We had a great day this past Tuesday during our Tampa 101 program!  The mission of the program was to encourage and inspire the next leaders of Tampa Bay to learn about Tampa’s past, present, and future by presenting an engaging program.  We think it is safe to say that Tampa 101 lived up to its mission! 

The Tampa Connection class of 2016-17 started off this full-day program by learning about the history of the cigar industry in Tampa.  We toured the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, America’s oldest family-owned premium cigar maker, and learned about its history from Eric Newman, the current President of the J.C. Newman Cigar Company.  We also enjoyed doughnuts from the Mini Doughnut Factory with Tampa Connection logos! 

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Our next stop was the Tampa History Center where Richard Gonzmart, President of the Columbia Restaurant Group, spoke to the class about his family’s origins in Tampa, the history of his restaurant group in Tampa, and his strong work ethic.  He also discussed a variety of projects that he is currently involved in and answered questions from the class.  After Mr. Gonzmart’s presentation, the Tampa History Center provided docent-lead tours with an in-depth look at the history of both Tampa and Florida. 

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The program than continued at the Tampa Theatre.  John Bell, the Tampa Theatre’s President and CEO spoke about the history of the Tampa Theatre in Tampa and its present role in our community.  Throughout each of the presentations a constant theme of community service and giving back to one’s community was conveyed as an important aspect of developing a connection to the community.  Each speaker discussed how the Tampa Connection class can give back and get involved in different nonprofits to serve the Tampa Bay area.  

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After learning about Tampa’s past, present, and future we finished off the day with a ride on Tampa’s water taxis from the Convention Center back to Ulele where the class enjoyed appetizers and a social hour.  We are all looking forward to the next program…Art’s Day! 

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A Great Tampa 101 Day!

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