The U.S. Business Report is pleased to announce The Top 50 Business Leaders of Tampa for 2022. The City of Tampa is the economic core of west central Florida and is structured on a diverse base including tourism, health care, finance, insurance, technology, construction, and maritime industry. Tampa is currently experiencing unprecedented growth in both development and population and in 2021 was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 3 fastest-growing metropolitan areas for entrepreneurs. This year’s awardees play a vital role within their community and in the state’s flourishing economy. They are doctors, philanthropists, community leaders, and job creators who lead in some of Tampa’s largest industries, however, their genuine motivation and sincere commitment are what stand out the most.
Among this year’s awardees are Brett Morgan, CEO of the Morgan Auto Group, an automotive empire that includes 56 dealerships representing 30 brands. Awardee Dr. Michael Diaz, President and Managing Physician of the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, provides medical care to underserved populations and has participated in numerous medical missions to Kingston, Jamaica as part of his philanthropic commitment. Also awarded is Ted Abrams, President and CEO of Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Co., the largest specialty coffee roaster in the Southeast and the official specialty coffee provider of Walt Disney World® Resort, Disneyland® Resort, and Disney Vacation Club.
We applaud these individuals for their commitment to the community and organizations they serve. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Business Leaders of Tampa for 2022.
1. Lou Plasencia
CEO, The Plasencia Group
Lou Plasencia is the CEO of The Plasencia Group, which took shape to provide hotel and resort owners investment advisory services at a personal level. Founded in 1993, The Plasencia Group is a national hospitality sales, investment consulting and advisory firm which provides a full range of value-added solutions to life insurance companies, banks and pension funds, and private owners of hotels and resorts throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. TPG’s services include portfolio and individual asset strategy, hotel sales, asset management, hotel valuation, contract compliance, debt and equity placement, development services, and financial and strategic planning.
As the firm’s Chairman and CEO, Plasencia is responsible for business development activities and the oversight of all acquisitions, dispositions, and consulting engagements. He began his career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation over thirty years ago. After his departure from Hyatt, Plasencia spent a number of years in hospitality investment sales with a major national commercial real estate firm. As an undergrad at Loyola University in New Orleans, he studied psychology and broadcast media before going on to get his Master’s in Education from Indiana University.
2. Brett Morgan
CEO, Morgan Auto Group
Brett Morgan began his professional career 21 years ago. Today, he is the CEO of Morgan Auto Group, one of the fastest growing independent dealership groups in the United States. In 2005, Morgan and his father purchased Toyota of Tampa Bay which began their initial ascent to what would eventually grow into an automotive empire. Today, the group owns 56 dealerships representing 30 brands. Automotive News Magazine ranked the group at No. 24 on the top 150 U.S. dealership groups in 2019 and ranked them No. 20 on the Top 100 U.S. Used Retailers list.
Morgan first got his start in 2001 as an executive producer at Clear Channel Communications Richmond. Since, he has worked at almost every level of the automotive dealer business world from a general service technician to supervisory roles. Morgan’s experience across various platforms and brands has provided him with a great working understanding of industry best practices and helped to form his vision of where his retail business can go. He graduated from the University of Richmond with an undergraduate degree in business administration and also completed the NADA Dealer Academy program in 2009. In 2013 Morgan founded an internal Social Media division inside of MAG known as “whitehat three60” and received Automotive News “40 under 40” designation. In 2015 he served as the President of the Tampa Bay Area New Auto Dealers Association and was also active in the Pinellas County Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
3. Andrew Messick
CEO, IRONMAN Group
Andrew Messick is the CEO of IRONMAN Group. He first joined the company in 2011. The IRONMAN Group has grown to operate a global endurance sport portfolio with more than 230 triathlons, road running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking events across 57 countries, with one million participants each year. Their events are not just races toward finish lines; they are platforms for individuals to test the limits of human potential and realize greatness. Their events capture the imagination of athletes and fans and partners around the world, inspiring change in the lives of every person they reach.
