TEMPLE TERRACE - Mayor Frank Chillura spent three days in New York City this week, networking with business executives in an effort to bring more economic development to town.
The economic development mission to the Big Apple was organized and funded by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., a partnership funded by public and private investors.
It was Chillura's first trip as mayor and he went with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan and Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development representatives - its President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Homans; Chairman David Pizzo, who is the market president in west Florida for Florida Blue; and vice chairman Allen Brinkman, the president and CEO at Suntrust Bank, Tampa Bay.
A priority for Chillura was a visit to the Morgan Stanley corporate office and headquarters in Manhattan to thank its executives for choosing Temple Terrace to house its Florida operations.
Last year the global financial services company opened a new office at the Intelligencer complex at Telecom Park off East Fletcher Avenue. The 25,000-square-foot office was large enough to accommodate 70 existing company employees with up to 110 new hires, earning an average salary of $55,000 a year.
"We want to show them our appreciation and support ... for making Temple Terrace their home," Chillura said before the trip.
The delegation planned to visit business leaders on Wall Street and in executive suites crisscrossing New York City's skyline, the mayor said.
The mission was focused on business and financial companies with an existing presence in the Tampa Bay area, said Jennifer Mikosky, spokeswoman for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.
The delegation was scheduled to visit the corporate offices of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Time Warner, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., and UBS.
It's critical elected officials play a role in talks with the New York-based business and financial executives, Mikosky said.
Chillura saw the trip as a tremendous advantage to build ties with captains of industry who might be interested in doing business in Florida, he said.
He was looking forward to one-on-one opportunities to tout Temple Terrace and rave about the quality of life, its schools and proximity to the University of South Florida.
"It's important for me to be there to tell them about why Temple Terrace is a special city, and what we have to offer," the mayor said.
Creating new relationships and strengthening ties will pay dividends in the future, Chillura said.