Economic Yearbook 2007
TAMPA BAY: Fulfilling the Promise
Focusing on SRI International and a Merck venture.
ECONOMY: "We certainly have some challenges, in terms of the insurance issue and the property tax issue, but both of those are being worked on," says Kim Scheeler, president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. "Our economic development folks are still working projects. It's not going to be as easy as it used to be, but I still think we're in a strong economy."
JOBS: Tampa attracted more 0"higher-paying" jobs than in past years, and the city succeeded in creating more "higher-skill-set" jobs, Scheeler says. That means more jobs in "life sciences, biosciences and financial services" -- and fewer call-center jobs.
LOOKING AHEAD: Scheeler points to the joint venture between the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and drug maker Merck as an example of where Tampa's economy is going. "In a nutshell, they're going to make it easier and quicker to bring drugs to market, which means a much lower cost to the drug companies, which ultimately means a much lower cost to all of us," he says. "And then other companies are going to want to be a part of that. It has the potential to put us on the map and become a real engine to drive growth."
? Network World magazine has named Persystent Technologies, a Tampa software company, one of its "10 management companies to watch." Founded in 2002, the company creates software that automatically fixes operating system problems when the computer is rebooted.
? The Tampa Bay Technology Forum gave its 2006 Quantum Leap Technology Award to Creative Recycling Systems, a Tampa firm that extracts useable materials from obsolete computer and electronic equipment.
? Researchers at the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer's Center & Research Institute have developed a vaccine made from specialized blood cells that reverses memory loss in lab mice with Alzheimer's. The Tampa facility was created in 2004 to find a cure for the disease.
? Researchers at the University of South Florida have developed a simple-to-use biosensor that can detect pathogenic organism and microbial toxins in food, water, air and surfaces.