Messick previously served as Senior Vice President, International at the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2000-2007. Andrew joined the NBA from Sara Lee Corporation, where he held a range of business development, marketing, and general management positions in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Prior to Sara Lee Corporation, Andrew worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. in Chicago and Amsterdam. He earned dual BA's in Economics and Psychology from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Andrew is an experienced road cyclist, mountain biker, and marathoner. He is also a three-time IRONMAN finisher who also qualified for, and raced in, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
4. David Osterweil
Founder & CEO, Fitlife Foods
David Osterweil is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fitlife Foods, the Southeast’s leading fresh prepared meals retail and delivery company with millions of meals served annually. In 2011, Tampa native Osterweil launched Fitlife Foods, which is a combination of a restaurant and mail-order service that produces around 65 different breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options that can be purchased at a Fitlife retail location or delivered to homes. The vision at Fitlife is to provide customers with insanely flavorful, yet balanced meals and snacks to help them do more with their lives. Meals include being gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, and paleo. They have 12 locations and offer concierge-style home delivery throughout Florida and Atlanta with plans to continue growth through a number of innovative channels.
Osterweil has 23 years of experience and began his career in 1999. Prior to founding Fitlife Foods, Osterweil was a director of product marketing, development, and innovation at Carrabba's Italian Grill and before that a director of business development at Bloomin' Brands, Inc. Earlier in his career he worked with eTour.com (Ask.com) as a marketing manager. He graduated from American University - Kogod School of Business with an MBA in finance and marketing and from the University of Miami with an undergraduate degree in management and marketing.
View the complete list of awardees.
5. Ted Abrams
President a& CEO, Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Company
Ted Abrams is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Company, a Tampa-based roaster of coffees and teas and the official specialty coffee provider of Walt Disney World® Resort, Disneyland® Resort, and Disney Vacation Club. Joffrey’s is also now the largest specialty coffee roaster in the Southeast. It was with Ted’s vision for the success of Joffrey’s that resulted in expanding its offerings into other segments of the food and beverage industry which now includes key strategic partnerships with Aramark, Canteen, COSTCO, PDQ and the US Military.
Abrams’ 30-year career path has included leadership roles in finance and operation across various business industries. His financial experience includes working for companies such as Coopers & Lybrand, Southeast Financial Services, and the Royal Bank of Canada. He gained his operational experiences from consulting for organizations such as Waste Tire Management and National Linen Service. Abrams graduated from Emory University - Goizueta Business School with an MBA in finance and from Albright College with an undergraduate degree in accounting. Abrams is a proud supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and currently sits on the board for the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida Chapter.
6. Nick Friedman
Co-Founder & Owner, College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving
Nick Friedman began his professional career 18 years ago. Today, he is the Co-Founder and Owner of College Hunks Hauling Junk, a multi- million-dollar nationwide franchise that provides stress-free junk removal, donation pickups, prorated labor, and full service moving for professionals in any industry. Professional, courteous and uniformed collegiate teams will come to offices, homes, and even to clients' property or job site, and provide a comprehensive solution tailored to any situation.
Friedman is also an author, a TV personality who has appeared on multiple TV shows, a world-class public speaker, and a co-executive producer of the documentary, "Beware of Mr. Baker." Friedman graduated from Pomona College with an undergraduate degree in economics and Spanish. Friedman is a board member of the Entrepreneur's Organization (EO) and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is also a founding member of the Youth Entrepreneur Council. In 2015, Friedman joined the Florida chapter of YPO and also partnered with a national non-profit organization named 'Feeding Children Everywhere'.
7. Kevin Byrne
Owner, Impact Realty Tampa Bay
Kevin Byrne began his professional career 21 years ago. Today, he is the Owner of Impact Realty Tampa Bay, a brokerage that focuses on training, technology, and leads, all while giving agents 100% commission. In addition, a portion of every closing is donated to various causes which directly impacts the Tampa Bay community.
Byrne first got his start in 2001 as a manager at Deloitte and Touche. From there, he founded Align Right Realty South, his most recent venture prior to founding Impact Realty Tampa Bay. Byrne graduated from the University of Florida - Warrington College of Business with a master's in accounting.
8. Paul Avery
CEO & President, World of Beer Franchising
Paul Avery is the Chief Executive Officer and President of World of Beer Franchising, a growing national brand serving craft beer, tavern fare, live music and good times with friends. More than a bar, the World of Beer offers over 500 different bottled beers from around the world and an ever-changing rotation of draft beers from dedicated taps. The World of Beer caters to a broad spectrum of patrons, including local professionals and neighborhood residents, fans of beer, and discerning beer aficionados. The original location, in the suburban-Tampa neighborhood of Westchase, opened in 2007 and welcomes over 89,000 patron visits per year.
