The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA) is a cooperative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation ,  Pinellas County Economic Development and Pasco Economic Development Council. The TBEA’s team approach is to work together and leverage resources to support companies in the  region with the fundamental goal of helping them grow their business internationally. The TBEA works closely with other federal, state and local entities to offer a seamless network of support and compliments these efforts with the added advantage of focusing on the particular needs of companies and international stakeholders in Tampa Bay.

Meet the TBEA Team

Craig J. Richard, CEcD

President and CEO, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation

Craig is President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the designated lead economic development organization for companies seeking to expand or locate in Hillsborough County, Florida. Richard is a certified economic developer with over two decades of economic development experience in fast-growing markets such as Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. He is a collaborative leader with strengths in marketing, business development, entrepreneurial development, workforce development, global commerce, strategic planning, and managing talented teams to achieve desired results. Richard’s career highlights include more than 209 successful projects representing more than 148,000 jobs and $8.3 billion in capital investment. Richard earned his master’s of urban and regional planning degree, with a concentration in economic development, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s of general studies degree from the University of Houston-Downtown. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma. Richard currently serves on the Governance Committee of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as the Secretary/Treasurer.


Mike Meidel

Director, Pinellas County Economic Development

Mike is Director of the Pinellas County Economic Development Department. The Department’s mission is to retain existing businesses and encourage their success and expansion; attract new high-quality and diversified employment; improve the business climate; and facilitate availability of a qualified workforce. He oversees a staff of 16 full-time professionals. Mr. Meidel is a cum laude graduate of Florida State University (1981). He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (1991) and of the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Georgia (2003). Mike has been active in many different aspects of economic development since 1982, including economic and demographic research, development of collateral and promotional materials, business recruitment, community visioning, business assistance, and lobbying for improvements in business regulation and general legislation. In the course of his career, he has worked for the Florida Department of Commerce and Florida Power Corporation, and was the President & CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Mike serves on the board of directors of the Florida Economic Development Council, the Tampa Bay Partnership and CareerSource Pinellas.


 

Bill Cronin

President & CEO, Pasco Economic Development Council                 

Bill Cronin oversees all day-to-day business operations of the Pasco Economic Development Council, a non-profit organization funded by public and private investors.  Pasco EDC works to attract companies to Pasco County in an effort to help create jobs and assists existing companies and small businesses with resources to help them grow. Bill has a long career in economic development, most recently coming from the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, where he served as Economic Development Director.  Bill’s other previous positions include serving as Vice President of Economic Development for Invest Atlanta, Director of Field Operations for Enterprise Florida, and Director of the Global Business Development Division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Political Science as well as a certificate in Asian Studies from Michigan State University.  He has a working knowledge of Thai and Mandarin Chinese foreign languages. Cronin is a member of the International Economic Development Council, Urban Land Institute, Renew Pasco, and an Alumnus of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.


 

Brent BarkwayBrent Barkway

Business Development Manager, Pinellas County Economic Development

Brent Barkway joined the staff of Pinellas County Economic Development in August 2014, as a Business Development Manager specializing in Export Development, Foreign Trade Zone management, business expansion and relocation projects. He focuses on helping local companies discover new global markets for their products and services. Brent honed his economic development skills in Lee County, where he managed the relocation of Hertz Corporate Headquarters, which resulted in the creation of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact in Southwest Florida. Prior to his move to Florida, Brent worked for the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services to spearhead programs designed to initiate job development for citizens with disabilities. Brent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from Ferris State University in Michigan, and was honored with the “2013 Deal of the Year” award from the Florida Economic Development Council for the Hertz Corporate Headquarters relocation.


 

Aly Fernandez

International Business Development Manager, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation

As the International Business Development Manager, Aly Fernandez assists in the coordination of international trade and foreign direct investment activities, which include inbound and outbound trade delegations and business development missions. She provides administrative and logistical support for all international events, assists local companies with export counseling, participates in educational seminars, and identifies and prepares grant applications and awards submissions. Prior to joining the EDC, Fernandez served as an associate marketing manager for a Tampa Bay firm, where she oversaw the creative process of over 200 projects from initial concept to installation for multiple marketing campaigns. She has also held positions at Subway Corporate -LatAm and Raymond James Financial. Fernandez is a graduate of the University of South Florida, where she earned her bachelor’s in international business and management. She also received her master’s in international business at Florida International University, where she graduated first in her class.


 

Devon Barnett

Economic Development Manager, Pasco Economic Development Council

Devon joined the Pasco Economic Development Council in June 2015 as the Economic Development Manager responsible for international business development as well as local business retention and expansion.  She specializes in assisting businesses with identifying international trade opportunities, recruiting foreign direct investment, promoting workforce training programs, evaluating financing options, and facilitating location expansions within Pasco County.  Devon holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration from Florida State University with a double emphasis in Travel & Tourism and Special Event Planning and minors in Business and Communications.

TBEA conducts several joint activities such as:

OUTBOUND TRADE MISSIONS

Trade missions are overseas programs for U.S. firms that want to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential clients in their markets. TBEA jointly coordinates high quality trade and business development missions to targeted markets. These missions are generally led by elected officials from both counties. TBEA partners with the US Department of Commerce to facilitate one-on-one matchmaking meetings for exporters and also helps to offset the cost to participants thru state and local grant programs.

MARKET BRIEFINGS

TBEA coordinates and sponsors visiting experts from targeted export markets, generally to a region with an upcoming mission, to provide information about specific opportunities in these markets and meet one-on-one with interested companies to discuss their particular products or services.

INBOUND TRADE MISSIONS

TBEA hosts or supports international business delegations from key markets that are interested in visiting Tampa Bay for trade or investment opportunities.

TRADESHOWS

 TBEA recruits and supports companies wishing to participate in selected international trade shows and also leverages the opportunity to market the Tampa Bay area as a business destination to an international audience from a specific targeted industry.

MARKETING

The TBEA understands that from an international perspective, our message is stronger as a bi-county region. We are working diligently to ensure that Tampa Bay is a recognized name to overseas customers and investors and that we are seen as a top place to do business.

INTERNATIONAL TOWN HALL

Annual interactive community briefing on the state of international business in Tampa Bay. Held every May, this event kicks-off World Trade Month with an in-depth look at the people and programs driving international business growth in Tampa Bay.