Monday Morning Memo

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Partnership Presents

Our Sincere Condolences: Thom Stork
Statement Attributed to Mark Watson, Chair of The Florida Aquarium Board of Directors
“The Florida Aquarium Board, staff and volunteers are mourning the loss of our esteemed and much loved President and CEO, Thom Stork, who, after a valiant fight, succumbed to his battle with cancer (on January 2, 2017).” “Thom also was a pillar of the community and a steadfast advocate for marketing Tampa Bay and Florida as primary tourism destinations.  He served on the Florida Tourism Commission by appointment of Governors Bush and Crist of Florida, the boards of Visit Florida, Visit Tampa Bay, the Tampa Downtown Partnership, the Tampa Convention Center and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.  Also, he previously held several marketing leadership positions at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, SeaWorld of Florida and Discovery Cove.” Chief Operating Officer Scott Rose is assuming the interim role of CEO while continuing to manage the Aquarium’s day-to-day business operations with his leadership team. Read more about Thom Stork and his legacy in the Tampa Bay Times.

What to Expect Downtown This Week
The 2017 College Football Playoff Championship is coming to Tampa putting us on the national stage! Beginning Friday, January 6, crowds in Downtown Tampa are expected to reach 40,000 in and around Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Events in Downtown will last through Tuesday, January 10, ending with press conferences and Yacht Village at the Convention Center. Join the excitement by taking part in any of the Playoff events including free concerts and interactive games! For more information, visit

Stay Alert and Well-Informed
Get notifications regarding road closures and emergency notifications by texting CFBPlayoff to 888-777. Subscribers will receive real-time alerts on their phone through this opt-in text system. There will be Clean Zones in and around all event locations to help prevent fraudulent activity and victimization – no backpacks, or large bags. If you see something, say something to the Police. Be mindful of the who, what, when and where. For emergencies, call 9-1-1. Watch out for suspicious persons and packages.

Getting Around Downtown This Week
Drivers may experience heavy traffic and delays starting Friday afternoon with road closures in some areas, especially on Ashley Drive, in and around event venues and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Drivers are encouraged to park on the perimeters including Channelside, Ybor and the Heights and to use alternative transportation including the trolley, streetcar, Downtowner, CoastBikes, water taxi, Uber and Lyft. The Cross-Bay Ferry is a great option for those traveling from St. Petersburg. Visit for more information.

Volunteer During CFPNC on the Riverwalk
Friends of the Riverwalk will be running two activations during the College Football Playoff National Championship to celebrate and fund-raise for the Tampa Riverwalk and we need your help! Volunteers are needed Friday, January 6 through Sunday, January 8. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Sign up today!

Your Downtown Calendar

The following is just a sample of upcoming events in Downtown Tampa. Visit the Downtown Tampa Events Calendar for a more comprehensive list.

Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta
Wednesday, January 4, 11am to 2pm
Lykes Gaslight Square
Enjoy your lunch break in the great outdoors! Choose from a variety of colorful food truck options as the rolling kitchens line the park and serve up crafty meals to hungry Downtown patrons. For more information, go to Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta.

Playoff Fan Central
Friday, January 6, begins 3pm
Tampa Convention Center
This family-friendly event gives thousands of fans the opportunity to be a part of the College Football Playoff National Championship experience. The fan festival features appearances from the participating institutions’ bands, cheerleaders, and mascots, as well as mini pep rallies for each participating team. For more information, go to Playoff Fan Central.

Taste of the Championship

Sunday, January 8, begins 7pm
The Florida Aquarium
Prep for the big game by tasting your way through the best tailgate in town! Sample gourmet food and beverages representing geographic regions from around the country. Proceeds from the event support the College Football Playoff Foundation. For more information, go to Taste of the Championship.

On Stage at the Straz Center
Open Rehearsal – Romeo and Juliet – Thursday, January 5 to Thursday, January 12
Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala – Saturday, January 7, begins 8pm
Discover Opera – Romeo and Juliet – Sunday, January 8, begins 2pm

This week at Amalie Arena
WWE RAW – Monday, January 2, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Winnipeg Jets – Tuesday, January 3, begins 7:30pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Nashville Predators – Thursday, January 5, begins 7:30pm
College Football Playoff National Championship – Media Day- Saturday, January 7, begins 9am
Extra Yard 5k – Sunday, January 8, begins 7:30pm

Doing Business in Downtown

Retail Spotlight: The Great Escape Room
The Great Escape Room has announced a New Room Alert to add to their Sherlock-themed escapes! Dr. Watson’s Infirmary will be officially available to all curious sleuths on Tuesday, January 3! Call 202.780.8437 or visit to book the latest adventure at The Great Escape Room Tampa!

