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AEDO Profile: Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
Eli Dile   on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 9:00:00 am

By Eli Dile

IEDC’s Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) program recognizes the professional excellence of organizations in the areas of internal and external operations, structures, and procedures. This series profiles newly accredited AEDOs, putting some of economic development’s high-performing organizations in the spotlight.

AEDO member: Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Florida

Accreditation date:  August 2017

Distinctions: The Tampa Hillsborough EDC is the fifth AEDO in Florida.

Organizational structure: The EDC is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporation charged with growing the economy of Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace.

Leadership and staff: President and CEO Craig Richard, CEcD, FM, leads a staff of 18 employees.

Mission: Develop and sustain a thriving local economy by focusing on attraction, expansion, and retention of high-wage jobs and capital investment.

Population: 1.4 million.

Budget: $3.1 million for FY17.

Key focus/primary service areas:

The EDC’s strategic plan for FY 2017 to 2019 is titled “Thrive with Five.” Its five goals are:

  • Retention: Deliver a best-in-class business retention and expansion program.

  • Recruitment: Recruit companies that will play a significant role in shaping the economic future of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

  • Recognition: Gain recognition as the most nimble, innovative, and successful economic development organization in the United States.

  • Renown: Achieve global renown as one of America’s best destinations for business.

  • Regionalism: Create and support regional initiatives that enhance opportunities for economic success in Hillsborough County.

Highlighted accomplishments:

  1. Amgen – A leading biotech company, Amgen announced in March 2017 it would create a shared services center with 450 new jobs and an investment of $25 million.

  1. Metrohm USA – A Hillsborough County company, Metrohm decided to expand on-site after the EDC got involved to solve multiple land-use, permitting, and timing issues. These actions retained 90 jobs, added 15 new jobs, and created an investment of $50 million.

  1. Blue Grace A fast-growing supply chain management company, Blue Grace announced a 55,000-square-foot expansion in January 2017 that created 250 new jobs after receiving incentives and other assistance from the EDC.

Q&A with Tampa Hillsborough EDC President and CEO Craig Richard, CEcD, FM

What does your organization do particularly well?

Given that our organization is responsible for a county with a large urban city plus rural/suburban communities, I think we do a good job of being regionally inclusive. We work with our partners across the county on initiatives that benefit the whole region, and we do so in a very collaborative fashion. For example, we bring representatives from CareerSource Florida – the state’s workforce agency – on our retention and expansion visits to leverage state resources. We also partnered with Visit Tampa Bay, the convention and visitors bureau, on a talent attraction initiative, Make it Tampa Bay. The campaign targets areas Visit Tampa Bay already markets to, with the purpose of getting visitors to consider us as a place to build their next business or start a new career, especially young professionals.

What unique programs or initiatives does your organization carry out?

Our region has made a concerted effort in recent years to grow our exports. The Tampa Bay Export Alliance is unique in that we’re working in partnership with two other counties, Pinellas and Pasco, to give our businesses global reach.

What is the biggest challenge facing your community, and how does your organization work to address it?

Transportation is a challenge for us. We do not have a well-defined mass-transportation system beyond buses. In that regard, we work through local organizations responsible for advocacy, such as the chamber and a regional transportation advocacy organization, to explain why we believe transit is important. We feed them real-time information that is helpful in advocacy efforts.

Why did you decide to pursue the AEDO accreditation?

Our organization is relatively young, having only been in existence for eight years, so we thought it was important to pursue at this point in our lifecycle. We saw it as a great opportunity to help investors in our community understand what we do. Becoming accredited adds that Good Housekeeping seal of approval to our organization. When we talk to investors, they understand they’re making a sound investment because we will follow best practices and do our work competently.

What feedback from the AEDO Review Team did you find particularly helpful, and how do you plan to implement their recommendations?

One I really appreciated was the recommendation to establish as a 501(c)(3) foundation. We’re currently limited by the types of funds available to us as a (c)(6) organization, and in fact, there are some foundations that will only give to (c)(3)s. This is something our board and executive committee is interested in pursuing to diversify our funding streams.

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