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20 sparks from Ignite Tampa Bay

Margie Manning



Mark Sharpe, chief potential officer at !P, was emcee for Ignite Tampa Bay 2019.

Ideas ranging from creating more affordable housing to saving whales took center stage at Ignite Tampa Bay.

Nineteen speakers had 20 slides and five minutes each to describe their passion at the Thursday night gathering at the Palladium Theater.

“Tonight you’re going to hear 20 ideas – I call them sparks – that I think are going to help ignite Tampa Bay,” said Mark Sharpe, chief potential officer at !p, and emcee for the event.

!p is a 25,000-acre district in northern Hillsborough County that surrounds the University of South Florida Tampa campus, including the former University Mall. The mall, now renamed Uptown, is being transformed into a research village. The Hillsborough County Commission is putting more than $5 million towards an Institute of Applied Engineering at the site. The nearby Yuengling brewery plans a hotel and conference center.

“We are turning the university area around,” Sharpe said. “As Tampa Bay, if we unite I’m certain there’s no region in this nation that can compete with us.”

Click on the gallery to see the 19 other “sparks” from Ignite Tampa Bay.

Ignite 2019

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Admitting you are wrong can be an act of heroism, said businessman and former Tampa mayoral candidate Topher Morrison. “Whenever facts and data conflict with how we feel, our emotions, resistance is guaranteed. We resist because to accept new information which conflicts with how we feel is to have to admit we were wrong. For most, that’s pretty painful … How does your world open up with a whole new set of possibilities when you are willing to accept that the data you believed in may not be complete?”

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