OCN Masthead
Upper Tampa Bay Chamber E-NewsAugust 2011 .
A Hero Passes
half mast flagOn July 16, 2011 Corporal Frank R. Gross, Oldsmar, gave his life for his country in Khost Province Afghanistan serving under Operation Enduring Freedom when his vehicle was overturned by an improvised explosive device. Frank was only 25 and was less than a month into his tour of duty. The Oldsmar community mourns the loss of Frank and all the brave men and women who put their very lives at risk for our freedoms. But this loss is more personal as Frank is truly one of our own.

The chamber first came across Frank in the May 2009 edition of our Oldsmar Community News. It was in an article based on a letter from his proud mother Toni about the accomplishments and dreams of her son and the role of a local businessman, Kass Aiken, who served as one of his mentors. Toni said her son always strived to do his best no matter what he was doing. This story started with his earning a generous college baseball scholarship at a private university in Chicago. During that period he decided to pursue a career in graphic design which ultimately involved giving up his first love and passion for baseball and moving his college career to one of the best graphic design schools on the east coast - Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. However, the cost was a concern with the tuition approaching $100,000 but Frank pursued this vision and graduated on Halloween Day 2008 with his degree in Digital Arts and Design.

Paying the tuition remained a concern and enlisting in the Armed Forces was an option considered by Frank. This option was supported by his family which has a military background. Then Aiken who, had read about Frank, is in the digital industry and also had military experience took Frank under his wing. Aiken's advice was "When making difficult decisions you should always listen closely to your inner voice and loved ones". To Aiken this included advancing Frank's education which he did by pursuing a Master's Degree in entertainment. He enlisted in the Army in May 2010 to get a chance at decent pay, advancement and to pay off his debt. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

Frank will be remembered in many ways by his family and our community including:

  • A July 30 Memorial Ceremony at Countryside Christian Center where the Gross family will be presented with a flag flown over the Capitol. The Oldsmar Fire Department will provide an honor guard.
  • Flags on Oldsmar civic buildings will be flown at half mast until August 1
  • CPL Gross will be remembered on Oldsmar public signage
  • The City Council observed a minute of silence in CPL Gross honor on July 19
  • CPL Gross name will be engraved on the wall at Veteran's Park and his name will be called on Veteran's Day
  • A Memorial Bench will be dedicated to CPL Gross at some point in the future

Our sincerest condolences to the Gross family for their sacrifice of this extraordinary young man. Godspeed Frank from the community and your brothers and sisters in arms.

In our May 2009 OCN we also published a poem titled "Freedom Isn't Free". It was written in 1981 by an Air Force Junior ROTC Cadet Kelly Strong then of Homestead High School in Miami. Strong is now a Commander in the US Coast Guard flying proudly out of the US Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile Alabama. The poem was dedicated to his father a two-tour Vietnam veteran. We repeat the poem here in memory in honor of Corporal Frank R. Gross, United States Army.

Freedom Isn't Free 
by Kelly Strong 
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young soldier saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No Freedom isn't free

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard at the
bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.....
No -- Freedom isn't free!!
Upper Tampa Bay Happenings

Did you know that the Oldsmar Library and Leisure Services Department publish a monthly calendar chock full of great activities for all age groups?  Click the following link to see July events by the City of Oldsmar and more!  August Events

Lunch and Learn

We will celebrate the opening of our new office space in September in several ways. One of these will be the transfer to our Pathway To A Great Business seminar series to our new conference room and convert it from a morning meeting to a TGIF Lunch and Learn. Our first session will be on Friday September 9 from 11:30 am to 12:59 pm so we'll have you back at work by 1 super charged and raring to go.

Dave DeVelder, a certified business consultant will present an interactive workshop on ways to increase your revenue. This will include an opportunity for you to conduct a marketing audit on your business (a $250 value) at no additional cost. Plus we'll have lunch for you. All for $15! Register here.  

