America has entered an era of re-urbanization. As cities gain renewed growth and prominence, it is important that they be governed with a strategic approach that focuses on safety, quality of life and financial stability. Rick Baker, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, argues that a primary governing principal should be to make each city “seamless,” with no section underserved or overlooked.
Rick Baker | Building Seamless Cities
Rick Baker has been a Business Acquisition lawyer, a Law Firm President, a University Vice President and President of a St. Petersburg-based development and entertainment company. Presently he is an advisor and investor in companies involved in urban development and autonomous vehicle technology.
From 2001 to 2010, he served as mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida’s fourth largest city. Under Mayor Baker’s leadership St. Petersburg experienced a renaissance unmatched in city history. In 2008, Mayor Baker was named America’s Mayor/Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, and in 2011, was named “America’s greatest mayor of the decade” in Newsweek Magazine’s Daily Beast.
Baker chaired the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, Chaired the Florida Statewide Water Congress, chaired the Florida Governor’s Municipal Mentoring Initiative, vice chaired the Florida Governor’s Energy Action Team, and led in transition teams for the Florida Governor, Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer.
Baker holds a B.S., MBA, and a Juris Doctor (with honors) from Florida State University where he was Senior Class President. He studied comparative law at Oxford University. He served as legal intern to Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton, and law clerk to Governor Bob Graham’s special counsel.
Baker is a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York City, two of America’s public policy think tanks. He has authored three books: Mangroves to Major League in 2000, a history of St. Petersburg; The Seamless City in 2011, about city leadership and urban revitalization; and Beyond the Sunshine in 2018, a timeline history of Florida.
He enjoys music, guitar, weight training, biking, history, public policy and counts as one of his favorite experiences playing and singing with the Marshall Tucker Band on four occasions.