Pasco Economic Development Council Hosts Forum for Tampa Bay CEOs

Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc., CEO Nexus and the Florida Economic Gardening Institute are co-hosting a CEO Forum on Thursday, June 14, from 6-8pm at Saint Leo University. To attend, CEOs must be leaders of established growth businesses with $1 million to $50 million in revenue and 10 to 99 employees.

The event will feature keynote speaker Doug Tatum, the Founding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tatum LLC, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Middle Tennessee State University, and author of No Man’s Land.  Tatum offers a unique approach to diagnosing the patterns of failure that affect growing businesses and offers proven navigation principles. Tatum will answer pressing questions, such as how to
realign with your market, how to hire your senior management, how to test your economic model, and how to approach the capital markets.

Tatum has said, “I travel the country speaking about No Man’s Land to entrepreneurs and business leaders. Wherever I go, I get the same response. Listeners approach me with sadness in their eyes and say, ‘Doug, if only I had known about No Man’s Land when I was running my company, we might still be in business.’”

The idea for the event stemmed from a CEO Nexus Roundtable that meets at Pasco EDC’s offices each month.  The group includes local CEOs who come together for collaborative problem-solving sessions that address business issues important to the respective participants. These ongoing discussion groups are structured to provide CEOs with timely advice to problems they are currently experiencing. The group meets in a “closed-door,” confidential setting and participants discuss ways to overcome their company’s obstacles of growth in areas such as finance, employee relations, legal compliance and marketing.

“Unlike a traditional networking group, the CEOs in the roundtable don’t sell to each other,” said Krista Hakes, Economic Development Manager for Pasco EDC. “Instead, CEOs provide each other with insight and new perspectives on management techniques in a confidential peer-to-peer setting.”

Limited seating is available at the CEO Forum and is reserved for presidents, CEOs, and business owners of growth companies. To register for the CEO Forum, visit or call Krista Hakes at 813-926-0827 ext. 227.

FREE money for small businesses? Find out June 13!

You’ve all heard there’s FREE money to be had, you just have to find it. Find out more at our FREE Financing Forum on Wednesday, June 13 from 3-4:30pm at Rasmussen College in Land O’ Lakes. One of the most important things to consider when starting a small business is obtaining the financing you need to be successful.

There may be options out there that you have never ever heard of before!

Who should attend: Business owners, manufacturers, exporters, and everyone who needs money for their business – from start-ups to mature companies.

Who will be there: Robert Chavarria (SBA), Carol Hendrix (Small Business Development Center), John Hagen (Pasco EDC), and George Motran from SCORE.

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 13 from 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Location: Rasmussen College, 18600 Fernview St, Land O; Lakes 34638

Cost to attend: FREE, Limited seating is available so be sure to RSVP for this event today!

Click here to RSVP for this event.


Goin’ Postal Corporate Headquarters Expands in Zephyrhills

Goin’ Postal Franchise Corporation (GPFC) is expanding its corporate headquarters in Zephyrhills into a new 27,000 sq. ft. building which will also house workers involved with light manufacturing related to its Hut No. 8 franchise. The expansion is expected to generate 16 new jobs and contribute $4.3 million to the local economy.

“We are now operating at 100% capacity, and we need the room to grow,” said Marcus Price, CEO of GPFC. “This new corporate headquarters will meet the needs we currently have and enable us to expand the rest of our brands to their fullest potential.”

GPFC operates a multi service franchise company with 300 locations in 45 states and three countries encompassing several brands. Goin’ Postal is its main shipping franchise, which plans to open 20 stores in 2012. Its latest brand, Hut no. 8, buys and sells brand name clothes, shoes, and accessories for teens and young adults, and plans to open 50 new stores this year. Hut no. 8 stores, which are becoming very popular among young adults, feature a mix of high energy music in a rustic beach hut atmosphere. They carry clothing from stores like Buckle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Tillys and others.

