He's also been critical of how Hillsborough County's transit agency HART hasn't been very innovative over the years, and cited scenes from the theatrical biopic on Apple founder Steve Jobs today during a HART board meeting to give an example.
The discussion came up after HART COO Katherine Eagan was named interim CEO
, succeeding Philip Hale. Board member Fran Davin praised Eagan for being a leader, saying that "criticism isn't leadership."
"Anybody can criticize," Davin continued. "But to encourage people to do their best, I think it takes a particular kind of leadership."
But Sharpe later said that criticism sometimes is necessary in an organization, and cited his observations from watching the 2013 biopic on Apple visionary Steve Jobs, called Jobs.
Calling the film "average" but giving actor Ashton Kutcher props in the title role, Sharpe said that Jobs had "recognized that the industry he was in was changing, and those around him fought to keep things as they were."
After recounting a scene where a character questioned whether personal computers had any future, Sharpe extrapolated that discussion to the real world in Hillsborough County: "The natural tendency of all human beings is to resist change, and to hold to the status quo, and it takes a critic, someone who is willing to challenge the status quo, to step up, and in a professional manner, keeping the team together. He probably wasn't the best person you could point to and say a manager who was pretty rough, but he changed the industry. He changed the country. He changed the world. He changed the trajectory of all that we do. And I think that transit is going in the same direction, and I hope that this organization never settles for the status quo and continually pushes and if people are ruffled by that, I suggest they find a different profession."
A moment later board chairman Mike Suarez followed up by saying that he didn't want to disagree with Sharpe, but "that was a lousy movie. I saw that movie. It was terrible."
There is another Jobs biopic in the works that could potentially be great. It involves director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the creative team that produced 2010's The Social Network.
It's no secret that Mark Sharpe would love nothing more than for Tampa to supercede San Francisco, Mountain View, or even North Carolina's Research Triangle to become the tech capital of America. Though that's not about to happen anytime soon, the Hillsborough County Commissioner constantly discusses how the Tampa Bay economy can be fueled by innovation, and champions it at every opportunity.