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Outlook sunny for Tampa's recovery

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  • | 3:55 p.m. October 3, 2011
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The weather is just right for moving a business to Tampa, according to three executives who participated in the first online webinar by the Tampa Bay Partnership.

The organization invited business leaders to tune into a virtual discussion with a panel of executives from Coca-Cola, IMG Academies and the Technology Conservation Group. During the “eTown hall meeting,” the group discussd the pulse of business in the Bay area and highlighted the qualities that will attract businesses, including the weather.

“We get 300 days of sunshine, and in an operation such as this we can't afford business disruption,” says Chris Ciaccio, vice president of marketing and outreach for IMG Academies. “We had a couple of hurricanes but we never completely closed down.”

Aside from the weather, the conversation was rather sunny for gloomy economic times.

Bill Johnson, director of Coca-Cola Shared Enterprises North America, says he couldn't agree more with Ciaccio. But Coca-Cola, which hired 200 new associates in the area this year, is also thankful for Tampa's labor force.

“The talent pool is another attractive quality of the Tampa Bay area,” says Johnson. “We've hired 50 Dutch and French speakers in the area,” he says.
The business leaders also pointed to the region's low crime rate, diversity and affordable land prices as positives for potential businesses.

On the price of land, Ciaccio brings up what many businesses haven't been talking about: growing. “It has really helped us expand,” Ciaccio says. “In the last four years we've gone from 37 acres to 440.”

Coffee Talk thinks that sounds kind of like a silver lining.


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