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Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Robert Trigaux

Robert Trigaux joined the Times as a business writer in 1991. In 2000, he began writing a business column three times a week. He served as business editor from 2005 to 2008, when he resumed his role as business columnist. While at the Times, he has covered a range of beats including banking and finance, technology, telecommunications, energy and economic development. He has received various awards for business writing, including two Green Eyeshades from the Society of Professional Journalists, a commendation for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a first place in business columns from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists.

In the late 1970s, Robert started his business journalism career in New York writing for various business publications covering topics from technology to the furniture industry. At the American Banker, a daily national newspaper, he covered the financial industry in New York and London, then served for eight years as its bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He holds an economics degree from Colgate University.

Phone: (727) 893-8405

Email: trigaux@tampabay.com

Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

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  1. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    After some rough years, it may take a bit of a magician to reimagine Duke Energy Florida's public image and growth strategy.

    Such is the tough task ahead. A self-described "mountain boy" from Asheville, N.C. (before it became hip, he says), Sideris succeeded Alex Glenn earlier this year as Duke Energy Florida's state president based in St. Petersburg. ...

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

    Forbes on Monday released its 2017 ranking of the best 25 larger metropolitan areas in the country for young professionals. Tampa Bay ranked No. 19 nationwide out of the 100 largest metro areas and, remarkably, was listed higher than such youth-branded cities as Boston, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul....

    Erin Meagher is founder of Tampa-based Kelapo, which sells coconut oil products. She is shown here speaking earlier in 2017 before Florida Gov. Rick Scott about proposed tax cuts. She is a member of StandUp Tampa, a group of millennial "ambassadors" that works with area economic developers to recruit young professional talent to the Tampa market. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  3. Trigaux: Why I love and hate deal by giant Express Scripts to buy Tampa's myMatrixx firm

    Business

    One of the more dynamic up-and-comer technology firms in Tampa, myMatrixx was just bought by Express Scripts, a Fortune 100 company in St. Louis with more than $100 billion in revenues.

    I love the deal because a smart local startup grew and was well rewarded by being noticed (then bought) by one of the larger companies in America. That's capitalism, and a dream of many young, growing businesses and their backers here to find an "exit" and reap their financial reward....

    Artemis Emslie is CEO of the pharmacy benefits manager firm myMatrixx in Tampa that was acquired in a deal announced Thursday by Express Scripts in St. Louis. She will take on a new role at Express Scripts. [Courtesy of myMatrixx]
  4. Trigaux: How Tampa's ReliaQuest cybersecurity firm tracks ransomware attack around the clock

    Business

    It's been all hands on deck at ReliaQuest's security special operations center in Tampa since late last week when a ransomware attack spread like wildfire to more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries and continues to threaten business, individuals and government IT systems at the start of the new work week.

    At the young cybersecurity firm, nearly 170 of its 250 employees are on technical security, rotating in shifts 24/7 to track the attack of the so-called WannaCry ransomware program that targets a security hole in the Microsoft Windows operating system. A patch or software fix to plug that hole was issued in March by Microsoft but many businesses big and small failed to update their systems in time, leaving them vulnerable to the aptly named WannaCry. The malicious software, or malware, locks users out of their computers, threatening to destroy data if a ransom is not paid....

    ReliaQuest CEO Brian Murphy says WannaCry represents the biggest cyber ransomware attack so far in 2017. [Photo courtesy of ReliaQuest]
  5. Trigaux: As legislators cut job incentives, Tampa leaders fight perception Florida's closed for business

    Economic Development

    Is Florida suddenly closed for business?

    Absurd as that idea may seem, it is a growing concern to Tampa Bay's economic development community — a perception that job-competing states may use against this state and its metro areas.

    For months, our economic development leaders here have watched and winced as the state Legislature condemned Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida — the state's key agencies for job recruiting and tourism promotion — as agents of "corporate welfare."...