Mary Kay Ribbon Cutting  

mk reneeOn July 6 Renee Garcia with Mary Kay celebrated the grand opening of her Mary Kay trainign center in Clearwater by combining it with our July morning mingle.


Renee can be reached at (727)784-6029, via email at mkrenee@tampabay.rr.com or visit her online at www.marykay.com/garcia1

Barn Swallow 
by William Emrich     

As I was walking along the shore in one of Oldsmar's city parks recently, I overheard a father saying to his small child, "Yes, that's called a dragonfly".   He was pointing to one of several of these big insects that were flying just a few feet away from them and right at the water's edge. The scene brought me back to when I was a youngster many years ago, and fascinated by these interesting and speedy little flying machines! And last year at another nearby city park, I remember being intrigued by seeing, over a period of several days, what appeared to be the same dragonfly perched on the same small branch of a bush that was overhangng the pond's surface. I almost got to count on it being there while on my daily walks.

     The dragonfly, a predatory insect generally about 1 - 4 inches in length, is sometimes also called a "devil's darning needle" or a "horse stinger". These insects frequent areas where there is lots of water because they lay their eggs on or near the water, and their young, or "nymphs", grow up in that liquid environment. Upon reaching adulthood, they leave the water and molt. Dragonflies have six legs, and probably the most important way that they use those legs is as a basket-like trap in which to catch their food. Their diet consists mainly of mosquitoes, bees, flies, ants, and even butterflies. Upon catching their food, they use a pair of powerful mandibles in their mouth to chew up the prey. They have large multi-faceted eyes, a rather long body, and not one, but two pairs of transparent wings. When the dragonfly is at rest, it holds its wings straight out from its body. It was in that resting, outstretched-wing position that the dragonfly had assumed when I observed it so frequently in the same spot over the course of several days last year.

     With the exception of the extremely cold parts of this planet, dragonflies are found throughout the world, but their favorite areas appear to be wherever it is warm and sunny most of the year, and that's why Florida is such a prime location for them. Due to the fact that they relish eating mosquitoes as well as other insects, we are very fortunate to have the dragonfly as our "beneficial neighbor", right here in Upper Tampa Bay!

Business Of The Month

July 2011 BOTMOur July business of the month is an Oldsmar business in every way. In addition to opening their family business in 2005, they proudly 'live, work, play' and are raising their children in Oldsmar.

They operate one of Oldsmar's most popular restaurants and when you look at the many worthy causes they support you have to wonder if they are giving away as much as they are selling. Dominic's Italian Grille and Pizzeria is operated by the Tanso family. Dominic's dream was always to operate a business of his own. To prepare he graduated from the prestigious business and career oriented Johnson and Wales University majoring in culinary arts and Mom and Dad helped the business side of the dream come true. Dominic and his brother Tom work the kitchen and mom Susan keeps the finances in order making this a true family enterprise. But look at the impressive list of community involvement and you will see what I mean about giving the business away. Their activities include donating food to:

The Oldsmar Citizens Academy, Nielsen's Margaritaville event supporting All-Children's Hospital, Upper Tampa Bay Chamber Education Foundation Fine Wine and Food Gala, Gift certificates and food donations to numerous church and charity auctions, Pizza Night for Miss Suda's Dancers, Oldsmar Pack 64 Blue and Gold Banquet, Oldsmar Youth Soccer Program, Oldsmar Elementary Schools Volunteer Appreciation Day and Oldsmar Elementary School Great American Teach-In.

We are very fortunate to have businesses like Dominic's and families like the Tanso's in our community.
One SHARP Business 


Oldsmar now boasts a truly SHARP business as recognized by Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards. Most anytime a business hears that an OSHA representative is coming to their business the beads of sweat start building and the fear of deficiencies and potential fines begins to produce gray hairs quickly. But this is not the case for MI Metals, a division of J.T. Walker Industries, a producer of extruded aluminum products.


