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11/16/2022 - The Straz Master Plan: A Vibrant Metamorphosis!
Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM EDT
Category: Events

Real Estate Investment Council of Tampa Bay - The Straz Master Plan: A Vibrant Metamorphosis!


November 16, 2022 at The University Club of Tampa

 Judith Lisi is the immediate past President/CEO of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Fl., serving in that capacity for 30 years. She previously served as President/CEO of the prestigious Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, Ct. for 10 years., where, among her many achievements, she expanded Broadway subscription to two weeks and founded the Shubert Opera Company in collaboration with the Yale School of Music and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, producing over 40 full-scale productions, and instituted an Arts Education program.

She joined the Straz Center in 1992. The largest performing arts center south of the Kennedy Center, the Straz Center was struggling both financially and programmatically with a $4M accumulated deficit and low attendance. She was able to turn the Center around by rebranding and restructuring the Center and with upgrading Broadway to national first run tours, expanding the Broadway subscription from 2000 to 9000.  In 1992 she founded Opera Tampa and produced 100 full-scale productions and concerts of opera luminaries. In 2004 she founded the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory which offers professional training and performing arts education programs that annually reach more than 50,000 students. During her tenure with The Straz, Lisi established a separate foundation to support the Straz Center and oversees a nearly $70 million endowment fund.


Mr. Lorrin Shepard joined the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in 1990 as Production Manager, after previously serving in similar capacities at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and at Vanderbilt University.  In 1992, he was named Vice President of Operations and was responsible for the daily operations of The Center. Mr. Shepard was named Executive Vice President and General Manager in 2001, and in 2005 he was chosen to serve as Chief Operating Officer.  As COO of the fifth largest performing arts organization in the United States, Mr. Shepard oversees all aspects of The Center’s general programs and services, which include advancing The Center’s strategic mission and the administration of the following divisions: ticketing and guest services, production services, security and safety, facilities, retail, and food and beverage.  Over the past twenty years, he has exercised direct oversight of The Center’s major capital projects, totaling over $30 million. Mr. Shepard also orchestrated and implemented the decision to bring food and beverage service in house, resulting in a substantial increase in annual gross revenue. Under his management, The Center opened the Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory in 2004, the first addition to The Center since it opened in 1987.  Mr. Shepard is currently serving as the Project Manager for The Center’s $100 million Master Plan renovation, which will dramatically expand The Center’s public and educational spaces and enhance the aesthetic character of the Tampa arts district. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Shepard provided key leadership in the development and implementation of COVID protocols for The Center and for the performing arts venue industry nationwide, and he served as Lead Editor for the Performing Arts Center Consortium’s Guide to Reopening Theatrical Venues, released in June 2020. Mr. Shepard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in theater production from Earlham College.  He has served as Performing Arts Sector Chief for the International Association of Venue Managers, and he serves on multiple local committees which consider matters relating to Tampa’s urban design and infrastructure.

David Scher was born in Ireland in 1948 and completed his studies in the UK. He is a Graduate in Economics and a UK Chartered Accountant. He immigrated to Canada in 1974 joining Price Waterhouse Toronto. David and his wife Sara have three adult children living in Tampa,LA and New England and Tampa.

David worked as Finance Director in a number of Canadian Companies including Sanyo Canada. In 1987 he started Blockbuster Canada, and as President grew the Canadian chain to 41 stores. David left Blockbuster and moved to Tampa in 1989, to take over the family commercial Real Estate development business which he still runs.

As a Board member and Senior Vice Chair, David heads up the Straz Masterplan Committee responsible for a $100mm transformation of this incredible Tampa asset which includes five theatres, a Conservatory and food and beverage operation. The project will embrace diversity, inclusion and a welcome to all to enjoy the campus without a ticket!

 David is a founding member and advisory board member of Florida Israel Business Accelerator. FIBA’s role is to help product-ready small companies to soft land in the US. FIBA has already hosted 40 Israeli companies in its first 4 years. Two of these companies have developed offices in Tampa and are beginning the US sales process. He also put together a group to raise $1mm for UC Care in 2019, working through FIBA and Florida Funders.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022
University Club of Tampa

$45 - YP Members
$70 - REIC Members
$85 - Non Members

Contact: Jade Gooding, [email protected]