Jay Cridlin - Economic Development Reporter

Economic Development Reporter

I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, graduated from Wake Forest University, and am now the Tampa Bay Times’ economic development reporter, covering local industry, business development and unemployment. It’s a bit of a leap from my previous role as the Times’ entertainment critic, covering music, pop culture and the performing arts. But in a post-coronavirus world, the economy and job market are topics no one can ignore. I’m still happy to talk music. But what I really want to know is how your bank account is doing right now. Are you out of work? Investing in a local company? Trying to launch Tampa Bay’s next big business? Let’s get into it.

  1. Ron DeSantis attends the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference on April 1 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  2. Ron DeSantis waves to a crowd of supporters during his election night party at the Tampa Convention Center on Nov. 8, 2022, in Tampa.
  3. May 24• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk, left, is expected to join Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the governor announces a long-expected presidential campaign on May 24 on Twitter Spaces.
  4. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a political roundtable in Bedford, N.H., on May 19. A new Twitter account, @DeSantisJet, aims to track DeSantis' travel on a state-owned plane. The account was created by the same Florida college student who stirred controversy by building an account tracking the private jet of Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk.
  5. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference to sign several bills related to public education and increases in teacher pay on May 9 in Miami. A week earlier, DeSantis signed a bill designed to eliminate environmental, social and governance (or ESG) policies from the state's decision-making policies when it comes to making investments in public companies.
  6. In 2022, Tampa professional staffing services company Kforce moved to new corporate headquarters at Midtown Tampa, reducing its real estate and environmental footprint -- a fact highlighted in its 2022 sustainability report on its environmental, social and governance (or ESG) policies.
  7. Robert M. Menke, the founder and longtime chairperson and director of St. Petersburg's Bankers Financial Corp. and Bankers Insurance, has died at 89. He is shown here in the company's offices in 1987.
  8. “We really believe that part of a just society is to have appropriate punishment, and so, if you commit a crime that is really, really heinous, you should have the ultimate punishment,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday of a bill that allow for the death penalty to be applied when someone sexually batters a child younger than 12 years old.
  9. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, whose offerings include this petite filet mignon and crab stuffed shrimp scampi, is not expected to raise prices significantly in 2023, its Tampa-based parent company Bloomin' Brands said Friday.
  10. A statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse stands in front of Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 2019. Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis are poised for a legal fight against Disney over authority over the company’s theme park properties. Disney has sued the state, claiming it has been unfairly targeted over speech it says is protected.
  11. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis returned to his childhood hometown of Dunedin for the Governor's Baseball Dinner, an annual event celebrating Florida baseball, at TD Ballpark on Feb. 16. It was a rare public hometown event for the Florida governor and potential White House contender, whose political rise has divided some locals.
  12. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd at First Baptist North Spartanburg on Wednesday in Spartanburg, S.C. It was part of DeSantis's first public trip to the early voting state of South Carolina as he mulls a potential 2024 Republican presidential bid.
  13. Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour stop in Tampa brought revenues of nearly $1.3 million for the Tampa Sports Authority, which manages Raymond James Stadium. Minus expenses and profits shared with the Buccaneers, the public agency earned about $405,000 from the show.
  14. FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. A lawyer for Donald Trump said Thursday, March 30, that he's been told that the former president has been indicted in New York on charges involving payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
  15. Gov. Ron DeSantis' recent comments on the war in Ukraine have faced criticism. He has since said that his remarks had been "mischaracterized."
  16. Left to right: Willy Nunn, the CEO of Tampa's Homes by WestBay and Casa Fresca Homes; Thomas Feindt, the CEO of Tampa's Grow Financial Credit Union; and John Connolly, the CEO of St. Petersburg's NAC Group, were among the business leaders singled out for their leadership in the 2023 Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces survey.
  17. Susan Danielik, the Tampa Bay Lightning's director of training and experience, receives assistance from ThunderBug during a learn-to-skate session at Amalie Arena on Feb. 22. Skating classes are one of the many perks available to employees of the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the Tampa Bay Times' Top Workplaces of 2022.
  18. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference on the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 24. In a new interview with The Atlantic, Zelensky said American leaders who believe the United States should not intervene in the war, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, should think about the long-term consequences of that policy.
  19. Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives on March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
  20. Pinellas County sheriff's investigators have charged an 86-year-old man in conjunction with the Thursday crash in Safety Harbor that killed a 36-year-old cyclist.
  21. Nestle will move its Tampa offices into Midtown West, the office building at Midtown Tampa that also houses the headquarters of Kforce and Primo Water.
  22. A large ship makes its way past the Sunshine Skyway Bridge out into the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 28. The Tampa Bay Pilots Association, whose harbor pilots navigate cruise and cargo ships into and out of Tampa Bay, sought a large fee increase from the state, which Port Tampa Bay and local business leaders opposed.
  23. Strive’s U.S. hiring manager, John Hitchen, pointed to the area’s rapid uptick in venture capital investments as a big reason for the move.