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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. Index says diners' satisfaction at restaurants is decreasing

    Retail

    Consumers may continue to eat out about four times a week on average, but their dining satisfaction at full-service places is stagnating — and even falling among fast-food joints. Those trends suggest consumers are not likely to spend more money at restaurants even as the economy improves.

    So concludes the findings of the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, to be unveiled today, which ranks the consumer dining experience on a 100-point scale at both full- and limited-service restaurants....

    Outback Steakhouse, owned by Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands, saw its scores on the American Customer Satisfaction Index drop from 80 in 2014 to 78 in 2015.
  2. Florida No. 1 in people griping about their jobs on Twitter

    Working Life

    Florida rarely ranks at the top but never seems to end up last in work-related surveys. But in one new study, it is No. 1 among U.S. states or — depending on how you look at it — No. 50.

    No other state matches Floridians for griping on Twitter about their jobs.

    What's driving Florida workers to use social media to tweet so often about how they hate their jobs? Could it be the rise of so many mediocre or part-time jobs that have replaced better jobs lost during the recession? Is it the crummy wages and lack of raises that are pushing financially stressed Floridians to vent online? Or, perhaps, the kinds of jobs many Floridians have simply do not inspire loyalty, making it easier to accentuate the negative on Twitter. ...

  3. Florida rises in CNBC business ranks, but workforce takes a hit

    Economic Development

    Florida's faster economic growth help land it at No. 16 in CNBC's new 2015 ranking unveiled Wednesday of "America's top states for business." The Sunshine State scores a solid B+, just breaking into the top third of U.S. states but rising sharply from lower CNBC rankings in previous years.

    The good news is Florida rose from a No. 20 ranking in 2014, a No. 30 ranking in 2013 and a No. 29 ranking in 2012 in the CNBC listings, which consider 10 economic factors in determining the annual pecking order. Florida's impressive gain in 2015 was driven by its stronger economy (ranked 11th in the country) but was held back by relatively low ratings in the "cost of doing business" (31st) and "quality of life" (32nd)....

  4. Tampa Bay firms rank among Fortune's best places to work for millennials

    Working Life

    St. Petersburg electrical contractor Power Design and Tampa credit union Grow Financial made Fortune's first-ever national survey ranking the "100 Best Workplaces for Millennials."

    At. No. 43, Power Design is cited by an "overwhelming majority" of young employees who say they feel a strong sense of responsibility without micromanagement. "The level of freedom that we have in the field is unmatched," one employee said. "This autonomy makes every thing that we do a personal achievement as well as a company one." Power Design also operates a 12,000-square-foot training center to offer employees 150 hours of training and mentoring each year on average, Fortune wrote. ...

  5. How are we doing? Tracking 6 signs of Florida, Tampa Bay economies

    Business

    Approaching the midpoint of 2015, here are six indicators to help explain the state of the economy in Florida and the Tampa Bay area:

    25

    That's the number of states whose latest monthly unemployment rates — including Florida's, to 5.7 from 5.6 percent — increased in May. If half of this country's states face rising jobless rates, is this the end of the rebound for jobs in America — and Florida? It's not the end. But any gains will get leaner at best — especially as the Federal Reserve draws closer to tweaking interest rates higher. Nine states and Washington, D.C., still saw their unemployment rates decline in May. The other 16 states were unchanged....

    Francisco Martinez, 27, of Tampa, second from right, fields job possibilities at the 2015 Job & Community Resource Fair at the St. Petersburg Coliseum in February. Florida has gained 268,500 jobs over the past year (June 2014 to May 2015).
  6. For Florida economy to prosper, raise the skills of preschoolers today

    Business

    Tampa Bay businesses may bicker over any number of issues. But they will rally to support almost anything that impedes their ability to be as competitive as possible.

    Which brings us to Florida preschoolers.

    A fast growing number of states, from Alabama to Oregon, are investing in high-quality preschool education programs with the goal of making sure as many children in their states are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. That's the magic moment, experts say....

