Keynote Speaker: Former Florida Governor Bob Martinez

Senior Policy Advisor
Holland and Knight, LLP
100 N. Tampa Street
Suite 4100
Tampa, Florida 33602-3644

Tampa native and former Florida Governor Bob Martinez is a Senior Policy Advisor at Holland and Knight, LLP and is active in numerous business and community organizations.

He began his career as a Hillsborough County classroom teacher in 1957, and later became the executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association. In 1975, he became owner operator of the Café Sevilla Spanish Restaurant and was appointed to the Southwest Water Management District board by the Governor of Florida.

Bob Martinez was elected the 54th Mayor of Tampa in 1979. As Mayor, he revitalized Tampa’s downtown district, promoted economic development initiatives and annexed the University of South Florida and thousands of acres north of the university. Major capital projects included the Performing Arts Center, Convention Center, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, restoration of the historic City Hall building and the McKay Bay refuse to energy solid waste plant. He proposed and led the initiative to have a countywide library system and supported the countywide funding of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. He was a member of the Tampa Aviation and Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authorities.

Mayor Martinez was elected the 40th Governor of Florida in 1986. While Governor, he was recognized for his Preservation 2000 land acquisition program. Preservation 2000 became the largest government conservation land acquisition program in the nation. He supported new initiatives for surface water management improvement, Everglades restoration, Kissimmee River restoration, manatee and dolphin protection and growth management. He promoted the passage of new laws on storm water, solid waste management and beach erosion mitigation. During his tenure, he supported the start of the pre-paid tuition program, home schooling, the tenth state university in Southwest Florida, transportation funding reform and expanded criminal justice programs. He established Florida Space Port, Ounce of Prevention Fund, One Church One Child, Project Independence job training program and implemented the Florida Lottery.

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush appointed Governor Martinez to the cabinet rank position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. As America’s second Drug Czar, he annually developed the drug policy and budget for drug education, treatment, enforcement and interdiction. The drug policy and budget was presented to the President and later to Congress for enactment. As Drug Czar, he implemented the President’s drug initiatives with state and local governments as well as heads of states in North America, South America and Europe.

Currently, Governor Martinez is on the board of University of Tampa, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, H.L. Moffitt Cancer and Research Center Advisory Committee, University Club of Tampa, Florida TaxWatch, National Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Harmony Institute, and is an Honorary Director of the Florida Council on Economic Education. The Governor also is an honorary member of the Florida Council of 100 and Bay Area Legal Services Development Council.

For his years of public service, Governor Martinez has been honored for his work numerous times. Among them were the naming of the Bob Martinez Sports Center at the University of Tampa, Bob Martinez Middle School in Hillsborough County and the Bob Martinez Environmental Center in Tallahassee. He was recognized by the state of Florida as a Great Floridian, a Florida Icon by Florida Trend magazine, Leadership Florida’s Leroy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award, Conservationist of the Year by the National Park Service, Commendation Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Ethic Award from the University of Tampa, inducted to the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame and named a Luminary by the Junior League of Tampa.

The Governor is a member of the Governors Club, Avila Golf and Country Club, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, University Club of Tampa and a past president, Tampa Yacht and Country Club, The Club at Treasure Island and an emeritus member of the Rotary Club of Tampa.

Governor Martinez received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Tampa and a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Illinois and has received seven Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Universities and Colleges. He is a member of the University of Tampa and Illinois Alumni Associations.

Bob Martinez attended Tampa’s Thomas Jefferson High School where he met Mary Jane Marino. They got married in 1954 and are parents to Sharon Marie Romanski and Robert Alan Martinez, grandparents to twins Emily Ida Keen and Lydia Marie Harrell, Robert Alejandro Martinez, Christine Ysabel Martinez and Frank Serafin Martinez.