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Isaac doesn't deter region's marketing venture for RNC

While Republican National Convention officials erred on the side of caution Monday by canceling scheduled events, local economic development officials marketing Tampa Bay proceeded with the first day of a “Front Row Tampa Bay,” a live web broadcast showcasing the region's business climate. The show, streamed live each day from the Stageworks Theater in Tampa’s Channel District, can be accessed at www.frontrowtampabay.com.

Monday’s programming included appearances by: Steve Mason, CEO of BayCare Health System;  Dave Pizzo, West Florida - Market president for Florida Blue;  Al  Carlson, President of Sun Hydraulics; Rod Hershberger, President and  CEO of PGT Industries; University of South Florida President Judy  Genshaft; incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford; Florida  Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater; and Dr. Julio Pow-Sang, a surgeon  with Moffitt Cancer Center.

Other guests included Garrett Johnson, a 28-year-old Tampa native who’d like to see better funding opportunities in Florida for entrepreneurs like himself. Johnson, a Rhodes scholar who worked in former Gov. Jeb Bush’s legislative office, is co-founder of SendHub, a service  that allows businesses and organizations to communicate with large  groups of people through text messages via web or mobile. Johnson had hoped to keep his company in Tampa but couldn’t raise the startup funding he needed in Tampa and eventually got $2 million from two Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms. Johnson is working with local leaders to try and figure out how Florida can provide more support to tech start-ups.