In fact Brook Massey, President, Wayne Bracy, Plant Manager,and Mel Mitchell the Safety Manager decided about seven years ago to invite an OSHA Consultant into their business and check them out. Enter Jim Ulseth, University of South Florida Safety and Health Consultant. On his first pass through the facility in 2004-05 Bracy said that Ulseth literally produced a couple inch thick book of recommendations.  This started a seven year journey to safer operations and the presentation of the coveted Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program Award to MI Metals in an August 19 ceremony. The presenter will be Jim Ulseth who has worked continuously with MI Metals to reduce that volume of safety recommendations down literally to nothing.


How rare is this recognition? There are only two other Pinellas businesses that have been recognized for this level of commitment to safety and less than sixty businesses in all of Florida have made the grade. The real measure is that the company must achieve a lower than average reportable incident rate for their industry. Bracy is quick to point out that, although this has been a long journey, the credit for the achievement must go the MI Metals workforce. Bracy says, "It all starts on the floor, every action, every day. Management can put up signs and buy safety equipment but if the workforce is not committed to safe operations it just doesn't happen. We are very proud of the achievement and recognition but the credit goes to the guys and girls on the floor. And we also know the award is not the end goal, it's just the start. There is plenty of fruit to still pick off the tree".


To get a better feel for this achievement Bracy explained a few things about the business and the dangers of working with molten metals. "We're different than most producers of aluminum products in that we develop our own materials from start to finish. We buy scrap aluminum as well as recycle our own scrap to produce our own billets. These are then cut into various sizes needed for our projects. Essentially we melt about 80,000 pounds daily to produce billets over 16 feet long and 7" in diameter. This requires temperatures over 1300 degrees Fahrenheit and over 500gallons of water a minute is introduced to keep the heat under control and turn molten aluminum into a solid aluminum billet  The water must be tightly controlled since as little as three ounces applied at the wrong point in the process can produce an explosion equal to a stick of dynamite. So everything has to go right every time, every second."  


He continued, "In addition to safety we are also concerned with environmental impact. Despite the furnaces used to melt the aluminum we do not emit any smoke into the environment. We have a Bag House that meets all requirements the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) that captures and cools the smoke and convert it back to solid waste which we recycle. After the initial melting process intense heat is introduced into the process two additional times. Once to increase the tensile strength of the aluminum and the second brings the cut billets just below melting point where it is forced under great pressure through dies and cut to size to make the final product. Each step has its own hazards and our floor staff has to maintain their focus throughout. That's why I'm so insistent that this journey to becoming SHARP certified is a tribute to them."


It would seem that the focus on safety and clearing volumes of OSHA observations over the years must be both costly and time consuming. So why would MI Metals voluntarily put themselves through this? Bracy explained, "I've been in this industry since 1978and with MI Metals since 2001. Early in my career I was involved in an accident that injured twenty people and killed six. It was an explosion. I simply never want to experience that again and never want to have to tell a spouse or child of someone who was seriously hurt or killed that we could have done something to prevent the accident. We can always buy more aluminum if we mess something up. We cannot replace our people. I'm very proud to be with MI Metals as they have a corporate commitment to safety despite the time and cost involved. Some companies talk about safety. We walk it from the floor up."


Massey added, "JT Walker Industries has a corporate ethic of safety first. The MI Metal plant in Pennsylvania has been the SHARP model and the Tennessee plant is also SHARP qualified so that has motivated us to make safety a real commitment. Wayne is right our people are our most important resource and they deserve the credit for this award. But this commitment also increases our bottom line in numerous ways. For example, we have fewer Workers Compensation claims, less time lost to accidents; our workers compensation rates have been reduced and this has also resulted in a low turnover rate of staff. Plus many of the changes cost nothing. They were changes to the way we had the floor organized and moved materials so not only are we safer we are more efficient. Turns out compliance has been cost effective for us."


Safety, an important part of your bottom line? Now that's some SHARP thinking!


