TBBW October 2021

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NOVEMBER 7, 2021 NOVEMBER 7, 2021

DECEMBER 13, 2021 DECEMBER 13, 2021

NOVEMBER 22, 2021 NOVEMBER 22, 2021

FEBRUARY 14, 2022 FEBRUARY 14, 2022








Scott Fink 14 30 32 34 40 42 45



66 71 74 76 78 82

One Liners Feature: Red Rover The Good Life Great Places and Spaces Innovations in Health Care Mansions on the Market Special Section: Meet the Apogee Award Finalists On the Scene Privileged Palate Philanthropy: Tampa Bay Charities ‘Win’ the Outback Bowl WEDU’s Paul Grove The Experts 20 Questions

From TBBW 8 Letter from Publisher 62 CEO Connect ON THE COVER Scott Fink was photographed by Michael McCoy at her home in South Tampa.




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The Ritz‑Carlton Residences, Tampa are not owned, developed or sold by The Ritz‑Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. Tampa Bay Oaks Condo, LLC uses The Ritz‑Carlton marks under license from The Ritz‑Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. Oral representations cannot be relied upon as correctly stating representations of the developer. For correct representations, make reference to this brochure and the documents required by section 718.503, Florida statutes, to be furnished by a developer to a buyer or lessee. This Condominium is developed by TAMPA BAY OAKS CONDO, LLC ("Developer") and this offering is made only by the Developer’s Prospectus for the Condominium. This offering is not directed to any resident of a jurisdiction in which this offering is prohibited by law. Developer, pursuant to license or marketing agreements with each, has a right to use the trade names, marks, and logos of: The Related Group and of Marriott International, Inc., both of which are Licensors only and neither of which is the Developer. Consult the Prospectus for all terms, conditions, and unit specifications and to learn what is included with purchase. This condominium is not oceanfront; the sight line of the tower depicted is conceptual and situated with frontage along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. This ad is summary in nature generally depicting The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa and Developer’s contemplated features and amenities, all of which is subject to change or modification by Developer. The Ritz-Carlton® is the registered trademark of Marriott International, Inc. 2021© Tampa Bay Oaks, Condo, LLC with all rights reserved. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa are not owned, developed or sold by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. or its affiliates (“Ritz-Carlton”). Tampa Bay Oaks Condo, LLC uses The Ritz-Carlton marks under a license from Marriott International, Inc. which has not confirmed the accuracy of any of the statements or representations made herein.



Champa Bay.


We love her! We are her! ctober is here! Pumpkin spice, and everything nice, (meh) – I don’t really like pumpkin spice, but I do like when my husband calls me punkin’. Halloween (yaaasss), and the kickoff of the proverbial event season – what will it be like this year? No one can forecast, but we’re all waiting to see. In October, TBBW has an event each week … because we’re crazy, and we really need to fire the person who manages our schedules. Oh right, it’s us!? Well, that won’t work. Both college and professional football are in full swing, thank goodness, and watching the games feels normal. The Tampa Bay Lightning start their season on the 12th of this month and, at the time of writing in early September, the Rays are, hopefully, getting ready to kick off their playoff season run. Ever since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl earlier this year, and the Lightning won the Stanley Cup this season (and last!!) and the Rays won the American League East last season, we’ve heard the words “Champa Bay” being used to describe our hometown – even on national news. How cool is that? We finally have an identity – something the region has sought for some time. We ARE Champa Bay. Hey, let’s face it, we’ve been called worse things. Being the “champion” region of the United States? We’ll take it and ride that wave as long as we can. You can take your “Keep Austin Weird” or “I love New York” slogans … we win. There is something that happens to a community when they’re “winning.” It’s the same feeling you might recognize at your company when your team is meeting goals and crushing it. Winning, duh!? In the office of TBBW, we often take a Friday evening and recount our wins for that week. Those moments of elation are what keep us



going, and planning for the next week’s big win. I suspect we’re not too dissimilar from you – and your teams – and our professional sports teams. Winning rocks! In this issue, we celebrate some of the wins from our Apogee Award finalists. We asked them about their proudest moments in their careers, challenges they faced and how they overcame them. It’s a celebratory ode to the c-suite. And, in every case, they are winners. Even being named a finalist, with 150 nominees and only 27 finalists, is a win. Some of these leaders we already knew well, but some we had never met until the day they visited our offices for their video shoot. To those of you who are new to the TBBW family, welcome! We have fun here. Launching two major awards events this year has been a whirlwind and we can honestly say, when you show up to our Apogee Awards event this month, you will be in for a show! Hey, we know no other way. Go big or go home kids. We choose to go big. On another note, less serious, but something we are always excited about … TBBW’s Halloween celebrations. We are putting you guys on full warning; we are going BIG this year. You could say, we want all the trophies. Not surprising, if you know us … we are a little (a lot) competitive. Think you can come for us? We want to see your costumes this year! Many people are back in the office, and we think we all need some fun, laughter and downtime. Heck, even if you’re not back in the office, own it! Get ready to share your team members, dressed up and ready for Halloween. There’s even a grand prize for the team that wins. (Don’t worry, the 2020 TBBW Schitt’s Creek cast is disqualified from winning their own contest). So, village. Eat your Wheaties, drink your Smart Water and rest up! It’s going to be another busy month and close to the year. But it will be heartwarming, celebratory, memorable and all things Champa Bay. From here, Bridgette Bello CEO and Publisher






Bridgette Bello bbello@tbbwmag.com



Jason Baker jbaker@tbbwmag.com

Jo-Lynn Brown jbrown@tbbwmag.com



Jason Davis


Melanie Smit

Alexander Hernandez, Frank Papandrea, Evelyn Suarez

Writers Amy Hammond, Kris Kosaka, Debbie Lundberg Jim Marshall, Michael Mikuliza

Photographers Ryan Gautier, Michael McCoy, Michael Mikuliza



Monica St. Omer


Gary Press gpress@sfbwmag.com

TBBW Magazine 327 11TH AVENUE N, SUITE 100, ST. PETERSBURG, FL 33701 | 727-860-TBBW | WWW.TBBWMAG.COM

Manage Your TBBW Subscription Is TBBW arriving in your office with an outdated subscription label? Contact Monica St. Omer at monica@LMGFL.com to give us updated information, such as a new executive or someone no longer with your organization. Visit tbbwmag.com to see our digital content and sign up for our weekly newsletter ©2018 TBBW magazine is published by Lifestyle Media Group, all rights reserved. TBBW is a monthly advertising magazine. All contents are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written consent from the publisher. The advertiser is solely responsible for ad content and holds publisher harmless from any error.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers congratulate all of the 2021 Apogee Award Finalists. Your leadership and vision makes a great impact on the Tampa Bay community. Thank you Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine for creating this award platform.

Invest In Your Today And Their Tomorrow Whether it’s managing family investments, serving as a corporate trustee or simply being a resource to help our clients navigate through difficult waters, our team of highly credentialed and locally based professionals never forgets our clients’ vision for their lives and legacies.

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► Tomlin St. Cyr Real Estate Services was at Corbett Preparatory School, in Tampa, to cut the ribbon to its Tomlin Family Application Lab. OCTOBER 2021

► Feeding Tampa Bay plans to build a 181,440-square-foot distribution warehouse at 4000 Causeway Blvd., Tampa. ► Kim Hill was named vice president for university communications and marketing, and chief marketing officer for the University of South Florida. ► Mishorim Gold Properties acquired the 215,713 square-foot Horizon Park shopping plaza, on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, for $22 million.

► The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has launched a new tool, the Critical Needs List, to assist with mobilizing funding sources to help local nonprofit organizations that are facing imminent threats to their ability to serve the Tampa Bay community. ► Rob Taylor, chief financial officer of Fitlife Foods, was named president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of Financial Executives International, a leading organization for senior-level financial executives.

► EnviroFocus Technologies, doing business as Gopher Resource, leased 206,382 square feet in a warehouse at 1820 Massaro Blvd., in east Tampa.

► The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation completed the acquisition of Oncology Association, operated by physician Pedro Mendez, marking its second acquisition in Florida and expansion into Hillsborough County. ► Suzanne McCormick, who previously was president and CEO of United Way Suncoast, in Tampa, was named CEO of the YMCA USA division, making it the first time the organization has tapped a woman as its leader. ► Tampa-based cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest named Brian Foster vice president of product, Paul Kraus vice president of engineering and Dan Wire vice president of brand and communications.

► Marina Pointe at Westshore Marina District, a condominium tower developed by BTI Partners, was recognized as a recipient of several gold and silver awards at the nationally recognized Southeast Building Conference’s 42nd annual Aurora Awards. ► Tampa-based ZMR Capital acquired the Hanley Place apartments, near the Westshore Business District, for $65 million. ► AdventHealth named David Ottati its next president and CEO of the West Florida Division.

► Florida Blue gave $750,000 to the Tampa Innovation Partnership. ► Regina Marrow joined Tampa-based tech firm ConnectWise as chief information officer. ► Bromley Companies announced that Compass (NYSE: COMP) and KAST Construction leased office space in The Loft at Midtown Tampa.

► Zelen Communications, in Tampa, named Camille Gomez Mackesey account manager.

► The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has elected Mike Starkey as the chair of its board of trustees.



► Hill Ward Henderson, in Tampa, named Anthony Canzoneri as the firm’s chief financial officer.




► Clearwater Marine Aquarium unveiled plans to transform the former Winter Zone into a habitat to rehabilitate and research manatees.



► Tricera Capital, a Miami-based real estate investment firm, acquired the ground-floor retail space at the Related Group’s recently completed Icon Central development, and the adjoining Union Trust Bank Building, located in St. Petersburg’s Central Arts District, for $11.08 million.

► Jeff Freedman, CEO of Etairos Health, joined the Alzheimer’s Association as the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s event chair in Pinellas County.

► St. Pete’s Development Review Commission approved the site plan to construct The Nolen, a 23-story condominium tower planned for 146 Fourth Ave. N.E., in downtown. ► The former location of Romano’s Macaroni Grill, at 2302 Tyrone Blvd. N., St. Petersburg, will be redeveloped as Portillo’s, a restaurant chain from the Chicago area that specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef.

► CareSpot Urgent Care now manages a Bayfront Health St. Petersburg urgent care clinic, in the Fossil Park neighborhood of St. Petersburg, at 7000 Fourth St. N., Suite A. ► Kanika Tomalin, St. Petersburg’s deputy mayor and city administrator under Mayor Rick Kriseman, will join Eckerd College as vice president for strategy and chief operating officer. ► Kroger began delivering groceries in St. Petersburg.

► Dana Burton was elected to the board of directors of Mayer Hoffman McCann. ► Golftec, a provider of golf lessons and club fittings, opened an instruction and club fitting center, at 8808 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg. ► Millennial Title opened its seventh location in the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce building. ► Fifth Third Bank opened its enterprise banking center, at 3029 Enterprise Road E., Clearwater. ► The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation opened in downtown St. Petersburg. ► Greg Nagel has been named director of development at Tampa Bay Innovation Center in, St. Petersburg.

► Professional Bank, based in the Miami area, is planning to open a loan office in downtown St. Petersburg. ► Ascellus, a St. Petersburg-based behavioral health provider, appointed Brett Cohen as its new chief operating officer. ► St. Petersburg College was approved by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to provide a financial planning certificate program at its downtown center, in St. Petersburg. ► Mark Holland joined Marketing Direction as its newest lead marketer.

► Michael Wyckoff, a board member for the Pinellas Realtor Organization and broker/owner for Engel & Völkers, joined the brokerage’s yachting division.



► Crunch Fitness is opening a location at 218 37th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, in the Northeast Park Shopping Center.



► CTO17 Sarasota sold an 18,120-square-foot retail property, at 1900 Fruitville Road, in downtown Sarasota, for $4.65 million to an undisclosed buyer.



► The University of South Florida appointed Deborah Stevens as director of the Office of Early University Programs, which is based on the SarasotaManatee campus. ► The Bay Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization responsible for overseeing the redevelopment of 53-acres of city-owned land along Sarasota Bay into a public park, announced Charles D. Hines has joined its board of directors.

► Michael Cuffage, the former president and CEO of CAN Community Health in Sarasota, will return to the organization as a board member.

► Mademoiselle Paris, a French bakery, will be adding a second location in the Wells Fargo Advisors Building on Main Street, in Sarasota.

► The Manatee County clerk of the circuit court and comptroller and Manatee County government earned a triple-crown medallion from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

► Sarasota Bradenton International Airport president and CEO, Rick Piccolo, was named to the University of South Florida board of trustees.

► Sarasota-based Roper Technologies, which designs software, will sell its subsidiary Zetec to Quebec-based Eddyfi/ NDT in a $350 million deal. ► Tim Self, an investment adviser for LPL Financial and director of Gulfside Wealth, was named to the board of directors of First Step of Sarasota.

► Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen and Ginsburg, named lawyer Todd D. Kaplan as a shareholder.


► The Sarasota County Economic Development Corp. named Erin Silk as vice president of business development services, and Lisa Krouse as CEO.

► Connecticut-based William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage and Insurance acquired Sarasota-based Key Solutions Real Estate, a family-owned brokerage with 44 professional sales associates.

► Save Our Seabirds, a bird rescue center in Sarasota, appointed Aaron Virgin as its new chief executive officer.

► GTE Financial opened a new Community Financial Center in Lakewood Ranch, making it the first Community Financial Center in the area.

► Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida acquired Sarasota-based Sabal Palm Bancorp, parent company of Sabal Palm Bank, in a deal valued at $53.9 million. ► Firmo Construction, a commercial construction management firm, headquartered in Sarasota, is expanding its operations in southwest Florida with the opening of a new office in downtown Fort Myers.

► The board of directors of Step Up Suncoast named Amy Yount Tittle as the agency’s next president and CEO.






► A Krispy Kreme doughnut shop opened at 3790 U.S. Highway 98 N., near Lakeland Square Mall, replacing the south Lakeland store that closed in June. ► Imperial Plaza, on Havendale Boulevard, in Auburndale, anchored by a Winn-Dixie, was sold for $12.3 million to an unidentified buyer.

► Allen & Co. announced a corporate gift of $1 million to fund the Allen & Co. Family Lawn, at Bonnet Springs Park, set to open in 2022.

► The new cybersecurity engineering program at Florida Polytechnic University received a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to fund a portion of a new cyberphysical systems lab.



► Biscuits and Benedicts plans to open in Lakeland’s Dixieland neighborhood, at 1212 S. Florida Ave., before the end of the year.

► Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, of Lakeland, was named interim CEO of the College to Congress at Southeastern University, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support for low-income students who are placed in congressional internships.

►The Watson Clinic Cancer and Research Center added David W. Graham as a radiation oncologist who treats patients from the campus, at 1730 Lakeland Hills Blvd., in Lakeland.

► The Imperial Symphony Orchestra will change its name, in the 2021-22 season, to the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra. ► S&D Real Estate Services, in Lakeland, added Vanessa Courtney, Susan Conner, Rosnel Dufort, David Rodriguez and Ben Pace as agents to its brokerage.

► Cushman & Wakefield arranged the sale of 2850 Interstate Drive, a 139,500-square-foot warehouse/distribution building located in Lakeland, for $17.8 million.



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scott FINK




He studied and took the certified public accountant’s cott Fink has come a long way, in a lot of ways. He was raised in the projects of Brooklyn, New York, and exam. During that time, you had to pass multiple parts to through what he calls “being opportunistic,” has amassed earn the designation. He passed only one. “I was like, I don’t want to do this,” Fink says. “I made an auto empire here in the Tampa Bay area—the Fink Auto the decision then that I was going to try to leave and get a Group. Fink Auto Group includes Genesis of New Port Richey, different job.” • Volkswagen of New Port Richey, Hyundai of Wesley Chapel, Fink would scour the New York Times, every Sunday, Genesis of Wesley Chapel, Mazda of Wesley Chapel and Chevrolet of Wesley Chapel. The crown jewel is Hyundai looking for potential new career paths. For a year, he of New Port Richey, which has been the highest-volume sent handwritten cover letters and résumés to would-be Hyundai dealership in the United States for eight consecutive employers. “I finally got a bite. All it said was a ‘large automobile years. In March, Fink Auto Group was acquired by Lithia Motors, manufacturer,’ ” he says. He had to travel to Teterboro, New Jersey, for the interview, but Fink retained ownership of Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel which he later found out was for Ford Motor Co. and the soon-to-open Subaru of Wesley Chapel. “I interview and I think it goes great. I’m just so pumped With a total of $430 million in revenue in 2020, Fink admits he’s come a long way from his humble beginnings. He up. It was for the sales and marketing division,” he says. “But they filled the job internally.” is still the same guy, just with much cooler wheels and toys. Down the hall, he heard, Lincoln Mercury was hiring. • Fink is the third-born, of three boys. His parents grew up He got that job, and it changed the trajectory of his career forever. as orphans and met as children. They married He did well in this new role and was promoted when they came of age, his father 20 and his THE FAST LANE: multiple times, going from making $25,000 a year mother 18. They raised their family in Brooklyn, Fink Auto Group was to $52,000 a year, over the duration of three years. in the projects outside of Sheepshead Bay. acquired by Lithia “I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was “My father was a blue-collar guy. It’s not like Motors in March thinking, at this rate, I’d be making $1 million a we were hungry, but money was always a topic 2021.. year,” he says with a laugh. of conversation,” Fink says. “And the topic of The company promoted Fink to his first conversation was how we didn’t have any.” management position, where he ran the regional His father bought the family’s first home, in marketing department for the Lincoln Mercury division, for Rockland County, New York, when he was 52 years old. Fink attended Wagner College, in Staten Island, New York, the east coast. “I realized, in short order, that I was never going to be on a track scholarship and thousands in student loans. He studied accounting, which made sense to him, as he was able to rise up to the highest levels of management in the company,” Fink says. “I was smart enough to know that there pretty good at math, he says. His parents moved to Florida when Fink was a sophomore was going to be a cap on my career growth. And I knew this management job that they promoted me to, the next move in college. “I was caught between a rock and a hard place because my would be to Detroit.” One of the cool things, Fink says, about the job he was mother said, ‘If you don’t get a job, you’ll just have to move to Florida, to Delray Beach,” Fink says, adding it was a retirement in was he would get to meet car dealers, help and support them to improve their operations and build relationships community. “I was like, well, that’s not happening.” Fink ended up with a job at Brooklyn Union Gas, which with them through the territories he oversaw. “Part of my role was to sell cars wholesale to the dealers at the time was the largest independent utility serving all of from the factory, but really it was to build relationships and Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. show them ways they could improve their business,” Fink His job paid $19,200—“big money,” he says of the time. “You go through these series of interviews,” Fink recalls. says. “Factories build the cars, but they don’t sell the car, they “They decided I should go into auditing. They said, ‘If we put sell them to the dealer.” Fink had befriended a successful Lincoln Mercury dealer; him in staff accounting, he will likely kill himself, and if we put him on financial accounting, he will kill everybody else.’ his name is Michael Cohen. His family ran a car dealership So I went into auditing, which got me in front of people, business, but he was considering branching out on his own, and he wanted Fink to come work with him. which is kind of my thing—more than anything else.”







“So, we talked about it and then we had to go find a deal. we were selling about 500 new and used vehicles a month We’re talking all the time. You know, we have no cellphones, and making really good money,” Fink says. right? So, I’m going to phone booths on the side of the road. Around this time, Fink was about 35 years old, and Cohen Remember 100 years ago, you had, like, a beeper?” Fink recalls, and Fink were looking for an exit strategy with their joint laughing. businesses, the two stores and the underlying real estate. They started eyeing up a group of dealerships in Dallas. “I had lunch with a good friend, Ken Marks [another major Nothing materialized on that. auto dealer in the Tampa Bay area], and he’s going to sell “Then one day, Mike was going to play golf with the senior his large Ford dealership to Sonic Automotive, another big vice president for Mitsubishi Motors, Rick Lepley,” Fink says. consolidator at the forefront,” Fink says. “[Marks] agrees to “Rick says to Mike, ‘We’ve got this dealership in Clearwater, give me an intro and I wind up talking to the guys at Sonic. Florida. The owner is not happy with Mitsubishi and wants out.’ We put a deal together and sell the two businesses to Sonic.” Then, the owner basically said, if we don’t help find him a buyer Cohen and Fink sold their business for 10 times what they for the business, ‘I am going to padlock the door and close it bought it for, Fink says. down.’ ” “I had a three-year employment agreement with [Sonic]. Fink says when he heard of the opportunity from Cohen, he And I was going to run their stores here and take on a couldn’t locate Clearwater on a map. leadership role within this fledgling new public company,” After visiting the Clearwater franchise, Cohen and Fink went Fink says. all in. Fink was the 10-percent “equity guy,” as he calls it. They Eventually, Fink sold his occupied real estate to a real estate closed the deal in July 1989. investment trust. He made it two years into his Sonic contract Fink says, in the beginning, he didn’t know what he was and resigned. doing. “I didn’t like it,” Fink says. “The analogy I use is, you’re a “I had never managed anyone or sold anything,” he says. “For business owner and if you want to sit in your office wearing like the first six months, all I did was watch.” your gym clothes, no one is going to tell you that The business took a hit the first year, but, in you can’t. Well, now I come in and I buy your AN AUTO EMPIRE year two, the business went from losing $1 million company and I tell you that you can’t do that.” WAS BORN: a year to breaking even. At this point in his career, Fink realized he was a Fink amassed 14 “I learned that my accounting background was full-fledged entrepreneur. dealerships through helpful, because I could read and understand a “I was 37 and I had accumulated about $5.5 his deal with financial statement, expense control, margins and million and was like, ‘Check!’ I never have to work Hyundai. inventory,” he says. again,” he says with a laugh. In year three, the business started to make He and his wife considered moving back to the money and grow. For the year, Clearwater northeast. They even put an offer on a house. But it Mitsubishi finished as the largest volume Mitsubishi wasn’t meant to be. dealership in America, outselling all 700-plus dealerships. “[My wife] got up in the middle of the night, at 3 o’clock in By raising the profile of the store, and going all-in on radio the morning, and I’m sitting in the chair. She’s like, ‘What are advertisements, the dealership was back to being profitable you doing?’ I said, ‘I can’t sleep,’ ” Fink recalls. “She says, ‘We’re and the Fink automobile empire was about to get much larger. not moving to New Jersey, are we?’ ” Carlisle Lincoln Mercury, the No. 1 Lincoln Mercury A handful of months later, Fink got a phone call from a dealer in the U.S., had a buy-sell agreement with the Toyota previous employee that used to run the Toyota store for Fink. dealership next to Fink’s dealership on U.S. Highway 19., and He requested a meeting. the underlying real estate which, effectively, would make Hyundai was preparing to award a franchise in New Port Carlisle Fink’s new landlord. Richey and he wanted Fink to partner with him on it. “In the agreement that my partner put together for the Fink trekked up to Saddlebrook to meet with the corporate Mitsubishi franchise, he insisted on having the ‘right of first team and discuss the opportunity. refusal’ on the Toyota dealership, which was owned by the “I remember saying to the guy, ‘Look, all these other dealers same individual. We had 15 days to match the Carlisle deal. He out there are great dealers. Here’s the difference. When you asks me, ‘What do you think?’ I’m like, ‘We’ve got to figure out call the Hyundai store in New Port Richey, I’m going to pick a way to do it,’ ” Fink says. up the phone. These guys are never going to pick up the phone In 1996, Cohen and Fink bought the Toyota dealership for because they have 10 stores. They’re never going to come here. about $1 million “blue sky” and the associated real estate and I’m going to be there 80 hours a week, every week. I will drive buildings. the business there,’” Fink says. Once we got operations improved and processes in place, Fink ended up with 14 dealerships.




• Fink has been married to his wife, Kathy, for 31 years and has five children, including a set of twins. He doesn’t play much golf, but he and his family do enjoy their vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina. The Fink family owns a beautiful home in South Tampa, which they considered downsizing, but with five children, the large home is a necessity in hosting the family every Sunday. “We realized that [downsizing] would be a big mistake. Because, you know, every Sunday we get the kids to come here. Everybody comes here for family dinner,” he says. Fink also has a philanthropic heart. He’s the current board chair of Berkeley Preparatory School and he is the incoming chair of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, where he has sat on the board for more than a decade. He serves on the board of Metropolitan Ministries in addition to serving as the board chair for Hyundai Hope on Wheels for six years. After watching a segment on 60 Minutes one evening with his wife back in 2009, it spurred an emotional response about homelessness, and it inspired Fink and his family to get involved with the mission of helping families get back to self-sufficiency. “I thought about starting my own foundation, and then I realized that I didn’t know enough about it, and I couldn’t manage it,” Fink says. “And then I met the team

at [Metropolitan Ministries]. They do such a wonderful job helping people, families, in need. My goal was to get a campus in Pasco County, modeled after the expansive campus they have and operate in Tampa. Fink added that the recession hit Florida hard and the need for support in Pasco was tremendous. The Pasco campus is up and operating, with expansion plans in process. • Fink attributes much of his success to timing and recognizing opportunities when they are presented. “I don’t want you to think I had this brilliant, long-term plan for growth and expansion,” Fink says. “I think one of the big differences, the philosophical differences, [was] when I was going to open Hyundai of New Port Richey, I wanted to do it for fun. Like, I was really excited. Sure, I wanted to make money to ensure the business was self-sustaining, but I wanted to build something significant.” Now that Fink Auto Group has been acquired by Lithia, Fink remains a part of the company as a consultant, with no operational responsibility, he says. “I’m an opportunist. I grew up in the projects,” Fink says. “You know, these are not generational businesses to me. They’re businesses. Of course, you want to make money, right? Come on. I was just an opportunist, and I will continue to be an opportunist.” ♦







IT’S COMPLICATED… DETERMINING WHEN TO ADD TO YOUR FAMILY WEALTH ADVISORY TEAM Thinking about a family office? There are many options to consider. A 2016 Ernst & Young survey estimated that there are 10,000+ family offices worldwide. Whether you’ve inherited your wealth or built it independently, having an expert team to help manage, advise and protect your legacy provides both confidence and peace of mind. We’re often asked by potential clients when they should shift the management of their financial affairs from a family member, or a bookkeeper, to a more formalized family office or outsourced advisory partner where multiple team members handle specific areas of expertise. While each situation is personal, and individual, there are three questions you can ask yourself to determine if outsourcing or establishing a family office makes sense. 1) HAS MY WEALTH INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY IN RECENT YEARS? If your business has experienced phenomenal success, you’ve sold a business, or inherited a family legacy, it’s an exciting time for you but not without a new set of challenges. Such large-scale liquidity events can facilitate the necessity to engage trusted advisors to help you make the best choices when it comes to your wealth. At the same time, establishing a fully staffed in-house family office is expensive, depending on the qualifications of the experts you choose to hire. If your total net worth is over $100 million, you may want to consider a family office; if total assets are under that threshold, you may be more efficiently served by a traditional group of advisors— an outsourced accounting team to handle day-to-day bill payment and financial management, tax advisory and estate and trust planning; a financial advisor to oversee your investment portfolio; and an attorney to offer consultation on family and business legal matters. 2) HOW COMPLICATED IS MY LIFE? If your wealth is encompassed in a single business or one large portfolio of stocks and bonds, this may be something that you and your family can handle without a full-time advisory team. But many times, entrepreneurial people find themselves selling their primary business and building more businesses on the foundation of their early success, and that’s where things get more complicated. Similarly, if you have an excess of personal assets, such as multiple residences, OCTOBER 2021

keeping up with each of those properties and the tax ramifications can quickly become overwhelming. And as you plan your legacy, if your estate plan is complicated by multiple partnerships, foundations and trust structures, this may be an indicator that having an outsourced partner or full-time family office will help you make better decisions for the future. 3) WHAT ARE MY PRIORITIES? If managing the family finances has become a burden or source of stress, then it is definitely time to consider an alternative. Most families choose to create a family office or engage an outsourced team of partners to provide them with more flexibility. Having a neutral party offers options when it comes to the involvement of grown children in the family business, allowing staff and advisors to focus on growing and protecting wealth without family politics. A family office will still require some personal responsibility when it comes to hiring and managing the people you employ, while an outsourced solution will take the majority of that burden off of you. At the end of the day, the decision to establish a family office or to outsource your affairs to a collaborative team is a very personal decision. You must establish relationships of trust and confidentiality with those who will be entrusted to handle your personal and financial information, and that can take time. Asking yourself these important questions and talking through your concerns with your family is the first step to determining what is best for the future of your financial legacy. Shareholder Patricia Entsminger, CPA/CFE/CIA and Manager Kathleen Martin, CPA of Kerkering Barberio Outsourced Accounting Services offer a diverse set of tax and accounting services to businesses, nonprofits and family trusts, ranging from basic transactional services to virtual CFO/consultant advisory services. The Outsourced Accounting team works in tandem with internal accounting staff and external providers to meet clients’ accounting needs and identify cost-saving strategies and future financial opportunities. Ms. Entsminger joined Kerkering Barberio in 1999 and was admitted as a shareholder in 2006, while Ms. Martin joined the KB team in 2013.








