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Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Robert Trigaux

Robert Trigaux joined the Times as a business writer in 1991. In 2000, he began writing a business column three times a week. He served as business editor from 2005 to 2008, when he resumed his role as business columnist. While at the Times, he has covered a range of beats including banking and finance, technology, telecommunications, energy and economic development. He has received various awards for business writing, including two Green Eyeshades from the Society of Professional Journalists, a commendation for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a first place in business columns from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists.

In the late 1970s, Robert started his business journalism career in New York writing for various business publications covering topics from technology to the furniture industry. At the American Banker, a daily national newspaper, he covered the financial industry in New York and London, then served for eight years as its bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He holds an economics degree from Colgate University.

Phone: (727) 893-8405


Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

  1. Duke Energy Florida again ranks last in J.D. Power satisfaction survey


    ST. PETERSBURG — Another J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, another last place annual ranking for Duke Energy Florida.

    As sure as the sun rises in the east, Duke Energy Florida once again ranks last in residential customer satisfaction when compared with 12 other large electricity providers in the Southeast. Duke Energy Florida has ranked last in these annual J.D. Power rankings, issued every July, since arriving in Florida after acquiring Progress Energy....

    Duke Energy Florida president. Can he improve the utility's customer satisfaction ratings?
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times file photo]
  2. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    The trick, of course, is to gauge where the Sunshine State stands in comparison to the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the nation as a whole.

    That U.S. comparison is easy. Florida's jobless rate in June fell to 4.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent in May and from 4.9 percent in June 2016. The national unemployment rate, which Florida has closely tracked in recent months, actually rose to 4.4 percent in June from a 16-year low of 4.3 percent in May, but was down from 4.9 percent a year earlier. June's national uptick was viewed as a positive sign more people are entering the workforce, as the labor-force participation rate increased to 62.8 from 62.7 percent the month before....

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
  3. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people actually like?

    Sorry, there's no prescription currently available to clear the fog of uncertainty ahead for health insurance....

    Tommy Inzina is CEO of BayCare Health System in Clearwater. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  4. Trigaux: At struggling Frontier Communications, the bleeding cannot go on forever


    Look at Frontier Communication's performance so far this year and this image might come to mind:

    Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff. While holding an anvil.

    The cartoon's funny. Frontier's plight is not. After spending more than $10 billion to buy Verizon's FiOS business to provide Internet, cable TV and landline phone services to homes and businesses in the Tampa Bay, southern California and other markets, Frontier's business is struggling mightily....

    After spending more than $10 billion to buy Verizon's FiOS business to provide Internet, cable TV and landline phone services to homes and businesses in the Tampa Bay, southern California and other markets, Frontier Communication's business is struggling mightily.
[MONICA HERNDON | Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Often out of spotlight, 44 biggest private Tampa Bay companies reveal their clout


    They are a business backbone in Tampa Bay we hear little about, at least compared to the high-profile likes of Raymond James Financial, HSN or Bloomin' Brands. Few have household-recognizable names, but a handful boast brands well-known to most.

    Combined, the top 44 of them employ nearly 60,000 people, mostly in this metro area. Together, their combined revenues top $25 billion.

    "They" are the major private corporations whose headquarters reside in the Tampa Bay market. They are not publicly traded, though plenty of them are big enough to become public companies if they wanted to do so. ...

    Troy Taylor, CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida in Tampa, has aggressively addressed criticism of Coke’s sugar-laden legacy.
  6. Trigaux: As Florida citrus industry wanes, it's time for a Plan B, and Plan C and D


    The latest citrus industry story coming out of Tallahassee is even grimmer than the usual coverage of a state orange crop beset by disease, overpriced land for groves and a dwindling consumer thirst for OJ.

    "The final forecast of the 2016-2017 season for Florida's struggling citrus industry shows the orange crop falling 16 percent from the previous season — which, itself, had been at a five-decades low."...

    Back in 1971, when citrus was king in Florida, industry promoter Anita Bryant greeted fans at the Dick Mills Clearwater Showroom. Bryant, then famous for singing "Come to the Florida sunshine tree" jingle, was there to promote all things citrus. Those days are fading fast. [Norman Zeisloft, Tampa Bay Times]
  7. One day, the Tampa Bay area will land its Chewy


    Imagine a Florida startup that recorded an impressive $26 million in sales during its first full year in business in 2011, logged more than $900 million in sales by 2016, and this year expects to increase revenues to nearly $2 billion with 5,000 employees.

    Oh yeah, this Florida startup last month was sold for $3.3 billion — that's "billion" with a B — making it one of the biggest-ever deals in the Florida world of entrepreneurs....

