Browsing the archives for the tampa tag.

GTE gets happy…


logoTeaching management classes, you do tend to get some insight into local employers.  There’s good and bad, but occasionally there’s that story that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

One of my students that I’ve also had the pleasure of having in other classes works for GTE Financial.  Since I’ve known her, she’s only had positive things to say about her employer and future with the company.  But, last night she told me about the Happy Conference and I swear I got chills.

GTE’s CEO knows what’s up… As a banking holiday, they had an opportunity to gather all of their employees and celebrate happiness, quality of life and all that stuff that creates an ideal work environment. The employees were compensated for the day and treated to a host of engaging, quality speakers (including Zappos that we had just talked about in class), various discussions and other events.  They were encouraged to create a Twitter account and share the love with others.  The entire day was about connecting the employee to the importance of happiness and reinforcing its importance in the corporate culture there.  This was the real deal.

From what I heard, one lady that’s been with the company 50 years was asked what her favorite moment in life was. When she had advised it was a company trip to Hawaii that she had taken with her family many years ago, the company decided to thank her by sending them back, first class. What did it for me here was that my student says this lady just honestly doesn’t want to retire because she enjoys what she does there so much.  Hmmmm…

This Happy Conference ended with everyone getting an envelope with two $5 bills (and 2 GTE cards).  They were told to go pay it forward and distribute it however they wanted.

My student was legitimately excited to talk about this event and shared it with the class.

I’m switching banks.

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California Tacos To Go.. Doing it right the first time


I’ve recently discovered a new favorite for fare in Tampa, and it’s an unlikely winner if you know me.  As one of the only people I’ve met not into the Taco Bus scene, my review of taco establishments probably doesn’t have a lot of credibly.  But, I’ll say California Tacos To Go has me trekking the thirty-minutes to enjoy quality food every weekend over the past few weeks.  If they were down the street, I’d be in trouble.  Whatever they put in that stuff is kind of amazing… I’m even writing this because it’s lunch and I’m thinking about how delicious it would be.

You do wait… And, there’s really not a lot a room to sit.  What’s there is all outside.  BUT, you don’t mind.  We’ve sat out there shivering to get our pork tacos and beef enchiladas.  It takes a little love and magic to get beef like that!

I guess they were also on Food Network, but I can’t say I’m into fish tacos.

Here’s the difference:


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Heat pipes, community involvement & STEM, oh my…


When was the last time you thought about a heat pipe? A week ago, I’ll admit I wouldn’t have been able to say much…

What I love the most about business though is networking and talking to people about what they do.  Within all of these moments, there are a few when you find people really passionate.  It’s the kind of person I’m always writing and talking to students about.

Well, at the recent Manufacturing Day event I attended with Aidan, we met the Director of Engineering and Operations over at Heat Pipe Technology.  He was actually there as the representative of the manufacturer the kids at the local STEM high school would be touring the following day.  This guy lights up when he’s talking about HPT and even manufacturing in general.  And, it turns out he’s not the only one working for HPT who cares enough to give back to the community. A few of their engineers will join me and countless others who participate in the Great American Teach-In coming up in November.  When was the last time you heard someone reference “integrity” when talking about their employer?

Curious about how a heat pipe is made and mesmerized by such a rich demonstration of corporate culture, I started talking with Ken and later scored a facility tour for Aidan’s FLL team.  Serendipity.

So, the boys went last weekend to see production of this stuff and I’m just going to say that it’s very cool.  I was a little concerned that asking four nine year-old boys to focus and behave through a manufacturing facility might be asking a little much. But, they sat there with minds blown as the demo pipe was heated up with a blowtorch and fluid reactions yielded unexpected results.  They walked through this impeccably clean and organized facility completely captivated by the sound of machines at work, bins of scrap for recycling and an inventory system that included a vending machine for parts.  Kanban, anyone? They left that place saying things like “best tour ever” and “BTU in equals BTU out”.  I’ll admit, I shared in their sentiment… STEM in play is awesome!

Anyway, the point here is that there are a few points.  But, the most important is that this is the perfect example of the triple bottom line principle at work and the enormous amount of ways in which that system can benefit stakeholders. Win-win-win.

“Engineers create the future. Manufacturers build the future.”

Thanks Ken!


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Chalk art made with love…


We decided to spend the afternoon in Hyde Park Village today primarily because of the St. Patrick’s Day activities going on, but also the annual Chalk Walk, which is an exhibition of talent on the sidewalks of South Tampa.  There were about fifty artists that took their craft to the streets, with artists ranging from as young as six.  There was quality in every inch of what each artist created.  You could tell by the proud expressions as they sat by and answered onlooker’s questions and smiled for photo opportunities.

My favorites included:


From a market segmentation perspective, the Nielson (PRIZM) information is quite interesting for the Hyde Park area.

The Chalk Walk was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts.  Founded in 1989, is a not-for-profit organization of businesses committed to supporting arts and culture. TBBCA educates and motivates bay area businesses and individuals for their support and continued development of arts and culture within our community.The Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts believes in making art and culture accessible to everyone.

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