Jane Castor picks Lakeland’s Nicole B. Travis to lead Development and Economic Opportunity as Carole Post exits
Image via City of Tampa.

The city said Post's exit was long planned, but some in the development community were shocked.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced Thursday she selected Lakeland Deputy City Manager Nicole B. Travis as administrator of the city’s Development and Economic Opportunity (DEO) portfolio.

Travis will replace outgoing administrator Carole Post beginning Jan. 24.

In a news release, the city said Post has been on leave from her role heading facilities and public safety operations at the University of South Florida for the last two years. She headed Castor’s transition team before leading Tampa’s DEO portfolio.

“While we always knew her time with us was limited, Carole’s ambitious and visionary plans quickly turned into reality, as she seamlessly assumed the reins of a large, complex operation that serves thousands of clients and residents every day and helps drive Tampa’s economic engine,” Castor said. “We are grateful for her dedication to public service and wish her well on her return to USF.”

Castor credited Post with streamlining the city’s “building permitting process to serve nearly 20,000 applicants a year, initiating the new City Planning Department to lead land use policy planning, and developing the $38 million Tampa Convention Center expansion project.” She also led a number of business-related COVID-19 relief programs.

Travis has worked her way through Lakeland’s city government for the last 11 years. She started as a project manager with Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). In 2015, she was named director of the CRA. From there, she went on to lead the community and economic development council before being named deputy city manager in May.

“Landing Nicole for this critical position is a big coup for Tampa,” Castor said. “She has the experience, track record, and passion to deliver on our commitment to Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow and ensuring we maintain our momentum while protecting and nourishing what makes our community so special.”

The move is a sort-of homecoming for Travis. She got her start in public service as an urban designer in Tampa from 2006 to 2009 where she was a part of development in the Channel District. While in Lakeland, Travis helped spearhead downtown revitalization and bolstered the city’s affordable housing inventory.

According to the city, Post’s exit was long planned. But some in the development community said the news came as a shock Thursday. Jennifer Motsinger is the executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association. She works closely with the city, including attending regular meetings with staff in planning and development departments. She said her organization had no idea Post was leaving.

“There used to be a lot more stakeholder engagement on a variety of topics so if this was planned — and I have no reason to believe it wasn’t — we didn’t know,” Motsinger said. “It’s disappointing to learn of these things when it’s already done.”

She said she hopes “this series of surprises will lead to better communication.”

Stephanie Poynor, president of the Tampa Homeowners Association of Neighborhoods, also works closely with the city. She said she had heard rumors Post might be leaving, but there was nothing concrete. She said the association looks forward to what Travis will bring to the department.

“Tampa Homeowners Association of Neighborhoods is excited to work with Ms. Travis to continue building Tampa’s economy in collaboration with the neighborhoods and their leadership,” she said.

The city said Post will work in collaboration with Travis for one month before departing the city workforce on Feb. 25.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].

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