Avery has 33 years of experience and began his career in 1989. Before joining World of Beer Franchising, Avery was a COO at Bloomin' Brands, Inc. Avery graduated from Kean University with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for SunTrust Bank-Tampa Bay, Health Innovations Insurance, and the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). He is a trustee for Paul Smith’s College, NY.
9. Roy W. Sanders, M.D.
President, Florida Orthopedic Institute
Dr. Roy Sanders is the President of Florida Orthopedic Institute. He first joined the company in 1989. Florida Orthopedic Institute brings highly skilled and subspecialty trained orthopedic care to Tampa Bay and the surrounding area. Dr. Sanders specializes in acute trauma and posttraumatic reconstruction, as well as Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is the President of Florida Orthopedic Institute, a group he helped found, and the Director of the Orthopedic Trauma Service. He is currently the Chairman of USF’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. In addition, Dr. Sanders has authored over 100 articles and abstracts and published several textbooks on orthopedic trauma, and is presently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma, which is the leading international journal in the field.
Dr. Sanders attended medical school at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and performed his residency at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute, also in New York City, graduating in 1985. He also earned an undergraduate degree in trauma from Vanderbilt University.
13. Michael Diaz
President & Managing Physician, Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute
Dr. Michael Diaz joined Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) in 2011 and is currently President and Managing Physician for the statewide practice. Founded in 1984, Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute (FCS) is the largest independent medical oncology/hematology practice in the United States. Dr. Diaz serves on the FCS Executive Board and as Director of Patient Advocacy for the practice. As a hematologist and oncologist, Dr. Diaz has a deep interest in treating breast, lung, colorectal, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, skin and blood and bone marrow malignancies.
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Diaz provides leadership for a number of organizations, including serving as a current member and Immediate Past Chair of the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation Board of Directors, which offers non-medical financial assistance to qualified cancer patients in Florida. As a part of his philanthropic commitment, Dr. Diaz is dedicated to providing medical care to populations who are underserved and has participated in numerous medical missions to Kingston, Jamaica. Diaz earned an MD from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky.
14. Joseph Redner
Founder & CEO, Cigar City Brewing
Joseph Redner is the Founder and CEO of Cigar City Brewing. Founded in 2007, Cigar City Brewing’s ales and lagers bring to mind the sun and citrus for which Florida is known, while taking cues from the cigar industry upon which Tampa was built. Behind all of Cigar City Brewing’s liquid is the philosophy that quality is achieved by giving first rate ingredients to first rate people in a space where they are free to pursue their passion. Cigar City Brewing is dedicated to serving and delivering the highest quality ales and lagers possible.
Redner has 15 years of experience. He graduated from the University of Tampa with an undergraduate degree in English and creative writing. He has earned several awards and honors such as Entrepreneur of the Year issued by the USF Alumni Association, and was ranked #11 of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies issued by Tampa Bay Business Journal.
View the complete list of awardees.
19. Robert Glaser
President, Smith & Associates Real Estate
Robert Glaser is the President of Smith & Associates Real Estate, the largest and most successful locally owned real estate brokerage in Tampa Bay since 1969. Glaser is not only the broker of record at Smith & Associates Real Estate, but an entrepreneur, and real estate investor who believes in the Tampa Bay Community. He has shown this through his years of service to a number of non-profit causes, as well as his passion to see the health of the real estate markets grow and develop.
Glaser has 43 years of experience. He began his career with Smith & Associates in 1979 as CEO and rose in 1985 to his current position as President. Glaser graduated from Alfred State College - SUNY College of Technology with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
22. Troy Manthey
President & CEO, Yacht StarShip
Troy Manthey began his professional career 22 years ago. Today, he is the President and CEO of Yacht StarShip. Manthey took the helm of the 180-foot, $8-million luxury dining vessel, Yacht Starship, shortly after its construction in 2000 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Manthey visited Tampa in January 2001 when Yacht StarShip was chartered for the world-class annual Gasparilla Invasion/Celebration for Super Bowl weekend. Shortly afterward, he permanently relocated the company to Tampa Bay’s vibrant Channelside entertainment district, now Sparkman Wharf, in Downtown Tampa. In 2007, Yacht Starship opened its 2nd location in Clearwater Beach with the Yacht Starship II and has subsequently added Yacht Starship III and Yacht Starship IV. In 2009 Manthey became the sole owner of Yacht Starship Dining Cruises, LLC, which employs 145 people.