arning: Canine puns ahead. Red Rover location and leaves it. Company Need storage? Go fetch. A hybrid storage concept personnel unload and add the items to a offering customers a creative solution has established its warehouse. Out of sight, out of mind and headquarters in Tampa. The choice of location makes a customer who is out fewer dollars than sense, given that CEO, Peter Warhurst of Pods fame, has other moving or storage concepts—that’s deep industry roots in the area. His venture, begun in 1999 Warhurst’s aim. A blend of the best of truck and aptly named Red Rover, represents a novel category in rental and portable storage that’s easily, and the moving and storage space: fetchable storage. economically, “fetchable.” That, he says, is the “Red Rover is creating a whole new niche,” Warhurst bones of Red Rover. says. “We think we’ll soon be a major presence as a lower The idea came to Warhurst during his Pods cost provider of storage in all major markets, within 12-24 years, as he endeavored to improve upon months.” logistical processes. The serial Tampa, as a beta site, makes perfect sense entrepreneur sold Pods to a to Warhurst, who cites the city’s mixture of private equity firm in 2007, after culture, and community, as well as tourism implementing many innovative FETCHABLE exposure to the rest of the country as major protocols. One challenge, in STORAGE benefits. The company currently maintains particular, kept him wondering: (Above) Peter three facilities in the Tampa area, in addition how could I do it better? A blend Warhurst to one each in Massachusetts and New York of truck rental and portable and two in North Carolina. More are planned storage became Red Rover. on the upcoming calendar this year. “The delivery service at Pods Here’s how fetchable storage works: Customers book was never perfect,” he says. “I reflected upon online, or call a concierge, to arrange for a truck. They then what could be done differently and we address arrive at a Red Rover site and climb into a pre-loaded truck those pain points.” that holds a portable storage unit. The truck design makes Warhurst’s team has extensive experience loading and unloading a walk in the park, thanks to the in the portable storage space, which he hand cart conveniently attached to each vehicle. believes helped him raise capital. Then there’s A patent-pending, remote-control ramp that requires his own résumé to consider, highlighted by a only a push of a button means easy access. Once all items 100% success rate when it comes to profitable are loaded, the customer then drives the truck back to the startup exits. When he left Pods, the company


ideas in Tampa first before releasing them nationwide. This is the area where 83% of Red Rover stakeholders reside, after all. As he continues to raise capital, he looks forward to hiring more employees he describes as “world class” and becoming a recognizable name in storage and beyond. The novel ramp system could be used by other industries, he says, and this possibility will be explored. It solves the challenge of rear and side-loading. The days of setting up a heavy ramp and dragging items to it are in the past; this is storage without the struggle. Ease of use for customers is a major highlight of the Red Rover experience. To entrepreneurs who hope for “home

runs” like Pods and, perhaps, Red Rover, Warhurst advises that the struggle must be embraced. He approximates that a hundred people have told him, in passing, I thought of the Pods concept first. But being able to be fully committed to a concept, he says, takes courage. Having a real plan to take the idea to market is imperative. “If you can come to terms with borrowing money, spending your savings and having a solid handle on risk versus reward, you can be successful,” he says. If you’re only willing to go fetch that dream. “I felt confident, opening in Tampa Bay and raising capital here,” he says. “There’s a strong entrepreneurial community. ♦


had more than 100 corporate and franchise locations. He fully believes this is in Red Rover’s future. Even if that future involves extensive pandemic protocols, he is confident in Red Rover’s ability to inspire consumer confidence. Face-to-face contact is next to nil in the Fetchable Storage design. Consumers deliver a loaded truck to an unmanned site and misters are used to fully sanitize the vehicles. “We feel as if we’re a great design in the [COVID-19] environment,” Warhurst says. “The level of sanitization is extremely high.” Looking forward, Warhurst foresees major storage domination throughout the country. And, through it all, he’ll be testing


the good life:

BSWANKY DEBUTS AMERICAN ALLIGATOR LUXURY TOTE Sarasota-based luxury design house and atelier, BSWANKY, known for their attention to quality and iconic handbag designs, has partnered with a South Florida alligator farm operation, Alligators International, which practices a “Marsh to Market” mentality. Gretchen Bauer, founder of BSWANKY, says she became inundated with requests for special order alligator accessories from both trophy hunters and enthusiasts. Bauer reached out to several alligator hunting organizations. Her third call led to Mark Clemons, in South Florida, who also was in search of a luxury atelier to partner with. When they met only three days after the call, they could clearly see that their visions were aligned. The two tote designs, made from the rarest grade 1 flawless American alligator skins, start at $13,500.


October is Cyber Security Awareness Month Organizations and individuals like you are at risk when you do not use good cyber hygiene practices. Protect what matters most to you by upping your security awareness. 33 TBBWMAG.COM

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great places





Marina Bay nears completion

ndrus D e ve l o p m e n t Group’s Marina Bay 880, a $70 million luxury residential project on the intracoastal waterway, is nearing completion. Marina Bay 880 is the most recent development for Brian Andrus, a formerly licensed general contractor with nearly 30 years of experience in commercial and residential real estate development. Andrus’ vision for Marina Bay 880 includes two eight-story buildings, with a total of 87 condominiums, located above a shared, common, 80,000-square foot parking garage. Another eight townhomes are wrapped around an adjacent marina. OCTOBER 2021

Construction for the 380,000-square foot project began in October 2019. Marina Bay 880’s 87 residences, ranging from 1,815 to 3,809 square feet of air-conditioned living space, will illustrate new levels of unique coastal luxury. Each residence has 173 to 989 square feet of outside space and water views throughout. A selection of open-concept floor plans features 44 two-bedroom residences, 42 three-bedroom residences and one four-bedroom residence. Each two-bedroom residence and certain three-bedroom residences include a den. Interior features include high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and

terraces offering bay views. Additional features include dual walk-in closets, two-person showers, kitchens with islands, wood cabinets and quartz countertops. Units also have hurricane-proof windows, two parking spaces per residence in a secure garage with electric car charging stations and climate-controlled storage space for each residence. Several dozen available residences, priced from the mid-$750,000s to more than $1.9 million, are available for purchase. Two model residences are available for viewing. Each of Marina Bay 880’s eight townhomes have been sold. ♦


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Can you confidently say that you understand cloud computing? Most business leaders know the basics and hear “cloud” often. Businesses resist moving from traditional servers to the cloud because they don’t fully understand it. They fear the risks, and costs, of investing in new technology but are unaware of the positive impacts it has on business intelligence and data analytics initiatives. This crash course will help you consider the return on investment of making the jump. What is the Cloud and Cloud Computing? When we say your data is in the cloud, we are referring to a network of servers accessed over the Internet. These servers run software and databases to find what you need and deliver it. Cloud servers are housed in data centers all over the world, meaning organizations are not managing physical servers or running software applications on their machines. Private or Public Cloud? A private cloud is a cloud service that is not shared with any other organization. Whereas a public cloud, like Azure and AWS, shares computing services among different customers, but each customer’s data, applications and virtual networks are kept separate. With the “public or private” question, it comes down to the organization’s goals, budget, and compliance constraints. A public cloud is like renting an apartment, while a private cloud is like renting a similarly-sized house. The house is more private, but it typically costs more to rent. Maintenance in the apartment is handled by the building supervisor. In the house, it’s more involved (getting the contractor out or doing it yourself). In both situations, you still have the key to your cloud. We see customers preferring a hybrid cloud approach (a private cloud with one, or more, public cloud services, with software enabling communication between each) for greater flexibility by moving workloads between cloud solutions as needs, and costs, fluctuate. Why are companies moving to the cloud? Cloud computing, typically, means systems are being monitored 24/7. This is usually difficult to replicate on-site since traditional employees require days off, vacation time, sick days and aren’t available 24 hours a day. In traditional infrastructure and system management, regular maintenance means downtime. With cloud computing, the system is typically managed across multiple regions, reducing, or eliminating system downtime. Clouds are scalable and elastic, you can upgrade or downgrade services, storage, bandwidth, etc. quickly and seamlessly. OCTOBER 2021

Transferring to a cloud-based platform means in-house IT teams have less day-to-day management of the infrastructure, giving your team more time to implement changes that facilitate company growth. More and more employees are working virtually or taking data on-the-go. This used to mean limited, or outdated, access to data. The cloud enables governed access. What about security? In-house computing can mean less room for network breach, but it also means increased opportunity for error. With in-house computing, data is stored in a single location. In the case of natural disaster, or theft, data and systems are more likely to be permanently lost. In cloud computing, your data, infrastructure and services are likely spread over multiple servers, in different regions, and undergo updates, compliance modifications and security protocols, typically resulting in more secure computing. Isn’t it more expensive? The reduction in IT costs is one of the main advantages of choosing cloud computing over internally hosted infrastructure solutions. This comes from being able to provision flexible infrastructure, where you only pay for what you use. In addition, internal computing can be costly when you consider the time, and costs, of purchasing, housing and maintaining equipment. Cloud computing saves time, and money, and that is why companies are making this shift and making it now. What does it look like in practice? While all industries utilize the cloud, healthcare is using it to make a difference in operations and patient care. And the U.S. government and military were early adopters of cloud computing and “shifted focus from the technology itself to the core competencies and mission of the agency.” In the next year, I expect to see an increase in companies moving to the cloud. Whether your tech stack includes Software as a Service like Slack, Infrastructure as a Service like Microsoft Azure, or Platform as a Service like Openshift, it’s vital to unify the ecosystem for a data-first approach. Chris Moyer is Founder, President & CEO of SME Solutions Group, a Tampabased firm that focuses on data integration, automation, cloud storage, governance, literacy, and analytics. With 20+ years of experience, Chris capitalized on his business intelligence and process improvement expertise by launching SME in 2011 after spending most of his career with FPL & NextEra Energy. For more information contact Moyer at info@smesgroup.com.


70-80% of Business 70-80% of Business Intelligence Intelligence initiatives end up initiatives end up failing... failing... *


because people did because people did not embrace it. Ask us not embrace it. Ask us about the other 4 about the other 4 reasons why they fail. reasons why they fail.

Our subject matter experts' build cohesion between technology, process, Our subject matter experts' build cohesion technology, process, organizational goals, and budgets. A strong databetween foundation optimizes business organizational and budgets. A strong data foundation optimizes business performance goals, and commercializes opportunities. SME's data first approach performance and to commercializes SME's data first Data approach leads businesses smarter, moreopportunities. productive analytical insights. is an leads to smarter, more analytical insights. Datahidden is an asset businesses that supports businesses to productive learn about new opportunities, asset that supports businesses to learn new opportunities, hidden threats, evolving customer expectations, andabout staying competitive in the cuttingthreats, evolving customer expectations, and staying competitive in the cuttingedge marketplace. We believe that by embracing Business Intelligence you can edge marketplace. We believe that by embracing Business Intelligence you can do more or spend less. do more or spend less. info@smesgroup.com info@smesgroup.com www.smesgroup.com www.smesgroup.com 813.414.5669 813.414.5669 *CIO Magazine, "4 Reasons Most Companies Fail at Business Intelligence." Sept. 17, 2017 *CIO Magazine, "4 Reasons Most Companies Fail at Business Intelligence." Sept. 17, 2017










ADVANCING AFIB CARE WITH WATCHMAN™ FLX In atrial fibrillation (AFib), the two upper heart chambers no longer coordinate contractions, causing an irregular heartbeat. The WATCHMAN FLX is a left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) device. It’s intended to be used in patients with AFib unrelated to heart valve disease. Implanting the FLX is a minimally invasive, one-time procedure. This advanced device reduces the chance of stroke in AFib patients, offering a greater peace of mind throughout their care journey with us. “More than 90% of patients who have the WATCHMAN FLX implanted are able to stop taking their blood thinner medicine after 45 days. This is such a meaningful improvement for the people we serve, and it’s inspiring to watch my patients regain control over their health and lives,” says Dr. Charles Lambert, Medical Director at AdventHealth Tampa. THE FIRST TO PERFORM TRANSCATHETER AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT (TAVR) With groundbreaking procedures like TAVR, we can offer solutions for patients without open-heart surgery. Our team was the first hospital to pioneer TAVR in the region, a less invasive treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis (a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve). The most common way to perform TAVR is through a small incision in the leg. The procedure lasts for only

about an hour compared to open-heart surgery, which lasts much longer and comes with the possibility for more complications. According to Lambert, the benefits of TAVR are well worth it. “Patients can expect better clinical outcomes, less scarring from a less invasive procedure and a shorter hospital stay and recovery time so they can be back to their everyday routines faster,” he says. “Expect symptom relief, less pain and anxiety, and an allaround improved quality of life.” THE MICRA™ PACEMAKER: THE TINIEST IMPLANT FOR THE BIGGEST BENEFITS About the size of a vitamin capsule, Micra is the world’s smallest pacemaker and is designed for patients with a slow heart rate, or bradycardia. Unlike most pacemakers that are placed in a patient’s chest, with leads running to the heart, Micra is leadless and implanted directly into the heart. “Micra is placed in the heart through a leg vein. This procedure is minimally invasive and needs no chest incision. Unlike traditional pacemakers, Micra doesn’t leave a scar or bump under the skin,” Lambert says. Because Micra is self-contained within the heart, it eliminates possible medical complications arising from a chest incision and from wires running from a conventional pacemaker. Most patients who use Micra experience little, to no, complications and can get back to their regular activities without restrictions. WHERE CARDIOVASCULAR CARE REVOLVES AROUND YOU From WATCHMAN FLX and Micra to TAVR, all of our expertise adds up to better, safer, cardiac care for you and your loved ones. These advancements, and more, empower us to help you get back to the life you love faster, so you can feel whole for years to come. If you or a loved one need cardiovascular care, reach out to the experts at AdventHealth Cardiovascular Institute for a consultation today or visit AdventHealthCardiovascularInstituteWestFL. com to learn more. ♦




dvances in cardiovascular care offer minimally invasive options to some patients who previously would have needed open-heart surgery. The world-class cardiovascular teams at AdventHealth are pioneering these surgical techniques and cardiac technologies for the future of heart care, right here in Tampa Bay. These advances in heart health include the use of innovative devices like WATCHMAN™ FLX and Micra™ pacemakers, along with the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. These devices and procedures are used in state-of-the-art catheterization labs, where our patients’ health, comfort and safety are our top priority.

mansions on the market



Dream Home for Wine and Golf Lovers ADDRESS: 8495 Lindrick Lane LIST PRICE: $10.85 million SPECS: 6 bedrooms | 10 bathrooms | 15,223 square feet DETAILS: This 6,352-square-foot residence, at the Concession, reveals surprises to delight those with unique tastes and lifestyles. The interior boasts a temperature-controlled wine room, capable of holding more than 400 bottles of favorite vintages. For those who enjoy the sporting life, especially on the greens, the high luxe community is home to the PGA Tour World Golf Championship. The golf course is designed by golf greats Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. This neighborhood is limited to 200 homes. The modern, open plan comes to life with 12- to 14-foot ceilings with a more-than-generous, spacious feel. Privacy is offered with the natural surroundings of a preserve and its gate-guarded community. Another unique feature is its three-slot bank of garages, as well as an additional two garages. The latter is approximately 800 square feet, converted for use as an exercise facility. The home has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Outside is a private oasis with a shimmering pool and oversized spa.

