poweredUP Technology Festival Comes to St. Pete (Video) - Haneke Design

Buzz / 06 07, 2017


TBTF’s poweredUp Tech Festival showcases Tampa Bay as the 6th fastest growing tech hub in the USA

The Tampa Bay Tech Forum, or TBTF, hosted its largest event in the organization’s history in St. Pete on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Over 600 of the Tampa Bay tech community gathered to hear an impressive roster of local tech celebrities and rising stars. The crowd got to hear from the likes of CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies based in the Tampa Bay area, as well as up-and-coming startup leaders and local politicians.

Event Highlights

Some hard-hitting issues were discussed relating to Tampa Bay’s identity. Although the Bay is home to many major companies, many of them lack the household name recognition of other cities. The reasoning behind this is that many of Tampa’s largest companies are actually B2B solutions. Because of this, Tampa has to work harder at highlighting its attractiveness in other ways.

Mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, gave a heartfelt presentation in the beginning of the TBTF Tech Festival discussing the many cultural and scenic draws of starting a company in the Tampa Bay area. Being able to highlight these differentiators will help convince new companies to come to Florida, particularly, the Tampa Bay area.

Tampa’s Tech Environment

Throughout the Tech Festival, the audience was reminded that Tampa Bay is the 6th fastest growing technology hub. That statistic is not pulled from thin air. Rather, Tampa Bay is home to 50,000 technology jobs, and 1 out of every 89 tech workers in the United States is based in Tampa Bay. Pretty impressive stats! But with these impressive numbers, Jeff Brandes, Senator, State of Florida, mentioned that there is a need to create jobs for the nearly 900,000 capable university students expected to graduate in the next 5 years.

During the event, the TBTF had illustrators creating custom infographics during topic discussions. These illustrations were showcased in the entrance for everyone to catch a glimpse at the highlights from each speaker.

The themes for the discussions included:

You in Community

  • Kim Anstett, CIO, Nielsen

$3B M&A

  • Chris Cate, COO/CIO, Valpak Direct
  • Gerard Purcell, SVP Global IT Integration, Tech Data
  • John Kuemmel, CIO, Triad Retail Media


  • Keri Higgins-Bigelow, CEO, Living HR


  • Tony DiBenedetto, CEO, Tribridge
  • Travis Bond, CEO, CareSync

Breakout Sessions

  1. Innovation
  2. Artificial Intelligence
  3. Cybersecurity

The key takeaway of the TBTF Tech Festival is that in order to keep Tampa Bay moving forward, we have to keep working together. Working in a vacuum will not result in innovation. Instead, we have to close the gaps and provide opportunities that will create new jobs for young tech talent, as well as luring startups and corporations alike to the Tampa Bay Area.



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