The St. Petersburg Area EDC is led by some of the City's most innovative leaders in business. A dynamic group of officers, elected each year, combined with a visionary Board of Governors allows the St. Pete EDC to make a dramatic impact.

Chair - Bill Kent


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William Kent is the President of George F. Young, Inc. and has been with the company since 1990. He is a University of Florida graduate and received his B.B.A. in accounting and finance.

Bill is active in the community, serving as Chair of BayCare Medical Group. He is a member of the Bank of Tampa Pinellas Board and the South Pinellas County Salvation Army Advisory Board. Bill is a Past Chair of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

Chair-Elect - John Moore


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John A. Moore is president of Orlando Health Bayfront Hospital and a senior vice president of Orlando Health. In his role as president of the 480-bed tertiary care and Level II Trauma Center in Pinellas County, John is responsible for developing, leading and implementing the hospital’s strategic and operational direction.

Previously, John served as president of Orlando Health South Lake Hospital from 2011 to 2020. Working collaboratively with team members, medical staff and leadership, John led Orlando Health South Lake to significant gains in patient experience, team member engagement, economics and quality of care, including several consecutive A-grades in patient safety.

Secretary - Morgan Holmes

Executive Director, Corporate and Foundation Engagement, University of South Florida


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Morgan Holmes helps companies and foundations connect with the University of South Florida for research, hiring, and other areas of interest.  She engages with USF's organizational partners on a range of university-wide opportunities, aligning each organization's specific priorities with key USF programs, with the goal of building long-lasting and meaningful partnerships.

Prior to joining USF, Morgan directed business engagement and communications at the 
Central Florida Development Council. She holds a law degree from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Treasurer - Nick Hess

Vice President, Fifth Third Bank


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Nick Hess is a Wealth Management Advisor within Fifth Third’s Private Bank. Serving the Tampa Bay area, he leads a local team that specializes in working with high net worth individuals and families. A full-service firm, Nick and his team handle everything from daily banking needs to complex financial planning and investment management.

Born and raised in the St. Petersburg, Nick resides just north of downtown with his wife and daughter. They like to stay active by participating in multiple sports and following their favorite collegiate and professional teams. Nick also volunteers with and is a board member of the Tampa Bay Chapter of Positive Coaching Alliance where he founded and runs the Triple Impact Competitor Mentor Program. PCA develops "Better Athletes, Better People" by working to provide youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

Nick received his B.S in Business Administration from the University of Florida and holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.

Immediate Past Chair - Marcus Greene

Regional Market President, FirstBank


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Marcus Greene is the regional market president for FirstBank. He has more than 30 years of experience in business and banking and has held senior leadership positions with statewide and multi-state regional banks.

Marcus’s entire banking career has been spent here in the Tampa-St.Pete market, with the exception of one year spent in Volusia County. His specialties include commercial lending, corporate banking, private banking, cash management and wealth management.

Marcus received his MBA from the University of Tampa, and his BSBA in Finance from the University of Florida.

Vice Chair, Strategic Planning - Danielle Ruiz

Director, Industry Recruitment, Duke Energy

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Danielle Ruiz is the Director of Industry Recruitment at Duke Energy. She is responsible for the attraction and location of new business, as well as the retention and growth of existing companies to Duke Energy’s 35-county service area in Florida, with a focus on Tampa-St.Pete and North Florida markets.

Danielle provides direct support in the form of programs and services to state and local economic development leaders and assists in enhancing the overall package to prospective businesses seeking an opportunity for a new location, capital investment and job creation in our Florida communities.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Management/International Business from Clemson University.

General Counsel - Bob Warchola


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Bob Warchola has extensive jury and non-jury trial experience representing various individuals and entities in commercial disputes including athletes, physicians, public companies, sureties, and governmental agencies. He also represents individuals and entities in the healthcare field. He has been representing physicians since 1997 and continues to represent physicians and physician practice groups on a variety of issues.

Bob also has represented contractors, sureties, and governmental agencies in construction matters since 1992. His commercial practice includes representing a public company, numerous individuals and entities in real estate transactions, and advising clients on general business matters.

He received his bachelors degree from The George Washington University and his law degree from Stetson University College of Law.

Additional Executive Committee Members


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Mike Swesey, president & CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp., helps business leaders find, explore, and choose the Sunshine City as a place to relocate or expand their companies. He leads St. Pete’s efforts to attract employers that bring higher-paying jobs, innovation, and investment to the area.

Mike is an authentic and approachable leader with more than 30 years of economic development experience. Prior to joining the St. Pete EDC, he drove economic growth in a variety of roles at the Greater Des Moines Partnership in Des Moines, Iowa for more than two decades, most recently as executive vice president. He led 30 successful expansion/relocation projects each year, creating more than $1B in new capital investment. He has marketed the business advantages of that region to site selection consultants, corporate real estate executives, and a national network of business location influencers he has built.

Mayor Ken Welch, City of St. Petersburg

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Kenneth T. Welch was sworn in as the 54th mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida on January 6, 2022.

