20 Questions with Mike Swesey

Mike Swesey, president and chief executive officer of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp., helps business leaders find, explore and choose the Sunshine City as a place to relocate or expand their companies. He leads St. Pete’s efforts to attract employers that bring higher-paying jobs, innovation and investment to the area.

Swesey has more than 30 years of economic development experience. Before joining the St. Pete EDC, he drove economic growth, in a variety of roles, at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, in Des Moines, Iowa, for more than two decades, most recently as executive vice president. He led 30 successful expansion/relocation projects each year, creating more than $1 billion in new capital investment. He marketed the business advantages of that region to site selection consultants, corporate real estate executives and a national network of business location influencers he has built.

1. College alma mater? Iowa State University.

2. Favorite TV show of all time? The Office.

3. Preferred place for a business meeting? Craft Kafe.

4. Social media time suck of choice?  LinkedIn and Facebook.

5. What time do you wake up on workdays? 5:45 a.m.

6. What’s a life hack you swear by? There’s no time like the present. I try to implement strategies from “The 5-second Rule” by Mel Robbins.

7. A movie that terrified you as a child? “Jaws” and “Amityville Horror.”

8. Favorite local restaurant? Italy Bottega and Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro.

9. Last book you read? “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

10. Biggest business failure? Not taking a prospect seriously and later, finding out it was Google.

11. Best concert you’ve ever seen, live? Kenny Chesney/Old Dominion/Dan & Shay, together, at Arrowhead Stadium.

12. Something you cook really well? Red Sauce (gravy for some Italian Americans, the debate continues) and authentic Italian meatballs.

13. Most famous person you’ve ever met? Barrack Obama, before he was president.

14. Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Pepsi.

15. How do you manage the volume of emails you receive? I don’t, it’s impossible!

16. Last thing you ordered from Amazon? A dog carrier for air travel.

17. Most used emoji? “LOL” and the thumbs up emoji. 

18. Charity you support? Big Brothers Big Sisters.

19. What is something silly you got in trouble for as a child?  Setting off fireworks in a metal trash can, at my local park, because the boom was so much louder.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? “Be You.” I pride myself on being myself.

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