Hut No. 8 Franchise Headquarters (a division of Goin' Postal) is based in Zephyrhills

Hut No. 8 Franchise Headquarters (a division of Goin' Postal) is based in Zephyrhills

“We’re proud to say Pasco County is the home to two of the fastest growing franchises in the United States,” said Pasco County Commissioner Ted Schrader. “The Goin’ Postal Franchise Corporation will be an important part of our community for many years to come.”

In 2002, GPFC opened up in a small 400 sq. ft. retail location in Zephyrhills with a budget of $3,000 cash and a couple of small credit cards. Now GPFC has over 300 locations worldwide and was ranked as the # 2 Shipping Franchise in the U.S. by Entrepreneur Magazine in its 2010 Franchise 500 List. GPFC owners attribute much of their success to the City of Zephyrhills where they got their start. Heavily involved in the community, Goin’ Postal often hosts events regularly and participates in Zephyrhills Main Street and Chamber of Commerce activities.

RJ Keetch, Assistant City Planner for Zephyrhills has been working with Goin’ Postal on its expansion. “Marcus and MJ Price are true leaders in the community,” said Keetch.  “In the new economy, innovation and entrepreneurship are key to economic development. The Prices have both qualities in spades.  Their rise over the last decade has been meteoric.”

The Pasco Economic Development Council is actively seeking other franchise corporations who want to relocate to the Tampa Bay area. “We have low taxes, cash incentives and plenty of room to grow,” said John Walsh, Pasco EDC Vice President.

Smart Cookies in Pasco County

We’ve been touting Pasco County’s “Smart Cookies” for a while now because we believe the key to building a skilled workforce begins in the schools. How bright are Pasco County kids? Take a look at Patrick McCabe, a Pasco High School senior  who we think could be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs!

Patrick McCabe, has been inventing things since elementary school. He is graduating this year with a 4.5 grade point average, is a member of the National Honor Society and has  claimed his school’s PRIDE award for achievements in science. To top it off he is finishing a year of dual enrollment at Pasco-Hernando Community College. He has created 11 robots and won numerous awards, and his latest accomplishment includes a full-ride scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This is the type of talent we have here in Tampa Bay. You’re gonna want that!

Source: Tampa Bay Times, 05/15/1,

The world will be watching Tampa Bay this August

With only 100 days until the 2012 Republican National Convention, the Tampa Bay Host Committee, is working diligently to ensure that this historic event is a success for the entire Tampa Bay area.

In addition to the thousands of guests who will be coming to Tampa Bay this August, the Convention will draw 15,000 media personnel and is the largest media event in the world, second only to the Olympic Games.

Ken Jones, a Pasco County resident is leading the Tampa Bay Host Committee in this historical event.

“Having the Convention in Tampa Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Tampa Bay is one of the best kept secrets in America, and we will demonstrate that our region can compete and shine on a global stage as well as any major city in the world.” Ken Jones, Host Committee President/CEO and a Pasco County resident

If you are planning to attend the convention or if you are part of the 15,000 media who will be coming down to cover the event, stop by and see us at Pasco EDC, we’d love to show you why businesses love Tampa Bay.

Are you getting ready to hire more people?

Are you getting ready to hire more people? Check with us and see if we can help! Did you know there are incentives available to businesses growing and expanding their business? That’s right! You can even get help with technical training for FREE.

If you know a company that is considering a move to another location, suggest Pasco County! Whether you are hiring, buying machinery or need training, we can help you for FREE! Email Tom Ryan at to see if your company qualifies.

No-Cost Speed Consulting for Entrepreneurs in Pasco County

In honor of National Small Business Week, the Small Business Development Center hosts its annual Growth Conference in Pasco on Wednesday, May 23rd from 7:30 – 10:30am at Saint Leo University’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business. This is a great way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to gain the tools and learn the strategies to grow their business.

Each location offers a different mix of discussion panels and speed consulting with Wells Fargo, the Small Business Administration and business consultants. Experts include accountants, lawyers, insurance agents and bankers.