OFFERED BY: Stacy Haas, Realtor, CLHMS, CMNE, stacyhaas@ michaelsaunders.com.






When we are united, we are stronger. By assembling our community together around bold solutions, we’re able to multiply the impact of every volunteer, donation and partner. Together, we create exponential outcomes that create opportunities today, transform lives tomorrow and build a more equitable future for generations to come.





Reaching the




hat happens when you ask people to nominate the best of the best that the Tampa Bay Business community has to offer? A really, long, judging session, for one. We will undoubtedly get asked about our judging process a lot, rightfully so. Arm’s length transparency is key when choosing winners – as almost every finalist is a friend, in one form or another. We take this seriously and wanted to share the process with you so there are no questions remaining. Here’s the CliffsNotes version. All nominations were submitted from the community. All nominees had to fill out the same form, with the same questions. No packet, no consideration. Period. We booked a meeting room at the Centre Club for an afternoon, who always does a fantastic job hosting. Thank you, Centre Club Tampa! In an attempt to save a few trees, we tried presenting the packets in digital form, on a big television screen. That was not a fan favorite. Instead, the judges decided to pass around the packets and discuss. (For Philanthropist of the Year I printed out all of the packets for each judge. But they will eventually make their way to the recycle bin, so no one come for me, okay?) We created a scoring booklet for each judge, allotting a certain number of points for each answer. The CEO category was the largest and the most challenging. We had more than 30 submissions in that category, alone. It was a very tough category for the judges to deliberate over. There were a few ground rules we established prior to judging. Bridgette and Jason were not allowed in the judging room once the judges began deliberating. I was allowed in the room, but purely to help in research and to give guidance on questions about the process. If you know me, you know not sharing my thoughts was especially hard – but I did it. No one at TBBW had any say about who was named a finalist, and ultimately winners. No, Bridgette did not pick her friends. A fun fact is, in all the years of awards and judging, Bridgette has never been in the room. She likes it that way. These are sensitive, and, invariably, there’s an advertiser – partner – and/or friend on the list. That is why we established this process, so as to remove any question about how finalists, and winners, are chosen. A big, giant, thank you to Kevin Hourigan, Rhea Law and Jennifer Murphy for the many hours they spent with me that day – which was five, to be exact. As you can expect, we felt a real dedication to making this event top tier. And if not for the amazing judges we had that day, we couldn’t have made it happen. In the coming pages, you will get to know a little more about this impressive group of c-level business leaders in the Tampa Bay community. The team at TBBW is very proud to have all of them included in this inaugural program. The bar has been set high. I’m already looking forward to Apogee 2022! Jo-Lynn Brown Managing Editor Tampa Bay Business & Wealth












Introducing TBBW’s Inaugural Class of Apogee Award Finalists The list represents the cream of the crop in the c-suite What does “apogee” mean? That’s a question we have heard a lot since we began seeking nominations for Tampa Bay Business & Wealth’s first signature event. Simply put, the apogee is the highest point of development in something. If your career was a mountain, the top of it is the apogee. These awards were created to celebrate the achievements of those sitting in a c-level office. Through speaking with our cover story subjects over the past three years, it became clear that those that occupy those c-level positions encounter unique hurdles, and challenges. The pressure, and the worry, they experience is nothing to take lightly. The finalists you will read about here have accomplished great things in their careers and we are honored to celebrate them. Congratulations to all of you!







Anderson is a former federal maritime commissioner who joined Port Tampa Bay as CEO in December 2012, after holding a series of high-profile leadership positions in the public and private sectors. What has been the most monumental moment of your career? I don’t know that one single moment stands out more than the rest—I think of several, at various times. Certainly, being nominated as a federal maritime commissioner by the president of the United States and confirmed by our nation’s Senate is one. Recently, serving on former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s commission on human trafficking is another. But I can hold up a few different things at different times in my career that I consider monumental, in their own ways, such as two years ago, when Port Tampa Bay received three Asian services, for the first time, after we worked so hard to improve our capabilities and our marketing. How did the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? We had to adapt quickly. While not on the front lines in the same way as our great health care workers, ports needed to keep cargo moving: from energy products, building materials and ecommerce to items on grocery store shelves, so we never closed. COVID did present many challenges, especially in those early days when everyone else was closed. Obviously, our cruise business has suffered but there have been some positive outcomes and opportunities, too, as we are the most cargo diverse port in Florida.

Buckley leads Peerfit’s expansion strategy by driving national partnerships, business development and fundraising. Under his leadership, the company has raised more than $50 million, serves more than 15,000 clients and completed an eight-figure merger and acquisition transaction. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? Being a growth company during COVID presented the ultimate challenge. We continued to drive value for our clients, and did so with reduced staff and resources. While every company had to find ways to survive during COVID, and the economic lockdown, growth tech companies are expected not just to survive but continue to grow 50% to 100% each year. This presented us with a unique challenge: grow in an industry with 90% supply closures, with 30% less staff and significantly less cash available to invest in our growth. As a leader, this time was a challenge, because it required me to hone in on two different skill sets—keep our teams energized, and positive, during times of unrest; but also work efficiently, and aggressively, to ensure we stay ahead in regard to revenue. What has been your proudest professional moment? We were one of the first companies to truly embrace remote culture, and flexible work schedules, before the rest of the country. And this was not without its challenges. Our board is made of people who made their fortunes in real estate and always pushed us to get an office.





Charles is CEO of Broadstaff, a staffing firm dedicated to the resource needs of telecom and technology. She is also a member of the board of directors for Cablerunner International. She is a board member for the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum, an advisory board member for NEDAS and a board member for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? I have lost everything, twice, [closed two companies] and rebuilt new companies bigger than before. I succeeded by not being too proud to go back to basics, and start from scratch, then work twice as hard to get back on top, learning lessons from failures. The second time I lost it all was when my son was fighting cancer, and I was going through a divorce. Mental toughness, and faith, got me through. Being a single mom, and an entrepreneur, I was responsible for everything for my two kids for the past 14 years—practices, games, schoolwork, travel sports, discipline, support, meals, college move ins and outs. I believe work-life balance is a myth. Work and life are not separate—they are integrated as one. I hired support, even when I couldn’t afford it. I involved my kids in my business and taught them how to thrive in the face of adversity. I let them see the messiness of life and taught them how to excel in the midst of discomfort. They are both on track to be entrepreneurs.





Gendusa is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, keynote speaker and philanthropist. She has grown her company, PostcardMania, from a small startup into an industry leader that generated over $64 million in 2020, currently employs 300 people and spans a 69,000-squarefoot custom-built facility in Clearwater. What has been the most monumental moment of your career? Completing our recent pivot from a direct mail marketing company to a tech company. It’s a journey we started in 2013, back when we decided to start offering digital products in addition to direct mail—so, Google ads, website development, email marketing, social media marketing. Our entire mission is to make marketing—which gets more, and more, complicated by the day, it seems—easy and attainable for everyday small business owners so they can attract more leads, grow their businesses, hire more people. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? We continued growing and grabbed more market share after an initial five-week earnings crash, when we were down 41%. We continued marketing, despite all indications telling us not to, banking on the likelihood that competitors would cut back. This allowed us to increase leads by 9.24% in the six months following May 1, 2020, averaging an extra 186 leads, per week, without increasing budget.

Penney is a frequent speaker at industry events, often quoted in various financial publications, and was named to Investment News’ 2015 list of 40 most influential people in wealth management under the age of 40. He was also named to the 2016 inaugural list of Icons and Innovators in wealth management by Investment News. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? As a homeless kid from rural Maine who dreamed to work in finance on Wall Street, I had to overcome a lot of challenges along the way. I bought my first suit for $13 at the Salvation Army, rode a bus from Maine to New York City and interviewed in an industry/city where I knew no one. I climbed my way up the ladder at Citi Smith Barney and I was inspired by our entrepreneur clients to start my own business, Dynasty Financial Partners. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? I’m a big believer that a disruption accelerates trends that are already under way. Dynasty works to techenable all aspects of the wealth management business and, thus, when the world went ‘virtual,’ our services became even more important to our advisers and their clients. Our technology allowed advisers to seamlessly work from home and connect with their clients in a safe and remote way.











A serial entrepreneur and data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman is the author of four books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses. Along with his CEO duties, he is editor-in-chief of Cyberheist News, an ezine tailored to deliver IT security news, technical updates and social engineering alerts. He is a six-time Inc. 500 award winner. What has been the most monumental moment of your career? The most monumental moment of my career, so far, has been when KnowBe4 became a publicly traded company. It was a lot of years of hard work, by our team, and the culmination was when our copresidents got to ring the Nasdaq bell on Wall Street back in April. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? The andemic helped to further emphasize why organizations need security awareness training and simulated phishing testing. I view my role, in the industry, as helping others to better protect their organizations from the latest cyberthreats. I would say that the pandemic has made me adapt to getting the message across even stronger, about the need for new-school security awareness training to prevent cyberattacks. I am helping even more cybersecurity professionals protect their organizations.






LIONS EYE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPLANT AND RESEARCH (AND PRESIDENT) Woody has more than 30 years’ tenure as president and CEO of Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research. He has grown the organization from a local, single-service organization into a global, large-scale, multifaceted health care organization. What has been your proudest professional moment? My proudest moment is also a profound, and heartbreaking, moment for me, personally. I, unfortunately, lost my sister in 2020. She was only 43 years old; however, when she was 16, she made the bold decision to be an organ donor. Her commitment to saving lives was magnified by the work she witnessed me do throughout my career. I was able to personally ensure that her wishes were honored, and she was able to give the gift of sight to someone in need. Her gift was a profoundly personal example of our tireless work over the past three decades. What are some ways you give back to the community? I’m a Tampa native, so I’m passionate about the community. I want to be a catalyst for positive change in our region. I focus on business development and recruitment in our community through the Tampa Bay Chamber, where I’m also a 2014 graduate of Leadership Tampa. I also serve on the board of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council.


Bowles oversees accounting, finance, forecasting and private and institutional financing. He has more than 20 years of experience in corporate leadership and finance. He joined WilsonHCG from Florida-based technology firm, Tribridge, where he served as CFO. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? I’ve faced a few challenges in my career; economically, the recession in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Another major challenge was transitioning from the military to a corporate role. I overcame those challenges by focusing on the long term, never making rash decisions, always having as much data as possible and realizing that sometimes your gut instinct is right. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? The pandemic’s impact on my role in the talent industry was felt within a few months of the onset. Hiring, across many industries, was either delayed, deferred or frozen, making it difficult to manage our resources efficiently for the short term. The focus was maintaining as many team members as possible, to support our business and to partner with clients, as the market rapidly changed. Our teams made sacrifices across the board, at all levels, to ensure we could support the resourcing levels and have the business prepared to hit the ground running when demand returned.



Yaldor was educated as a geochemist. She says she’s a salesperson by instinct and a Jewish mother by genetics. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? In the early years, my greatest challenge was that in South Africa, married women were expected to be ‘barefoot and pregnant,’ not geochemists looking for work in the world of field sciences. My solution was to work for the university where I obtained my degree, to assist in training science teachers who came for refresher courses, helping them to inspire young women and girls to look to the sciences as a career. In the later years, the greatest challenge was the balance between my responsibilities as a business owner and my family. Without the incredible partnership with my husband, children, key employees and valued customers, I would never have been able to stick to my mantra that ‘family always comes first.’ What has been the most monumental moment of your career so far? The pandemic afforded PBX-Change the opportunity to provide free internet access to an underserved community, during a time that was extremely difficult for people in all walks of life. We were able to do what we do best in an environment that was less than ideal and provided an essential, and quality, service. Without intending it to be so, this act of philanthropy has pushed us into the spotlight of Tampa business leaders, which, in the past, had eluded us, despite the quality and reliability of the service we provide.





Alvare has been the sole in-house counsel, in the role of corporate counsel, for MarineMax since December 2018. He has held previous positions as vice president of legal and human resources with Comcar Industries, assistant general counsel with Infilaw Corporation, general counsel and interim CEO for Creative Recycling Systems, general counsel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and litigation counsel with Walter Industries. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? Traditionally, people have been hesitant to involve the legal department, often defining it as the company’s naysayer. In each opportunity I have had throughout my career, I have strived to dispel this by introducing easy accessibility and making efforts to avoid the word ‘no.’ I encourage early communication so that issues can be identified before they become too problematic, thus reducing potential liability and reaching solutions that further benefit the company, which meets the expectations of the board [of directors] and the shareholders. The ancillary benefit results in reduced outside legal expenses, happier team members and satisfied customers. What are some ways you give back to the community? I am involved with the nonprofit breast cancer organization, Driven by Heart, supporting more than 3,000 women, and providing pro-bono legal services to them. As an alumnus of [Tampa’s] Jesuit High School, I assist their fund-raising efforts in support of their vision, values and continued growth. Recently, I co-chaired Jesuit’s annual Father-Son Fishing Tournament designed to promote awareness of the importance of serving as ‘Men for Others’ in the community.

