Current Clearwater Chamber News
"Voice of Business"
July 25, 2018
Members Spotlight
Labor Finders is a Staffing Agency with options of day labor, permanent placement, and direct hire, located here in the Clearwater area.
Labor Finders has been established in Tampa Bay for over 10 years. They have over 1,000 employees that are at your full disposal. From trade, skilled, to unskilled, Labor Finders provides the best workers at the best rates....GUARANTEED! They have the employees that get the job done safe, on time, and with enthusiasm. They are very diverse in many skill sets for different workplace environments. Partner your business with them today!

Member News
Welcome New Members!
As a business owner, you probably spend a lot of time doing HR tasks instead of focusing on growing your business. Partnering with a PEO boosts productivity and fuels business growth by freeing up your time so you can focus on the success of your business.
6 Ways A PEO Boosts Productivity and Fuels Business Growth
Bret Hamlin Appointed Incoming Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Taxation Section
The Committee focuses on developments and issues relating to employee benefits under the Code, ERISA and other laws.

The Committee also prepares comments to the IRS, Treasury and other government agencies on proposed guidance and emerging issues. 

For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at .
Catch these specials at THREE locations on the beach!
Bouchard Insurance was recognized in
Florida Trend's 2018 Best Companies To Work For In Florida!
See who else made the list HERE
UBS employee Doug Graska receives Copperhead of the Year recognition
Doug was recognized for his many years of service at the 2018 Valspar Live Concert. He has been an active member of Copperhead Charities since 2004. The Copperheads have a history of more than 40 years of aiding Tampa Bay area charities through professional gold and have been able to generate nearly $41 million to local charities. Doug is proud to be part of Copperhead Charities, The Valspar Championship and the best the PGA TOUR brings to our community.
Grand Opening
Steward Partners Global Advisory
Hibbard Wealth Management is a proud partner with Steward Partners Global Advisory. On Thursday, June 28th they hosted an open house to celebrate their expanded offices in Downtown Clearwater.
Division Partners & Initiative Sponsors

Economic Development Initiatives Sponsor
Let HealthNav Guide You To The Right Treatment
At The Right Time.
Workforce Development Initiatives Sponsors
Public Policy & Business Development Sponsor
Hill Ward Henderson has as its cornerstone an obligation and a commitment to our valued clients to provide the highest degree of integrity, professionalism and competence to ensure the timely, efficient delivery of high quality legal services. The dividend to our firm has been the long-term relationships we have developed with our clients and with the Tampa community.

Public Policy & Business Development

Here is what a strong mayor would look like in Clearwater
CLEARWATER — What would a strong mayor look like in this city?

A proposed ordinance finalized Thursday drew pieces from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando and West Palm Beach governments, where an elected politician has power over all day-to-day operations, the ability to hire and fire, a hefty veto power, authority to negotiate contracts and write the budget.

Next month, the City Council will vote on whether to place the strong mayor question on the Nov. 6 ballot, letting voters decide whether to change the council-manager form of government that has been in place for nearly 100 years.

New Bus, Rail Proposals Receive Wide Support At Transit Forum
TAMPA - (Friday, July 20)
The overriding message at the Tampa Bay Transit Forum on Friday was that it's finally time for action on mass transportation.

Politicians, activists and transportation officials came together to discuss the future of mass transit in the region at Tampa International Airport. Several key Republican and Democratic politicians are lining up behind the plan for  a 41 mile bus rapid transit route from Wesley Chapel to St. Petersburg.  The stretch from St. Petersburg to the University of South Florida Tampa will use a dedicated lane, and the entire route would have more frequent and updated buses.

Real estate adviser Marilee Utter told the crowd at the Tampa Bay Transit Forum on Friday that mass transit stops can become sites for new development districts.
Florida's constitutional amendments are a mixed bag
The Constitution Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years, has proposed eight constitutional amendments — many combining multiple measures. Five single-topic proposals from the Legislature or citizens were already slated for the ballot.

Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up
TAMPA — Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and other countries are beginning to push up prices and depress demand in spots around the Tampa Bay area and Florida, business executives say.
"We’ve definitely seen that the tariffs have increased the prices on steel," said Chris Bush, an owner at Titan Metal Service in Tampa.
Since last year, the cost of steel, both imported and domestic, has risen from 48 cents to around 60 cents a pound as Trump has pushed new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Steel produced in the United States might even be a little higher than that, Bush said.

Florida accepts election security money. Now, counties await their checks.
The state received $19.2 million to help the state and counties defend against cyber-security threats.
Five-and-a-half weeks before a statewide primary election, the Legislature accepted $19.2 million in federal money Thursday to strengthen voting systems against threats of intrusion by Russians and others.
A panel of state legislators gave Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, authority to spend the money. About $15.5 million will be divvied up among all 67 counties with each county receiving at least $50,000.
The action came a week after the special counsel investigating interference in the 2016 presidential election indicted a dozen Russian operatives for allegedly. trying to disrupt the election in Florida, Georgia and Iowa.

Chamber: Florida GDP hits $1 trillion
Florida’s economy has reached the $1 trillion gross domestic product milestone, according to the  Florida Chamber of Commerce  Foundation.
“Becoming a $1 trillion economy means Florida is continuing to grow and create jobs, keeping unemployment lower than the national average, and creating economic opportunity,”  Jerry Parrish , the foundation’s chief economist, said in a press release.

