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Otto: Right man for tourism job was right in front of us

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Published:   |   Updated: April 5, 2013 at 12:16 AM

It was about six months ago that Tampa Bay & Co. began looking for a new president and CEO.

On Tuesday it selected Santiago Corrada.

The first question I’m guessing more than a few of you are asking is, “What’s Tampa Bay & Co. anyhow?’’

It sounds like one of those morning TV shows where they bring in semi-celebrities or some local chef to show you how to make pastries when it’s just as easy to drive down to La Segunda in Ybor for some great guava turnovers.

It’s actually the name of a nonprofit agency that promotes tourism around here, especially at the convention center. It gets most of its funding from the Hillsborough tourist development tax on hotel beds.

Corrada’s new job is an important one, and it’s likely he will make well over $225,000.

There are a couple of things to wonder about. Apparently Corrada was an early choice several months ago, and you can understand why. He is more than qualified. Hired by the city almost a decade ago, he has been pretty much the front man for the last two mayors and the city.

If there was an event somewhere, everything from a chili contest to a national political convention, there was Corrada, making sure it all came together. He’s just one of those guys who makes things work. He was the perfect pick.

But then agencies like this don’t do the obvious.

There was a national search and apparently 135 applicants. Finally the group’s 15-member executive committee approved Corrada. Again I’m wondering why an agency like this even has a 15-member executive committee, but that’s the way these things work, which makes you also wonder how much they spent on a search like this.

I mean they could have just had a quick lunch somewhere, remembered Corrada was down the street, and that would have been it.

Anyhow, Santiago Corrada is now the man, and I’m hoping his first move will be to change the name of the agency so people might know what it is.

There isn’t room here to list all of your Cuban sandwich favorites that you’ve emailed in, following last weekend’s “Cuban Sandwich Festival’’ in Ybor City where Michelle Faedo won the title for the second straight year.

These things are subjective, but the organizers had more than a dozen judges -- including me -- who did a blind tasting. Michelle Faedo, who runs her operation with her family out of a food truck, easily outdistanced the others.

If you want to know where the truck is on any particular day, just Google it or look on Facebook for “Faedo’s on the Go.’’ She said they will be behind Tampa General Hospital at 6 tonight. That’s a good move by TGH. Her sandwiches will cure anything.

Finally the return of George Sugarman’s sculpture, known locally as “The Exploding Chicken,’’ is up in the round-a-bout in Channelside.

It’s the perfect place for visitors coming off cruise ships. I’m not quite sure the city’s workers put the feathers back in exactly the same way, but then who would know?

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