Pinellas County Economic Development Staff

Headshot of Dr. Cynthia Johnson

Dr. Cynthia Johnson


Dr. Cynthia Johnson is the Director of Pinellas County Economic Development and the Executive Director of Pinellas County’s Economic Development Authority. Since 2000, she has been a leader in the organization and is a trusted advisor to businesses large and small, government agencies, policymakers, and community leaders throughout Florida.

As an economic development practitioner, trainer, mentor, and educator, she has supported hundreds of individuals with the creation, retention, and expansion of their businesses.  She specializes in partner relations, federal and state grants management and compliance, business and strategic planning, entrepreneurial development, finance, and small business innovation.  

Dr. Johnson has more than 23 years of experience in economic development and over 26 years in leadership training and development. She is a certified Master Economic Development Practitioner and manages a $12.2 million dollar budget and 35 employees. She is a proud graduate of Florida Memorial University, Miami, FL with a BS in Education and holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership & Organization from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale. She also holds a certification from Cornell University in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and advocates for public policies and business practices that promote inclusion and marketplace diversity.

A recipient of numerous awards, and recognitions, Johnson was recently named to the Tampa Bay Business Journal Power 100 as one of Tampa Bay’s most influential leaders of 2022, 2023 and of 2024. She has also been honored as a Tamp Bay Business Journal’s Women of the Year, First Lady in African American History by the Woodson African American Museum of Florida in 2022, as ONYX Magazine’s 2022 Woman on the Move, as Girls, Inc., Outstanding Women in STEAM, 2024.  In 2021, she was appointed as Honorary Commander to MacDill Airforce Base’s 927th Air Refueling Wing. She is also a member of the St. Petersburg (FL) Chapter of Links, Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Headshot of Suzanne Christman

Suzanne Christman, CEcD, MEDP

Director of Business Development

As Director of Business Development, Suzanne Christman leads an expert team of economic development managers focused on growing a diverse cross-section of businesses in Pinellas County. Suzanne has a wealth of experience in economic development, having served over 22 years with Pinellas County Economic Development and in positions at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. She has assisted companies at every stage, including startups, emerging companies, commercial-stage businesses, and global corporations. With her unmatched expertise, she has led complex relocation and expansion projects for Fortune 500 companies, has been the architect of strategic incentive and investment tool programs, has led disaster and COVID recovery programs, and serves as the immediate past Chair of the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC). Suzanne’s extensive experience in the economic development field makes her a valued partner to organizations such as Global Tampa Bay, FEDC, and the International Economic Development Council as an instructor. She has served various professional, civic, and community organizations including the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Florida Economic Development Council, and the Florida Medical Manufacturer’s Association

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Scott Talcott

Economic Development Manager

Advanced Manufacturing, Aviation & Aerospace, Information Technology, and Defense and Homeland Security

Scott Talcott joined Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) in June 2010, as a Business Development Manager specializing in the industry sectors of Advanced Manufacturing, Aviation & Aerospace, Information Technology, and Defense and Homeland Security. Scott’s focus is on corporate expansion, training, and retention of local employers and their workforce. In addition, he attracts out-of-State employers in the same target industry groups.

Prior to joining PCED, Scott held positions as Marketing Director, non-profit Executive Director, Fundraising Executive, and small business owner. Scott has completed two Chamber Leadership Programs, Toastmasters International’s CTM certification, and numerous business and non-profit leadership training programs. He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.

Brent Barkway

Brent Barkway, CGBP

Economic Development Manager

Export Development, Foreign Trade Zones, Expansion & Relocation Projects

Brent Barkway joined the staff of Pinellas County Economic Development in August 2014 as a Business Development Manager specializing in Export Development, Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Trade Zone management, and expansion/relocation projects. His focus is helping local companies explore international markets by leveraging available resources on a global scale. In past years, Brent has led successful trade missions to markets throughout Central and South America and has conducted Foreign Direct Investment missions to Europe and Canada. Brent was instrumental in launching Global Tampa Bay, the trade and investment collaborative that brings together the resources of Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties to promote the region internationally.

Brent honed his economic development skills in Southwest Florida, where he managed the relocation of Hertz corporate headquarters to Lee County while simultaneously managing the corporate headquarters relocation of Dollar-Thrifty car rental which Hertz had recently acquired. The result was the creation of hundreds of local high-paying jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact for the region. Prior to his move to Florida, Brent worked for the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services to spearhead regional programs in Southeastern Virginia designed to initiate job development for citizens with disabilities. 

Brent holds a B.S. in Advertising for Ferris State University in Michigan and has earned the distinction of Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) from NASBITE International.

Headshot of Daniel Dorian

Daniel Dorian

Business Development Specialist

Daniel Dorian joined Pinellas County Economic Development in July 2022. He serves as the Business Assistance Specialist for Economic Development, manages the Commercial Real Estate Database portion of PCED’s website, and is the first point of contact for incoming leads and lead fulfillment. Daniel also compiles custom reports on real estate market trends and serves as a resource for municipal, regional, and state Economic Development partners.

Daniel is adept at working with businesses of every size looking to expand or relocate to Pinellas County based on his experience in working in the Business Development Division and for the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development. Daniel graduated from the University of South Florida in December 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, with a minor in entrepreneurship.

