Paying the Bills Smarter
Life in St. Petersburg is sustained by a diverse economy. Employers range from online shopping giant HSN to the more obscure Dairy-Mix, which turns milk from Florida cows into the soft-serve ice cream sold at Florida McDonald's.
Science of the Sea
The largest cluster of marine scientists in the Southeast U.S. work just south of downtown at Bayboro Harbor, which offers convenient access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Anchored by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, the St. Pete Ocean Team is a consortium of local, state and federal marine research agencies. They employ more than 1,600 in total. The city estimates that the marine sciences industry contributes more than $250 million to the gross county product.
Industry and city leaders see the potential for more as well as synergy with the nearby life science industry. The city has dubbed the area the Innovation District.
Philip Kramer, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), says there are numerous opportunities to commercialize the aquatic resources unique to the area as well as the research being generated by the marine science cluster. Citing one example he says, “This is one of the best places in the world to grow red algae. There’s no commercial operation here now, but there should be.”
Marine scientists at Bayboro study everything from fisheries to the impact of oil spills to tidal power generation. USF marine biologists were the first to discover the underwater plumes of oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater oil spill in 2010.
The Bayboro district includes a who’s who in marine science: SRI International, the Center for Ocean Technology, the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), U.S. Geological Survey Center for Coastal & Wetland Studies, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Fish & Wildlife Institute, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, and USF College of Marine Science. In addition, there is collaboration with nearby Eckerd College and Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory.
Some of the largest names in finance and insurance have big footprints in St. Petersburg.
Raymond James Financial, the largest financial business off Wall Street, is headquartered in St. Petersburg and is one of the city’s greatest business success stories. It opened its doors downtown in 1962 with one financial advisor. Today it’s a publicly traded company with approximately $123 billion in assets and 7,300 financial advisors at more than 3,000 locations worldwide. In 2017 Raymond James expanded its campus in Carillon Park north of downtown and completed the $173 million acquisition of Scout Investments and its Reams Asset Management division.
“The partnership we have shared with the city and the county over the years has been a wonderful story for us and has really contributed to our growth and success here in the community,” says John Kresge, real estate manager at Raymond James.
Though Raymond James outgrew its original downtown office long ago, it maintains a branch office there.
Other major financial service companies in St. Petersburg include Transamerica Life Insurance, Franklin Templeton, PSCU Financial Services, Allstate Insurance subsidiaries Castle Key Indemnity and Castle Key Insurance Company.
St. Petersburg is also home to many local, regional and national banks including the Bank of Tampa, Republic Bank, BB&T, Northern Trust, Sun Trust Bank, Hancock Bank, Regions Bank, Synovus Bank, Wells Fargo, PNC, TD Bank and Bank of America.