Executive Bios



Gary L. Springer 

President, The International Council of the Tampa Bay Region 


Since 2008, Mr. Springer has been President and a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Council of the Tampa Bay Region, Inc., the official partner of the United States Department of State for professional programs & cultural activities for global emerging leaders under the Department’s “International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)” in Florida's seven-county Tampa Bay Region. Since its founding in 2000, the International Council has hosted in excess of 3,000 international visitors from more than 150 countries. Gary L. Springer is a specialist in global business, trade, regulatory, and public policy issues.  In his over thirty-year career as an executive in large professional services firms, non-profit organizations and as a private consultant, Mr. Springer has advised foreign and domestic governments (Federal, state and local) and private corporations in the areas of: Global business and trade strategies, trade and investment promotion, strategic communications, image-building, trade policy, trade negotiations, government affairs, corporate market expansion, and crisis management. 

Mary Ellen Upton 

Executive Director, The International Council of the Tampa Bay Region 


Ms. Upton is the founding Executive Director and a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Council of the Tampa Bay Region, Inc. and its predecessor organization. The International Council is the official US Department of State partner in the region for the “International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Beginning with 3 visitors in 2000, Ms. Upton will bring over 400 leaders to Tampa Bay in 2011. Ms. Upton has organized over 10,000 professional meetings for over 3,000 international visitors from over 150 countries since 2000. In 2002, she succeeded in winning two years of State of Florida funding for the statewide network (6 councils), the first ever grant from any state government in the US. Mary Ellen Upton has 20+ years experience in the fields of international economic development, management consulting, image-building and international event management. 


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Colin Powell,
Former US Secretary of State