Dr. Jeff Burton
Past President, FRA Board of Directors
Urban CRAs Manager, CRA – City of Tampa
Q: What is your best business advice for a new FRA member?
Jeff: “To the CRA professional and new FRA member, almost all CRA boards are seated by elected officials and their authority must be respected. With that being said, you are the CRA professional and it’s your mission to guide them through the redevelopment process and that requires two things. One, you must know the redevelopment laws, what can and cannot be done, and what will and will not work. Ignorance is not a defense in the eyes of the law. Two, do not take it personally. Electeds think politically, if they say they do not, they are fooling themselves. Political thought is not the same as rational thought. You will be chastised and blamed, applauded and rewarded; take the good with the bad in the same stride. This takes us back to the first thing. The law will always supersede politics. Knowing the redevelopment law and communicating it tactfully is the best hand to play in this arena.”
Q: If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
Jeff: “My superpower would be to speak truth to power. To communicate to city, county, and state officials in a way that cuts through the political miasma. To be focused and intentional with questions and answers. To not “beat around the bush”. To aim my thoughts and words like a laser. Why? I want those who will listen to understand just how powerful and unique our work can be.”
Q: We are going out for dinner/entertainment in your CRA District. Where are we going and why?
Jeff: “We are going to dinner at the Tampa Club on the 40th floor of the Bank of America building in Downtown Tampa. From this viewpoint, we can see all eight community redevelopment agency areas. We can see specific new redevelopment projects like the Straz Performing arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Riverwalk, Convention Center, Tampa Union Station, Armature Works, and more. We would then walk down Franklin Street, Tampa’s first main street, and discuss its potential green streetscape on our way to the historic Tampa Theater, to see my favorite movie, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’”
Q: What do you hope to be remembered for?
Jeff: “I would like to be remembered as a good and helpful person, both as a professional and as a friend.
Q: What is the most exciting part of being in redevelopment?
Jeff: “Being able to learn and improve my own profession, then teach others from my efforts. I also enjoy the constant test of my creative abilities as a redevelopment professional and the tangible after-effect of a beautiful redevelopment project and the long-lasting benefit it has in the community.”