Advertisement
  1. Business

Jeff Vinik hiring Bob Buckhorn special assistant Christina Barker

Christina Barker is leaving her job as special assistant to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to become vice president of community partnerships and policy in the Vinik Family Office, which manages the independent business interests of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. Photo courtesy Christina Barker
Published Jun. 4, 2018

TAMPA — A third member of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's inner circle is leaving City Hall for a job with Jeff Vinik, and she's taking experience on an issue — transportation — increasingly important to Vinik.

Special assistant to the mayor Christina Barker, 32, will be vice president of community partnerships and policy for the Vinik Family Office, which employs more than a dozen people and manages Vinik's independent business interests.

"We feel so lucky to add Christina to our team," Vinik said in a statement Monday afternoon. "She excels not only as a strategist but also as a consensus-builder. Her talents will be put to good use as we work alongside partners toward realizing the best version of our community."

Over the past four years, Barker's job at City Hall has included working on efforts to improve the TECO Line Streetcar System, city transportation policy, the Autism Friendly Tampa initiative, federal and state legislative priorities, grants, and paid parental leave, plus events like park openings and the annual State of the City speech. The city job pays $87,859 a year.

"She's very policy-focused," Buckhorn said, who had started to groom Barker to replace longtime city manager of intergovernmental relations Deborah Stevenson when she retired. But, he said, Vinik's office "expressed an interest" in Barker, which did not surprise him given Vinik's growing advocacy on local transportation needs and options.

"There are so many parallels to what I've been doing and what I'm passionate about," Barker said of the new job, which she expects to start in mid-July.

In April, Vinik told the Tampa Bay Times he never expected to "learn about transportation and how important mobility is to a region" when he first bought the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But, he said, "you look at successful cities around the country, the citizens have the ability to get around without automobiles."

Barker follows two other members of Buckhorn's staff who left City Hall to go to work for a different part of Vinik's multi-faceted empire: Strategic Property Partners, the land development company that Vinik created with the Bill Gates personal wealth fund, Cascade Investment, to launch the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project near Amalie Arena.

In 2013, then-City Attorney Jim Shimberg became SPP's executive vice president and general counsel. In 2015, city director of public affairs Ali Glisson left to become SPP's vice president of marketing and communications.

A graduate of the University of South Florida and the University of Florida, where she received a master's degree in political campaigning, Barker worked with Metropolitan Ministries, the Tampa Bay Partnership and the Greenlight Pinellas transportation initiative before going to work at the city.

"It's been an incredible honor to serve the city of Tampa and work with all of the staff who selflessly work day in and day out to make Tampa one of the world's greatest cities," Barker said. "I look forward to continuing that work at the Vinik Family Office. I am forever thankful to Mayor Buckhorn for the incredible opportunities over the past four years and to Mr. Vinik and his team for this next great chapter."

Given that Buckhorn himself has only 11 months left in office, he said he's not sure he will replace Barker. Anyone new, he said, would not have much time on the job before a new mayor arrived with his or her own set of priorities and staff choices.

"It's the natural way of things as the administration winds down," Buckhorn said of the departure.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact >Richard Danielson

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
  2. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  3. The Whole Coffee Company makes Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins as well as Tim Hortons Double Double bars and its own Whole Coffee Company-branded nudge coffee bars. (Photo courtesy The Whole Coffee Company) The Whole Coffee Company
    The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami, was previously known as Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa. ProspEquity Partners of Tampa owns a majority stake in Whole Coffee.
  4. The Corona Cove opens as the Florida Aquarium's new outdoor bar. The beer company is pledging continued donations to aid conservation efforts. Florida Aquarium
    The beer company also has pledged donations to aid conservation efforts.
  5. The Triton cantaloupe, created with help from Eckerd College. Eckerd College
    The St. Petersburg college teamed up with a central Florida plant breeder to create the Triton cantaloupe.
  6. FILE - In this May 14, 2019, fiel photo, containers are piled up at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China’s economic growth slowed to a 26-year low in the latest quarter as a tariff war with Washington weighed on exports and auto sales and other domestic activity weakened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6 percent, data showed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. AP
    Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6% in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%, data showed Friday.
  7. Ryan Cummings, 23, left, and Alex Frey, 25, both of Tampa, rent Spin electric scooters from a corral located along Zack Street in May. St. Petersburg hopes to soon launch it's own scooter program. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The city wants to avoid other cities’ mistakes. Scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks and must be parked in designated corrals.
  8. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The shuttered store has been reinvented and debuted to the community.
  9. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  10. 580 Corporate Center in Oldsmar Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets
    The six-building center is 91 percent occupied.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement