TAMPA, Fla. – At their quarterly meeting on Monday, Sept. 15, the Board of Trustees of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced changes and additions to their ranks.
Gary L. Sasso succeeds Dr. Martin Silbiger as board chairman. Bill West has been elected vice chairman and Jack Kirkland has been elected treasurer. Completing the team of officers, Steve Mezer continues his term as secretary.
Sasso is the president and CEO of the Carlton Fields Jorden Burt law firm, which was founded in Tampa in 1901. The firm has 370 lawyers and government consultants in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York and Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the Wharton School and earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he graduated first in his law school class and served as editor-in-chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Following graduation, he clerked for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson, III, on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Byron R. White on the United States Supreme Court. He practiced in Washington, D.C., until 1987, when he joined Carlton Fields.
In addition to his extensive involvement with the Straz Center, Sasso is active in many civic and professional organizations. He has served as chair of the United Way Suncoast Board of Directors, chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership Board of Directors and chair of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society. He was editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association’s Litigation magazine and he is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.
Sasso lives in Tampa with his wife, Karen, where they have raised three daughters.
West is the president and CEO of the Bank of Tampa and has, over the years, been actively involved with St. Joseph’s Hospital, the University of South Florida College of Business and Metropolitan Ministries, among others. Kirkland is the tax lead managing director of CBIZ MHM, LLC’s Tampa Bay office. He is active with All Children’s Health System, Leadership Tampa Alumni Association and the Florida State University Alumni Association.
New board members include Michael J. Brennan, Tampa office managing partner and assurance partner with EY Florida Market Board; Martha “Marty” T. Lanahan, executive vice president and west Florida area executive city president – Tampa Bay, with Region Bank; and Dr. Robert A. Norman, chief physician and owner of Dermatology Healthcare.
Silbiger’s eight-year tenure as chairman was acknowledged at the Sept. 15 meeting and will be celebrated at the Straz Center’s Broadway Ball on Saturday, Oct. 18.