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    TAMPA, FL – MARCH 3, 2017 – On February 28, 2017, GrayRobinson’s Tampa law office hosted a pre-legislative session discussion featuring community leaders Mike Griffin, Chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Rick Homans, President and CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership, Charles Klug, Principal Counsel for Port Tampa Bay, Michael Stephens, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, and Senator Dana Young, Florida State Senate, District 18.

    Attorney David L. Smith, Managing Shareholder of the Tampa office hosted, and Dean Cannon, Executive Vice President and Statewide Chair of Government Affairs moderated the panel event over lunch panel held at the University Club in downtown, Tampa.

    The Q&A directed panel discussion covered topics that ranged from trade policy to education. Additional hot button topics included medical marijuana legalization and its future impact on the Tampa Bay area, the current proposal to dismantle Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, proposed tax cuts by Governor Scott including a sales tax break on equipment and machinery and an income tax break for manufacturing and retail and how to increase regionalism throughout the bay area.

    Mike Griffin is a Senior Managing Director for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides a full range of integrated real estate services and can consistently deliver any type of assignment on a worldwide basis. His work on behalf of occupiers of real estate consists of a very diverse clientele ranging from Fortune 500 companies to all levels of government entities.. Mike is currently serving his 11th year on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors where he is currently serving as the Chair of the Executive Committee. 

    Rick Homans assumed the position of President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership in November 2015, bringing several decades of experience in economic development, public policy and media to the organization. Most recently, Homans served as President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, the lead economic development group for Hillsborough County, Florida. For nearly four years, Homans led the EDC through record-setting years of job growth and capital investment, organized business development trips to New York, Europe and Latin America and secured year-over-year increases in private investment in the EDC.

    Charles Klug is the Principal Counsel for Port Tampa Bay; Florida’s largest and most cargo-diverse seaport. Mr. Klug is currently responsible for advising the Board of Commissioners and the President & CEO and as well as overseeing the Port Strategic and Master Plan.   In past, he has served as Chief Legal Officer  and General Counsel for Port Tampa Bay since 2004 and served as Deputy Port Director for Administration, from 2008 to 2013. Prior to joining Port Tampa Bay, Mr. Klug was a partner with the law firm of Gray Robinson, P.A., where he concentrated his practice in the areas of commercial real estate, local government, land use and environmental law.

    Michael Stephens serves as General Counsel and Vice President of Information Technology for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and Tampa International Airport. He is responsible for providing legal advice to the CEO and Board Members on a wide variety of legal matters and information technology issues. Michael is a veteran of two branches of the military and served on active duty as a Captain and Trial Counsel in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corp, where he was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. He also served on active duty as an Air Traffic Controller in the U.S. Air Force.

    Senator Dana Young was elected to the Florida Senate in November of 2016.  Previously she served in the House of Representatives from November 2010-2016.  Her District (District 18) encompasses a significant portion of the City of Tampa and Northwest Hillsborough County, and includes MacDill Air Force Base and the Port of Tampa. Senator Young has worked tirelessly to pass legislation aimed at creating an exceptional business climate and a world class quality of life for Floridians.  Senator Young was appointed by Senator Negron to Chair the Health Policy Committee, and serves as Vice Chair on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K-12 Education. 

    Through its Community Leader Forums, GrayRobinson brings together clients, attorneys and friends of the firm to hear high-profile business and community leaders and elected officials discuss issues of importance to the state of Florida.

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