Manthey is a Leadership Tampa graduate who also serves on the Board of Directors for Visit Tampa Bay, Friends of the Riverwalk, Hillsborough County Hotel Motel Association, S.S. American Victory Museum Ship, Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Pinellas Chapter. He is also the founder of the Tampa Attractions Association. Manthey holds a Captain’s license from the United States Coast Guard as Master (inland) and 1st Class Pilot – Any Gross Ton. Manthey is also a 5th generation Passenger Vessel Operator and Captain.
23. Aliesa Gilstrap
President, Clear Channel Outdoor
Aliesa Gilstrap began her professional career 28 years ago. Today, she is the President of Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world's largest OOH companies, empowering advertisers to reach consumers where they drive, walk or fly. Clear Channel Outdoor is at the forefront of driving innovation in the out-of-home advertising industry and connects advertisers with millions of consumers every month across more than 500,000 print and digital displays in 26 countries.
Gilstrap first started her career at Clear Channel Outdoor in 1994 as a sales manager. Prior to her recent position as President, she was vice president of sales operations. Gilstrap graduated from the University of South Carolina with an undergraduate degree in journalism.
25. Brad Ball
President, Roadmaster Drivers School
Brad Ball is the President of Roadmaster Drivers School. He first joined the company in 1997. Roadmaster Drivers School is a nationwide leading provider of Class A CDL training for companies of all types and sizes across America. The company offers cost effective, quality CDL training for future generations of safe professional drivers by focusing on delivering the best education while maintaining the highest standards for job placement. Roadmaster has gained a national reputation in the trucking industry as a leader in the quality training of entry-level commercial truck drivers. Currently, due to an abundance of people who are looking to obtain a commercial driver's license, the company is in the process of expanding their schools to accommodate the number of applicants with the expectation to have 27 schools by the end of 2022.
For the past 15 years Ball has been a board member (fundraising chair) for the Angels Against Abuse organization, which provides support, monetarily and through hands-on volunteer hours, to neglected and abused children who are removed from or are in danger of an abusive situation. Ball earned an undergraduate degree in finance from Florida State University - College of Business.
26. Tabitha Naylor
Tabitha Nayor began her professional career over 12 years ago. Today, she is the Owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a marketing firm that specializes in delivering high-quality services at an affordable rate to startups and small businesses. Naylor’s firm offers services such as blogging/article marketing, graphic design, PR, search engine optimization, social media marketing, website design/development and web copy.
Naylor first got her start in the industry in 2009 as an account executive at KMI Media Group. From there, she went on to pursue a position as an associate publisher at Tactical Defense Media, her most recent position prior to founding TabithaNaylor.com. Naylor graduated from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in political science and international business. She graduated with magna cum laude honors.
29. Gary Delia
President & CEO, Home Performance Alliance
Gary Delia is the President and CEO of Home Performance Alliance. Home Performance Alliance’s mission is to provide superior products and best-in-class service to every homeowner. With over 30 years of experience, Delia is an expert in the home improvement industry. As President and CEO of Florida based Home Performance Alliance, he is a business and community leader who takes tremendous pride in customer satisfaction and his legacy of coaching youth football.
Delia began his career in 1986. Before joining Home Performance Alliance, Delia was a president at Appleby Windows and Doors. Delia graduated from Moravian College with an undergraduate degree in English language and literature.
31. Shirin Kanji
President, Impact RTO Holdings
Shirin Kanji began his professional career 20 years ago. Today, he is the President of Impact RTO Holdings, created in 2015 as part of the launch of their retail division and new partnership with Rent-a-Center, the leading durable goods lease-to-own retailer in the country. Under Kanji’s leadership, Impact RTO has since grown to a 74-store network covering eight states across the southeast region. In addition to being recognized for excellence in operation and winning the coveted Eagle Award for Top Franchisee of the Year twice, Impact RTO has also received numerous other industry accolades for performance and contribution within the industry.