Lefferts was named executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary in 2019, after serving as group vice president, U.S. general counsel and secretary. She joined Bloomin’ Brands in 1997 and now oversees the company’s legal team. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? After graduate school, I joined a law firm where I was the only female associate. I quickly realized the challenge of being different than everyone around me and learned the disadvantage of not having role models, or mentors, who were like me. This led to my desire to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As part of this effort, I co-founded an employee resource group at Bloomin’ Brands focused on developing women leaders. In the five years since the group was founded, we have hosted speakers teaching leadership skills and provided mentors and networking opportunities. I also spearheaded our legal department’s commitment to be more diverse in its hires of outside counsel by partnering with DiversityLab to become to become Mansfield-certified. What has been your proudest professional moment? The most recent being last year, when the pandemic closed most of our restaurants’ dining rooms and our executive team made the decision not to lay off, or furlough, any employees but instead to continue paying all of our employees, even those unable to work due to dining room closures.















Butler has more than 25 years of global experience as a human resources executive. Currently, he is the “chief people officer” for Titan Technologies. Previously, he was executive vice president of people for the cybersecurity firm A-Lign, chief human resources officer at Blue Grace Logistics and vice president of human resources at Cargill/Mosaic Phosphate Companies, where he managed human resource teams and labor relations in China, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Lithuania, Ukraine and Thailand. What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Looking at sheer numbers, I could say that I contributed to the greatest financial success of my career during the 20 years I spent at Cargill/Mosaic phosphate companies. But I feel that I’m really in the midst of the most monumental moments of my career today, as I work with a talented and hard-working HR and recruiting team to attract, retain and support the employees at Titan Technologies as we serve a diverse array of clients that include federal, state and local governments, in addition to commercial and educational customers. What has been your proudest professional moment? While I look back fondly on all the successful projects I’ve been a part of, and all the wonderful people I have met throughout my professional career, I am most proud of how the people on my teams have conducted themselves.

Gudenkauf, as executive vice president, joined Welbilt in 2020 as a critical part of the executive leadership team. Gudenkauf has developed an extensive career in human resources, designing and implementing talent strategies for recruiting, training, leadership development, compensation, benefits and human resources technology solutions across multiple industries. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? Overcoming a nontraditional start, in a very traditional field, was a sizeable challenge in launching my career. I did not have a degree in human resources or the scholarly credibility that is commonplace for my peers, so I had to cultivate confidence in my ability and navigate this space with tenacity. I was tireless about gaining experience and insistent about taking my place at the table. I found that this challenge, ultimately, served me best in the end; it allowed me to be less structured in my approach, less traditional, more willing to try, fail and explore creative solutions. What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Twenty-five years ago, a coworker asked me a simple question that forever changed my professional mindset and solidified a mission to empower underrepresented voices throughout my career. I once took a seat in a row of chairs along the back wall in a board room. A woman asked me, ‘Why are you sitting over there?’ She urged me to take one of the seats at the table, explaining that no one will put me ‘at the table’ until I put myself there first. I have taken every opportunity to share this lesson of believing in yourself with others, empowering their voices.

Ho has a built a 30-year career with one of the largest Anheuser-Busch InBev wholesalers in the southeast United States, beginning as an intern. She was promoted to vice president in 2004 and to CHRO in 2019. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? It’s challenging to work for a private, family-owned business. The CEO, who hired me, was the founder. I have worked for his son for several decades. In 2021, we completed a succession plan to the third generation of ownership. Each senior leader is so very different in personality, expectation and approach to the business. I have worked for the same organization, however, have needed to stretch myself with new skills as I have experienced three distinct leadership styles. All of this while maintaining consistent, positive company culture for 350plus employees. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? As an essential business, we never paused our operations. We made immediate policy changes, with employees as the focus. Our senior leadership team met every week, putting out our communications and stating our position on the ever-changing landscape in our community. Maintaining a safe workplace, so our employees could complete their daily tasks, required patience, understanding and vigilance on the latest news from health experts. We had to be nimble, and open, to how this was affecting everyone and we needed to be available as questions and fears were expressed.







Dear Apogee Award Finalists, Please accept my deepest congratulations on your recent selection for inclusion as a finalist for the inaugural 2021 TBBW Apogee Awards. Your nomination as an Apogee Award finalist is a ringing endorsement of the exceptional contribution you make to our community every day! The fact that you have been nominated speaks to your leadership, which is very much a reflection of the hard work, talents, energy level, commitment and dedication you have given to your respective industries. We are a proud partner of the 2021 TBBW Apogee Awards and we are honored to be part of the Tampa Bay business community alongside inspiring leaders such as yourselves. As a part of the local communities where we serve, SouthState has 5,500 dedicated team members across more than 275 locations, who support more than one million customers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. As one of the leading regional banks in the Southeast, which is headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, SouthState focuses each day on continuing our long-standing tradition of providing quality service to our customers and remaining focused on supporting the needs of our community. From our view, while we see ourselves as bankers in our community, we are also your neighbors, and friends, who contribute to the local economic growth. In 2020, we donated more than $2 million to non-profit organizations in our communities who have an ongoing need for support. We believe that by doing what we can to help build strong communities, we will help to drive strong economies. This in turn gives families and businesses an opportunity to thrive. We are also proud to have guided nearly 20,000 clients through the Paycheck Protection Program funding which helped local businesses keep their doors open and keep our community members employed. Our commitment has always been, and continues to be, providing a best-in-class experience for our clients and the communities we serve. Our efforts were recently recognized as we have been named #1 in Florida on Forbes’ “Best-in-State Banks” list for 2021. We acknowledge that the greatest compliment we can receive is when our customers recommend SouthState to others. We are humbled and grateful to our customers for this accomplishment as it recognizes the hard work of our team members and the confidence that our customers have placed in us to be their trusted financial advisor. Once again, I want to extend my sincerest congratulations on your nomination for the 2021 Apogee Award. I hope that you embrace the nomination and consider it an honor. I am excited for all of our nominees and look forward to the awards ceremony where the winner will be announced. Thank you for your dedication to our community, and good luck!



Best wishes,

Angel Gonzalez started his banking career as an intern with SouthState Bank while attending Southeastern University. He entered the Management Trainee Program shortly after graduating, and upon its completion became a portfolio manager in the Lakeland Market. During his time in Lakeland he became a commercial relationship manager. In 2015, he was promoted to community president of Marion, Alachua and Putnam Counties. His responsibilities included the management and growth of $305MM in assets comprised of three FDIC acquired banks. Gonzalez is currently the Hillsborough regional president and responsible for the management and growth of $780MM in assets.






Lance is a distinguished leader, with more than 25 years of experience in human resources. She ensures KnowBe4 maintains a unique, and fun, company culture. Under her leadership, the people operations team has grown 500 percent, from 10 team members to more than 50 team members, in 11 countries, across six continents. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? Growing up, I dropped out of school at 14 to help my mother. I began working three jobs to make ends meet. I obtained my GED at 21 and my first ‘executive job’ in HR at 22. HR was ‘trial-by-fire,’ as I had no formal education in the field and no experience. Failure was not an option, as a young mother with two children who relied on me. I turned to self-learning, and research, and received mentorship along the way. Every challenge I faced ultimately made me stronger and equipped me to lead. What has been your proudest professional moment? “My proudest professional moment is seeing others I have worked with succeed. There is no greater feeling than witnessing colleagues achieve the success they deserve. It is rewarding to see how my work can leave an impact on the trajectory of a colleague’s career path.






ANCHOR GLASS CONTAINER CORP. (AND VICE PRESIDENT) Anchor Glass is a privately-held, North American manufacturer of glass packaging products with more than 2,000 union-represented and nonrepresented employees. Before joining Anchor Glass, Larrison held the global senior vice president of people and culture at Triad Retail Media, with much of her career in manufacturing working for Gerdau and Jabil. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? I have spent most of my career leading people in a manufacturing environment, focusing on learning the ins and outs of the industry to best serve them as a strategic business partner. All the manufacturing organizations I joined tended to have an ‘old school’ mentality and required significant cultural transformations to remain competitive in today’s market, and be sustainable in the long term. They were all builder roles, which is my passion. I focused on building new ways of working, helping organizations [along with tenured talent/leadership] understand the need for change for long-term viability surrounding people, process and technology. This requires significant stakeholder management, along with short- and long-term change management strategies. What else would you like the Apogee Award judges to know? I never expected to have a passion for manufacturing, but it is fulfilling to be a part of something bigger than you that you can believe in, a product that makes a difference, whether it was being the largest recycler of steel and then converting that to new bridges, stadiums, etc. or providing an infinitely recyclable glass container.


Harrison has spearheaded Visit Tampa Bay’s marketing transformation. As a result, it joined the ranks of Hit Impact Tourism counties in Florida and has raised its profile, and economic impact, domestically and internationally. His campaigns have been honored with over 30 U.S. and international awards, including multiple HSMAI Adrian Awards (honoring top travel marketing), and he was named a Top 25 Extraordinary Mind by HSMAI in 2019. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? From 9/11 to the recession in 2008, to the [COVID-19] pandemic, there have always been challenges. And I have always faced them head on. I always tell staff that you need a thick skin, common sense and a creative spark. During the recession, we found a way to merge two agencies to provide the financial structure we needed, and during the pandemic, while other convention and visitors bureaus shut down, we went to work relocating conventions, aggressively targeting leisure markets. And, as a result, Visit Tampa Bay leads the state and the country in the recovery. What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Most recently, helping to put Tampa on a world stage and safely host a Super Bowl during a pandemic. We were centerstage, when the world was watching, and put together hundreds of domestic, and international, interviews to show Tampa in its best light.



Dear Finalists, When Ben Older and I started OLDER & LUNDY (now, OLDER LUNDY ALVAREZ & KOCH) in 2003, we did absolutely everything ourselves, from making coffee runs to ordering printer paper and toner, from paying bills to putting stamps on the envelopes. Every day presented new challenges and the time it took to wear so many proverbial hats at one time is now inconceivable to me. But we were building a business from the ground up and doing everything, every day, is just part of what that takes. We started out as a family law firm in Tampa. As our firm grew, we knew that we had to make smart hiring decisions to put the best people in the right roles in order to take some of the responsibilities off our plates. We knew that our focus needed to be on practicing law and growing the firm. In addition to hiring amazing administrative staff and the best legal practitioners we could find, we then hired a strong chief financial officer and an office administrator. Later, we brought in a marketing director and ultimately a chief strategy officer. Each decision we made was significant and, effectively, changed the game for us. We went from one little tiny office with just two buddies practicing law to what we have now -- five offices, approximately 60 employees, including 26 attorneys, and many practice groups that now allow our firm to serving almost any significant legal need we encounter in our community. As entrepreneurs, it can be tough to let go of the reigns but had we not done so, we never would have seen 18 years of seemingly exponential growth. When Bridgette, Jason and Jo-Lynn approached us about sponsoring the Apogee Awards and bringing it to the Tampa Bay area for the first time, we were all in. These awards are all about everything that we have lived, and loved, in our professional lives for the last two decades. Thank you to the TBBW team for this opportunity. From a selfish perspective, it presented an amazing opportunity to reflect on all of our own achievements and remarkable growth as a business. We also want to thank our very own Jennifer Murphy, LL.M. for serving as a Judge for this year’s awards. Jen is one of our most experienced attorneys in our corporate practice and knows first-hand about the importance of strong leadership in any company, large or small. We know it was hard for Jen and her fellow judges to narrow down the list of stellar nominees to this group of finalists. A big congratulations to all who were nominated. Strong c-suite leadership is at the very core of a successful, growing business. Congratulations to the C-Suite Finalists for the 2021 TBBW Apogee Awards: Patrick Harrison, Andra Hedden, Michael Kilgore, Ken Bowles, Martine Yaldor, Sean Butler, Sandra Ho, Jen Gudenkauf, Erika Lance, Wendy Larrison, Manny Alvare, Kelly Lefferts, Brian Ford, Lewis Jeff Jolly, JoLynn Lokey, Paul Anderson, Ed Buckley, Carrie Charles, Joy Gendusa, Shirl Penney, Stu Sjouwerman and Jason Woody. Congratulations, too, to the President and Owner Finalists Hugh Campbell, Rita Lowman, Eric Newman, Jason Alpert and Phil Yost. The Awards dinner will be a wonderful reminder to us all that especially during these hard times Tampa Bay is a strong, vibrant, entrepreneurial community, filled with amazingly talented people. We are honored to participate in and to present at TBBW’s Inaugural Apogee Awards, and we are already looking forward to next year. Thank you again, and congratulations to the TBBW team for bringing another amazing event to the Tampa Bay Area.



Michael L. Lundy Managing Partner OLDER LUNDY ALVAREZ & KOCH Michael Lundy has been practicing law since 1999, when he began his career in the area of complex civil litigation. In 2001, he was hired by Alston & Bird LLP, where he worked in both the Atlanta and New York offices in the areas of public and private securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. In 2003, he founded OLDER & LUNDY (now, OLDER LUNDY ALVAREZ & KOCH) with Ben Older and the firm has seen extraordinary growth ever since expanding into civil litigation, insurance disputes, corporate and tax law, and estate and probate law.






Hedden has more than 16 years of experience in marketing, and business development, and 12 years of experience focused specifically on information technology. Over the past seven years, Marketopia has evolved from a team of two to more than 170. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? As an entrepreneur, there are always challenges— especially when you value high growth and scalability in your business. Finding the right talent that shares the passion for growth, and rigorous expansion, can be a challenge. We overcome this by creating a great culture that current employees want to refer friends into and prospective talent want to be a part of. Another large challenge is staying ahead of the curve. Marketopia provides marketing and lead generation for technology companies. Both marketing, as a business discipline, and the technology industry change in an instant, so staying ahead of this curve and ensuring that we have the right products and services to meet the current need is a tremendous challenge we solve through continuous innovation. What are some ways you give back to the community? Giving back to our community is a major passion of mine. Because of this, I started a team, internally, at Marketopia, called the Culture Crusaders, whose mission is to evangelize and foster our culture. Each month the team hosts three events: One, the Helping Hands Event; two, the Health and Wellness Event; and, three, the #Oneteam Event.






After a career in media, Kilgore became the vice president of marketing and customer experiences at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. He joined the Columbia Restaurant Group, as CMO, in 2013 as it began to expand into new locations and concepts, including Ulele, Goody Goody and Casa Santo Stefano. What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? I’m not sure I can pick one. Negotiating exclusive newspaper sponsorship deals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Lightning as they opened a new stadium and arena. Locking up virtually every newspaper sponsorship opportunity for the 2001 Super Bowl, exclusively for the Tribune. Winning the annual Outstanding Achievement in Road Marketing from Broadway producers (2009) after less than eight years in a new industry. Helping to open five restaurants, successfully, in three years, including websites, social media, menu creation and public relations. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? Florida restaurants were closed for two months, starting in March 2020. Our marketing team had to keep communicating positivity, and encouragement, letting our community know that the dark was temporary, and light would return. We talked about what we were doing for our staffers, and for the community, even as we also communicated our increased focus on, and improvement of, some restaurant services such as curbside pickup. We successfully reopened, and continue to thrive in adverse conditions.

