Running public relations firm Elevate, Inc. keeps Aakash Patel busy yet he’s adding a run for Hillsborough County Commission to his plate. Leading a lifestyle that leaves little time for sleep Patel shared with us, he averages only five hours per night. So what does he do with the other 19 hours a day, he plans. And those plans will now include his vision for Hillsborough County. 

Patel is a master at networking and connecting in the community. His links to business professionals and politicians further Elevate Inc.'s goal to offer valued connections for their clients as an assist in the growth of their business. 

Elevate’s vision is to Learn. Connect. Grow. This is the same strategy Patel will use as he meets thousands of registered voters in Hillsborough County's District One.  Patel shared with us,  he is the first male conservative in his district to run, a district covering the western edge of the county including Citrus Park, Westshore, South Tampa and Apollo Beach.

This New Jersey native moved to Tampa as a young man and is an alum of Sickles High School. He graduated with a degree in Political Science and English Literature in 2006 from Florida State University. 

Active in student government in both college and high school Patel says, "Serving as an elected representative in high school and college afforded me the opportunity to understand the importance of public service. There are many lessons I learned from those experiences which have shaped my life."  

Patel's parents are divorced but he otherwise comes from a typically traditional Indian family whose heritage is competitive in nature. His parents, both pharmacists, often faced challenges, Patel noticed how hard his parents worked no matter the obstacles. Aakash believes this is what gave him the drive to work hard and succeed. 

Dr. Ram P. Ramcharran, CEO of Tampa-based Touch Vodka,  says, “I have known Aakash for a while and worked with him when I was chairman of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce and he was a new committee member, to see his growth has been amazing. Even as a young man he had a talent for connecting people and finding ways to evaluate projects.”  

Patel attended the recent 1st Annual Millennial Impact Forum. His take away, millennials like himself need to get involved! He wants to be that change for Tampa. His platform will revolve around transportation, economic development, tourism and film. Recent movies depicting Florida filmed in Georgia are a concern, and an area he'd like to see change.  

Patel loves traveling (three countries and five new cities recently), romantic comedies ("Love Actually" is a favorite) and Tampa Bay sports, specifically football. He has a goal of attending a football game in every Superbowl stadium around the country. Patel loves Tampa and wants to initiate sustained growth while creating a hierarchy of service. He plans to accomplish this by connecting with the right people to get things done. 

Lilly Ho-Pehling of LHP Consulting has known Patel for more than a decade, working with him on the advisory board at Elevate, Inc. and as chair of Patel's Leadership Tampa, Class of 2012. She says of Patel, “Aakash is tenacious and never gives up on a goal, even when it is a hard thing to face or do. He is running for office because he believes in our community and truly feels he can make a difference. Running for office is a difficult thing to do. Aakash believes planning for our communities' future is the key to preserving and promoting our city.” 

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