Kanji first got his start in 2002 as an equity trader at Triton Global. From there, he went on to KTR Capital Partners as an analyst of acquisition, his most recent position prior to joining Impact RTO Holdings. Kanji graduated from New York University with an MS in real estate finance and development, and from NYU Stern School of Business with an undergraduate degree in finance and political science. Kanji is a member of the YPO Southern Sands chapter and part of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He also part of the NYU Alumni Advisory Board for the West Coast of Florida chapter and the NYU Alumni Mentor Network.
View the complete list of awardees.
39. Andrew Young
Andrew Young began his professional career 35 years ago. Today, he is the CEO of ACF, a leader in supplying air compressor systems, tools, and services, standby and trailer mounted generators, compressed natural gas fueling stations and/or generator services. ACF was established in 1987 and is headquartered in Tampa with full-service branches in Jacksonville and Orlando and satellite offices throughout Florida. ACF is the only authorized warranty provider for Ingersoll Rand in the area and is Generac's Industrial Distributor in Northern and Center Florida.
Young began his career 1987 as an application engineer at Ingersoll Rand. He joined ACF in 1997 as President and in 2014 was promoted to Chief Executive Officer. Young graduated from Drexel University with an undergraduate degree in commerce and engineering science.
41. Joe Collier
President, Mainsail Lodging and Development
Joe Collier began his professional career 39 years ago. Today, he is the President of Mainsail Lodging and Development, a Tampa, Florida-based company that specializes in hotel, apartment and resort property management and development, marketing, and sales.
Mainsail prides itself in searching for unique lodging opportunities with a purpose.
A native Floridian, Collier received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management and Marketing from Florida State University and completed his internship in the European Hotel program in Leysin, Switzerland. He spent 15 years with Marriott International in sales, marketing and development before forming Mainsail in 1998. Collier is currently on the Board Of Directors at Visit Tampa Bay, and is also a board member of the Hillsborough County Tourist Development Council.
42. Yvonne Justo
President, Bay Stage Live
Yvonne Justo began her professional career 46 years ago. Today, she is the President of Bay Stage Live, a family business since 1957, specializing in live events and creative design. Bay Stage Live has and will always be a leading provider of entertainment technologies, known for its vast rental inventory. The company’s world-class staff of lighting designers, event producers, and production support will customize your experience one idea at a time.
Justo is the goddaughter of Sam Marino, the founding father of Bay Stage Live. She brings experience and unbridled passion to the business, with her positive energy and steadfast dedication. A lifelong dancer, Justo counts her time as dance instructor among her greatest memories. Her creativity lends inspiration to the exciting and unique lighting designs Bay Stage Live makes into a reality. Justo first got her start in 1976 as a Hillsborough County teacher at Bellamy Elementary School. She graduated from the University of South Florida with an undergraduate degree in elementary education and teaching.
48. Frank Galante
President & Corporate VP, Johnson Brothers Liquor Co. of Florida
Frank Galante is the President and Corporate Vice President of Johnson Brothers Liquor Co. of Florida. He first joined the company in 2005. Johnson Brothers is a national family-owned wine, spirits and beer distributor with headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. Johnson Brothers have been providing exceptional service to their customers since 1953, representing the world's most famous brands in the beverage industry.
Previously, Galante was a director of global government sales at E and J Gallo Winery and before that a sales manager at Premier Beverage. Galante earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business.
50. Greg Mesaros
CEO, Triadex Services
Greg Mesaros is the CEO and Chairman of Triadex Services. He first joined the company in 2002. Triadex Services offers direct mail advertising, as well as digital and data services for every industry. Founded in 2002, Triadex Services is one of the fastest growing, on-demand digital and print and mail distribution services in the U.S.
Previously, Mesaros was a managing director at Mesba United, LLC and before that a VP of marketing, sales, and service at GED Integrated Solutions. Earlier in his career he worked with Lexis/Nexis as a senior account manager. Mesaros earned an MBA in finance and entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University and an undergraduate degree in marketing from Bowling Green State University.
View the complete list of awardees.