Ford enters his 15th year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his role as chief operating officer, he oversees all aspects of the organization’s day-to-day business operations and community involvement. What has been a monumental moment of your career? Going through the 2020 football season with this team, during a pandemic, and then winning the Super Bowl in our own stadium, there’s nothing quite like it. From top to bottom, everyone pulled together to create a fantastic season that I think our community needed. We always pride ourselves on ensuring that we exceed the expectations of our fans by providing top-of-class service when they come to our games and, while last season was different than most, we still managed to reach that level of excellence for the game day experience. How did the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? Our top priority going into last season was keeping our staff and team safe through every step of the way. We worked tirelessly with all local authorities and government agencies, as well as the Tampa Sports Authority, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium was prepared to host fans for games. I can’t say enough about the work and leadership displayed by all of Team Tampa Bay to come together to ensure that our sports teams were able to play games in front of fans in a safe and responsible manner. I am extremely proud of our entire organization for stepping up as well, with many of our employees having to work from home while still producing an unforgettable in-game experience for the fans that were fortunate enough to attend the games. It was a historic season on so many fronts.





Our Community is Stronger Together The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on our communities’this past year, and business leaders faced unimaginable challenges and opportunities. Many organizations and employees have experienced financial problems, the death of friends or family, the loss of connection to loved ones, and took on roles as teacher for their kids. During this season, we worked harder, our agility was tested, and we realized that our community is stronger together. Together, we are leading this community during a public health crisis. The executives honored with this year’s Apogee Awards are outstanding examples of true leadership in unprecedented times. They not only provided guidance and support to their organizations and employees, but also demonstrated a commitment to our Tampa Bay community. Like many of these organizations, when the pandemic struck, we reassessed our business goals and fortified our mission and commitment to our community. These leaders’ collective devotion to this community reminds us of our resilience as a region. At Florida Blue, collaboration and flexibility have been our two greatest contributions throughout the pandemic. We have collaborated with community organizations to identify and address essential needs. When our employer group and individual members were struggling financially, we offered flexibility with payment options and even provided discounts and credits. We continue to collaborate with provider and pharmacy partners to vaccinate underserved communities. We’ve been flexible with our employees throughout the pandemic to accommodate remote working – especially when managing kids in remote school or caring for other members of the family. We share these leaders’ commitment to a prosperous Tampa Bay community and congratulate them on their recognition. We believe the collective efforts of all of us will lead the Tampa Bay region to its pinnacle of potential.



David Pizzo is Florida Blue’s Market President for West Florida, overseeing operations in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee, Lee, and other western counties south to Collier. As the state’s largest insurer, he oversees a team providing comprehensive health care solutions to the region including employer group plans for businesses of all sizes, Medicare Advantage and other plans to support the state’s older population and individual and family plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Florida Blue is heralded as an innovator and pioneer for ACA plans as the country’s largest single-state provider of ACA plans. Pizzo is committed to Florida Blue’s mission of helping people and communities achieve better health and is involved in a number of business, civic, and philanthropic organizations throughout the region including the Tampa Bay Partnership (2018 - 2020 Chair), United Way Suncoast (Vice- Chair), Tampa Bay Economic Development Council Board, Tampa Bay Thrives Board, American Heart Association Tampa Bay Metro Board, David A. Straz Center for Performing Arts Board, CEO Council of Tampa Bay, USF Muma College of Business Executive Advisory Council, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Pizzo holds a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a Master of Business Administration in marketing and international business from NYU’s Stern Business School










Jolly spent 22 years in the United States Air Force as an engineer and intelligence officer with a final assignment as a squadron commander in Germany. He started with Celestar Corp. immediately upon retirement and has been with the company for 15 years and was named COO in 2012. How did the pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? Unexpectedly, the pandemic did not significantly disrupt Celestar’s operation. All our employees were able to continue working, remotely, during the height of the pandemic with no adverse impact on the corporation. Celestar experienced significant growth over the past 18 months. What are some ways you give back to the community? In honor of my deceased son, my wife and I, along with Celestar’s philanthropic support, recently partnered with a charitable organization based in Washington, D.C., Winners Lacrosse, to start a chapter here in Tampa. Winners Lacrosse works with inner-city, underserved children to teach them lacrosse at no-cost. We are also Ronald McDonald House supporters, sponsoring a room.

Lokey’s operational and executive management skills keep Visit Tampa Bay, and its affiliated organizations, running smoothly, and efficiently, while providing a collaborative work environment for staff members. She oversees all facets of administration, accounting, board governance, stakeholder relations, human resources, information technology, accountability, payroll and the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? One of my priorities at Visit Tampa Bay has been to expand the diversity of our board by recruiting women. It has been a challenge to recruit fellow women when not a lot of women are No. 1 in their company, which is expected of our board, for example, general managers of hotels or head of attractions. Typically, women fall at No. 2 or No. 3, even though they have a lot to contribute. It was astonishing how much pushback I received from board members when nominating women. Across the board, our male equivalents often see women as being there to provide a service, versus being there as a colleague. What are some ways you give back to the community? I serve this community in a variety of capacities including active participation with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, University of Tampa’s Board of Fellows and serve on the board for Feeding Tampa Bay. In addition, I serve on Feeding Tampa Bay’s governance committee and have contributed many hours to writing, and developing, their board governance structure and employee policies and procedures handbook.

Alpert is Florida’s leading benefit auctioneer who, along with his three partner auctioneers at Alpert Enterprises, stage more benefit auctions than any other company in the state. Alpert, and his team, put on a fundraising show like no one else, helping to raise more than $200 million since inception in 2007. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? The benefit auction industry is unique in that everyone thinks they know someone who can call an auction and will do it for free. Licensed auctioneers fight the “free battle,” often. There are local newscasters, DJs and others who can call an auction, but hiring a licensed benefit auctioneer more than pays for itself in the additional revenue we’re able to help generate for the charity. Alpert Enterprises has overcome the ‘free battle’ by establishing an impeccable reputation and educating our clients that an auctioneer’s fee is as much an investment as is it a fee. What has been the most monumental moment of your career? The most memorable moment of my career, thus far, was when we surpassed $200 million in funds raised exclusively through live auctions and Bid From the Heart for our charities. When we first started the company, I thought $25 million was a lofty goal. Then, $50 million and $100 million were our benchmarks. During the pandemic, we surpassed, cumulatively, $200 million and are raising money for charities faster than ever before. $300 million isn’t far behind.







COMPASS LAND AND TITLE Compass Land and Title has little competition in the state of Florida, when it comes to providing service at the highest level. Year in and year out, Compass Land and Title has won industry awards for both dollar-volume closed and lowest claims rates in the industry, while still maintaining a small, “boutique,” personal service touch. What challenges have you faced in your career? How did you overcome those challenges? I launched Compass undercapitalized and then had to operate through the crash of 2008. The above challenges were met with unwavering work ethic. Most important to my success, and that of Compass, is the hiring of the most dedicated, and intelligent, staff that mirror the nonstop grind ethos. I also believe it is important to share the spoils with your team. What are some ways you give back to the community? I am super involved in many philanthropic endeavors. I believe it is imperative for business owners and executives to give back to the communities that support their businesses. I am currently involved with the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball, The Arts Conservatory for Teens, the Florida Orchestra and several local film projects.





Campbell serves on the BayCare Healthcare System Board of Trustees. Baycare is a $4.6 billion dollar health care organization with more than 29,000 employees. He also serves on its audit subcommittee. Campbell also is the chairman of the board of directors for the CEO Council of Tampa Bay. The CEO Council of Tampa Bay has more than 200 CEO members, representing more than 30,000 employees and $6.2 billion dollars in revenues. What has been the most monumental moment of your career? I would say getting awarded a $250 million dollar contract by the U.S. State Department, in December 2012, to help support anti-terrorism operations in Yemen. That contract fundamentally changed our last company and propelled us to a wide variety of business operations. It is hard to overstate the significance of that moment and all the resulting events afterwards. How did the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt your specific role in your industry? How did you adapt? We experienced very little disruption. I am currently running a technology support business. The pandemic actually propelled our growth, as we had so many customers realize they could no longer limp by with inadequate and unprofessional technical support. We signed three new customers from Feb. 1 to March 15, 2021 that were each in the top five of our largest customers.

Lowman’s 44-year banking career has taken her across many paths, from state administration executive with NationsBank/Bank of America, to managing more than 20 acquisitions, including the largest merger completed to that date, the NationsBank/Barnett merger She was elected 2017-18 chair of the Florida Bankers Association and was the third woman in the 130-year history to serve in that capacity. What has been the most monumental moment in your career? I have been fortunate to have many. I am passionate about emerging leaders and mentoring. One of my moments that I feel made a difference was taking 25 emerging leaders to Washington, D.C., and giving these young bankers an opportunity to advocate for our industry as I do when I am meeting with our congressional and senate leadership. The young bankers met 10 congressional leaders, visited the FDIC in a 36-hour period, and were able to ask questions and visit the U.S. Capitol. I am also extremely proud to have been a major part of the growth of C1 Bank and have had the opportunity to ring the morning bell on Wall Street, when we took the company public. The experience, I believe, was once in a lifetime. What else would you like the Apogee Award judges to know? I believe in empowering others to achieve success. I also live by two elements of character – honesty and integrity. Ethical culture starts from the top of the organization.













J.C. NEWMAN CIGAR CO. Newman, along with his brother Bobby, operates America’s oldest premium cigar company. Based in Tampa, J.C. Newman manufactures around 35 million cigars in its Ybor City and Esteli, Nicaragua, cigar factories. What has been the most monumental moment in your career? I would say that my brother Bobby and I turned around what was, basically, a bankrupt business into one of the leading companies in the premium cigar industry today. When my father, brother and I engineered a leveraged family buyout of the 11 descendants of J.C. Newman in 1986, the relatives got the money and the three of us got the debt and the ‘opportunity.’ What has been your proudest professional moment? There are two proud moments that, particularly, come to mind. In the early 2000s, my son, Drew, my father, Stanford, and I were walking down an aisle at our main industry trade show one morning and someone shouted out, “Look, there goes three generations of Newmans.” I still get teary-eyed today when I think about that special moment. And the second deals with how we treated our employees during the pandemic. 2020 was an especially difficult year for all Americans, including our employees. While they still had jobs, many in their family lost theirs. Because of their needs, and the fact that we had had a good year saleswise, we gave everyone working in our factory and office a $1,000 holiday bonus [something that had never been done before].

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Dinner and Awards Armature Works Tampa, FL

Philanthropist of the Year honors those individuals who lead the way, in Tampa Bay, through philanthropic devotion. These leaders continually set the bar for excellence in community leadership and represent the change-makers we all aspire to be. To nominate someone or acquire a sponsorship: email: JBaker@tbbwmag.com


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CEO Connect with Tony DiBenedetto

riously though, we’ve had so many people reach out to learn Tony DiBenedetto is founder of Think Big for Kids, a nonmore about the [Think Big For Kids] mission and say they profit that helps underprivileged youth discover untapped powant to do something with it. tential through three programming pillars: career exploration, What we found through COVID, and even before, is that peomentoring and job readiness and job placement. ple really resonate with who I’m helping, and how I’m helping He’s the former CEO of Tribridge, a major technolthem. ogy company in Tampa which sold in 2017 for $165 VIEW FROM ABOVE We’re getting people reaching out that didn’t This page: Bridgette know anything about us. million. Bridgette Bello interviewed DiBenedetto in front Bello interviews Tony of a live, sold out, audience at Cipresso in the Semi- DiBenedetto. Think Big For Kids is a primary focus for nole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. This transcript has you now. Can you share any stories about been edited for length and brevity. how you’re making an impact? When you add to the obstacles you have as a norHas anything cool happened since being on the cover mal child, you add poverty, you add a single parent, you add of TBBW? domestic violence, unless you’re a part of that population, you The irony is almost all of my guy friends have commented really don’t realize how difficult it is. on my looks. [audience laughs] I don’t know if it’s a compliIt’s hard to explain to someone if they haven’t experienced ment or if I should be very insecure. [more laughter] No seit. People that volunteer with us are like, ‘Whoa.’


For us, a couple of the highlights ing. How do you compare running would be during the spring we provided Think Big For Kids to running a scholarships for seven kids to go to trade multimillion dollar company? school, or college, to families that would We were a very fast-growing company otherwise not receive them, because and it was global, we had people all over, they weren’t necessarily ‘A’ students. so from that perspective it was pretty difWe’re not looking for ‘A’ students. We ferent. I had been on nonprofit boards, help all kinds of students, with all kinds but I had never worked for a nonprofit of different interests. and I saw that as an advantage. We went Chris Moyer is here, with SME, he in thinking, we’re going to take an aggresoffers a scholarship for those more sive attitude, we’re going to partner up, tech-oriented, or more trade-oriented. but some of the stuff is the same. Because he grew up that way, and he The difference for me is I’m not the can see that. CEO. I have a CEO, Amy Alley, and if you Think Big For Kids is all about help- guys have never met Amy, she is a super ing you find a passion and we will show star. you how to get there. Expose you to it. So for me, it’s a lot easier to be the idea And then give you all the resources to guy and work on fundraising and let Amy make it happen. do the hard work. I kind of did that at We work with about 2,000 kids and Tribridge. I was the CEO, but I didn’t realwe’re showing them what’s possible. ly work that hard there either [laughter]. Ninety percent of the time we show [Gesturing to Hugh Campbell] It’s difthem a career that they’ve nevferent for me than it is you, beer heard of. And now they’re cause I would not run the CEO thinking, ‘how do I do that?’ CEO CONNECT Council. I know him, he’s a And then, we start to show SCENES: glutton for punishment. That’s them how with partners like Guests networked not me. I couldn’t do that. Reliaquest and A-Lign. We’re a and enjoyed food and drinks provided product of the community. That was a great segWatching the kids light up, by Cipresso at the ue to the next question. and changing a life, it is life Hard Rock. But I have to ask you a changing for you. question completely off script…can you teach me I made Hugh [Campbell] talk how to be a CEO that doesn’t work about the difference in running very hard? the CEO Council versus a team of I could say who I learned it from but soldiers, and asked him which one they’d be really pissed off at me. is more challenging and his answer You don’t sleep at night for good reawouldn’t surprise you, managing sons and you don’t sleep good at night the CEOs is way more challengfor bad reasons.




ceo connect



MAKING CONNECTIONS Guests networked and enjoyed food and drinks provided by Cipresso at the Hard Rock.


