Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation Names New President and CEO

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Veteran economic development executive brings years of experience in global commerce and regional business development to Tampa

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Craig J. Richard

The selection committee believes Craig’s proven economic development experience makes him the right leader to ensure Tampa and Hillsborough County continue to be the pacesetter for economic prosperity in Florida.

After an extensive national search, the executive board of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation unanimously approved the appointment of veteran economic development executive Craig J. Richard, CEcD, as President and CEO.

Richard recently served as CEO of the Atlanta development authority, Invest Atlanta, and brings decades of economic development experience in fast-growing cities such as Atlanta and Houston. His expertise ranges from local recruitment and retention to foreign trade and investment from previous missions to Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Panama and the United Arab Emirates. Richard’s career highlights include more than 209 successful projects representing more than 148,000 jobs and $8.3 billion in capital investment.

The Tampa Hillsborough EDC Search Committee comprised government, healthcare, education, entrepreneur, tourism and development leaders.

“This is a pivotal time in our community’s economic growth, and the selection committee believes Craig’s proven economic development experience makes him the right leader to ensure Tampa and Hillsborough County continue to be the pacesetter for economic prosperity in Florida,” said Tampa Hillsborough EDC Chair Colleen Chappell, President and CEO at ChappellRoberts.

“Beyond competency across our target industries, Craig understands both the complexities of corporate relocation as well as Tampa’s need to prioritize entrepreneurial and international growth,” said Ron Vaughn, Tampa Hillsborough EDC search Co-Chair and University of Tampa President.

“Tampa and Hillsborough County are rapidly building a national reputation as a force in economic development, and I am eager to help propel that momentum,” said Richard. “After years of admiring this area’s vision, I am proud to now call Tampa my home, and I am committed to working tirelessly with the Tampa Hillsborough EDC team to ensure the trajectory of our economic development.”

Participating on the core search team, Hon. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Richard’s international experience was an important factor: “We are a gateway to Latin America, and building stronger international partnerships is an important economic driver for our region,” said Mayor Buckhorn. “Craig’s dynamic international experience will help expand our relationship with this emerging economic power region.”

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, also a member of the selection committee, said, “Craig has a broad base of experience that aligns well with the County's priorities. I am confident he will accelerate our economic development strategies and goals.”

The new Tampa Hillsborough EDC leader will be an important partner to existing as well as future developments in Tampa and Hillsborough County. “After spending quality time with Craig, I believe he will make a major contribution to our future economic growth,” said Jeff Vinik of Strategic Property Partners. “His deep economic development experience will help us develop an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem that will enable us to attract and retain the best young talent.”

The board of directors applauds the outstanding leadership of J.P. DuBuque during this search process. Under Richard’s leadership, DuBuque will play an integral role as the organization moves to yet another level.

Richard will officially join Tampa Hillsborough EDC in late June. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard is also a long-time member and executive leader of the International Economic Development Council, one of the most distinguished organizations in the economic development profession. As current treasurer, he will serve as chair of this prestigious group in two years.

The collaboration and engagement of public and private leaders resulted in significant advances in the economic development of our region. Since 2010, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC has recruited more than 350 companies, creating more than 29,000 new jobs and more than $1.8 billion in capital investment. In addition, more than 120 private companies are investors in the Tampa Hillsborough EDC.

The executive search was conducted by Witt/Kieffer consultants. The Tampa Hillsborough EDC Search Committee included Mayor Bob Buckhorn; Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan; Jeff Vinik, Strategic Property Partners; Dr. Ken Atwater, Hillsborough Community College; and Dr. Alan List, Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Ron Vaughn, University of Tampa and past chair of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, and Colleen Chappell, ChappellRoberts, co-chaired the search committee.

About Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
The Tampa Hillsborough EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment in Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace. We focus on growing locally established companies as well as recruiting corporate operations in targeted industry sectors including Information Technology, Financial and Professional Services, Life Sciences, Defense and Security, Manufacturing, and Distribution and Logistics. The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation exists because of the generous support of over 120 investors from the local community. For more information, visit http://www.tampaedc.com.

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Michelle Bauer
Tampa Hillsborough EDC
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