Office of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

Headshot of Corey McCaster

Corey McCaster, EDFP

Director of the Office of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

Corey joined PCED in the role of Division Director of the Office of Small Business and Supplier Diversity in December 2021. He is responsible for managing the department’s entrepreneurial and small business assistance and development initiative. Corey has more than 20 years of experience in small business assistance. In his previous role as Economic Development Manager with Hillsborough County, he was charged with helping small to medium-sized existing businesses find new market opportunities, hidden profits, and innovative ways to create sustainable growth. He provided expert-level business consulting, specializing in small business accounting and finance, quality improvement, and strategic business planning. His experience with managing his own small businesses, and serving in Tallahassee at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, allows him to deliver a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to clients.

Corey is a University of South Florida business school graduate and holds certifications in both project management and workforce development.

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Kurt Forster, CBC

Business Development Manager

Kurt Forster has 30 years of experience in business and holds a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of South Florida. His strengths include assisting small and medium businesses with marketing tips and plans, business plans, strategic plans, financial plans, and borrowing money.His background not only includes experience as a Marketing Director, Educator, and Economic Development Professional but also as the owner of several successful market research companies.

In addition to serving thousands of businesses in the community while at the Florida Small Business Development Center and Pinellas County Economic Development, he enjoys spending time surfing and skiing with his two children and wife of 26 years. He is also known by many as a Standup Paddleboard racer, adventurer, and Certified Paddle-Fit Pro Instructor.

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Aubri Shauger-Haley, MBA, CCA

Business Development Manager

Aubri Shauger-Haley, serves as a Business Development Manager, Procurement Specialist, for the SBE program at Pinellas County, and a Business Consultant for the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County. Shauger-Haley assists the small business community by providing education in start-up and procuring contracts with the county. Additionally, Shauger-Haley is a Power User in the B2GNow system.

Prior to joining Pinellas County in 2018, Shauger-Haley served as a Minority & Small Business Special Programs Coordinator for Hillsborough County. She conducted construction contract compliance project approvals, EEO compliance reviews, audits, site visits, and project close-outs to ensure goals were met. In addition to compliance, she represented Hillsborough County’s Economic Development department through involvement in business and trade organizations and associations, as well as provided instructional courses. She has been a committee member of MED Week since 2007, and was a NFL’s Emerging Business Super Bowl XLII Host Committee member.

Prior to joining Hillsborough County in 2015, Shauger-Haley served as a Small Business Specialist and a Community Specialist with the City of St. Petersburg. She has a bachelor of science in business management and an MBA. Her love and dedication for growth of the business community comes in closely behind her immense love for her family.

Headshot of Yolanda Goodloe

Yolanda Goodloe Cowart, CBC

Business Development Manager

Yolanda Cowart works in the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Pinellas County Economic Development, providing assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses. She has over twenty years of experience in public service at the local municipal level. Before making the transition to the FSBDC, Yolanda worked as a Human Relations Specialist for Lee County Government, where she served as the County’s Liaison to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Council. In Broward County, she served as the Equal Opportunity Director for the City of Fort Lauderdale, where she managed the City’s Business Enterprise Programs and Contract Compliance responsibilities for capital improvement plans and construction projects through both the Federal Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Authority. Yolanda currently serves as a FSBDC Government Contracting Services Consultant and is the Government Contracting Consultant for the APEX Accelerator at Pinellas County, connecting businesses to resources and tools for state, local, and federal contracting opportunities.

Yolanda’s background combines public service and human relations experience with hands-on leadership in equal opportunity, supplier diversity, business certifications programs, organizational training and development, and managing workforce diversity principles. Yolanda has spent the last 12 years providing technical assistance, training, consulting, and government contracting services and resources to Pinellas County’s business community.

Yolanda is a Certified Procurement Professional (CPP) under the American Procurement Technical Assistance Center (APTAC).  She is Certified as a Verification Counselor by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) to assist Veteran business owners with Certification for the VA’s Vet First Program. In addition, she also holds a Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) Certification from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) across disciplines. Yolanda graduated from Florida State University with a BA in Political Science and History. She also has a considerable amount of graduate courses under her belt in the University of South Florida’s Public Administration Program.

Headshot of Debra Schweikowsky

Debra Schweikowsky

Business Development Manager

Debra Schweikowsky has more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, owning a small company and incorporating a franchise that paired with her business. Schweikowsky has years of experience with hands-on business operations, marketing, human resources, business planning, financial review and business succession planning. During her succession exit plan, Debra balanced her business and a new career direction as she entered the banking industry. Over the past four years, she has gained a wealth of knowledge in assisting consumers and businesses to meet their financial and borrowing needs. Debra plans on utilizing her knowledge and expertise as an entrepreneur, along with her banking experience, to provide consulting and to teach seminars in the areas of business startups, writing business plans and business proposals.

Debra has an associate’s degree in Business Management and Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York, Empire State College.

Jenee Skipper

Jenée Skipper, SHRM-CP

Economic Development Manager

Jenée Skipper is a Business Support Specialist with the Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County. Jenée joined the Pinellas team after serving as a valued business consultant. In this role, she focused on client outreach, business recruitment, technical and financial services, and workforce assistance. She continues to build on these strengths as she assists pre-venture and start-up clients as they explore launching new businesses.

Jenée is an SHRM Certified Professional and is a skilled job developer, recruiter, and human resources representative with a professional focus on staff training and development, as well as project management and business processes. She uses these talents as she assists FSBDC clients with their workforce, recruitment, and organizational needs.

Jenée’s previous experience includes work with a Global Technology Consulting Firm and service with the local workforce board. She holds a degree in Organizational Studies from Eckerd College.