You talked about, in the interview, the challenge of hiring great people. Tell us about a time that it worked in your favor, or didn’t work in your favor. This is a room full of people that run companies and can really learn from your mistakes, or your wins. I don’t think anyone in here that run a company would say it’s not about the people. I think the number one job for a leader, forget a CEO a leader of anything, is can you attract the talent and motivate the talent. I’ve made so many mistakes in hiring. There was a guy, I’m not going to say his name, but he was a super star and also could perform individually. He was really good at his function, but he routinely would tell me, the reason why we won is because of him and the reason why we lost was everyone else.

After like the 30th time I heard this, I realized he probably was not the right guy. Everybody was shocked that we fired him. For awhile, you might be mesmerized by success and ignore the culture. But at the end of the day, hiring to me, from what I’ve learned, it’s always about culture. It’s never about skills. I can teach skills. I can’t teach someone to be a good group guy, or a great leader. Was the sale of Tribridge your first exit, or had you been through that before? I’ve sold other businesses. But that was a bigger deal. Talk about what you would have done differently. I don’t know. For those of you that have sold a business, it sounds like it’s an easy thing and has a great outcome,

I wanted and way more than I could understand. [laughter] Marc’s brilliant and talks more than I do, which is hard to imagine, and the one thing he said to me that changed the flight of Tribridge, more than most things, he said, ‘Listen, the one big thing you can do is think bigWhat’s the best piece MAKING CONNECTIONS ger.’ It sounds simple. He of business advice Guests networked and enjoyed said, ‘You’re holding back. you’ve ever received? You’re holding Tribridge How many people in food and drinks provided by back and not putting it all the room know Marc Cipresso at the Hard Rock. out there. You need to put Blumenthal? I’ve known your foot on the gas.’ Marc for thirty-something That way of thinking years. I’d say he’s a close changed the way I ran my friend. I’ve bought two of company. And that’s how his companies, over the we got to $100 million in course of my career and have served on a couple of his boards, four years. It doesn’t have to be about so I know him really well. If you guys revenue but that thinking way bigger know Marc well, he gave me a lot of ad- than I was previously thinking changed vice over the years, like way more than the flight of our company. ♦ for sure, but it’s kind of hell on wheels. It’s a difficult thing. We bought a couple of companies and that was a lot easier. Hire the right banker. Take your blood pressure medicine. I don’t have any regrets.




TBBW’s “CEO Connect” series is an exclusive, invitation-only, event that brings together Tampa Bay area’s top business leaders to meet and mingle. Axiom Bank, Questmont, Tomlin St. Cyr and United Way Suncoast were presenting sponsors. The host sponsor was Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa. The evening begins with a cocktail reception for about 120 guests, followed by an interview with that month’s cover CEO. Partnering with TBBW, on future editions, provides an opportunity to network with the area’s business elite, generate new business opportunities and increase brand awareness. For information about event sponsorship opportunities, email Jason Baker at jbaker@tbbwmag.com.


on the scene

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco celebrates 700th home build

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties celebrated a huge milestone – its 700th home build. Over 100 businesses, and individuals, came together to sponsor this family’s home. Solar Bear donated and installed solar power onto the home. Feeding Tampa Bay has been stocking the pantries of all Habitat homeowners. As a special surprise, Matt Spence, COO of Feeding Tampa Bay, announced a year of free food for the Sakers. The Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s program Kids Pedal Pub has been donating brand new bikes for the homeowner’s children. Other partners included Tellor Estates’ landscape sponsors, TEGNA, Congressman Charlie Crist, GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club & GFWC St. Petersburg Junior Woman’s Club, Largo Cracker Quilters and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.






This holiday season, you can inspire Hope by joining our team and providing a holiday experience that is out of reach for so many struggling families in Tampa Bay. We are in need of dedicated volunteers for this year’s Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent. Our mission is to help and stay healthy, so we will be providing a safe volunteer space for anyone involved and families in need.

There’s a major demand for help in our community so please let your love shine this holiday season by either volunteering at the holiday tent, hosting a donation drive, donating food or toys, or donating at MetroMin.org.



on the scene

Bill Thomas Group Sponsors Arts 46/4 Dinner Theater Event

The Arts 46/4 campus, located at 460 46th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg, reopened its doors after a brief hiatus for the coronavirus, for a live dinner theater event. The event was sponsored by the Bill Thomas Group of Engel and Volkers Madeira Beach, a luxury real estate brokerage. The event, billed as “A Night with Lady Day,” a Wanda Nero Butler production, featured performances and appearances from multiple artists and public figures such as Butler, Iman and Jay Miah, Miss Cityside and friends and the Rev. Temple Hayes.





Mise En Scene

5 3





SETTING THE STAGE FOR BUSINESS Hospitality is a part of every business, and I love the business of hospitality. Here are questions and answers from over 34 years... and an occasional good story. –Maryann Ferenc of Mise en Place Hospitality

This month we take a little departure from our regular format. This month I would like to ask you a couple questions as well as answering them myself. Providing a venue for life to happen...business to get done... memories to be shared...are the reasons I love the hospitality business. It is these reasons that motivate me and the team to create a table for you in many ways and even many places. The shared experience of a meal is something special. Q: What are some of your best memories of sharing an occasion around the table with business colleagues? A: The meals in Washington D.C., a great dining city, after Travel and Tourism or U.S. Travel Board meetings. Energized from an inspired Board meeting or intense advisory session - we would exchange ideas and move things forward amongst great food and drink finding common ground. Q: What are some of the most wonderful memories of sharing the table with family or friends? A: The dinner at the Hurricane and the reception catered by Mise en Place following my Dad and then my Mom’s passing. Mise legends themselves, they were a warm and wonderful meeting of hearts and minds with lots of great stories told while sharing familiar flavors and mini Manhattans….her drink which my Dad used to make for her. Q: Do you have a Mise en Place memory after 35 years of us setting the table in Tampa Bay? If so - we’d love to hear it at thirty-five@miseonline.com. Motivation: There is something delicious in it for you if you share!

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An Inspired Return IL RITORNO IN ST. PETERSBURG BRINGS BACK INTELLIGENT DINING l Ritorno, David Benstock’s Italianinspired restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg, holds a special place in Tampa Bay’s dining scene. At first glance, it seems like an Italian restaurant. After all, the menu titles major sections with Italian words like “antipasti” and “primi.” But upon closer INVENTIVE CUISINE inspection, most dishes Pan Seared Bluefin stray a little from classic Tuna Italian. And some are not Italian at all. Chilies find their way into several dishes, and exotic items such as crispy squid ink and pig ears, sprinkle throughout the menu. The inventive cuisine reflects the experiences Benstock picked up working for Wolfgang Puck at the original Spago, stints in New York and Miami, as well as a few years working up and down the boot. So when he returned to his hometown to open his own place, the name Il Ritorno (The Return) seemed fitting. Eight years into it, the restaurant is exciting, thriving and delighting diners who can’t wait to return again and again.







The roasted bone marrow appetizer is the quintessential Il Ritorno dish. Unique ingredients combine to create a complete taste and textural experience. Beef femur bones are slow-roasted and served with a fresh citrus salad. The bone is presented with a small spoon to scoop the marrow, and served with uni toast. The flavor of the marrow is earthy and balanced by the sweet/tart flavors of the orange, grapefruit and shallots. The marrow’s richness coats the mouth KISS OF FLAVOR with silk before the citrus cuts through Blueberry Sponge it. The toast is a triumph all by itself. (above) Grilled bread, spread with sea urchin and topped with a Parmesan brulee, gets spiced with dots of Fresno chili emulsion and sprinkled with mustard blossoms. Your senses awaken to the smokiness of the toast first, then the Parmesan and uni step forward, just before the Fresno emulsion flickers across your tongue. This is a spectacular start to the culinary adventure of Il Ritorno.



Tomato salad might sound pretty simple but not the one at Il Ritorno. Diced and seeded heirloom tomatoes are topped with a basil burrata and crowned with a balsamic tuile and micro basil. The burrata and basil are aerated to produce a foamy consistency, unlike the expected texture of traditional burrata. The salad is composed in a shallow bowl and, just before serving, smoked tomato water is poured in. As the smoke rises over the bowl, the water swirls around the tomatoes. It’s a good thing they give you a spoon. You won’t want to miss a drop of this flavorful, and memorable, salad presentation.


Primi, or pasta courses, present a treasure trove of unique, and delicious, dishes. Risotto at Il Ritorno is made with a carnaroli Rice. Carnaroli is medium grain rice grown in Northern Italy and is said to produce the finest risotto. The creamy texture is studded with grains of rice, while lemon juice provides a kiss of flavor. Black truffle is generously shaved over the dish, so each bite bursts with the unmistakable black truffle flavor.


One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the short rib mezzaluna. And it’s no wonder, because this dish defines Italian comfort food. Short rib-filled pillows of pasta nestle in a bowl of butter accented with truffle oil. Garlic and slowroasted tomatoes add a hit of flavor and everything is blanketed with Piave cheese and chives. The cheese strings, each time you pull the spoon to your mouth and by the time each rich and meaty mezzaluna clears your throat, you’re moving in for more. You’ll want to lick the bowl clean.


The main courses include seafood, pork and steak options. The pan-seared bluefin tuna is a light, and flavorful, dish. Sushi-quality fish, crusted in spice rub, is paired with a smear of green olive citronette and seasonal succotash. Tiny rings of pickled onion grace each slice of tuna and brighten each bite. The citronette is made with Castelvetrano olives and unfiltered olive oil. Its subtle flavor complements the taste of the tuna without taking center stage.



Another dish, the black sea bass, is remarkable for a flavor profile that changes while it’s eaten. The fish is accompanied by grilled shishito peppers, roasted kohlrabi and dots of yuzu koshu. Koshu is an Asian NOT TO BE MISSED condiment made from garlic, This page, (left) Black chili, yuzu and oil. When the Sea Bass ; (middle) dish is served, fermented Tomato Salad; tomato dashi is poured in. In (bottom) Roasted the first bites, the mild, flaky Bone Marrow. fish is complemented mostly with the tomato flavor. As the koshu swirls into the dashi, the lemon flavor mingles the tomato and by the time the sea bass is almost gone, the lemon flavor is front and center. Throughout, the sweetness of the kohlrabi plays beautifully with the smoky peppers. Asian influence, exotic ingredients and the changing flavor profile combine for a delightful experience.


Inventive twists flow through the dessert menu as well. The blueberry sponge is a unique take on a blueberry shortcake. In this case, the sponge is super-light and pillowy, surrounded by blueberry confit, crème fraiche gelato and topped with vanilla snow and mint. This dessert is light, bursting with blueberry flavor and showcases the culinary skill and inventiveness of Il Ritorno’s kitchen team. There is something for everyone here. Adventurous diners will appreciate the inventive approach and execution. Traditional diners will find delicious and comforting dishes. And finding a restaurant where everyone leaves happy is the greatest return of all. ♦



Tampa Bay Charities ‘Win’ the Outback Bowl





t’s a New Year’s tradition of very proud of. We look forward to this football—frolicking and fierce year, and next year, and many more years competition. The Outback Bowl, to come. It’s always a great feeling when tracing its roots in the Tampa you identify someone in need and you’re Bay area over 30 years, matches up the in a position to help.” Southeastern Conference vs. the Big Thomas Mantz, president and CEO of Ten, a single event to kick off the year Feeding Tampa Bay, one of the Outback with sport. But it’s really in the behind- Bowl’s many partners, agrees. the-scenes impact, for local charities, “We all have the same goal and that’s where the Outback Bowl makes its most making sure our community is a good important plays. one and that we take care of everyone. The impact of this one-day event Good community partners allow us to resonates throughout Tampa Bay, long move our work forward appreciatively, after the winners and losers head to the allowing us to connect with, and to locker rooms to close out the game. serve, more people,” Mantz says. “We all As Jim McVay, president and CEO of the know someone who is food-insecure, Outback Bowl since 1988, explains, “We’re who struggles to put meals on the table. proud of our body of work. We enjoy being part of that There’s a lot of organizations Wheelchairs for Kids relationship that starts with the in need, because there’s a lot helps children with Outback Bowl, comes through of people in need in the Tampa physical disabilities an organization like ours and Bay area. If we can bring relief by providing ends up with a person enjoying to certain organizations that’s wheelchairs and a meal.” passed onto the people in other services. Feeding Tampa Bay offers need—that’s something we’re multiple food assistance


options across 10 counties, from food pantries to mobile grocery locations, benefits assistance to a job training program. Yet many in need around the Bay area are unaware of its services, yet another reason the Outback Bowl, with its high-profile platform, aids its many partners. “We’re always looking for new families to reach,” Mantz says. “And the Outback Bowl’s visibility can help.” As Madeline Robinson, executive director of Wheelchairs for Kids, adds: “They’ve been a great asset to us, and it’s not just the money; it’s the recognition and the validation. A lot of donors will write the check and that’s it. But the Outback Bowl wants to be involved, they want to promote us. That means a lot, and it’s just as important as the money. And when you’re associated with the Outback Bowl, it gives other donors confidence in your organization. Being partners with the Outback Bowl is an amazing thing for any nonprofit.” Wheelchairs for Kids helps Tampa Bay area children with physical disabilities by providing wheelchairs, home and vehicle modifications and other assistive equipment to families without charge. They’re gearing up for their 10th annual “Wheely Good Time,” a live and silent charity auction at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 14, featuring unique, memorable experiences to bid on—including select tickets to the Outback Bowl. Its reach extends to a wide swath of Tampa Bay area youth as well in their long-standing partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. “We’ve enjoyed our partnership with the Outback Bowl for some 30 years now,” says Terry Carter, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs, “and without the Outback bowl, we’d be in a different place. They’ve helped us provide service



to many kids which, otherwise, we would are so appreciated, because the pandemic not be able to serve.” really put a spotlight on how important The Boys and Girls Clubs assist some what we do at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the neediest children, and families, is for our community,” Carter says. “We in the communities, Carter explains, address the learning loss, and learning through their core pillars around academic gap, for our disadvantaged youth, those success, healthy lifestyle and character and who have fallen behind in general leadership. because of lack of resources “The Outback Bowl is more The Outback Bowl or educational support. The than just a big game,” Carter says. has a pledge to Outback Bowl has given us the “It is a significant contribution give $500,000 to opportunity to thrive when to our communities as a whole.” local charities each kids need it the most.” In the last two years with calendar year. Carter is referring to the the pandemic, that support was Outback Bowl’s pledge to give needed even more. $500,000 to local charities “In the midst of the pandemic, the each calendar year. Despite the many Outback Bowl made a concerted effort to challenges faced by the pandemic, even ensure [its] charitable giving continued uncertainty if the game would be played, uninterrupted. We were honored to be part it never wavered in its financial support. of that. [Its] uninterrupted contributions It’s something all its partners are grateful for, as echoed by Steve King, Meals on Wheels executive director. “When everything first went haywire in March of last year, we were flooded with increased demand like all foodrelated missions. We didn’t know as we entered the pandemic what it would do for our donations,” says King. “As it turned out, the community as a whole responded so graciously, but at first we just couldn’t predict the response. We reach the home-bound, disabled and elderly of our community with a hot meal, delivering to 800 homes a day. Sometimes our volunteer is the only face-to-face contact for those isolated in our community. The money we received from the Outback