Pasco Economic Development Council’s own Krista Hakes will be on hand to tell entrepreneurs about the microloan program, available business incentives, training opportunities and more.

Get your questions answered: 

  • What funding options are available?
    What to deduct? Home use deduction?
  • When to get workers compensation insurance?
  • What financing options are available for my business?
  • What to do with contracts, leases and HR?
  • Should I get a lawyer?

To register for this event go to:

Dating services for entrepreneurs

“IT Nerd seeks Marketing Guru to co-found next Facebook.”

So you know how to code HTML, PHP, ASP and everything else. Given any set of parameters you can make it happen, but your ideas lack creativity, and even if you were to think of a good idea, you wouldn’t know how to market it.

Or, maybe your the visionary type that has this grandiose idea and you know you are onto the next big thing, but the trouble is, you haven’t a clue how to get from point A to point Z. You need a computer genius.

That’s where FounderSync comes in. A new website called FounderSync is matching up entrepreneurs, coders, techies, and just people with lots of money and nothing to spend it on, based not only on their skills, but also their personalities, in an effort to help match the relationship component of start-up businesses. Call it a dating service for entrepreneurs, like an eHarmony meets LinkedIn.

Here in Pasco County we set up another matchmaking site for entrepreneurs called the Pasco Enterprise Network (PEN). PEN is a collaborative effort among the nonprofits in Pasco County to help support entrepreneurship on a local level.  The PEN website a wealth of information on the steps to starting your own business and where to go for what, like business licenses, sales tax IDs, registering a fictitious name, research and demographics, etc. But, it also matches up local entrepreneurs with the right nonprofit agency to help them start their business.

Entrepreneurs just fill out the “Contact” page and check off what their needs are. Upon clicking submit, their contact information and needs are sent to the Pasco Enterprise Network and matched to the appropriate local nonprofit that is able to help. Each person who fills out the contact form is followed up with by a non-profit agency who has a program or information to assist you on your entrepreneurial journey.

What kind of help is available?

  • Grants and business loans
  • Free Workshops and Classes
  • Possible Business Incentives
  • Help with your business plan
  • Exporting Information
  • …and much, much more

If you are in Tampa Bay, visit today to help get you started on your entrepreneurial journey. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your co-founder on

Pasco EDC is here to help you because when your business grows you’ll hire more people, create more jobs, and together we can help our economy grow.

Calling Pasco County Businesses to Get Involved Teaching Students about STEM

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 of the 20 fastest growing jobs require STEM skill sets, and skilled workers are in high demand. Career Central hopes to steer the interest of youth in Pasco and Hernando County towards STEM-related careers in an effort to build a stronger workforce and support economic growth and development in Tampa Bay.

This summer, Career Central is funding a Summer Youth Program that is designed to expose students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related careers, and they need help from local businesses.

“We need to partner with local employers who can play an active role in this summer’s STEM initiative,” says Garry Burlingame, Program Manager for Career Central. “We are currently looking for local employers to be guest speakers, host an industry tour, provide an internship, or mentor a deserving youth.  Employer involvement will make or break the program.”

Career Central’s youth program will focus on targeted career fields like applied medicine, business and financial management, high-tech electronics, and marine/environmental activities. These targeted industries are critical to the growth and prosperity of the Tampa Bay region, including Pasco and Hernando counties.  

“Teaching our kids science and technology skills is the key to our community’s economic future,” said John Hagen, President/CEO of Pasco Economic Development Council. “If students learn these skills now, we have a chance to avoid the all-but-certain crisis in ten years when the majority of jobs will require at least two years of post-secondary education.”

Connecting relevant education and talent development programs is just one way Pasco Hernando Workforce Board, Inc. achieves its goal as a community catalyst for promoting self-sufficiency through the development of a quality workforce. To partner with Career Central, contact Garry Burlingame at 727.484.3400 ext. 3551.