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Big Brothers Big Sisters to move headquarters to Tampa

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio became president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters in March.
Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio became president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters in March.
Published Dec. 20, 2014

Big Brothers Big Sisters is going to call Tampa home.

The internationally known social services organization, currently based in Irving, Texas, is expected to relocate its headquarters to Tampa and is the subject of a Jan. 7 announcement by an economic development group.

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who still maintains a Tampa residence with her husband, Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard, took the helm as president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters in March. At the time, she made a three-year commitment to lead the group.

Iorio declined comment Friday.

It's not unusual for companies to move based on the residential preferences of their CEOs. Big Brothers Big Sisters moved from Philadelphia to Texas just over a year ago, leasing 13,000 square feet of office space. Its relatively new CEO at the time, Charles Pierson, is a Texan who prompted the move to suburban Dallas.

Speculation on a potential relocation bubbled up this week after the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. sent an email to members alerting them of an event Jan. 7 at the Tampa Convention Center's rotunda involving the relocation of an organization with international reach. Its email did not identify the organization.

"The CEO will share more details about the decision to relocate the headquarters to Tampa and speak about its future plans," Rick Homans, EDC president and CEO, wrote in the email.

On Friday, Homans declined to discuss Big Brothers Big Sisters or give any other details about January's event. "I don't have anything to say. I really have no comment," he said.

Both Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman are slated to be at the January gathering.

It's not clear how many jobs will be included in the deal, but when Big Brothers Big Sisters moved from Philadelphia to Texas, it immediately created up to 35 jobs.

Beyond jobs, however, the relocation adds luster to Tampa's growing image as a city on the move. It caps a flurry of local jobs announcements the past two years, including relocation and expansions by companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and, most recently, Cognizant.

Big Brothers Big Sisters' move is unrelated to a newly launched effort by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik to lure a major corporate headquarters as part of a sweeping $1 billion development planned for the southern side of downtown Tampa.

Big Brothers Big Sisters describes itself as the nation's largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network. Its mission — the cornerstone of its 110-year-history — is to pair children ("Littles") with screened volunteer mentors ("Bigs") who directly monitor and support their development.

With nearly 340 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves approximately 200,000 children, their families and 200,000 volunteer mentors.

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