Tropicana Master Plan: Scenario 2 reveals conceptual plans for post-Rays development

The City of St. Petersburg revealed the second part of its conceptual redevelopment plan of Tropicana Field during “The Tropicana Master Plan – Scenario 2” community meeting, held Monday, Aug. 6 at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

They trusted Habitat for Humanity. Then it sold their mortgages to a Tampa company that flips houses

OCTAVIO JONES | Times Homeowner Tonya Neal reads through letters she received from Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough Country regarding the sale of her mortgage and the financial status of her house in the Grant Park neighborhood of east Tampa. Neal is a single mother who takes care of her daughters while working two jobs to keep up with her bills.

Pasco Business Digest for Aug. 17


NEW CHAMBER MEMBER ORIENTATION: The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce will have its new member orientation from 5:15 to 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at the chamber office, 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite 16, Lutz. The event is free and open to all new members and those who have not previously attended. Learn about the chamber and its programs. Light refreshments will be served. For information, call (813) 909-2722.

CHAMBER MIXER: The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce will have its monthly Chamber Mixer from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 22 at Asturia-A-Hines Community, 14575 Promenade Parkway, Odessa. The event is free. For information, call (813) 909-2722.

ENTREPRENEUR’S DILEMMA WORKSHOP: The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce will present the workshop "Entrepreneur’s Dilemma" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at the chamber office, 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Suite 16, Lutz. The workshop, hosted by Sunil Misra and Janak Desai of DMG Financial and Indus Financial, will cover retirement costs for you and your family. The speaker will be Hal Schwartz, investment advisor representative, DMG Financial. The first 10 people to RSVP will receive a complimentary copy of the workbook. To RSVP, call (800) 983-4448 or email

CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP APPRECIATION & COMMUNITY AWARDS BANQUET: The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce will host its 57th annual Membership Appreciation & Community Awards Banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. August 23 at St. Joseph’s parish center, 38750 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills. The event’s premier sponsor is Florida Hospital Zephyrhills. For information, call (813) 782-1913.

CHAMBER RIBBON-CUTTINGS: The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce will have two ribbon-cuttings during the coming week:

• The Tire Choice, 10627 State Road 54, New Port Richey, 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 23. The event includes a Grand Opening celebration.

• Belk, 2111 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes, noon Aug. 24.

PEDC AWARDS AND TRADE SHOW: The Pasco Economic Development Council will have its annual Awards and Trade Show Sept. 6 at Saddlebrook Resort, 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel. Sponsorship opportunities include: Presenting sponsors, $5,000; Gold sponsors, $3,000; Trade Show sponsors, $2,500; Silver sponsors, $1,500; and Bronze sponsors, $500. Call Suzanne at (813) 926-0827, ext. 226.

Building skills

SMALL-BUSINESS SEMINARS: Pasco Hernando SCORE is presenting a series of free small-business seminars:

• Using the Internet in Your Business, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, Regency Park Branch Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey.

• How to Apply for a 501c3, 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. Sept. 11, Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

• How to Start a Business Successfully, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, New Port Richey Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

• Branding and Credibility through Digital Marketing, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12, Hugh Embry Branch Library, 14215 Fourth St., Dade City.

To register or to get more information, visit and click on the local workshops tab or call the SCORE office at (727) 842-4638.

If you have business announcements you would like to share, mail the details to Jean Hamilton, Business Digest, Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668. You also may email items to or fax them to (352) 754-6133. Submitted items may be edited for length and clarity. Call (352) 848-1438.



Networking and mixers

• Trinity Positive Business Network: 8:30 a.m. Mondays at Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Kelly Steen at (813) 388-8726.

• Women’s Connection of New Port Richey: 11:30 a.m. the second Monday of each month (September through May) at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $15 and includes lunch and a speaker. To RSVP, call Linda at (727) 856-4042 or Anita at (727) 863-2126.

• BNI Outlook to Success: 7:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Verizon Event Center, 8718 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call (727) 815-7744. 

• Suncoast Women in Networking: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Beef’O’Brady’s, 5546 Main St., New Port Richey. Suncoast WIN is a group of professional businesswomen. Membership is $10 per year. Call Myrtle at (727) 934-9993.