Bowl allowed us to make decisions that were not based on finances but on need for our communities.” Its support extends to the furry friends of Tampa Bay as well, as Ornella Varchi, chief development officer of the Human Society of Tampa Bay adds: “[It is] very thoughtful in [its] process. The Outback Bowl team has come in to tour the shelter and our animal hospital to really see how [its] support goes directly to impact the animals in our care. [It spends] a lot of time talking with our staff and asking questions to really understand the needs of our organization. We really appreciate the partnership and support; [it’s] a wonderful organization to work with.” As Carter concludes, “The Outback Bowl is so popular, and visible, bringing commerce and trade to town at the end of the year, with 10s of thousands of people from over 40 states. And it all trickles down to various nonprofits, not just the partners. From the small businesses to the large organizations, Tampa businesses support their own charities, so with this end-of-the-year boost, companies can spread their charitable support deeper. The Outback Bowl is truly so much more than just a game.” ♦


Lifelong Learning





aul Grove, president and CEO Fear Factor and the explosion of reality of WEDU, the west coast of programming. When I had a chance to Florida’s Public Broadcasting find out more about PBS and the quality, affiliate, lives according to the trusted programming we provided, I same values as the company he serves: was thrilled to be part of it. I wanted to a lifetime of learning, and discovery, make our community a better place to through innovation. For Grove, a live with the work that I do.” graduate of the University of Florida During his initial 12 years at the school of broadcast journalism and station, Grove served as vice president telecommunications with more than of national programming and 35 years’ media experience, shifting to production, helping to launch various public television was an important step pledge programs and successful series, in his personal journey. including the longtime Emmy-winning “I was in commercial television for 10 A Gulf Coast Journal. He left Tampa in years before I found a home at WEDU 2004 to be president and CEO of the in the early ’90s,” Grove says. PBS station in Chattanooga, “I was really disillusioned During the Tennessee, taking the about what was happening pandemic, WEDU challenging leap to work with commercial television saw its viewership in an emerging market. at the time, the dumbing jump 76%. Grove soon helped guide down of America through the station towards broader


programming and innovation. “I love innovative technology,” Grove says. “And we put together some programs in Tennessee that were groundbreaking for PBS across the nation.” Some of the initiatives during Grove’s tenure include implementing the first statewide emergency messaging system, for use during natural disasters, technology he’s already starting to put in place in Tampa. He also spearheaded the launch of a free educational online service of classroom-ready, digital resources and lesson plans. Despite his success in Tennessee, Florida still felt like home and Grove welcomed the opportunity to return to WEDU two years ago. “Coming back to Florida is not just coming back—it’s coming home, since we set roots here. I’m a staunch Gator fan; my four boys were born in Tampa. We love the Bay area. And what a great opportunity to take the 12th largest market, and the potential that it has, to turn it into one of the greatest PBS stations in the country,” Grove says. Since his return in 2019, Grove has been dedicated to finding new ways, and means, of storytelling to represent the Tampa Bay area and beyond. “We’re not your grandmother’s PBS anymore,” Grove says. “We’re constantly stretching ourselves, not just with our innovation and expanding platforms, but also with our subject matter,” he says. That means covering a wider swath of the west coast, like with the upcoming Greater series, first featuring greater Sarasota (premiering Oct. 8) and a planned deep dive into greater Ybor City. Grove is also excited about a new docuseries, out in 2022, called Rise of

the Rays: A Devil of a Story. As he explains, “We’ve done wonderful work when it comes to history and business and in cultures and arts. But now we know there’s other ways to stretch, and that’s in content. This series will share the unsung heroes that made the Tampa Bay Rays possible. It’s an incredible story of political intrigue, all the backstories and behindthe-scenes. We continue to serve our wider community with these types of

hyper-local storytelling, to broaden our creative content.” With expanding content, the PBS app and the streaming of back-catalog offerings through Passport, WEDU speaks fluently to the next generation. And now, more than ever, people are recognizing the value in public television. During the pandemic, WEDU saw its viewership jump 76%, and Grove believes it’s a sign of the times. “We’re a channel that appreciates



the viewers’ intelligence, because we’re educating and we’re real. After you flip through everything that’s on those infinite number of channels, and distractions, all you have to do is turn to PBS to see quality. We really are an oasis among a lot of clutter and noise,” he says. As Grove points out, PBS is more than just award-winning shows spanning the ages, from Sesame Street to Frontline—it’s a comprehensive educational platform. WEDU responded to the increased need for educational programming during the pandemic by launching its “At-Home Learning” collection, while also growing their resource bank of educational materials. Now housing more than 100,000 resources, videos and lesson plans, the learning site offers a wide range of materials for teachers and students alike. “We want our kids to have digital learning objects for every story we tell. So parents, teachers and caregivers can go onto our site and find resources more easily,” Grove says. WEDU also continues to find ways to connect face to face with its community of learners, as it hosted the recent “The Greatest” poetry slam event and preview in Ybor City, the heart of Tampa’s original boxing culture, to support the upcoming premiere of the new Ken Burns documentary, Mohammed Ali, out in September. Creative local content, emergency messaging, local and digital outreach: “That’s why I say we’re not your grandmother’s PBS anymore; we’re truly thinking about innovative ways to use our services to serve the community, every day,” he says. ♦

ask the experts ETIQUETTE

How Stopping ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘I Can Help’ Can Start Forgiveness, Helpfulness BY DEBBIE LUNDBERG




hile many feel it is contributing, humble and useful to say “I’m sorry,” as well as “I can help you,” these statements can be distracting and even annoying, especially when you’re not at fault or when someone is not actually seeking help. How so? While there are occasions of regret and instances where help is appropriate, it is both our timing and our words that can create miscommunication and, therefore, missteps. For example, apologizing for a happening that you have little or no control over such as walking in front of someone by mistake, sneezing, getting bumped into by someone else, being interrupted, having a better idea that someone else, and others, will likely make people think less of you as a person and a professional. Plus, if you spend an “I’m sorry” on something small, or out of your control, those words will lessen the impact of a true, warranted ask of forgiveness. You can imagine that if you say “I’m sorry” for every bump in the road, your apologies will carry very little weight and yet will weigh down the impression others have of you. What to do instead? If, and only, when you have made an error, replace the start of your conversation, or declaration, with “Please forgive me for …” This change does a few things in so few words. It’s an admission in the form of asking, seeking collaboration by not being a declaration and opens conversation without the other person feeling or sensing they must let you off the hook. Similarly, if you are late or went to the wrong location, instead of saying “I’m sorry I am late,” replace that with gratitude in the form of “Thank you for waiting,” or “Thanks for your understanding as I maneuvered through traffic.” Both of these approaches keep your self-esteem high, honors the other person’s time and keeps the rapport on even ground.


Now, let’s talk help. It’s good to ask for help. We all have times where help is useful, and important, to seek. So, what is offputting about offering help? Well, not everyone wants your help, and again, timing and words impact how the offer, or insertion, is received. Much like most people do not wake up in the morning wanting to be trained, many of us don’t go around thinking we hope someone offers help, as it can be a feeling of weakness. There’s a solution (or two) for you to connect with others without implying they cannot do something on their own or that you are needed to rescue them. By replacing “I can help you,” with asking “How may I assist you?” gives the person you are approaching a choice, similarly “May I be of service here?” or “May I be of service to you?” creates conversation opportunities for exploration. These all work well personally, and professionally, as they are not infringements, rather options, and there is not a positioning, rather a proposal to move forward. Tweaking language from “I’m sorry,” to “Please forgive me,” or “Thanks for waiting,” along with adjusting, “I can help you,” to “How may I assist you?” or “How may I be of service?” can be small adjustments to your desire to be involved with big impacts on how others receive that desire. Debbie Lundberg is the founder and CEO of Presenting Powerfully. She combined her General Motors leadership with her Dale Carnegie Training facilitation experience to embark on her business journey in 2006. She is an 11-time published author, certified virtual presenter, certified life coach, certified leadership coach and certified image consultant. Lundberg is a performance coach who co-hosts The Business of Life Master Class podcast. Her 2020 book, Remote Work Rockstar, has become a guide for working and leading virtually.

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ask the experts SALES

Building the

Right Sales Team BY JIM MARSHALL




f you’re reading this article, chances are pretty good that you’re a business owner, general manager, company executive or sales manager. And, as we’re heading into the fourth quarter of the year, you might be thinking, “Do I have the right sales team on the bus? Maybe I need to reassess and, perhaps, even upgrade so I can start the New Year on the right foot?” Among the questions we get asked regularly, as sales trainers and coaches, are these: • How do we hire salespeople who will help us drive significant revenue growth? • What behavioral profiles should we be looking for when we’re making a hire? • Who should we not hire? Hiring decisions for new sellers are vitally important, of course. But you might also want to consider evaluating your current sales staff for a potential mismatch in both their behaviors and attitudes. There is a simple set of guidelines you can use, not just to identify potential new hires for your sales team but also to help you consider reassigning someone on your current staff who might be better suited to a position elsewhere in your organization. We believe there are two critical criteria in identifying top-tier salespeople: self -awareness and drive. In the first, self-awareness, top-producing sellers are dramatically different. These people have both the willingness, and the ability, to look “in the mirror” when things go wrong, while sellers who are less likely to become major revenue producers are the ones who make a habit of blaming external factors for their lack of production. Ask them why they lost a deal, why their numbers are off or why they’re continuously missing projections, they will instantly point the finger of blame at another department or employee, the market, the competition, the economy or that mysterious factor known as “bad luck.” By contrast, high performers make a habit of looking


internally. When they hit an obstacle, they ask themselves, “What is my role or level of responsibility in this?” or, “What can I learn from this?” And when you talk to them about deals that didn’t close, or initiatives that didn’t turn out the way they might have hoped, their responses will usually reflect some level of personal accountability. The second, drive, can also be described as ambition. Lots of prospective salespeople (and perhaps some of your current staff) will say they are “ambitious,” but drive is easier to confirm. Salespeople who are driven make things happen. They don’t wait for things to happen. They identify new opportunities and take the initiative to research and pursue them. They are goal-oriented and spend time thinking about both personal goals (such as buying a new car or saving up enough money to afford a certain vacation) and professional goals (such as becoming the No. 1 salesperson on the staff or in their territory). Ask a job candidate, or a member of your current team, about what they want to achieve in life and why. If they don’t share with you an important personal, or professional, goal they want to achieve, there’s a good bet you are not talking to a top-tier performer. It’s fairly easy to gauge when people manufacture goals they create in the spur of the moment and are meant to impress someone else. They hesitate, are short on details and get that panicked look in their eye. If these criteria are not evident in your candidate, or current employee, it’s a pretty good bet that person is not likely to drive significant revenue growth on your team. You can always train someone in technical skills, and product knowledge, but you really can’t train someone to be selfaware and personally driven. Jim Marshall is owner and president of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or jmarshall@sandler.com.

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When was the last time your Financial Advisor, Accountant, Insurance Agent, Attorney, and Business Consultant got in a room and talked about nothing but your affairs?




OLESHANSKY Founder and CEO, The Motor Enclave




leshansky spent more than 12 years of his career as an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, including roles at Virgin Records, The Walt Disney Company, a boutique Beverly Hills law firm and several global marketing services agencies. He was CEO of a biopharma-focused digital marketing firm, Big Communications, which was sold to Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) in 2008. Oleshansky left Meredith in December 2012 to develop and build M1 Concourse, a $75 million-plus auto enthusiast destination in Pontiac, Michigan. He built M1 Concourse into the largest private garage community in the world and the premiere destination for automotive inspired events. In 2019, he launched The Motor Enclave, the first unified brand for experiential automotive communities, which is currently developing projects in Tampa and Nashville.


1 2 3 4 5 6

College alma mater?

Ithaca College in New York. Last show you binge watched?


Best concert you’ve ever seen live?

Prince, on the Purple Rain


tour at the Pontiac (Mich.

Favorite place for a business



Oxford Exchange. iPhone or Android?

iPhone. What did you eat for lunch today?

Greek salad. We’ll find you on the weekend doing?

Promoting The Motor Enclave at automotive and lifestyle events.

7 8 9 10

What movie terrified you as a child?

Jaws. Proudest moment?

My twins both going to college and soon to be graduating. Dream dinner companion?

Warren Buffett. Any pets?


12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

What is your cellphone wallpaper image?

A picture of a Ferrari F12. Most famous person you’ve ever met?

Tupac Shakur. What is your go-to drink order?

Grey Goose and grapefruit juice. Favorite candy?

Twizzlers. Last thing you ordered from Amazon?

Noise-cancelling earbuds. Pool or beach?

Pool. Charity you support?

ORT America. Favorite childhood memory?

Driving with my dad in his 1923 Model T Hot Rod. Words of advice?

Nurture your network.

JOIN US for an artwork auction and event to benefit homeless pets in our community.

HIGHLIGHTS: • Pet-inspired artwork auction, with pieces donated by artists from across the country. • Art made by animals for animals from Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and The Florida Aquarium. • Opportunity to see the Pet Resource Center’s life-saving efforts firsthand – including adoptables! “Fang” by Fran McLean


“I Like the Sun” by Hunter Jay

“Pride Puppy” by Eunice Fisher

Sh e lt e r SHOWCASE

“Footprints” by The Florida Aquarium’s Pebbles the Penguin

Thursday, November 11, 2021 | 6-8 p.m. Pet Resource Center (440 N Falkenburg Road, Tampa, FL 33619)


The Hillsborough County Pet Resources Foundation works to bring awareness to the life-saving work of Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center.