Danielle Ruiz is the Senior Economic Development Manager at Duke Energy, and the incoming Vice Chair of the St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation. Ruiz specializes in attracting and locating new business to Duke Energy, primarily in the Tampa-St. Pete and North Florida markets, in partnership with organizations like the St. Pete EDC. Ruiz helps share St. Pete's special vibe with prospective businesses looking to relocate to the St. Petersburg area for lower employment costs and greater quality of life. Prior to her tenure at Duke Energy, Ruiz was director of business retention and expansion for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Vice Chair, St. Pete EDC; Past Chair, Pasco Economic Development Council; Florida's Great Northwest; PACE Center for Girls - Hernando; Pinellas County Economic Development Council
What gets you out of bed every day?
I love my position, I'm able to help our communities, I'm able to find out what companies are looking for in ideal locations. Oftentimes, St. Petersburg comes into play with opportunities that have a strong quality of life component, which is a major driver for workforce relocation.
Why St. Pete?
St. Petersburg is just a destination location with water on one side, interstate with quick access to many other locations. It's a walkable city so you can live and work within blocks of each other, enjoying the restaurants, the amenities and the quality of life that we have. And the endless redevelopment opportunities that we have available to us. I love being here, I love enjoying the arts, the culture, and the wonderful food and experiences that we have here.
What is one habit that you keep?
I try to keep active, I'm a very active person both with exercise and with keeping my mind sharp. I read and listen to a lot of books on how to interact with people in the community and in my personal life.
who are some people that influence you?
I've had tremendous mentors in my life and I really love people that have passion for the communities they represent. J.P. DuBuque in the city of St. Petersburg is a phenomenal champion coming from outside the area and just really recognizing the value.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I've been listening to a book on tape called "Crucial Conversations," and that in itself has really allowed me to continue building myself and being aware of all different scenarios, and how to ultimately have both sides understand where you're coming from and have a wonderful outcome for both.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I think I wish I knew the impact that I have in my role as an employee of Duke Energy but also a mother and parent. I think that the impact we have as community leaders and influencers is such an intangible that ultimately has a greater selfless impact, that many people around the city of St. Pete commit their personal time and energy to make the community of Tampa Bay even better.
Opportunity. We have tremendous opportunity across the Tampa Bay area. St. Pete has two major, large properties that are prime for redevelopment. We have a lot of new companies come in, we have a lot of companies that have been here a long time growing, and I think our demographics continue to trend in the right direction with age and diversity, and I'm excited to showcase and brag about the wonderful opportunities we have in our city.