Posted by: Tampa Bay Chamber on Monday, January 6, 2020


Legislative Agenda

The Tampa Bay Chamber’s Policy Council and Policy Advisory Committee unanimously adopted the 2020 Local, State, and Federal Legislative agendas, respectively. Among the guiding principles are: Workforce Development and Education, Transportation, Military and Defense, Healthcare, and Business and Economic Development. Additionally, the Chamber’s Workforce Housing Caucus unanimously approved the inclusion of a Workforce Housing guiding principle to the Local and Federal Legislative Agenda.

The newly redesigned Catalyst Newsletter will serve as a method to track legislation the Chamber monitors, supports or opposes.

Legislative Scorecard

The Policy Council recommend that The Tampa Bay Chamber maintain a legislative scorecard for the 2020 legislative session to track how the legislative delegation from Tampa Bay (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco) voted on bills the Chamber supports or opposes. To note: only floor votes will be considered.

The Chamber will notify the delegation in advance that we will be tracking votes and sharing with our membership at the end of the 2020 Legislative Session. Each delegation member will have an opportunity to review our scorecard before we distribute to Chamber membership.

MOU Advocacy

In the fourth quarter, the Chamber added two additional memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the Tampa Downtown Partnership and the Westshore Alliance. Together, with the other six MOUs previously executed, the Chamber is proud to advocate on behalf of over 4,200 collective members throughout Tampa Bay.

All For Transportation Advocacy

The Chamber, along with other business groups, filed an amicus brief in Florida’s Supreme Court to oppose efforts to reverse the All for Transportation vote. Looking ahead, the Chamber’s President & CEO Bob Rohrlack and VP of Advocacy Nicholas Glover will attend oral arguments before the Court scheduled for February 5 in Tallahassee.

Catalyst Events

In November the Chamber Hosted a Public Policy Roundtable for 100+ of our top-tier members titled Insight from Inside the Beltway with Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Kathy is Tampa Bay's voice in the U.S. Congress and is serving her 7th term representing Florida's 14th Congressional district. Representative Castor's focus is on building a stronger economy that works for everyone by working on initiatives to create jobs, protect the environment and consumers, improve schools, assist veterans, and affordable healthcare.

The Education Connection committee hosted the Workforce Connections Breakfast and brought together academic institutions and members of the financial services, IT, and advertising industries to discuss how they recruit and retain their talent.

LTA’s Conversations with Influence featuring Mayor Jane Castor was held on October 17, 2019. This was a unique opportunity for LTA members to meet and hear from the new mayor and fellow Leadership Tampa graduate (class of 2000). Attendees also had the opportunity to ask candid questions of the mayor.

Workforce Housing

The Workforce Housing Caucus presented their report to the Chamber’s Board of Directors and the following recommendations were approved:

  • Formation of a subcommittee under the Chamber’s Policy Council that will be responsible for developing policy recommendations that address workforce housing, evaluating private funding solutions, and further studying the existing workforce housing inventory in Tampa Bay.
  • Develop and launch a pilot program that educates our membership and local elected officials on the economic impact of workforce housing.
  • Partner with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County governments, as well as the Planning Commission, to update their Comprehensive Plans to include workforce housing goals, objectives, and polices and the associated land development regulations to implement these goals.
  • Inclusion of a Workforce Housing Guiding Principle on the Chamber’s legislative agendas.

Hub For Business

Event & Programming

Hosted nearly 14,000 members through planned programming activities. The Chamber offers unprecedented benefits and opportunities for Tampa Bay businesses to engage and prosper. There are resources for businesses large and small, whether you are focused on growing your business by making key connections or shaping public policy and positively impacting the business environment alongside the region’s most active executives and leaders. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved and build relationships through more than 100 business development and networking programs annually.

19th Annual Benchmarking Visit

For 19 years, the Chamber has taken an annual Benchmarking Visit to investigate new programs and initiatives in a city similar to our community. It gives us a chance to study other great cities and adapt best practices to meet the growing needs of Tampa Bay. In October we traveled to Charlotte, NC with a focus on workforce including sessions on housing, education, attraction & retention, redevelopment, and transit.

134th Annual Meeting

On December 5 the Chamber hosted its 134th Annual Meeting with a sold-out crowd of 1,000 attendees! Outgoing Chair Jamie Harden, President & CEO of Creative Sign Designs passed the gavel to incoming Chair Maryann Ferenc, Owner of Mise en Place Restaurant. The H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award was presented to Joseph Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport. The Greater Tampa Chamber officially announced its rebranding to the Tampa Bay Chamber and unveiled its new logo. The rebranding comes as the Chamber recognizes the necessity to match the work that we are currently doing and to act upon the vision we hold for the future.

