Tampa Bay Business Journal: April 12, 2013

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses how the recession forced law firms to rethink their business operations, where the new USF Heart Institute has set up operations, and the different priority for FDOT district 7.

The 2008 recession did not just impact families, but also businesses.

Law firms were not immune from the economic downturn. Major law firms discovered they had to closely monitor expenses in order to retain clients.

With the economy improving, the lessons learned a few years ago are now paying dividends.

"Law firms are getting better at running themselves as a business," said R. Alan Higbee, managing partner at Shutts & Bowen in Tampa. "That generates more profits per partner, and we're seeing that in the Tampa market."

After surviving the recession, Shutts & Bowen is now able to add lawyers.

The University of South Florida is scheduled to start construction of the 100,000-square-foot USF Heart Institute this year. But the university is not waiting for the building to be finished to start vital heart research.

The fifth floor of the Alzheimer's Institute is being turned into a temporary space for Heart Institute scientists. The 7,550 square-foot-space will allow USF to get a jump start on genomics research until the permanent building is finished.

The Florida Department of Transportation has a new secretary for District 7, which covers Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties.

Paul Steinman understands FDOT plays a critical role in Tampa Bay's economic development. He wants to make FDOT more business-friendly.

"The focus has changed from building roads to customer service," said Steinman. "There is a focus on freight and making multimodal connections as efficient as possible."

For more information on these stories, click on the video player on the left or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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