The Pinellas County Commission is joining calls for the newly renamed Tampa Bay Economic Development Council to either come up with a more appropriate name or go back to its old one — the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
The EDC assumed the new regionally-focused name earlier this year, but under its rebranding plan did not intend to expand its scope of advocacy to the entire region and will continue working on behalf of economic development interests in Tampa and Hillsborough County.
“Years of effort and expense have established ‘Tampa Bay’ as a regional brand for all economic development interests in our area,” Pinellas County Commission Board Chair Karen Seel wrote in a letter to the EDC on behalf of the commission. “We feel strongly your action undermines that investment and does great harm to the progress we have made on regional collaboration.”
Seel’s letter references two examples of groups working under the “Tampa Bay” umbrella to bring improvements to the entire region. One, Global Tampa Bay, promotes the region to international customers and clients in hopes of boosting business and economic activity in the area. The other, Team Tampa Bay, unites economic development organizations throughout the seven-county Tampa Bay region by promoting all seven counties to site selection companies across the nation to boost business location in the region.
“The decision to assume the global ‘Tampa Bay’ brand puts these and other collaborative programs in jeopardy,” Seel wrote.
The Commission is asking the re-branded EDC to “reconsider” its name change “in order to eliminate confusion” in regional marketing efforts.
Despite pushback from the regional community, neither organization has agreed to cancel the name changes or shift its narrow local focus to a regional one.