    Hillsborough Community College's vice president of workforce training,  Dr. Ginger Clark worries any loss of economic momentum in the area could slow the opportunities for the many HCC students seeking specialized work credentials. Already, Clark sees a $6.5 million cut in state funding that may put the brakes on a healthcare services training program at the college. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]



 talks during a meeting at the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation; 101 East Kennedy Boulevard, in Tampa Wednesday afternoon (05/10/17). The group was gathered to discuss how to maintain economic development in area despite sharp funding cuts by state Legislature. Also present was Tampa Hillsborough EDC President Craig Richard, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, CareerSource Tampa Bay Chief Ed Peachey, University of Tampa Provost David Stern, and St. Leo University's Denny Moller. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  6. Trigaux: Here's the latest thing Jeff Vinik is doing to make Tampa a magnet for urban development

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Could Tampa become a major hub people flock to for the best and brightest urban development ideas?

    The owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and a leader of one of the biggest urban redevelopment efforts in the nation, Jeff Vinik today is announcing he will personally partner with New York-based Dreamit to bring its high-end business accelerator and about ten elite startups specializing in urban technology to Tampa this fall....

    Avi Savar is CEO and managing director of the Dreamit business accelerator in New York that will partner with Tampa Bay Lightning owner and real estate developer Jeff Vinik to bring 8-10 highly qualified startups in urban technology to Tampa this September. The startups will take advantage of being in on the ground floor of the $3 billion, 50+ acre development by Strategic Property Partners near downtown Tampa to develop urban tech innovative products in construction, real estate, urban design and connectivity. It may be a first step in a long-term relationship to develop an innovation district in the SPP project. [Photo courtesy of Dreamit]
  7. Trigaux: Who's hot and growing, who's not and shrinking among area's top public companies

    Business

    Curious similarities lurk among three of Tampa Bay's hottest and fastest growing publicly traded companies that explain their current success. In that same vein, distinct ties can be found among three other area corporations in serious need of rejuvenation.

    The three fast-lane companies briefly profiled here are all involved in rapid growth by acquisitions. Two of the three are wrapping up the biggest deals in their corporate histories. The other is rapidly expanding both by purchases and via aggressive recruiting of financial advisers. All three of these company stocks are at or near all-time highs. It helps these three are in strong industries in this economy: health care insurance, technology distribution and financial services....

    Longtime HSN CEO Mindy Grossman will step down this month to become CEO of Weight Watchers International, the diet food company being revived by investor and spokeswoman Oprah Winfrey. HSN has suffered sharp declines in profits in recent years and will look for a new leader with a talent for turnarounds. [Janet Keeler, Times]
  8. Trigaux: Startups celebrate need for new space at Tampa Bay WaVE's Channelside site

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Sure, it's easy to say the Tampa Bay startup community has many miles to go before it reaps — the rewards of celebrating major companies born and raised here.

    But on Tuesday morning, there was a bold theme at the gathering held inside the Tampa Bay WaVE business incubator's second location, a peek preview of what will open this summer in space along Channelside Drive:...

    Tom Mulliez, founder of outdoor adventure startup iTrekkers, listens to Tampa Bay WaVE president Linda Olson, give an enthusiastic update on the potential for this region's entrepreneurial economy at a preview opening of WaVE's second Tampa location on Channelside Drive. A standing room only audience of more than 160 attended the morning event.
[ROBERT TRIGAUX | Times]
  9. Trigaux: Beyond dominating BofA and Wells Fargo, new crop of banks pushing into Florida market

    Banking

    Think Florida's banking industry is fat and slow moving, controlled by two dominating institutions — Bank of America and Wells Fargo? If so, you're missing the bigger picture.

    The banking scene here is constantly changing. Just witness the latest wave of financial players — banks coming out of lower-profile states like Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana — seeking to expand in the Sunshine State....

    In 2007, Alabama-based AmSouth Bank branches turned green, marking their official conversion to Alabama's Regions Bank. That deal, among others by Regions, helped catapult the bank's market share of banking deposits in Florida. Regions now ranks No. 7 among 241 banks operating in Florida based on deposit market share. [Handout Photo Special to the Times]
  10. HSN CEO Mindy Grossman resigning to head Weight Watchers International

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — HSN chief executive officer Mindy Grossman, one of the revered names in the retail shopping industry, is leaving the St. Petersburg TV/digital shopping company after 11 years to become president and CEO of Weight Watchers International Inc.