Marketplace News
Oxford Exchange is holding their Book Club event on January 10 at 6:30pm. Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, will present his best-selling book, and take questions.
Duckweed Urban Grocery is rolling out its 2017 wine line-up. They have begun with Marietta Arme Lot 3 Cab Blend. Stay tuned for more fine wines and look for Duckweed’s wine tasting events.
The Friends of John F. Germany Library Book Sale is January 14 from 10am to 3pm at Grover’s Corner Bookstore. The books go on sale every second Saturday of the month.
Greiner’s Fine Men’s Clothing Winter Sale begins Tuesday, January 2, 2017!  Save 30% to 70% on Fall/Winter Casual and Dress Clothing.
Feed Pet Purveyor at 502 W. Grand Ave will be moving its shop to South Tampa in mid-January. Please keep in mind that the shop will still deliver to homes and businesses in Downtown Tampa.
The University Club at Tampa City Center kicks off their Four Seasons Author Series with local author and Tampa Bay Times columnist, Craig Pittman on January 27 at noon. The author will discuss his recently published novel, Oh, Florida: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country. Reserve your seat by Monday, January 19.

ReliaQuest Continues Growth
Based out of Harbor Island, ReliaQuest, a cyber security firm, has experienced a revenue growth of 115% in 2015 from 2014 and expects to grow at least that much again at the end of 2016.  The company closed 2016 with about 200 employees and plans to hire at least 150 people in 2017. Jobs are in every department, from customer service and sales and marketing to IT and software development.
“A Bigger Quest”Business Observer

Championship Passport: Specials Downtown

The Downtown Crawlers, a Tampa based themed events company, are offering a limited time discount “Passport” coinciding with the College Football National Championship festivities from January 5-9, 2017 in Tampa, FL. The 12-page Passport is designed for tourists and locals alike and features a centerfold map of downtown Tampa which highlights the location of each of the 23 participating venues offering unique specials and discounts worth in excess of $500. For more information, visit

Development & Transportation

Transformation of Curtis Hixon
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transitioning into AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! which features live music, sports broadcasts and nightly fireworks. The giant stage is approximately 65 feet hight and sprawls nearly the entire length of the park. Kiley Gardens is also included in the set-up, with tents covering the lawn set to serve food and drinks to attendees. AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! opens Friday at 5pm and runs daily through Sunday. Musical acts include Eric Paslay, Flo Rida and Usher.
“College Football Playoff Brings the Party To Tampa With Big Concerts”Tampa Bay Times

Cross-Bay Ferry Commuter Pass
The Cross-Bay Ferry is contracted to run from November 2016 through April 2017 to test community interest for water transit. In December, the Cross-Bay Ferry began regular, weekday service and launched a Commuter Value Pass program with 20 tickets for $100, which equates to $5 per ticket, compared to the regular $10 one-way ticket price. That purchase comes with free taxi rides home for those who miss the last ferry trip. See and TBARTA myCOMMUTE for more information.

Most Anticipated Projects of 2017
Development is flourishing all over the Tampa Bay area. Next year holds great promise for local residents as well as for investors considering new projects going forward. In Downtown Tampa, the Riverwalk Tower, which sits on 1.47-acres and is slated to be the biggest building in downtown Tampa at 52 stories, the Tampa Tribune development site, and Crescent Riverwalk near the Straz Center hold the most excitement for near-to-total completion in the coming year. Just outside of the CBD, anticipation is building for The Heights Public Market and the Pearl, a four-building, 314-unit apartment community with 28,500 square feet of retail space. Plans for Lafayette Place, a new mixed-use development proposed in October for downtown Tampa at the former Lafayette Street Bridge, will also be another development to watch in the coming year.