Growing up in the Gas Plant area, Ken worked summers and after school on his grandfather’s woodyard that sat on property later displaced by the interstate. His father was a city council member who helped lay the foundation for St. Petersburg’s resurgence. Ken saw first-hand the uprooting of hundreds of businesses, homes and churches for what eventually became Tropicana Field. He also saw the unfulfilled promises of jobs and economic development in return for that sacrifice.

After receiving his BA from USFSP and MBA from Florida A&M, Ken returned to St. Petersburg as an accountant for Florida Power Corporation. He also served as Technology Manager for his father’s small accounting firm. After years of community service, Ken became the first Commissioner elected to represent County Commission District 7 in St. Petersburg, only the second African American commissioner in the history of Pinellas County. Ken proudly served on the County Commission for 20 years, where he brought a focus to the issues of economic development, transportation, equity, housing, criminal justice reform and fighting poverty.

A third generation St. Pete resident, Ken lives in St. Petersburg today with his wife of 30 years, Donna, and their two daughters.

Owen LaFave, Bank of Tampa

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As the Pinellas County Market President at The Bank of Tampa, Owen LaFave leads a team of experienced bankers who provide customized solutions for owner managed businesses and commercial real estate clients in the Tampa Bay area. With over 20 years of banking experience, he has the skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the post-pandemic economy.

His mission is to build long-term relationships with our clients based on trust, service, and community. He is passionate about supporting the businesses and people of the Tampa Bay community. He also serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations that promote education, arts, civic engagement, and affordable housing in the region.

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2024 Governors

Brian Auld, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies

Sandra Braham, Gulf Coast Jewish & Family Services

Brian Caper, City of St. Petersburg

Chuck Catanese, PNC 

James Corbett, City of St. Petersburg

Kathy Gillette, Johns Hopkins All Childrens Hospital

Ryan Griffin, Johnson Pope

Jason Jensen, Wannamacher Jensen Architects

Owen LaFave, Bank of Tampa

Iwan Mohamed, Truist

Jackie Skryd, St. Petersburg College

Jason Spears, Peninsular Mechanical Contractors

Scott Smith, St. Anthony's Hospital

Ex Officio

Barry Burton, Pinellas County

Steven Meier, CareerSource Pinellas

Secretary/Treasurer - John McLain

CEO, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg


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John McLain is a senior hospital executive with extensive experience in acute care hospital operations, service line expansion, strategic planning and medical staff development. He demonstrates proven ability to connect strategy with results and accomplish organizational goals.

McLain was named CEO of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg in 2017. He comes to St. Petersburg from Venice Regional Bayfront Health where he also has served as CEO. In this role, he was a strong leader in setting the future course of the system and rebuilding physician, employee and community confidence in the hospital.

Over his nearly 30 years in hospital administration, McLain has developed strong leadership skills and remained focused on employee, physician and patient satisfaction and operational excellence. Additionally, he has also previously served as CEO of hospitals in Tennessee and Virginia and in administrative roles at hospitals in Alabama and Georgia.

McLain earned his master’s degrees in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta and bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Religion from Emory University.

Chris Steinocher

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Christopher Steinocher is President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Chamber in February of 2011 and is responsible for the vision, strategic direction and overall operations of the Chamber.

Prior to the Chamber, Mr. Steinocher was with the Tampa Bay Partnership as COO and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, a job he held for 17 years, helping start the regional economic development group. Mr. Steinocher was also the AVP of Marketing for Fortune Bank, a Tampa Bay based bank with 46 branch locations throughout He has over 29 years of experience in marketing and community development, 27 of which have been in the St. Petersburg region. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

His current post is a coming home of sorts for him as he was employed at the Chamber over 24 years ago. He’s been a resident of St. Petersburg for over 26 years along with his wife, Juli. They are the proud parents of two boys. His professional goal with the Chamber is to ensure this city does everything it can to be so attractive to his two boys that they’ll never want to move to another market – (after all, isn’t that every parents’ desire?!). His personal goal is to be the starting 2nd baseman for the kids & kubs softball team in the year 2039.

Immediate Past Chair - David R. Punzak

Director and Assistant General Counsel, Tech Data Corporation



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"We here at Tech Data understand the importance of investing in our local community. We view our investment in the St.Pete EDC as just that -- a tangible representation of our commitment to growing our community so that there is uplifting, sustainable prosperity for all."
- David R. Punzak

David R. Punzak, 2018 St. Petersburg EDC Chair and 2017 Founding Vice Chair is a recognized community leader with more than 30 years' experience as a commercial transactional attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions, and finance matters. In his current role at Tech Data, Punzak focuses on commercial matters and transactions for Tech Data's Americas Division.

Punzak has an extensive history of volunteering and community service in the Tampa- St. Petersburg region. Since 2012, he has served on the Board of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, including two terms as Chairman, and as leader of its Economic Development Committee. Punzak has also held leadership roles at Baseball Forever St. Pete, the Suncoasters, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, St. Pete's Development Review Commission, the Dali Museum, the Heroes of the St. Petersburg Police, and The Dali Museum.