    Grossman, 59, will join the diet company in July. Weight Watchers has been in the news often in recent times — ever since media billionaire Oprah Winfrey became a prominent investor and brand ambassador (by losing 40 pounds on its diet). Increased brand visibility hasn't translated to higher revenue, however. Weight Watchers' business has struggled in an era of such new technologies as fitness trackers and alternative diet programs and has been looking for fresh leadership....

    Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN Inc. since 2006, said late Wednesday she is stepping down. [Company handout]
  11. HSN's Mindy Grossman to be president, CEO of Weight Watchers

    Blog

    HSN chief executive officer Mindy Grossman, one of the revered names in the retail shopping industry, is leaving the St. Petersburg TV/digital shopping company after 11 years to assume a “leadership position with another public company,” the company said.

    In a separate release, Weight Watchers International Inc said Grossman will join as the diet company’s CEO in July.

    Grossman’s resignation from HSN will be effective on May 24. She will not stand for election to the board of directors....

    Mindy Grossman has been CEO of HSN Inc. since 2006.
  12. Trigaux: How a tasty menu helped bring Quality Distribution's headquarters to downtown Tampa

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — I'm not sure whether to credit the mushroom ricotta stuffed Paccheri pasta or wild boar lasagna at the Cena restaurant.

    Such tasty Italian fare, it can be argued, is at least one good reason a billion-dollar company based in a Tampa office park near I-75 committed to relocate its headquarters and 250 employees to downtown Tampa's Channel District.

    Tampa's Quality Distribution Inc., a long established area bulk transport trucking business, plans to move downtown, committing to a 10-year lease for 45,000 square feet of commercial office space inside the Grand Central at Kennedy building....

    Grand Central at Kennedy, a mixed-used residential, retail and office development in Tampa's Channel District, recently landed Quality Distribution Inc. committing to 45,000 square feet of office space in the building for its new headquarters.
  13. Trigaux: Site selectors issue warning to state (and Pinellas) economy if Enterprise Florida is cut

    Economic Development

    A pair of site selection experts hired by Pinellas County this year to give an unvarnished look at the high-density county's challenging prospects for economic development and better wages offered up the good, the bad — and a warning.

    If Florida or the Tampa Bay region's economic development organizations fail to provide traditional marketing or support to corporate projects recruited to this market, there will be a painful price in lost jobs and investment paid by the area economy....

    Josh Bays, a principal with Dallas-based Site Selection Group, was hired in January to give Pinellas County an unvarnished report on its prospects for economic development. Site Selection's findings were made public in April.
  14. Trigaux: 5 numbers show Tampa Bay Rays' business as competitive off baseball field as on

    Business

    So the Tampa Bay Rays may be worth "only" $825 million, the lowest valued team in Major League Baseball. Let's not poor-mouth a pro sports franchise value that Forbes this month says increased a whopping 27 percent in just one year. Thank TV contracts more than attendance for the big bump.

    That's the kind of return we tend to hear about from fancypants hedge funds, not baseball franchises. Could the Rays be doing better business-wise? Sure. Who couldn't? Here are five numbers about the Rays, offered up in Forbes' annual "Business of Baseball" look at the financial side of Major League Baseball teams....

    The Tampa Bay Rays may be the lowest-valued team in Major League Baseball -- but they're worth has jumped more than 150 percent just since 2012. {WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  15. Want to be a personal financial planner? USF unveils a degree to help fill talent pipeline

    Personal Finance

    Surveys seem to come out by the boatload and all say essentially the same thing. Too many people know diddly about money, investing, insurance, how to save, how to spend or borrow wisely, or how to prepare for retirement.

    In fact, just 16 percent — about one of every six — American adults are considered proficient in personal finance, finds a new study by TIAA-Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. We hear versions of the same stories all the time....

    Mac Gardner, vice president at SunTrust Investment Services in Tampa, is helping USF Muma College of Business launch a personal financial planning major for the first time in the fall of 2017. He has written two financial planning books, one for adults and another for children.