Economic yearbook 2011
Tampa / hillsborough County
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: Joey Redner, owner, Cigar City Brewing — Redner's Cigar City Brewing sold its first bottle of beer in March 2009. In 2010, it sold 3,500 barrels. This year, Redner expects to sell 9,000 barrels or more. Redner, 38, started with two employees, including himself, and is now up to 32.
EMERGING STAR: Greg Murtagh, founder/CEO, Triad Retail Media — In January, Greg Murtagh's Tampa-based Triad Retail Media won a contract to manage all of the on-site display advertising for eBay. Now, when people search eBay for "fashion," they won't see typical banner ads when their results come up. Rather, they'll see ads tailored for someone interested in fashion, such as ads for make-up and shampoo. They also might see a video on fashion trends. "I've kind of tended to be about four years ahead of the market," he says. "It's painful at the beginning because people don't know what the hell you're talking about, but now what we do is the hottest thing."
HEAVY HITTER: John Zettel, CEO, AVI-SPL — Even before it merged with its nearest competitor in 2008, the company that evolved into AVI-SPL was still the largest provider of audio video systems and related services in the world. Now, says CEO John Zettel, "we're about 3½ times larger than our nearest competitor." Last year, he says, the company grew 17%. This year, he expects it to grow about the same. He sees growth potential from improvements in video-teleconferencing technology.
Helda Rodriguez, president/co-founder, NovaCharge — As an entrepreneur "looking for the next right opportunity," Helda Rodriguez didn't have to look far. She was already an angel investor in a California company that makes Coulomb ChargePoint Network charging stations for electric cars. She formed NovaCharge in Tampa to distribute the stations in Florida and the entire Southeast. NovaCharge, which now has 50 charging stations in Florida, plans to have more than 400 by the end of the year, Rodriguez says.
George Gordon, CEO, Enporion — Enporion's rapid growth and potential for more led GrowFl, a statewide economic gardening program, to name the e-procurement software firm a "company to watch." Gordon, who sees growth potential in public sector work, employs 22 but hopes to grow to about 60 within two years.
Brian Sanders, president/COO, i9 Sports — Brian Sanders joined the Brandon-based youth sports league franchiser two years ago with a simple directive: Grow the company. The franchise, which operates under an "everyone plays and everyone has fun" philosophy, has 130 locations and plans to add up to 24 this year. Within five years, Sanders expects to total 500.