Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read January 2022— With a burgeoning economy that has seen numerous relocations, a rising tech and healthcare sector, a growing population and more projects and developments than hands have fingers, Tampa finds itself in the midst of a prosperous time. Whenever times are this good, however, many often wonder how long it will last. With the advent of the new year — and a fresh COVID variant in omicron — that question is more pertinent than ever.
Invest: spoke to a number of officials and business leaders in Tampa Bay to get their thoughts on the future and the answer is clear: in 2022, while there will be challenges, such as the availability of affordable housing, the outlook remains positive.
Bob Rohrlack, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Chamber
What is your outlook for Tampa Bay’s economy?
We’re getting back to an era of hyperactivity. Florida has become hot, and Tampa Bay is hitting its stride in being a leading region within the state. However, we can’t just grow for growth’s sake. We have to make sure we have a comprehensive effort to identify and solve the issues that accompany such growth.
The business community is going to need to raise its voice and be more pointed with our elected leaders. This is a long-term effort. Elected officials may term out before they see any impact but they still need to focus heavily on all the aspects of fixing transportation. We need to think regionally but work locally, with each county doing their part to connect to surrounding counties.
Albert Lee, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation
What is your outlook for the underserved business community in the Tampa Bay Region?
Resilient. When people exit the marketplace, new people enter. We all have learned how to pivot and prioritize accordingly, as the external environment changes unexpectedly, as it did with the pandemic. Business owners have gained a better understanding of how to plan and take action as changes occur, forcing many to adjust as the environment shifts. We’re in a robust entrepreneurial climate in the United States that will last as long as the economy remains strong.
Carole Post, Administrator for Development and Economic Opportunity, City of Tampa
What are some of the key industries and business sectors that you are looking to develop and attract over the next few years?
We are benefiting from a lot of the relocations and continued interest in people seeing Tampa as a destination for families and businesses. It has been projected that Tampa’s population will increase by 100,000 residents by 2045. Our current population is slightly more than 400,000 now, so that is a big jump. We are looking to plan accordingly, being responsible and responsive to accommodate the growth. Having good-paying jobs is a key aspect to that. Fintech is becoming a big driver for us, as well as medtech, with the health sciences and academic medicine industry.
David Green, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA)
What is your near-term outlook for the region?
We’ll continue working with local leaders, discussing ideas that have been presented, the needs and priorities, and try to identify funding sources that can allow us to implement some of these new concepts. Providing frequent and reliable transit is a challenge, so we’re identifying creative ways to expand and implement new services. It’s an ultimate goal of ours.
Ronald Weaver, Of Counsel, Stearns Weaver Miller, P.A.
What is your near-term outlook for the legal sector in the Tampa Bay region?
I don’t think that we’re going to be able to go back to the pre-COVID status concerning how government and business address health. I don’t think we’re going to be able to go back to the pre-COVID status concerning not only the psychological, but the evolving culture of how we think, do business and govern.
Tampa Bay’s future is extremely bright and it’s extremely bright for the right sustainable and empowering reasons. Our 3,000 miles of shoreline, counting our rivers, combined with sunshine and a great attitude, responsible government, robust community engagement and the genuinely welcoming attitude of our community means we look very bright for the foreseeable future.
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