The Economic Club of Tampa 2016 Fall Party and Presentation of the Annual Citizen of the Year Award to Richard Gonzmart

The Economic Club of Tampa Presents Annual James H. “Jimbo” Kynes 2016 Citizen of the Year Award to Richard Gonzmart, President of the Columbia Restaurant Group.

The Economic Club of Tampa’s Citizen of the Year Award was named in honor of James H. “Jimbo” Kynes, a club member who died of cancer when he was 40 years old. Jim passed away in December 1993, and the club has presented the award annually since 1994 to recognize people who demonstrate his leadership talents and focus on community service.

The Economic Club of Tampa’s Fall Party featured the presentation of the Annual James H. “Jimbo” Kynes award for 2016 to Richard Gonzmart, President of the Columbia Restaurant Group.

Gonzmart was chosen based on his economic and community contributions to the Tampa Bay region.  His vision led his great-grandfather’s restaurant business, the Columbia, and other ventures to new heights, cultivating new business development, restaurant diversity and economic contributions to various areas of Tampa, such as Ybor City, Tampa Heights, and Hyde Park.

Success seems to come easy to Richard Gonzmart.  Not only did he financially rebuild the original restaurant in Ybor City from near closure, but has pressed on to open, with 4th and 5th generation founding family members, numerous other locations bearing the Columbia name.  Further, Gonzmant has enhanced the restaurant flavor in Tampa Bay with the creation of Cha Cha Coconuts in Sarasota, the award-winning restaurant Ulele, which opened in the old City of Tampa Water Works building in Tampa Heights, and the reopening of a 1925 landmark restaurant Goody Goody, located in Hyde Park.  Gonzmart’s dedication and vision for the Columbia Restaurant Group doesn’t stop there.  The entrepreneur has plans for four additional restaurants at Tampa International Airport, on the horizon.

Gonzmart has as much flare for giving back as he does as a successful restaurateur.  “Live life with passion, compassion, empathy, honesty, integrity, respect, hope, love and peace,” a quote from an alumni spotlight article from Jesuit High School, are truly words he lives by, as recognized by his contributions to numerous Tampa Bay organizations.  Volunteering, serving on boards, or being a voice, Gonzmart has served organization such as Moffitt Cancer and Research Center, Visit Tampa Bay Advisory Board, Hillsborough County Commission Tourist Development Council, Tampa Bay Humane Society and dozens of other philanthropic and outreach efforts too numerous to list.

“Richard Gonzmart was chosen for this award based on his outstanding contributions and dedication to the Tampa Bay area.  His successes have forever impacted the economic layout of Tampa Bay,” said John Brannan, 2016 President of the Economic Club of Tampa.


Previous James H. “Jimbo” Kynes Citizen of the Year Award Recipients:

1994 – Fred Karl

1995 – Al Austin

1996 – John Sykes

1997 – Stan Harrell and Frank Morsani

1998 – Bob Samuels

1999 – Jim Ferman, Jr.

2000 – Shirley Ryals

2001 – H. L. Culbreath

2002 – Leonard Levy and George Levy

2003 – David Kennedy

2004 – Award not given

2005 – Fred Reddy,M.D.

2006 – Hugo Keim, M.D.

2007 – William Starkey

2008 – Sally and Lewis Hill, III

2009 – Lee Moffitt

2010 – James W. Warren, III

2011 – David A. Straz, Jr.

2012 – Jeff Vinik

2014 – Pam Iorio

2014 – Stella and Bronson Thayer

2015 – Judith Lisi

2016 – Richard Gonzmart


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