• Rotary Club of Lutz: 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf and Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Cost is $12, includes lunch and speaker. Call (813) 857-7089 or visit

• West Pasco Business Association Monday Lunch Chapter: 11:45 a.m. Mondays, Brass Tap - Trinity, 10700 State Road 54, Trinity. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit

• West Pasco Business Association Tuesday Evening Chapter: 5:15 p.m. Tuesdays at the Brix 33, 8351 State Road 54, New Port Richey. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit

• West Pasco Business Association Friday Breakfast Chapter: 8:15 a.m. Fridays at the Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit

• East Pasco Networking Group: 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at IHOP, 13100 U.S. 301, Dade City. Annual dues are $25. Nils Lenz, (813) 782-9491.

• Trinity Business Association: 6 to 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Fox Hollow Country Club, 10050 Robert Trent Jones Parkway. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., meeting starts at 6 p.m. Guests welcome. Cost is $12. Call Ginny Pierce at (727) 433-4073. 

• BNI Platinum: 7:15 a.m. Wednesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf & Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Call Bob Nixon at (813) 263-5632.

• Pasco Business Connections: 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Broken Yolk, 3350 Grand Blvd., Holiday. Email

• Wednesday Morning Networking Group: 7:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Hungry Harry’s Family Bar-B-Que, 3116 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. A short networking presentation will be followed by a chance for all attendees to do a 30-second commercial. Cost is $7 in advance for members, $10 for guests, and includes breakfast. Call the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce at (813) 909-2722. 

• Keep It Local-Trinity Chapter: 8 a.m. Wednesdays at Havana Dreamers Cafe, 3104 Town Ave., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.

• Pasco Aging Network: 8 to 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Location changes each month. For information or to RSVP, visit PAN is a coalition of agencies and private providers of elder services in Pasco.

• Keep It Local-Wesley Chapel Chapter: 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Lexington Oaks Golf & Country Club, 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. (813) 405-7815.

• Keep It Local-Christian Women’s Network Chapter: 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.

• Free Networking International: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Cantina Laredo, 2000 Piazza Ave., Building 4, Suite 170, Wesley Chapel (at the Shops at Wiregrass). Attendees pay for their own lunch. Call Martine Duncan at (813) 929-6816.

• Keep It Local-New Port Richey Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.

• Keep It Local-Odessa/Trinity Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Seven Springs Golf & Country Club, 3535 Trophy Blvd., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.

• West Pasco Business Network: noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Denny’s, 12105 U.S. 19, Hudson. Call Pete Petrignani at (727) 967-3106.

• BNI Eagles: 7:15 a.m. Thursdays at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call Clay Henderson at (727) 534-5191.

• BNI Referral Connection: 7:15 to 9 a.m. Thursdays at Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant, 22948 State Road 54, Lutz. Call Rob Hamilton at (813) 431-5887.

• Christian Business Connections of Central Pasco: 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. Thursdays at Quail Hollow Golf Club, 6225 Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel. Cost of $9 per meeting, includes breakfast and beverages. Annual membership dues are $100. Call Rene Van Hout at (813) 300-7511.

• Trinity/West Pasco Chapter of NPI: 7:45 a.m. Thursdays at The Grand Plaza Café, 4040 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Rob Marlowe at (727) 847-2424.

• Networking For Your Success: 8 a.m. Thursdays at Lexington Oaks Country Club, 2615 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. Cost is $5 and includes a continental breakfast. Annual membership is $79. Call Matt at (813) 782-1777.

• Women-n-Charge: 11:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month, Plantation Palms Golf Club, 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd., Land O’ Lakes. The cost is $15 for members and $18 for guests who RSVP by Monday prior to the meeting. Tuesday and after, the cost is $20 for members and $23 for guests. To RSVP, visit For information, call Judy at (813) 600-9848.

How to talk to recruiters as an early-career researcher—and why you should

n three morning sessions at the EuroScience Open Forum held earlier this month in Toulouse, France, early-career researchers had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with recruiters from industry and other employers. Science Careers dropped by and spoke with event organizer Clément Varenne, the administrative manager of L’École des Docteurs, which provides career training and development programs for doctoral candidates at the Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées. This interview was translated from French and edited for brevity and clarity.  

Q: What was the purpose of the event? 

A: Each participant had a 30-minute chat with a human resources representative from companies in fields including engineering, aeronautics, aerospace, and cosmetics. It’s almost like a mock interview in a neutral environment. There is very little at stake, so it’s a good opportunity for participants to practice interviewing and see what works and what doesn’t work.



