Quarterly Update

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's First 100 Days of Five-Star Accreditation.


The Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Schedule started first thing this year with an early session in Tallahassee. On January 4th we hosted 140+ attendees at the Chamber for Legislative Kickoff Reception. Earlier that day in the same room, we hosted Governor Rick Scott for a meeting with Chamber leadership. His advice was to be direct and concise with our priorities during session – a session in which the Chamber had advocates in Tallahassee every week.

Direct and concise was our strategy going into Tallahassee but also the unfortunate reality of session with the Parkland strategy. Only 196 bills passed this session but overall, we were happy with our outcome and appreciative to our members that engaged in our advocacy software to communicate positions to our delegation. For example:

  • HCC Dale Mabry Allied Health Building and the USF downtown medical school each received funding dollars in a tight budget year.
  • The Tax package had a decrease in the tax burden imposed on commercial real estate transactions.
  • TBARTA was awarded $1m in organizational dollars to help address our transportation woes.
  • Successfully advocated for the Water Street Tampa Improvement District.
  • Defeated legislation that would have imposed burdensome and redundant regulations on our Economic Development and tourism partners.

We concluded session with a dynamic Legislative Wrap Up attended by 170+ members and was moderated by Florida political expert Peter Schorsch.

The focus quickly transitioned to local government initiatives after returning from Tallahassee. The Chair of our Chamber and the Chair of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presented at CafĂ© Con Tampa to address regional partnerships between business communities on both sides of the bay. We took that conversation a step further when The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce partnered with the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to craft the OpEd piece on BRT that was featured in Tampa Bay Times. The piece was written by Steve Bernstein, chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Andrew W. Smith, chair of that chamber’s young professionals group, the Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay. In collaboration with Anne Drake McMullen, chair of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Chair, and Brooks Wallington, that chamber’s Young Professionals chair.

Our Policy and Communications Department recently put together our Local Government Calendar, where you can find the meeting times and locations for our local government meetings, as well as where the agendas can be found.

The Chamber’s Policy, Transportation and Military Committees have had 20+ meetings, and focused on topics ranging from Affordable Housing, Tampa Bay Water, and Bus Rapid Transit to name a few.

Hub for Business

In February we hosted our Annual Military Appreciation Awards dinner, and first Signature Event of the year, with over 430 military and business professionals in attendance. Tampa Bay was recognized as a Great American Defense Community at the event.

Our Membership, Events, and Leadership departments have hosted over 3,800 attendees at networking, leadership, and professional development events across Tampa Bay, which is up 6% over the same period last year.

Circle of Influence hosted John Couris, newly appointed President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital

The Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay hosted their first Vision Series of 2018 featuring Chuck Sykes and Ron Christaldi of Tampa Bay Rays 2020.

Leadership Tampa Alumni hosted their annual meeting in January and awarded Robin DeLaVergne with the Parke Wright Jr Profile in Leadership Award

To provide our members with the most relevant insight and awareness on current events, in March we held an Active Shooter workshop.

Over 60 committee meetings held to date to connect members to issues or development that they are passionate about and want to help make impact with. Through our committee structure, the Chamber addresses the important issues of public policy, business success and economic development. These are special teams that really make a difference in our community. Some of our open committees include:

  • Ambassador Committee
  • Education Connection Committee
  • Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay Committees
  • Military Council
  • Policy Advisory Committee
  • Small Business of the Year Committee
  • Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Women of Influence Committee


The Minority Business Accelerator’s First Cohort Class of 2019 received final numbers for the first quarter, which are reported on an aggregate basis on all four of the businesses in the cohort.

Organizational Excellence

Member Renewals were robust and saw a 2% increase in number of members renewing and 5% in membership dollars.

We want to thank all of our members that have made the investment in our organization, including our partner members listed here.