding, a choice at least 29 other states have already endorsed for themselves with positive economic results. The Senate backs a compromise but will start the special session with an uphill battle against a House ideologically adamant in its resolve....

    Plans for the once-overlooked Tampa Heights district include retail/housing redevelopment on the heels of the successful opening of the Ulele restaurant and the expansion of the Riverwalk.
  3. Enterprise Florida CEO Bill Johnson seeks new state business brand

    Business

    Three months into his role as Florida secretary of commerce and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Bill Johnson comes across as a veritable pit bull of salesmanship — a state official on a job-recruiting mission with jaws firmly clamped on the prize.

    In forceful remarks made Tuesday to Tampa business leaders, Johnson said Enterprise Florida — the state's job-recruiting arm — has 300 deals in the works involving potential job expansions across Florida. But Tampa and Hills­borough County are leaders of the pack, recently unveiling job deals for Ashley Furniture's e-commerce operation in Ybor City and for startup Inspirata tapping cancer technology from Moffitt Cancer Center. ...

    Bill Johnson praised the Tampa Bay area’s jobs deals.
  4. Will Charter grab both Time Warner and Bright House Networks?

    Business

    They ought to make a soap opera: As the Cable Deal Turns.

    In the latest twists and turns of cable TV transactions, Charter Communications is reported to be close to buying Time Warner Cable. This time the transaction may also include Bright House Networks, the prominent Tampa Bay area cable provider.

    Both deals could happen as early as today, the Wall Street Journal reported without naming sources....

    Al Ruechel, Bay News 9 senior anchor,  works in the St. Petersburg studios. Bright House provides the channel to subscribers, but it’s something Charter typically does not do.
  5. Hurricane season: Amid threat of storms, doubt over property insurers

    Banking

    One of the very few Florida property insurers that is "A" rated by one of the state's leading private rating firms is rapidly downsizing. State-run Citizens Property Insurance is busy handing hundreds of thousands of its Florida policyholders in bulk to young, lower-rated small insurers in the state.

    Many have never handled a hurricane claim.

    If that scenario gives pause on the eve of Florida's 2015 hurricane season, it should....

    This high-resolution satellite image from Sept. 26, 2004, shows Category 3 Hurricane Jeanne slicing across Florida, the fourth hurricane to hit the state in a six-week span.
  6. Heart of Ybor looks to be big winner with Ashley Furniture arrival

    Economic Development

    Last summer, citing a Tampa economic development official, the Tampa Bay Times reported that a division of Ashley Furniture — one of the nation's biggest furniture brands — planned to move 300 employees into Centro Ybor.

    Today, that plan — or at least an updated version of it — looks like it will become official as Tampa economic development, political and business leaders gather in Ybor City at Centro Ybor at 11 a.m. to formally announce a significant company expansion and more jobs coming to the area....

    Ashley Furniture employs about 20,000 people and generates $3.85 billion annually selling beds, sofas, tables and chairs.
  7. Tampa Bay and Florida far from top in business-friendly rankings

    Business

    Business-friendly Florida? Gov. Rick Scott says yes, yes, yes.

    The latest national analysis says no, no, no.

    A study by MarketWatch, part of the Dow Jones company that publishes the Wall Street Journal, ranked the 100 largest metro areas in the country using 23 economic measures to decide which urban markets are the most and least friendly to business.

    Dallas landed at No. 1. And Florida metros — the same our governor travels the country touting as the best for biz? Well, Miami ranked No. 37, with Tampa Bay and Orlando trailing at No. 46 and 47, respectively. Poor Lakeland scraped by near the bottom at No. 98....

  8. In Tampa Heights, SOCom R&D accelerator will keep forces on cutting edge

    Business

    Days after U.S. special operations forces conducted a successful raid against ISIS leaders in Syria, Tampa's SOCom (U.S. Special Operations Command) at MacDill Air Force Base will introduce a new way to feed its soldiers in the field a steady flow of the most advanced and innovative military equipment.

    SOCom officials, economic development and business leaders will unveil plans today to create a research and development accelerator in Tampa Heights. Its goal: to design and expedite advanced technology and military goods for special operations forces....

  9. Once an economic bedrock, 'middle class' feels unattainable to many

    Personal Finance

    For a cornerstone phrase decreasing numbers of Americans identify with and today's presidential candidates steer away from, "middle class" remains one very hot topic.

    That's because the very concept of the middle class — in which a U.S. family can make enough money to afford a home, a car, health care, child care, a yearly vacation and their kids' education — is increasingly in jeopardy....

  10. Trigaux: Behind Duke Energy's guilty plea, plenty of arrogance and negligence

    Energy

    Duke Energy pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to environmental crimes and agreed to pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution into the Dan River from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

    That's how AP reported the event, using words like pleaded and guilty and crimes and illegally to capture the point that Duke messed up big time. Again....

    In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Bryant Gobble, left, hugs his wife, Sherry Gobble, right, as they look from their yard across an ash pond full of dead trees toward Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station in Dukeville, N.C. Duke says it will provide bottled water to residents living near coal ash pits in North Carolina. So far, more than 150 residential wells tested near Duke's dumps have failed to meet state groundwater standards. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) GARV201
  11. To Class of 2015 grads, speakers dig deep to find nuggets of advice

    Business

    I'm not sure Jimmy Buffett's Wasting Away in Margaritaville lyrics send the best message to graduating college students. Perhaps the theme of his song Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes better fits the bill for grads trying new things in new places.

    Speaking at the University of Miami, Buffett's casual style — wearing flip-flops (of course) beneath his honorary doctorate robes — belied a musical and now business brand phenom who owns restaurant, liquor and hotel chains....

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gave the Class of 2015 commencement address at Jacksonville University: “For the sake of preserving freedom, vote,” he said.
  12. Trigaux: Inside the messy battle over Morgan Stanley's handling of HSN co-founder's fortune

    Business

    It sounds like some over-the-top plot from a TV soap like Empire or Scandal or even the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

    A successful entrepreneur, one of this region's richest men, hands much of his fortune over to an ambitious woman to invest in her role as stock broker for a high-profile Wall Street firm. But it turns out the man, who is married, and woman are also intimately involved....

  13. As restaurant analysts ask, 'Where's the beef?' Bloomin' execs say, 'Right here'

    Retail

    Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith and executive vice president David Deno did their best to verbally wine and dine top restaurant analysts Tuesday morning.

    The two Tampa execs were eager to convince their bean-counting audience that the company's first-quarter earnings were strong and Bloomin's four chains — Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's — are by and large outperforming most competitors....

  14. In Florida upturn, surplus of banks vies for more customers, sharper image

    Banking

    What's ahead for Tampa Bay banks and their customers?

    • Fewer branches.

    • More automated services.

    • More small-bank mergers.

    • Bunches of banks competing in a slowly improving economy.

    • Regulators wary of a sharp rise in lending that may become too risky.

    • Bigger banks still fighting lousy public perceptions.

    Let's call these the six top banking trends for the Tampa Bay and the Florida markets....

  15. Tampa business icon John Sykes sells JHS Capital Advisors to Ameriprise

    Banking

    Five short years after Tampa philanthropist and Sykes Enterprises founder John Sykes decided to launch his own brokerage firm, he's selling it to a Minneapolis-based financial firm, Ameriprise Financial.

    Ameriprise on Tuesday said it will buy the retail assets of privately owned JHS Capital Advisors — "JHS" stands for John H. Sykes — which provides brokerage and financial advice to clients via 150 financial advisers nationwide....

    Ameriprise Financial will buy the retail assets of John H. Sykes’ JHS Capital Advisors.