Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership:
“This will be a game changer, not just for USF and our Innovation District, but for the way we think about managing rising oceans and flooding and severe weather in coastal communities. Research from this facility will help shape the insurance industry, environmental engineering, zoning and real estate development decisions. It will make our cities more resilient and connect the many different marine science elements that are already part of this campus.”
Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District, and Bemetra Simmons, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership:
“This new center of excellence would have a significant impact throughout Tampa Bay. Its work certainly would benefit Port Tampa Bay and MacDill Air Force Base. The region’s growing reputation as a destination for business start-ups would be enhanced. The researchers, students and high-paying jobs it attracts also would improve our standing in the Tampa Bay Partnership’s annual Regional Competitiveness Report, which ranks us in various categories against our peers such Orlando, Charlotte and Nashville.”
Barry Burton, Pinellas County Administrator:
“Pinellas County recognizes the importance of the advancements being made in the industries such as marine science, technology, and other industry sectors at USF St. Petersburg and within the St. Pete Innovation District. The Board of County Commissioners is committed to making a significant investment to the economic development of the industry clusters in this area and Pinellas County with the construction of a new incubator, ARK Innovation Center. Now is the time to capitalize on the District’s growing reputation of innovation and entrepreneurship and create a premiere destination for degree programs and research in environmental and oceanographic science.”
Trevor Burgess, CEO of Neptune Flood, and Dean Warhaft, CEO of the Warhaft Group:
"This smart investment would pay enormous dividends for Tampa Bay and all of Florida, and we appreciate House Speaker Chris Sprowls’ support of this forward-looking project. It’s a remarkable opportunity to launch new interdisciplinary programs and create a national destination for researchers to focus on issues such as coastal resiliency and sustainability. It will prepare students for high-paying jobs in all sorts of occupations, and it will help preserve and enhance the state economy."
Ed Montanari, St. Petersburg City Council Member
“The legislative investment in the Center of Excellence will strengthen USF St. Petersburg campus’ ability to reach its full potential and catapult the region’s expertise nationally and globally in the environmental and oceanographic sciences.”
Gina Driscoll, St. Petersburg City Council Chair
"The St. Petersburg community stands ready to do our part to make USF the Center of Excellence in Environment and Oceanographic Sciences supported by the Florida Legislature a reality."