Our staff has worked with hundreds of technology start-ups. Their unique mix of business, economic development, and defense acquisition experience allows the Tampa Bay Innovation Center to develop a customized growth strategy for each client.
Ms. Elmore is the founder and president of STAR-TEC Enterprises, Inc. Under her leadership she has launched the Tampa Bay Innovation Center (rebranded from the Star Technology Enterprise Center in 2010) and more recently TEC Garage in downtown St. Petersburg. The Innovation Center, an incubator for early stage technology firms, is a regional, national and international known success story that has been in operation for 13 years that continues to build momentum in Pinellas County, Florida. Twice the Innovation Center has been awarded winner of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s Professional Services Company of the Year. It has also been recognized by Entrepreneur.com among the top 10 roundup of international business incubators. TEC Garage, a technology and entrepreneurship center, combines the successful incubator program of the Innovation Center along with coworking in downtown St. Petersburg.
Tonya holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and an Executive MBA from the University of South Florida. In 2007, Tonya was among the first graduating class to receive a professional designation as a “certified incubator manager” from the National Business Incubator Association. She is a certified coach in the Wendy Kennedy “so what, who cares, why you?” and Kauffman Fasttrac Tech and New Venture programs.
Tonya’s background experience includes:
More than 20 years in economic development initiatives including new business formation and consulting, corporate recruitment, research, international development, and early-stage technology solutions.
Broad based experience in working with technology and manufacturing companies to provide business development assistance, strategic planning, market integration and product development assistance.
Extensive experience in working with regions leadership, volunteers, Executive Board, Board of Directors and stakeholders.
Experience in establishing and managing public/private partnerships, grants and contracts.
Ms. Elmore has served as a vice-chair for the Florida Business Incubator Association. She has been named as among the top twenty technology leaders in the Tampa Bay region. Tonya has participated in numerous media appearances and interviews, including Fox 13 Good Day Tampa Bay as an expert on entrepreneurship and early growth strategies.
Most recently she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the St. Petersburg Innovation District and co-chairs the Research, Collaboration and Innovation Committee. Tonya also serves on the Board of Advisors for the USF Center for Entrepreneurship, St. Petersburg College-College of Business Advisory Board, the Iron Yard Board of Advisors, Pinellas County Economic Development Advisory Board and Gulf Beaches Center for Innovation and Digital Learning Magnet School Student Advisory Council. Ms. Elmore previously held a Top Secret Security clearance while working on Defense Contracts.
JJ Roberts is a serial entrepreneur with three successful technology startups to his credit. Each of these startups utilized proprietary imaging technologies for industrial automation and quality improvement. Some of the technologies developed are still in use at some of the leading companies of the world including Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, First Quality Products, and 3M.After selling his final technology startup,
JJ began mentoring and coaching at Georgia Tech with ATDC and the Georgia Tech Research Institute in 2010. During this time, he directly assisted over 20 young startup companies and worked with numerous additional entrepreneurs and their technologies at the earliest stage of conception. With two graduate companies (1989 & 2001) in his portfolio, the opportunity to work with these startups and understand the process from both sides of the equation proved particularly beneficial to the clients and the Center alike. Recently, Mr. Roberts participated in the prestigious Y-Combinator, located in Silicon Valley, with one of the incubator companies from ATDC that had been accepted in the Y-Combinator program.
Over the last three years while at The Tampa Bay Innovation Center/TEC Garage, JJ has mentored and coached over 30 startup companies and assisted with the many events designed for the entrepreneur. Of the startups within the TEC Garage program, at least five have received outside funding and numerous are now generating revenue. Two of the three finalists for the 2015 Tampa Bay Emerging Technology Company of the Year were TEC Garage members coached by JJ including the winning company, PikMyKid.
JJ received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science Degree in Decision Science from Georgia State University. JJ was a scholarship athlete at Georgia Tech, Pole Vaulting for four years. Additionally, he became a cheerleader for his final two years, earning 6 varsity athletic letters while at Tech. He is certified as a Professional Business Coach and has served on the Board of Directors for the GeorgiaTech Business Network. Most recently, he completed a children’s novel which he hopes to have published and on the shelves in 2016.
Tom Binion is a partner in the residential real estate development firm Forbin Partners. The firm owns several tracts of land in Milledgeville, Georgia, including the final stage development, Dovefield at Lake Sinclair. It also owns and leases three buildings in downtown Milledgeville, Ga.
Before lanching Forbin Partners, Tom spent much of his career in executive management positions in both healthcare and financial services. Most recently he served as President and Chief Operating officer of Transcend Services, a provider of technology based transcription services for hospitals and large physician groups. He was responsible for Sales and Marketing, Operations, Account Management, Recruiting and IT Services and Support.
Prior to that, Tom served as the Vice President, Radiology Operations for Per-Se Technologies where he managed 1600 employees and more than $100 million in revenue through 96 offices nationwide. He also held executive management positions in operations for financial services companies Allmerica Financial based in Worchester, Ma and Life of Georgia based in Atlanta, Ga.
Tom’s experience in executive management includes business turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions and implementation of cutting edge technology.
Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Athletic Club.