The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council has announced its new slate of executive officers who will help lead the organization in fiscal year 2023.
• Chair: Angel Gonzalez, Regional President, SouthState Bank
• Vice Chair: Joe Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport
• Secretary/Treasurer: Ron Christaldi, Managing Partner, Shumaker
• General Counsel: Ben Dachepalli, Partner, Bradley
The Tampa Bay EDC’s board of directors approved the 2023 Executive Officers at the Annual Meeting on October 19, 2022, at the Straz Center for Performing Arts.
At 35, Gonzalez is the youngest regional president for SouthState Bank. He started his career at SouthState as an intern, quickly working his way up through the lending program and proving to be a top performer and leader within the organization. He served as community president for three other Florida counties before being called to serve as regional president in Tampa Bay. Gonzalez has served on multiple boards for nonprofits and government agencies and has been recognized as a top “40 under 40” by both the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Business Observer.
“I’m constantly inspired by this organization and the work we do – constantly pushing ourselves to evolve, tackle difficult challenges, and position ourselves for greater competitiveness,” said Gonzalez. “I look forward to serving as chair and working more closely with the EDC’s staff, my fellow executive officers and Investors, and our community partners to achieve our goals.”
Lopano has more than 40 years of commercial aviation experience and has led tremendous growth and service expansions at Tampa International Airport. Prior to accepting the CEO role at America’s Favorite Airport, he worked at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for 14 years as Executive Vice President for Marketing and Terminal Management and held leadership positions at Continental Airlines. Lopano serves on the boards of the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization and the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. Joe is a member of the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society, a past Honorary Commander at MacDill Air Force Base, and graduate of Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class 30. Nationally, Joe serves on the Airports Council International World Governing Board, the U.S. Travel Association Board and Executive Committee, and the USTA Gateway Airports Council.
Christaldi, a business lawyer representing clients in complex transactions and litigation, and the president/CEO of the public affairs firm Shumaker Advisors Florida, is well-known for his legal acumen and for building relationships within the community. Named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the nation and one of the top 100 lawyers in the State of Florida, Christaldi is a past chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He brings to his EDC board role vast experience as business counsel and the ability to be a high-level connector.
Dachepalli is a partner in Bradley’s Tampa office who litigates complex construction claims, advises clients on construction licensing matters, and defends clients in administrative proceedings against their construction licenses. Dachepalli is board certified by the Florida Bar in Construction Law and has served as national coordinating counsel for a large, publicly traded REIT for projects across the United States. He is a former board member of the Construction Industry Licensing Board for the State of Florida and has also served on the Tampa Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Dachepalli is a past chair of the Indo-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Tampa, and a member of the American, Hillsborough County and Florida bar associations.
“I feel incredibly lucky and honored to have these four individuals in the EDC’s corner this year. All of them have been steadfast supporters of the EDC and have played pivotal roles in building the Tampa market as a top business destination,” said Craig Richard, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay EDC. “Each are top leaders in their respective fields and are widely admired for their leadership and contributions to our local community. I look forward to working more closely with each of them over the next year.”
About the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council
The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to advance a diversified local economy that is beneficial to all by attracting, expanding and retaining quality employers, a talented workforce and investment, focusing within targeted industry sectors, including Corporate Headquarters, Financial and Professional Services, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Defense and Security, Distribution and Logistics, and Manufacturing. The EDC exists because of the generous support of more than 100 corporations, Hillsborough County, and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.