Ambassador Committee

Ambassadors assist member representatives to engage and leverage involvement. With visibility as one of the greatest benefits of Chamber membership Key component in member retention efforts.

  • Called on over 850 members
  • Face-to-face member visits
  • 37 Ribbon Cuttings

Membership Numbers

  • 292 new members this year
  • 11 existing members increased their membership level
  • Grand Total of 1,429 members in the Tampa Bay Chamber

Leadership Programs

  • In September the 49th Leadership Tampa Class started with 49 new class members.
  • The LT’20 Chair is Lance Lansrud, Agentry Real Estate (LT’15) and LT’20 Vice Chair is Jill Manthey, Yacht StarShip (LT’10).
  • The LTA Holiday Party was held on December 18 at the Marriott Water Street. This event provided LTA members an exclusive sneak peek at the recently remodeled Marriott Water Street hotel and Anchor and Brine Restaurant as well as an opportunity to network with classmates and other alumni.

The focus of the LTA Outreach Committee this year has been to support Hillsborough County Public Schools. To do this, LTA adopted Memorial Middle School – one of the 50 achievement schools in the district. We have provided clothing, food and helped to mulch the school grounds in preparation for back to school. In addition, we provided food, entertainment and raffle prizes during Teacher Appreciation week. We are currently collecting school supplies and uniform shirts. Several LTA Outreach Committee members were present at the Memorial middle School Game Changer Gala on October 24.

2019 Leadership Tampa Alumni membership exceeded its goal of 550 members and is now at 559 paid members plus 50 LT’19 class members for a total of 609 members.

The 2019 LTA Chair was Michael Blasco, Tampa Bay Food Trucks, and the Vice Chair was Amanda Uliano, Law Office of Amanda M. Uliano, P.A.

Collegiate Leadership is an exciting opportunity for approximately 24 college students. Participants interact with community leaders, network with professionals and go behind the scenes to explore various career opportunities prior to transitioning into the workforce. Exploring what it means to be a community leader, this diverse group of participants will learn from leaders in the community through interactive and collaborative activities. During program days, they will learn about various aspects of our community. Topics will be updated yearly to reflect issues of importance at that time.

  • The first Collegiate Leadership program Chair will be Kari Goetz, The Florida Aquarium, and the Vice Chair will be Wyatt Krapf, Berkadia Hotels & Hospitality.
  • Program dates – October 2020 – April 2021
  • Participating Universities
    • Saint Leo University
    • The University of Tampa
    • University of South Florida
  • Information Sessions were held during the month of October at the respective universities.
  • Program Goals
    • To broaden participants’ perspective and understanding of the industries and job opportunities in Tampa Bay
    • To encourage participants to live and work in Tampa Bay after graduation and serve as a community leader
    • To gain a greater understanding of community opportunities through interaction and collaboration with peers, leaders and decision makers from all segments of the community
    • To become a responsible leader committed to active community involvement
    • Opportunity to earn community engagement hours



The Military Council hosted Operation Partnership: Business After Hours and welcomed over 250 military members, military spouses, and civilians for a networking event aboard the Victory Ship. This was the final installment of our 2019 Operation Partnership, a 3-part series that further strengthens ties between Tampa Bays’s military and civilian communities. This program prepares transitioning service members to enter the Tampa Bay business community while retaining the military talent in our community.

Emerging Leaders

The 2019 Deanne Dewey Emerging Leaders Award was presented to Chris Chambers at the Emerging Leaders Annual Meeting held on November 7, 2019 at Busch Gardens.

The 2020 Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay Leadership team announced and Eric Ortiz, Magical Brands, will be the 2020 Chair and Adam Myers, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, will be the 2020 Vice Chair.

2019 membership exceeded its goal of 450 members with 516 members.

Minority Business Accelerator

The 4th quarter the 2019 and 2020 cohort participants for the Minority Business Accelerator reported:

  • 23 New Jobs Created
  • 5 Vacancies Filled
  • 8 New Corporate Contracts
  • 4 New Assets Acquired
  • 14 Strategic Introductions Made

For the 2019 Calendar Year, the 2019 and 2020 Minority Business Accelerator cohorts reported:

  • 45 New Jobs Created
  • 9 Vacancies Filled
  • 50 New Corporate Contracts
  • 5 Companies Securing New Capital
  • 10 New Assets Acquired
  • 39 Strategic Introductions Made