A small group of business leaders from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties founded the Tampa Bay Partnership in 1990 to serve as a regional platform for economic development. After formally incorporating the organization in 1994, the Partnership expanded over the next two decades to include a broad base of private investors, public partners and community stakeholders from the surrounding counties of Citrus, Hernando, Manatee, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota, creating a much-needed foundation for regional cooperation.

In 1998, the Partnership played an integral part in working with Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties to create Tampa Bay Water. Establishing this regional water authority successfully addressed the controversial “water wars” that threatened the growth of Tampa Bay. It was our first major advocacy effort, and introduced a new, and necessary, role for our organization as a unified voice on the critical issues impacting a diverse, and often divided, community.

In 2006, the Partnership worked with state legislators to drive the formation of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation (BALD), creating a political body focused on advancing regional legislative priorities. This delegation would serve as launch pad for legislative leadership and greatly influence regional development in the years to come.

In 2014, responding to the growing needs of the community, the leaders of the Partnership initiated a significant pivot in mission, deciding to exclusively focus on regional research and public policy to create a more powerful and effective vehicle for directly impacting the economic growth of Tampa Bay.

After a thorough and deliberate planning process that researched the best practices of CEO-led advocacy organizations nationwide, the Partnership’s Board of Directors on June 24, 2016 dissolved its governance structure and unanimously adopted a new set of articles, bylaws and guiding principles that fundamentally transformed the future course of the organization.

Past chairs of the Tampa Bay Partnership include:

  • David Pizzo (2019-2020)
  • Rhea Law (2017-2018)
  • Allen Brinkman (2015-2016)
  • Brian Lamb (2014-2015)
  • Barry Alpert (2013-2014)
  • Chuck Sykes (2012-2013)
  • Vinny Dolan (2011-2012)
  • John Schueler  (2010-2011)
  • Gary Sasso (2009-2010)
  • Stephen Mason (2008-2009)
  • Roy McCraw (2007-2008)
  • Dr. Judy Genshaft (2006-2007)
  • Dewey Mitchell (2005-2006)
  • Bill Habermeyer (2004-2005)
  • Daniel Mahurin (2003-2004)
  • Rhea Law (2002-2003)
  • Barney Barnett (2001-2002)
  • Lee Arnold (1999-2001)
  • John Brabson (1997-1999)
  • Peter Daks (1996-1997)
  • Jack Critchfield (1994-1996)
  • Jack Wilson (1993-1994)
  • Jim Apthorp (1992-1993)
  • William Meurer (1990-1992)