How Rhea Helps Clients
Rhea is a proud fifth-generation Floridian who is passionate about the success of the state. She focuses her practice in the areas of higher education, economic development, government and land use.
Rhea provides assistance to higher education institutions and assists clients with economic development incentives and government agreements. She also handles entitlement, permitting and zoning matters with specific emphasis on commercial, industrial and residential mixed-use developments throughout Florida.
Rhea focuses on entitlements for large-scale projects. Over the course of her 30-year-plus career, Rhea has worked with clients to create thousands of acres of mixed-use projects, including business office parks, industrial complexes, retail and residential communities throughout Florida.
Actively involved in public policy, civic and charitable work, Rhea holds top leadership positions with many Florida-based organizations. She received gubernatorial appointments to serve on the inaugural Board of Trustees for the University of South Florida, as well as on the board of the Florida Council of 100, the public policy liaison with Florida's governor, cabinet, legislative leadership and Supreme Court. Rhea served as Chair of the Board for both organizations. As Vice Chair of higher education committee, Rhea helped steer the Florida Council of 100's two reports to improve university research and development.
Rhea is a frequent lecturer on economic development, higher education, land use, and professional and business development topics. She serves as a member of the firm's board of directors and chair of the Diversity Committee. She is the former chair of the firm's Florida offices.
What Clients Can Expect
Rhea is well respected by clients, colleagues and community leaders for forward thinking, inspired analysis and a collaborative style.
She brings a wide range of resources and real-life experience to every engagement. She also brings enthusiasm. Rhea is a true champion of her clients' business goals and the state's success.
Outside the Office
Most people like to slow down when they're not working. Rhea prefers to speed up. She and her husband have raced cars throughout the country. In addition, she has flown an F-16, parachuted with the Army Golden Knights, landed on aircraft carriers and generally involves herself with high-adrenaline activities.
- Florida Super Lawyers list since 2006; named one of the Top 50 Female Lawyers.
- The Best Lawyers in America® since 2006; "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers 2017 and 2020 editions.
- Florida 500, Florida Trend magazine, 2018 & 2019; Legal Elite Hall of Fame, 2019
- Noted as a leading Zoning/Land Use lawyer by Chambers USA from 2004-2019 and selected for the Florida Legal Elite Hall of Fame from 2009-2018.
- AV® Preeminent rating, Martindale-Hubbell.
- Tampa Bay Business Journal: Named #6 in the Power 100 – Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Business Leaders with greatest impact and influence on the local business community.
- Tampa Bay Times: Named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Business Players in Tampa Bay.
- Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Dottie Berger MacKinnon Women of Influence Award, 2016.
- Included in the Best of Tampa Bay book.
Stetson University College of Law, J.D., 1979
University of South Florida, B.A., 1977
- Florida Supreme Court
American Bar Association
American Bar Foundation: Fellow
Member, Board of Directors, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Member, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2010 – 2014
Member, Executive Committee and Board of Overseers, Stetson University College of Law, 2014 – Present
Member, Board of Directors, Tampa Bay Technology Forum, 2014 - 2015
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce: Former Chair; Ex Officio; Board of Directors, 2003 - Indefinite
Tampa Bay Defense Alliance: Board of Directors, 2012 - 2015
Tampa Bay Partnership: Chair; Board of Directors, 1999 - present; Executive Committee, 2016; Legislative Committee, 2016
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, 2012 – Present, Multicultural Advisory Council Member
Health Professions Conferencing Corporation, Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation, University of South Florida, 2013 – Present, Chair
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, National Board of Advisors, 2010 – Present, Member
MacDill AFB Support Council, 2011 – 2015, Member and Former Chair
Stetson University College of Law, Vice Chair, Board of Overseers
Tampa Bay Metro Board Chair, American Heart Association, 2013 – 2016
Tampa Bay Partnership, Chair
Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas Board of Directors
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, General Counsel, Member, Executive Committee and Former Chair, 2010 - Present, Operations Committee, 2015 - 2017
The Florida Council of 100: Chair, 2014 - 2016, Vice Chair, 2012 – 2014, Board of Directors, 2004 – 2016
United States Law Firm Group, Trustee
University of South Florida, 2001 – 2013, Former Chair, Board of Trustees and Board Member
University of South Florida Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), Chair