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Tampa Chamber of Commerce rings in new year of advocacy

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce passed its board leadership to its 2019 chair, Jamie Harden, during its 133rd Annual Meeting at the Tampa Convention Center Thursday. Harden, CEO of Creative Sign Designs, replaces attorney Steven Bernstein.

The chamber also announced the rest of its 2019 executive leadership board including Mise En Place owner Maryann Ferenc as chair-elect, Yvette Segura as treasurer and Gary Vien handling finance.

At-large members include Brian Adcock, Brian Butler, Kimberlee DeBosier, Steve Griggs, Kevin Hourigan, Christopher Rogers and Ryan Toth. The board’s legal member is Marilyn Mullen Healy.

The chamber also awarded Bob Martinez with its 2018 H.L. Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award recognizing individuals whose leadership has made a positive impact in the greater Tampa area. Martinez served as Florida Governor from 1987 to 1991 and Tampa mayor from 1979 to 1986.

During his time as Mayor, Martinez oversaw the reconstruction of Lowry Park Zoo, building the Tampa Convention Center and opening one of the nation’s first waste-to-energy plants.

Martinez also annexed large swaths of unincorporated land north east of the city that would later become the New Tampa community.

As governor, Martinez oversaw the creation of Preserve 2000, which would later become the Florida Forever program, which funds environmental land acquisition in the state. He also helped establish the Florida Department of Transportation District 7 office to better represent the transportation needs of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and was integral in creating Florida’s turnpike system.

The chamber also announced details of its first two major events in 2019 including the Military Appreciation event on February 22 recognizing MacDill Air Force Base and honoring those who serve in America’s armed forces.

They also announced Anne Geddes as the keynote speaker for the 2019 Women of Influence Luncheon on April 18. Geddes is the photographer most famous for her pictures of babies dressed as pieces of nature.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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