Lawyer by day, blogger by night … Shaun Amarnani is a man of many talents and interests.
Though he recently transitioned back to the private sector, a sizable chunk of Amarnani’s career has been spent handling zoning and real estate development issues for municipal governments, including the city of St. Petersburg, the city of Tampa and Hernando County. In St. Petersburg he worked for Mayor Rick Kriseman.
While working for the city of St. Petersburg’s City Development Administration, Amarnani noticed a lot of the innovative companies that make up the city’s nascent tech scene weren’t getting the attention he felt that they deserved. So he started his own blog, stpeteisfortech.com, which contains resources for startups, an events calendar and articles about individual companies.
“These are some incredible companies with incredible people who are doing great things,” says Amarnani, who has become a full-blown St. Pete evangelist. “I love the fact that the city is so walkable. There’s a great arts and culture scene, and there’s a history to the city with a lot of historic buildings.”
As a Trenam Law attorney specializing in land use, zoning and commercial real estate transactions, among other subjects, Amarnani knows a thing or two about what’s required of cities that want to bring ambitious residential and commercial developments to fruition. Projects he’s worked on include Hyde Park Village and Le Meridien hotel in Tampa, K-Bar Ranch in New Tampa and Ulele, Richard Gonzmart’s restaurant that breathed new life into the old Tampa Water Works building.
“I really enjoy the tangible aspect [of my job],” Amarnani says. “You get to go through a project and see it come out of the ground … in law, things don’t always happen like that.”
— Brian Hartz
Name: Shaun Amarnani
City of residence: St. Petersburg
Twitter handle: @shaunamarnani
Employer: Trenam Law
Title: Senior Counsel Attorney - My practice areas include land use/governmental, real estate and technology law.
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wis.
Years on the Gulf Coast: 5 years. Moved to Tampa in 2012 from Miami.
Marital status/children: Married with two rescue dogs.
Alma mater/degree: Florida State University College of Law; Florida State University College of Business Undergrad Degree in Finance and Real Estate.
Best place to network: Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Society of Real Estate Professionals (SOREP), Tampa Bay Urban Land Institute (ULI), Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Economic Club of Tampa are all great business organizations in Tampa Bay.
Messy desk or clean workspace: It’s complicated.
Eat lunch out or at your desk: Eat lunch out
Best business lesson ever learned: Build relationships before you need something. Think of the relationships you'll need tomorrow, and start building them today.
Weirdest job you’ve ever had: In high school, I worked at a CD store (back when there were CD stores).
A website that makes your job easier: Google
App you use the most: Calendar App, I could not function without it.
One thing you do everyday: Tell my wife I love her.
Community group you’re most involved with: So many: Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association, Leadership Florida West Central Region, Society of Real Estate Professionals (SOREP), Tampa Bay Urban Land Institute (ULI), Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and WIPA (Williams Park) Partnership. I also have a community tech blog called “St. Pete is for Tech.”
Favorite off-hours activity: Relaxing at the beach
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Professional sports team owner
Top item on your bucket list: I have traveled to Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, India and Africa, but I would really like to travel to Antarctica.
Your happy place is: Home with my family
Your biggest fear: Complacency
Favorite Ted Talk: The Surprising Science of Happiness, Dan Gilbert
Skill you’d like to learn: Perfecting my Spanish
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Describe yourself in three words: Resilient, passionate and connector