New Travel Massive Chapter focuses on changing the game in Tampa Bay
Pedro Ceron is a travel industry veteran and is joined in this interview by the Game Changer host and fellow industry vet, Chicke Fitzgerald. The two are the co-founders of the Tampa Bay chapter of Travel Massive. Between them they have nearly 60 (!) years in the travel industry, primarily in the tech side of things.
You may know Pedro Ceron from Apollo, which later became a part of Galileo International, which was bought by Cendant and rebranded Travelport (whew… ). Or you may know him from EOS, Worktopia or NuTravel or in his current role at Yapta, where his focus is on providing technology for the corporate side of the travel world. Pedro just recently relocated to St. Petersburg and is a patron of the arts and loves all things historical and oh, did I mention he is a devout food and wine afficianado (oh and let’s not forget beer).
Chicke joined the travel industry in 1978 in Milwaukee working for a travel agency. She then moved to Denver to work for Travelink (later acquired by Delta, which became a part of Worldspan). She then went to work for Tampa-based Agency Datasystems back in 1982, which was bought by American (after Apollo licensed the technology as ABS) and integrated into the Sabre organization. She worked for Sabre in various roles and then was recruited by Worldspan (now a part of Travelport). Are you sensing a trend here? Chicke also worked as an executive at SITA Telecommunications before going out on her own to form Solutionz, which just celebrated its 21st anniversary as both a game changing advisory services company and as a tech incubator and investor. During her consulting career, she was the subject matter expert on the acquisition of Galileo by Cendant. Chicke has lived in Tampa, Florida since 2000 and is pretty sure that Pedro is following her around….. Chicke spends more time at high school sporting events than visiting museums and while she loves food and wine, she has been busy building her tech company and writing her first novel, so she clearly has a lot to learn from Pedro about her own town!
What’s not to like about Tampa Bay?
Tampa Bay is a thriving community for both tech and for entrepreneurs and the investor community is very active in the startup scene in both Tampa Bay and St. Pete. The “other” Bay Area encompasses not only Tampa and St. Petersburg, but Clearwater and dozens of other beach communities, plus Bradenton and Sarasota and many other historic communities with a rich heritage, such as Tarpon Springs.
It is also a city where events, entertainment, sports and the arts play a huge role, on top of the area’s reputation as a vacation get away. Top that off with major league football, baseball and hockey and an up and coming soccer team (go Rowdies!), it is just, straight out, a great place to live and work.
This 20-minute interview is the introduction to the pair’s view on what is possible if the members of the travel, events and arts communities come together in Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater and surrounding areas to change the game for the area, changing our reputation from just a beach town with 335 days of sunshine, to a great place to live, work and market travel (oh and to build travel technology). And did we mention that we have an amazing, award winning airport and a cruise port right downtown?
To join, go to travelmassive.com/chapters/tampa-bay