    Jeffrey Korentur is CEO of a startup business in Tampa called Teewinot Life Sciences that specializes in creating cannabinoid substances (without the need for the cannabus plant) for pharmaceutical purposes. It has received 2 rounds of venture capital of just over $19 million. [Photo courtesy of LinkedIn]
  8. Trigaux: HSN ripples: 5 takeaways from sale of a major Tampa Bay public company


    The sale of one of Tampa Bay's core — if kitschy — public corporations like HSN does not happen often. QVC's announced multi-billion-dollar purchase of HSN this past Thursday will continue to send ripples through the regional economy for years. Yes, Tampa Bay loses a major public corporate headquarters — its seventh largest by market value — but gains a financially more muscular parent company that we need to learn more about. The deal also reminds us what happens when the stock market soars, empowering public companies with added value that can be used to buy other companies and grow. Here are five takeaways to ponder:...

    HSN's $2.1 billion sale to QVC will have a ripple effect throughout the bay area, not the least of which involves the loss of the seventh-largest public company based here. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  9. Trigaux: Can HSN, QVC prosper together to avoid becoming digital dinosaurs?


    What corporate legacy comes to mind with Thursday's news that larger TV shopping rival QVC will scoop up St. Petersburg's HSN for $2 billion and change? Here are three to consider:

    • A TV/digital retailer with a market value of more than $11 billion, QVC chose to gobble up its relatively puny rival in HSN in its moment of weakness, when its CEO had departed and its market value was little more than a 10th the size of its buyer....

    The St. Petersburg headquarters of HSN on Thursday, the day a deal was announced to sell the company and merge it with arch-rival. A  "Happy 40th Birthday " banner hanging outside HSN offices refers to the company's 40th anniversary this year. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  10. Trigaux: Amid Tampa Electric workplace tragedy, a reminder too many Floridians die at work

    Working Life

    The lives lost at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power plant in Apollo Beach are a tragedy, the latest frustrating example of too many people dying in too many ways at work in Florida.

    RELATED COVERAGE: Sheriff's Office releases names of victims of industrial accident at Tampa Electric Co. plant ...

    TECO spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs spoke Thursday at a press conference about a "major incident" at Tampa Electric's Big Ben Power Plant in Apollo Beach after two people were killed and four people were seriously injured.
[Luis Santana   |   Times]
  11. Trigaux: Ten Tampa Bay movers and shakers to watch in second half of 2017


    They are newcomers to Tampa Bay ready to make their mark. They are veterans of Tampa Bay institutions stepping into new and bigger jobs. They are embarking on major development projects that will start to be noticed soon. They are a trio of executives competing to run one of this area's top corporations at a challenging time. They are looking for ways to resuscitate a downtown that is resisting conventional remedies. At this midyear moment, they are ten key business people to watch for the rest of 2017....

    HSN President Bill Brand. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  12. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    Okay, so maybe the at-long-last name chosen for Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment's $3 billion, 50-plus-acre redevelopment isn't quite brimming with 21st century pop. No "CoolSpace 2.0" or "BoltsTown" names for this mammoth project.

    It's a far more sedate Water Street Tampa.

    Well, it's certainly dignified.

    It's definitely historical, named for Old Water Street. That's the street that runs through what will be the retail core of the project, right in front of the Tampa Marriott Waterside and the Tampa History Museum. That is the key street Strategic Property Partners (the Vinik-Cascade joint venture heading the project) wants to transform into what it calls "the new heart" of downtown Tampa, connecting people from the current downtown to the waterfront....

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  13. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    At first glance, the answer should be: Splendid. The metro-wide unemployment rate is down to a remarkable 3.8 percent. People are relocating to Tampa Bay and Florida in general at a rapid clip. And just last month we learned Tampa Bay will host the 2021 Super Bowl, its fifth....

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  14. Trigaux: Home appreciation varies widely, fueling wealth disparity, says Harvard report

    Real Estate

    A nationwide look at housing finds the United States increasingly split between the have-mores (those with fast appreciating home values) and the have-less (those with flat or declining home values). It's a troubling trend that raises questions for Tampa Bay and Florida's dependence on newcomers and retirees to keep fueling the state's hot economy.

    People migrating from states and metro areas in rising housing markets, typically along the east coast, will bring that enhanced nest egg of home equity with them when they head to the Sunshine State. Others, especially those from the Midwest where home prices have grown the least or even stalled, may find their new start or planned retiree life in Florida to be more expensive than they anticipated....

    Tampa Bay renters typically spend 50 percent of their income on housing. That high level dollar commitment to cover housing is widespread among renters living in Florida's major metro areas. [Handout photo]
  15. Trigaux: For the class of 2017, words of wisdom that couldn't hurt any of us to hear


    At graduation time, the buffet table of advice from commencement speakers seems endless. And often indigestible.

    There are exceptions.

    "Whether you are in Tipitina's, the French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3 a.m.," chided actor Helen Mirren to her rapt audience at Tulane University.

    "We build resilience into the people we love. And we build it together, as a community. That's called collective resilience," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Virginia Tech grads. "It's an incredibly powerful force — and it's one that our country and our world need a lot more of right about now."...

    Oprah Winfrey speaks to the Skidmore Class of 2017.