The benchmark makes Florida’s economy the 17th largest in the world, surpassing countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Switzerland, according to the release. The state hit the mark earlier this week, as Florida adds $2.74 billion to its GDP on a daily basis, Parrish said.

Since Parkland shooting, youth voter registration has soared
In 2018, youth could possibly rock the vote.

According to a new analysis of voter registration data from  Target Smart , there has been a significant surge in 18- to 29-year-olds registering to vote in the months since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Nationwide, the under-30 slice of the electorate has increased by more than 2 percentage points. Pennsylvania led the nation with young adult registrations jumping 16 percent and making up a whopping 61 percent of new voters — like Florida, the Keystone State is holding a gubernatorial and U.S. Senate election in the fall.

But young Floridians haven’t skipped out on registering to vote.

Florida Chamber endorses 20 more state legislative candidates
The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a “second round” of endorsements for state legislative races Thursday, adding four incumbents and 16 candidates to the 60 endorsements  announced in May .
“To help ensure Florida remains competitive, we need candidates that are focused on supporting jobs and the Floridians they employ,” said Marian Johnson, the Florida Chamber’s senior vice president of political operations. “The Florida Chamber is proud to support candidates that support free enterprise.”
Like the first round of endorsements, the Florida Chamber said the endorsements were issued based on the grades they’ve received on the org’s annual  Legislative Report Card  as well as candidate interviews.

Nationwide Title Clearing
NTC teams up with political consultant, David Jolly; national PR organization, Seven Marketing + PR; and financial communications group, RGA Public Relations as they prepare to make a more significant footprint in their industry and
community. Their team members have volunteered 247 hours in 5 months.
The world's 50 smartest cities (and what you can learn from them)
We’re often asked, “What is the smartest city?” It’s an impossible question to answer, although  our Readiness Challenge winners  are a good place to start.
The reason it’s such an impossible question is that people rarely agree on the criteria. Are you looking for the sheer number of shiny new projects? Are you judging them based on how well their projects are interconnected? Are you judging them based on how well they serve the public? Are you basing your ranking on how well they serve people who are typically underserved?
Eden Strategy Institute and ONG&ONG studied 140 cities worldwide and have put together  their list of the 50 smartest cities . While we can debate whether or not we agree with the final positions, what’s interesting about their list is how well it illustrates the problem with the task: even their top cities had significant gaps.

Save The Date: August Tourism Partner Meeting
Every other month, hospitality professionals from Clearwater & beyond gather to hear relevant industry updates and network together. Join us August 22 from 3:00 - 4:30 PM to hear updates from:

  • HUB Destination Marketing - the agency promoting tourism on behalf of Clearwater
  • PIE Airport
  • Legislative issues affecting the industry
  • & more!

Plus, be the first to know details about new member-exclusive promotional opportunities.
Grouper Week July 21 - 29
All hail grouper – you sweet, delightfully flakey fish! Sink your teeth into mouth-watering meals from top, local chefs and celebrate this delicacy during St. Pete's Grouper Week from July 21-29, 2018.

Savor the vibe best when it's served fresh at Grouper Week events taking place in local restaurants. Or get out on the warm Gulf waters to catch the grouper wave (and your own dinner) on an unforgettable fishing charter. Cap off the week enjoying specialty Grouper and seafood inspired dishes at an  epic Grouper food truck rally  where you can enjoy good food, live music, beer and fun for the whole family. 

Tampa International becomes only North American airport to land a spot in excellence awards
Tampa International Airport  has earned its wings from the trade association for the world’s airports, which has recognized TIA for its excellence in customer service. The honor from Airports Council International recognizes airports which have consistently delivered excellence in customer service, according to a news release. The ACI Airport Service Quality program is a worldwide service quality measurement and bench marking service that questions passengers while at the airport. The ACI director general’s Roll of Excellence identified Tampa International as the only North American airport to receive the recognition.
Young Professionals
Our Young Professionals group participated in Hunger 101 at our "2018 Large Nonprofit Business of the Year" RCS!

CYP At RCS Food Bank
Tampa Bay YP Summit
Clearwater Young Professionals, along with Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay and St Pete Young Professionals, hosted their inaugural summit to discuss why regionalism is important to our area.

Can't join us for this event? See dates and details for future events by visiting
Chamber Events
Breakfast with Brian Auld, Tampa Bays Rays

Hear and learn more about the future of team, changes, stadium developments, and more.

7:30AM registration opens and breakfast is served. 8:15 program begins followed by time for Q&A. Members $40; Nonmembers $50


Feather Sound Country Club, Clearwater
Thursday, July 26
3:00PM-7:00PM, EpiCenter, St. Petersburg College, Clearwater

Tuesday, July 31
6:00PM-9:00PM Big Storm Brewing Co.

Wednesday, August 1
Gates 6:00PM First Pitch 7:00PM

Thursday, August 2
5:30PM - 6:00PM, 2701 Park Drive #7, Clearwater

Wednesday, August 8
5:30PM-7:30PM Second Century Studios, Clearwater
Thursday, August 9
3:00pm-11:00pm Southern Lights Brewing Company

Friday, August 10
11:30AM-1:00pm, Bon Appetit restaurant, Dunedin

Tuesday, August 14
Feather Sound Country Club