Video: Ways to Get Around Downtown
With so many ways to get around downtown, it’s hard to keep track! Bringing all the different modes of transportation together in one short video, the City of Tampa helps you visualize your options! View the informative video here.

Member Corner

Chair-Elect Selected for GTCC
The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (GTCC) has selected Steve Bernstein to serve as Chair-Elect of its Board of Directors for 2017. Bernstein is the Regional Managing Partner for the Tampa office of Fisher Phillips, a leading labor and employment law firm.
“Fisher Phillips’ Managing Partner Appointed Chair-Elect for Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce”Tampa Bay Newswire

Our Members Among Power 100
The Power 100 is the work of the TBBJ newsroom, showcasing the most influential names at this point in Tampa Bay business.

  • Maryann Ferenc – CEO, Mise en Place
  • Linda Olson – President, Tampa Bay WaVE
  • Larry Richey – Senior Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Andrew Warren – State Attorney, Hillsborough County
  • Bob McDonaugh – Administrator of Economic Opportunity, City of Tampa
  • Ed Turanchik – Akerman Senterfitt
  • John Avlon – President, Hillsborough River Realty Co.
  • Ken Hagan – Hillsborough County Commissioner
  • Richard M. Blau – Chair of the Alcohol Bev. And Food Practice, GrayRobinson PA
  • Santiago Corrada – CEO and President, Visit Tampa Bay
  • Mayor Bob Buckhorn – Mayor of Tampa
  • Craig Richard – CEO Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.
  • Gary Sasso – CEO, Carlton Fields
  • Judy Lisi – President and CEO of the David A. Straz Jr. Center
  • Mark House – Managing Director of Special Projects, the Beck Group
  • Sandy Murman – Commissioner, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners

“Power 100: Tampa Bay’s Most Influential Business Leaders”Tampa Bay Business Journal

A Partnership for Reef Restoration
Heading into 2017, the Tampa- and Havana-based aquariums look to build upon their relationship by designing a coral greenhouse and building a coral nursery, both to be located in Cuba. These greenhouses are used for learning how to grow and maintain coral in a controlled environment. Once that is mastered, the structures will store coral that can be replanted in Caribbean waters to restore the reefs.
“Tampa And Havana Aquariums To Further Partnership In 2017”Tampa Bay Times

New Exhibition at FMoPA
A new exhibition by Linda Connor, Gravity will open at FMoPA on January 16, 2017 and run through March 31, 2017. There will also be an artist talk on March 17, 2017 at 6pm in the museum. For more information, visit

Around Town

Best Performing Stock in Tampa Bay 2016
Health Insurance Innovations (NASDAQ: HIIQ) stock closed December 23 at $17.50 a share, up $10.83 from the opening price of $6.67 a share on January 4. The 162.4 percent gain made Health Insurance Innovations the best-performing stock of 2016 among Tampa Bay public companies. Its products gained visibility as an attractive alternative to Affordable Care Act health plans that could disappear under a Trump administration.
“How A Health Insurance Provider Became Tampa Bay’s Top Stock Performer in 2016”Tampa Bay Business Journal

Tampa Bay’s Largest 2016 Acquisition
Roper Technologies completed its $2.8 billion acquisition of Deltek Inc. making it the largest acquisition by a Tampa Bay company in 2016. Deltek, based in Herndon, Virginia, has software that primarily serves government contracting companies, architecture and engineering firms, professional services, and marketing and communications companies. Government contracting makes up about 60 percent of Deltek’s business.
“Roper Wraps Up Tampa Bay’s Biggest M&A Deal Of 2016” Tampa Bay Business Journal

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival
The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival (TBBHF) is seeking volunteers for its signature 2017 events and planning committees. To learn more how to become a volunteer, register at: A mandatory volunteer orientation is being held at the North Tampa Library on January 7 from 10am to 11:30am. Mark your calendars for TBBHF’s Music Fest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park running January 21 weekend.

Professional Video Production Training
Hillsborough County residents, ages 18 and over, are invited to attend professional video production training, where they will learn camera and producer basics, lighting and audio lessons, location and multi-camera recording, virtual set use, editing, marketing, social media and more. Classes are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays at TBCN’s Community Media Center located on the upper level of University Mall, 2200 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa. Reservations are required. To register for classes, call TBCN at 813.977.5200.