Collaboration:: Transformative Change ~ Creating Innovation Districts.

Session Five       Across the nation there are brilliant examples of cities whose efforts in redevelopment have rewarded them with vibrant downtown areas that bring together the best of live, work and play. There are also horror stories of greed, neglect and simply failure to make any change at all that have left downtown cores an empty shell and shadow of a previous glory.

Introduction by Jesse Biter ~ President/CEO of Biter Enterprises, LLC and Board of Directors Enterprise Florida

Jesse Biter is the President/CEO of Biter Enterprises, LLC., a Florida-based management firm. From his Sarasota office, Biter oversees diverse assets in Information Technology, Real Estate, Marketing, and Transportation. The centerpiece of Biter’s organization is Dealers United. Jesse Biter is the co-founder of Dealers United, the first service to leverage the buying power of private dealerships, compliment their business services through the vetting of vendors and act as a conduit for smaller stores to compete with conglomerates. Biter has strong expertise is vendor negotiation, before starting Dealers United he founded HomeNet Automotive and grew the company from zero employees and one dealer to over 135 employees and more than 18,000 dealers, before selling the company to AutoTrader in 2010. Jesse and his wife Katie spend the majority of their time in Sarasota Florida where they nurture their love of flying, boating, golfing, skiing and scuba diving. In addition to action sports, Jesse is active on the board of Enterprise Florida and is an active supporter of various charities in the Florida area.

Moderator ~ Stuart L. Rogel, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.

A resident of Florida since 1984, Rogel was the regional director for the Florida office of New Boston Fund Properties, a full-service real estate development, management and an investment company. Prior to that, he served as assistant city manager and economic and community development director for the City of Miami Beach, where he was responsible for guiding that community through its dramatic and successful revitalization and redevelopment.                   

Rogel currently serves as a trustee of the Florida Chamber Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the United Way Suncoast.  He also serves nationally on the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Transit-Oriented Development Council.  He is a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XXI, is past chair of ULI’s Tampa Bay District Council, past president of the Florida Economic Development Council and formerly on the Board of Directors of Enterprise Florida. 

Rogel received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from George Washington University.  He and his wife, Bevan, have one daughter, Alexandra.

David Gustafson ~ Executive
Director for Downtown Development Authority, City of Bradenton

David Gustafson is an experienced Urban Planner, Project Manager and Land Developer with an extensive background in property acquisition, site design and site development/redevelopment. His diverse work experience and employment history ranges from Manatee County Government, ZNS Civil Engineering and Benderson Development.

Recent Community Projects: David was the Project Manager on the City of Bradenton’s 6.2 million dollar Riverwalk, helped broker the deal on the 16 million dollar Pink Palace 119 room Hotel renovation.  David has been heavily involved with the Bi-County rowing initiative. He has volunteered for the last 3 years at Nathan Benderson Park and worked with the design team on park operation. He was the Project Manager at the Ft. Hamer Rowing Facility, where Universities such as Harvard are training. He also helped start three High School rowing teams in Manatee County.

David has three children Meagan, Lindsey & Ian.

Tom Phillips, Executive Director of  Citrus County Connection

Tom Phillips serves as the Executive Director of both the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District d/b/a The Citrus Connection and the Polk Transit. Tom came to Citrus Connection from Michigan City, Indiana in August of 2011. He was employed at PACE Suburban Bus in Chicago. He managed the largest US Paratransit site. At Citrus Connection, Tom oversees 150 employees. He administers an annual budget of $10 million dollars and in just one short year, he has introduced a day pass based system, increased ridership 27%, reduced operating costs by 8.6%, and refunded the County over $100,000. He has secured funding agreements with Polk State College, PACE Center for Girls, Learning Resource Center, Legoland, Southeastern University, Explorations V Children’s Museum, Everest University, University of South Florida the Lakeland Campus and the COLTS program. His most recent accolade was being chosen by Mass Transit Magazine as 2012’s Top 40 Under Forty – The Best and Brightest. Tom has been married to his wife Michelle since 2001. They have two boys, Marshall, age 10 and William, age 4.

Tammie Nemecek ~ Director GrowFL

Tammie Nemecek, Director leads GrowFL’s programs throughout Florida, helping local communities build entrepreneurial efforts centered on the Economic Gardening philosophy that embraces strategies to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state. A 20-year veteran, economic development professional, Tammie was recognized in 2003 by Gulfshore Business Magazine as one of Southwest Florida’s top executives. In addition, ABWA recognized Tammie Nemecek in 2005 for her business leadership as part of the national Women in History celebration. Tammie is also a 2005 graduate of Leadership Collier and Leadership Florida Class XXV. She is a former Chairman of the Florida Economic Development Council and the Southwest Florida Regional Economic Development Partnership. Prior to GrowFL, she served with the Economic Development Council of Collier County from 1994 through 2011, leading the organization as President & CEO between 2002 to 2011.

Bob Clifford ~ Executive Director Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA)

Robert M. Clifford became the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) in January 2009. The Authority was created in July 2007 to plan, develop, finance, construct, own and manage multimodal systems in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.

Bob is a strategic, results-oriented Director with more than 20 years of transportation experience and is focused on aligning the transportation needs of the regions businesses, residents, and visitors through partnership, collaboration and effective communication.

Prior to being named Executive Director, Mr. Clifford managed the Intermodal Systems Development Office for the Florida Department of Transportation and also worked as a transportation consultant. Mr. Clifford earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

As a resident of the Tampa Bay area for over 25 years, Bob is familiar with the challenges of the region and is a key proponent of moving regional solutions forward.