Q: What mistakes do you typically see participants make when they talk to recruiters and other nonacademics? 

A: Doctorate holders tend to focus too much on presenting their research and not at all on presenting themselves. Your successful thesis defense is enough to show that you are a specialist in your field and have been recognized by your peers. What a recruiter will be looking for in a candidate above all is a keen interest in the job, a profile that brings something different and valuable to the company, and a personality that fits its culture. Several times, I have heard recruiters say, “OK, that’s enough, stop telling me about your research subject. Now let’s talk about you. What are you passionate about?” Sometimes, doctorate holders are a bit bewildered by those questions and not really prepared to answer them. It is always more difficult to speak about yourself than to speak about your research, so you should practice that.

Q: What about transferable skills? Are Ph.D. holders aware of their skills, and do they know how to highlight them for potential employers? 

A: Through research training, students develop an enormous amount of transferable skills that they usually aren’t aware of. But as academic jobs have become more and more difficult to get, there has been increasing recognition that we need to help doctoral candidates identify their soft skills and sell them to recruiters. In LÉcole des Docteurs, we help students learn about the different terms used to describe soft skills and evaluate their own competences through role play interviews, quizzes, and questionnaires.

We also organize activities to give students further opportunities to develop their transferable skills. To help with communication, for example, we organize outreach events with the general public and schoolchildren, and in jails and psychiatric hospitals. And to help them improve their collaboration skills, which are very important for industry work, we run hackathon-style workshops where students have 24 hours to put together an innovative business plan.

Q: What advice do you have for Ph.D. candidates who may not have access to these types of programs and opportunities?

A: First, you must learn to translate what you’ve learned during your doctorate to make it relevant outside of academia. We have an academic language that is understandable only to our peer community. When you arrive at a company, you need new language to explain your scientific competencies and transferable skills. There are lots of articles about soft skills that can help you find this new language.

Second, don’t hesitate to create your own opportunities. My doctorate was on the history of piracy in the Mediterranean, a topic that is often fascinating to the general public. So, I organized events to share my research with lay audiences, often in collaboration with public entities like the city of Toulouse. Doing this helped me realize that, although I liked research, I wanted to discover other things and diversify my work. It also helped me identify and further develop various skills, including event organizing and managing projects and teams. When the time came to look for a job, I was able to include these skills on my CV and explain them in a way that made them relevant to the post.

This paid off—I started my current job just 2 days after defending my thesis. This is another thing that I would like to convey to young researchers: the importance of anticipating their next career move. All too often, doctoral candidates wait until they have submitted their thesis to start looking for a job. I would encourage them to start looking a year in advance. You need time to research your options and develop your skills and networks.

Q: Do you have any further advice for doctoral candidates?

A: Academia can be stifling in some ways, and I would encourage students to raise their heads, open their eyes to what else may be available, and experience other activities and sectors. Do not hesitate to reach out to industry and other nonacademic employers. Challenge any preconceptions you may have by going and talking to them. For example, L’École des Docteurs helps students get exposure to industry by arranging 1-day visits and few-month placements. Through these experiences, students often realize that researchers in companies are just as passionate about their jobs as researchers in academia. Many students also discover that industry research is more tangible than basic research and that the pressure to perform is real, but it is no worse than it is in academia today. Gaining insight into industry and talking with company researchers about their jobs also helps doctorate holders better present their skills during job interviews.

Finally, do not be afraid of one-to-one meetings and other face-to-face opportunities to meet recruiters. Young researchers tend to forget that it is often much harder for the recruiter to find the right person than it is stressful for them to take part in the interview. So try to relax a little bit so that you can enjoy the experience and make a good impression while learning for the next time.

This board-game style tool can help you land on a winning caree

Post-Ph.D. career planning can be a daunting task, one that’s easy to sweep under the rug in the midst of classes, experiments, and thesis writing. But a new board-game style “road map” can guide your career exploration—and help you keep your momentum going once you’ve started the process.

Three key elements of a successful job search mindset

As an advanced-degree holder in the sciences, you don’t have to be on the job market to feel beat down. All you need to do is listen to the job search horror stories being passed around by the senior postdocs in your lab. This negativity, admittedly born out of real workforce challenges, could lead you to believe that you are doomed to a lengthy and unproductive job search.