    Bob Buesing advocates raising early literacy standards so businesses can stay competitive.
  7. Search for business school dean at USF St. Petersburg to start over

    Business

    It's time for a redo in the hunt for a business dean to head USF St. Petersburg's Kate Tiedemann College of Business. The university's regional chancellor, Sophia Wisniewska, sent a "Dear Colleagues" memo Thursday afternoon to St. Petersburg faculty and staff saying the search for a new dean "has failed" and will need to start over.

    "Although the final slate forwarded to the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and to me included accomplished candidates, we did not find the one ideally suited to lead the College," Wisniewska said in her memo. "This summer, we will commence another national search for a suitable candidate for this critically important position."...

  8. Trigaux: Beyond sedate St. Pete headquarters, Jabil competes in global fast lane

    Corporate

    Twelve minutes drive north of downtown St. Petersburg sits the unremarkable headquarters of Jabil, the only visible sign of prosperity on most days being its packed employee parking lot.

    In Tampa Bay, Jabil typically gets noticed as one more midsized tech employer of less than 2,000 local workers. The biggest curiosity is whether Jabil is still thinking about relocating its headquarters. Recent rumors hint of Jabil moving to U.S. 19 S, perhaps to or near the Ceridian office building, or to a location closer to the city core — perhaps near the Trop or even to some other site carved out of the heart of downtown. Not known for loose lips, Jabil has no comment on rumors....

    St. Petersburg-based Jabil recently opened Blue Sky Center, an innovation center in Silicon Valley that will display Jabil solutions to the "world's most complex problems." Photo Courtesy of Jabil.
  9. As GE hints at headquarters move, can Florida not go all in?

    Corporate

    How often does a major household-name U.S. corporation — No. 8 on the latest Fortune 500 ranking with a market value topping $273 billion — complain publicly about heavy taxes and suggest relocating its headquarters?

    General Electric shocked the nation's economic development world this month when CEO Jeff Immelt announced GE needs to figure out if it's time to move its headquarters out of Fairfield, Conn., to a more tax-friendly state. The giant maker of everything from household appliances and lighting to aviation, transportation products and energy management employs 5,700 at its headquarters and more than 300,000 worldwide....

  10. Trigaux: Key economic statistic shows Florida's economy is lagging

    Economic Development

    It's the wrong season to say so, but Floridians are getting a snow job about the state of our economy.

    We're not faring well compared with many other states. And when stacked against the other big population states (California, Texas, New York and Illinois), the recent numbers are humiliating.

    Of course, we do not hear such things from our Tallahassee elected. To them, our economy is a red-meat-rippin', pedal-to-the-metal powerhouse just aching to bust loose as the envy of the global market....

  11. As Florida homeownership declines, 'American dream' starts to fade

    Personal Finance

    With interest rates near rock bottom, unemployment down sharply and a Florida economy on the rise again, you'd think homeownership would be on the upswing.

    My first home mortgage in 1984 was near 12 percent. Today's mortgage rates are closer to 4 percent and have been for years, a bargain price for home loans I never expected to see in my lifetime.

    But cheap mortgages are not stemming the tide. Homeownership peaked in Florida in 2005-2006 at 72.4 percent of the population. It has been heading south ever since, falling under 63 percent in late 2014....

  12. Fortune 500 rankings: Ten things to know about U.S., Florida companies

    Corporate

    The annual Fortune 500 list of largest companies ranked by revenues was unveiled Thursday with some of the usual highlights. Wal-Mart is No. 1 (yawn). Facebook, barely on anyone's radar not so long ago, is rising like a banshee at No. 242. And World Fuel Services of Miami remains the largest Florida company by revenues at No. 68.

    But here are 10 things you probably don't know about the nation's (and Florida's) largest companies....

  13. Tampa Bay startup activity feels vibrant, but are other metros passing it by?

    Economic Development

    In downtown St. Petersburg on Wednesday morning, it was once again standing room only for the weekly "1 Million Cups" gathering to hear local entrepreneurs pitch their business startup ideas.

    On Thursday, the annual "Startup Bus" of local entrepreneur teams left Tampa, heading for Tennessee. They will build a startup from scratch en route and face off against other bus teams from around the country in Nashville....

  14. 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.
  15. 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.