Talk of the bay

Published January 31, 2007

Enterprise gavel goes to banker with Tampa ties

A Tampa guy will spend the next two years running the quarterly meetings of Enterprise Florida. Well, sort of a Tampa guy. Tom Kuntz, president of SunTrust Bank, Florida, spent six years in Tampa as an up-and-coming executive in the 1990s. He's now the bank's top dog in Orlando. As Enterprise Florida's new vice chairman, Kuntz took the gavel last week from Susan Story, president of Gulf Power Co. The state's top business recruitment agency is officially chaired by the governor, but his spotty attendance usually hands the duty to the vice chair.

Outback's Sullivan saddles up winner

Horses have played a prominent role in the life of Outback Steakhouse co-founder Tim Gannon, who trained thoroughbreds as a teen and later founded Outback Polo, winner of five U.S. polo championships. But chairman and co-founder Chris Sullivan is doing a little horsing around of his own these days. In March, Sullivan and a handful of fellow Kentuckians - including college basketball coach Rick Pitino and former pro basketball player Jamal Mashburn - bid $190,000 on a horse at a Central Florida auction. Since then, Buffalo Man has won four of six races and is considered a rising star.

Nail that interview with Home Depot

Sure to be a popular do-it-yourself project: getting a job at Home Depot. The Atlanta-based company announced Tuesday that it plans to hire 500 workers in the Tampa Bay area. The available positions run the gamut: sales, cashiers, lot attendants and contracting work. The local hiring push is part of a national effort to hire 15,000 net new workers this year. "Spring is our busiest time of year," Demitra Wilson of Home Depot said. "This is like our Christmas season." Last year, Home Depot hired 800 workers here. To apply, visit careers.homedepot.com or an in-store career kiosk.

Consumers receive bipolar diagnosis

Consumers are still sending mixed economic signals. The Conference Board said consumers are cheerier, reporting its Consumer Confidence Index gained a third of a point in January. The University of Florida said they are gloomier and its Florida Consumer Confidence Index fell 1 point. The slump in the housing market is likely to blame for the Florida dropoff, researcherssay.


All about money

Times personal finance editor Helen Huntley talks about money topics and answers your finance questions at blogs.tampabay.com/money.