What makes the world go round?

Looking back, every February edition of Tampa Bay Business and Wealth Magazine has me talking about love. 

I still am, but it’s a different kind of love. 

It’s love and appreciation. Not only for another person but for a community at large. This region. Our region. Our community. 

It’s beautiful here and so very welcoming. We live where people aspire to vacation. And it’s near, and dear, to my heart. 

When this publishes, I will be starting my 17th year in the Tampa Bay area. February 28, 2007, was the date I began commuting here and, ultimately, moved here, full-time, on April Fool’s Day that same year. 

But I wasn’t fooled! Moving to Tampa Bay was the best decision I ever made. I met the love of my life, Jose Bello, here and married him. I raised the original and forever love of my life here, my beautiful daughter Mallory Mill, during her toughest years. I found many of you as allies in the fight that is raising a teenage girl, especially as a single mom. 

And, to a larger degree, it’s you. It’s our business community and it’s our economic drivers that all work together, in tandem, to keep it that way. 

I hope we never lose what’s so special about us – a community that lifts each other up. A community that has what is often referred to as a Midwestern influence of genuineness, transparency and a zest for growth. I smile the biggest when welcoming a newcomer and they repeat that sentiment to me. 

That is what this February issue is about. 

The love we all have living here and calling this home. We’ve lost some of those who made this an amazing community along the way – some to death, some to jobs, or callings, elsewhere – and we won’t forget their impact. 

In this issue, you’ll find reporting from various entities in sports, tourism and economic development organizations. What they are accomplishing, what it means to our community and the things that excite them for 2023.

Speaking of economic development, one of my first loves was our airport! Flying to and from TPA (Veronica Cintron will correct you if you refer to it as TIA, anymore) at least two times per week, for a bit, it was hard not to notice the ease of that travel not experienced elsewhere. And it just keeps getting better (even though I didn’t win the flamingo naming contest). 

We also reached out to some of our banking and financial services resources to gain insight on what you should know in 2023. There’s a lot of speculation, some fear and a lot of uncertainty. TBBW hopes to cut through some of the clutter to tell you valuable information to help run your business and manage your wealth better and we continue to do that, at no cost to you. 

You’ll find more love in this month’s cover story, with Rick Brandt, chief executive officer of Brandt. His love for this community inspired him to move his global headquarters here, to live here and to, while under the radar, be active in our community. We appreciate many of you who have spied the special that is Tampa Bay and moved your companies here. Quietly. Behind the scenes. Just the way we like it at TBBW. 

There’s a lot of love to go around this year. We like to think it’s our job to tell those stories. And, well, we love that!

We love you; we love each other, we love this community and we love having a platform to tell the stories that haven’t been told. We also love hearing that TBBW is a part of economic development for this region because we continue to highlight what is good, unique and special. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

With love from here, 

Bridgette Bello

Publisher and CEO


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