Tampa’s Challenges

The Committee of One Hundred is an arm of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Its charge is economic development – not cheerleading. That was recently underscored – and then some – by the Committee’s newly-installed chairman, Bob Abberger.

The regional director of development for the Trammel Crow Co. didn’t revel in Tampa’s ratcheting reputation as a major metro market. Instead, he laid out the challenges Tampa must meet to truly transcend its service, manufacturing and tourism economy – and attract more corporate headquarters, international businesses and biotech operations.

It means, Abberger emphasized, evaluating the competition and homing in on areas of relative and serious concern: affordable housing, wage levels, labor scarcities and that key infrastructure tandem: overburdened roads and underperforming schools.

Abberger knows this is not a zero-sum game. The Orlandos, Jacksonvilles, Raleighs and Atlantas are hardly wart-free. (Try comparing, for example, Tampa and Atlanta when it comes to crime rates, public housing scandals, gridlock scenarios or the quality of the rivers that run through them.) Tampa is a player with still-untapped potential that has been generating momentum. But momentum is worthless if not built upon.

Abberger’s message was as on-target as it was timely.

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