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St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce names first president of the Economic Development Corp.

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce announced today the hiring of J.P. DuBuque as the first president of the new St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp.

“We set out this year to formalize our efforts in economic development and I’m pleased to announce today our excitement for achieving this very important milestone,” said Greg Holden, chairman of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

He added, “Our Chamber’s mission is economic growth and community vitality for St. Petersburg, and the EDC will play a major role in ensuring our success.”

DuBuque is the current vice president of finance/administration at the Hillsborough EDC and recently served as its interim president/CEO during that organization’s recent reorganization. DuBuque led the group during one of the most impressive periods in its history marked by increased financial stability, a near-record number of projects, and the recruiting of several corporate headquarter companies to Tampa, including North American Roofing and Bertram Yachts.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be selected for this position,” DuBuque said. “St. Petersburg is building an enviable brand as an inclusive, forward-thinking community that can stack up quite favorably against any other market when it comes to opportunity for success and quality of life. This business community is invigorated and deep with talent. I can’t wait to work with all the partners in this city to show the world what we have become.”

The idea for creating the St. Petersburg EDC came from the “Grow Smarter” strategic plan adopted by the Chamber, city, and community partners more than two years ago. The strategy outlines six major themes of focus to ensure the city has a sustainable and inclusive economic strategy moving forward. The plan identifies key business sectors that the EDC will help retain, grow, and attract.

“Creating and attracting more and better jobs for our citizens has been and will always be a key effort of my administration,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said.

The city has worked with the Chamber on the formation of this EDC and will be recognized as a Cornerstone Founding investor in this effort.

“I’m pleased we’ll now have a strong private/public partnership with a 24/7 focus on retaining and expanding those businesses currently growing here while attracting new companies who can create more jobs for our city,” Kriseman said.

Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber, said, “The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is on pace to reach our initial fundraising campaign goal to launch the EDC. I’m so proud of those who’ve stepped forward as Founders for this effort — it’s a great mix of companies and organizations with a shared vision and aspiration for an even greater St. Petersburg.”

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce will announce and convene the Founding Board members and Founding Investors later this month.

The Chamber has tapped Michael Vivio, president and CEO of Valpak, to become the new organization’s first chairman. Vivio currently serves as vice chair of economic development on the Chamber’s executive committee.

“When we started on this journey over two years ago, we knew we could do more to capture the momentum of this market,” Vivio said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that our city is well positioned to compete for any business wanting the creative, smart talent needed to succeed — and that same talent will push us to ensure our housing, education, and transportation solutions reach their expectations. It’s the reason why great cities invest in economic development.”

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