AmeriScot Clean 

AmeriScot Clean logoAmeriScot Clean Inc. is a family owned and operated business operating in the Clearwater, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Odessa , Largo and northern St Petersburg areas.  AmeriScot Clean has provided consistent, results-driven cleaning services to the greater Tampa Bay area for over twenty years. 


Our services include janitorial services, low moisture carpet cleaning, commercial office cleaning, residential cleaning, foreclosure trash out services, new construction cleaning, move-in/move-out cleaning, pressure washing, window washing,  and other specialized services like staging homes and organizing cluttered areas.


AmeriScot Clean can be reached at (727) 902-5763 or visit their website at www.ameriscotclean.com to view a list of some past and current customers and their testimonials.




Hello, my name is Joe Farruggia, and I am an Internet Media Consultant with ReachLocal here in Tampa. I help local businesses with their internet presence, and social media reputation. We just recently signed a first-of-its-kind Exclusive Global partnership with Google AdWords for small to medium size businesses. We were also recognized by Mashable.com as the Best Social Media Service for Small Businesses in 2010. I would love the opportunity to have a conversation about your business, and where you are looking to go in 2011 and beyond. Today the online marketing arena changes constantly, and local companies need an expert in their corner to navigate the changes and turn them into profit.  

Joe Farruggia can be reached at 813.319.9600 x102 or via email at joe.farruggia@reachlocal.com 




Indoor Golf is Coming! 

Indoor Golf Logo 

On August 17th the chamber will have it's annual 19th Hole Mixer. This is without a doubt the most fun and unique mixer that the chamber has all year! We will visit 9 Oldsmar businesses - and each will have its own unique "putt-putt" hole for players to do their worst! Event sponsors include Nielsen, U Stor U Lock, Advanced Restoration, Integrity Advisory Group, Courtyard by Marriott, Oldsmar Post Office,Paul Mitchell The Salon 1.0, Rainbow Mini Storage, Tampa Bay Downs.  

Host location for this year's event include:

  • Applebee's 
  • bd's Mongolian Grill
  • Buffalo Wild WIngs
  • Cop Shop
  • Chili's
  • The Downs Golf Practice Facility
  • Eggstyles
  • Fratelli Italian Restaurant
  • Peggy O'Neill's Irish Pub & Eatery

The event is $20 per person and sponsorship opportunities are available for $150 each. The event is limited to 144 golfers so be sure to sign up your team soon! Click here for more information or to sign up!

In This Issue
A Hero Passes
Freedom Isn't Free
Oldsmar Happenings
Lunch & Learn
Mary Kay
Walk On The Wildside
Business of the Month
One SHARP Business
AmeriScot Clean
19th Hole Mixer
Featured Article
Check Our July Calendar of Events



July Morning Mixer

Thursday Mixer

Summer Splash

After Hours Mixer

Small Business Development Consulting 

Welcome July New Members



4G Data LLC


Bay Bayou RV Resort


Chili's Grill & Bar


Family Flower Shoppe


Millennium Commercial Cleaning Services


Minuteman Press


OTS Mobile Audio


RCS Commercial Cleaning Services, LLC




SMU Productions Inc.


Stanton Cronin Law Group, P.L.


Turtle Beach Food Service, LLC


Wingate & Associates



Yoga Village 

Thanks to Our July Renewing Members

Alina de La Torre, DMD, PA


AmeriScot Clean Inc.


Chesney Financial Services


David W. Ormiston, CPA, PA


Destination Publications


Extensys, Inc.


Florida Sun Property Management, Inc.


Got Life; Life Insurance For You!




Jaime A/C and Heating Specialist LLC


Keller Williams - Coach Cook Team


Mease Countryside Hospital


State Representative District 48 - Peter Nehr


Sweetwater Cove Apartments


Tampa Electric Co.


Westminster Apartment Homes


Thanks To Our Corporate Sponsors

Lockheed Martin
The Nielsen Company
Tampa Bay Downs
TECO Tampa Electric