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Former Mayor of Florida’s Fifth Most Populous City Joins Pasadena’s Coast Autonomous

Published on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | 5:48 am
Photo by Leslie Waters via Facebook

Former Mayor Rick Baker of St. Petersburg, Florida has joined Pasadena-based Coast Autonomous as its Senior Advisor on Urban Deployment on its Advisory Board.

Baker, who was named America’s Greatest Mayor of the Decade in The Daily Beast and America’s Mayor/Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, said of the appointment, “I am very excited and energized to be joining Coast,” Baker said.

“Cities matter. We are at the beginning of an enormous wave of change that will improve the daily lives of people living in cities around the world. Properly focused on the pedestrian, self-driving vehicles will make cities more user-friendly, safe, comfortable, productive and interesting.”

Coast Autonomous said Baker’s innovative leadership “directly led to the incredible renaissance” of St. Petersburg.

“During his two terms as mayor from 2001 to 2010, Rick Baker transformed St. Petersburg into a united city that worked for its citizens and attracted new residents and businesses from across the country,” the release said. “Working with community groups and the private sector, Mayor Baker’s efforts led to the direct investment of billions of dollars in the city, brought in world-class museums and higher education and research facilities, and breathed new life into the city’s waterfront.”

Baker also led the effort to attract the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a hugely successful IndyCar race that is now in its 14th year, the press release added.

Since leaving office, Baker has continued to advance a positive urban policy speaking around the country, serving as an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for State and Local Leadership, and writing policy columns. He also wrote “The Seamless City,” which focuses on the development of America’s cities. City leaders around the nation have sought his real-world, proven advice.

As a Senior Advisor with Coast Autonomous, the former mayor will work to develop the company’s urban mobility solutions and work with city stakeholders to make their cities more seamless and livable.

Baker joins Stanford Professor Dr. Marco Pavone and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti on the Advisory Board. Pavone is a leading expert in robot autonomy and fleet management, and Franchitti contributes his considerable expertise on safe driving to further advance Coast Autonomous’ self-driving software.

Baker is a lawyer who has been a law firm president, a university vice president and president of a St. Petersburg-based development and entertainment company. He holds a B.S., MBA, and Juris Doctor with Honors from Florida State University, where he was senior class president. He studied comparative law at Oxford University and 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.

Coast Autonomous provides transportation-as-a-service solutions to cities, theme parks, campuses, airports and other low-speed environments.

Headquartered in Pasadena, the Coast team is recognized for its experience and expertise in developing and operating AV fleets focused on the pedestrian that prioritize safety and the user experience.

To learn more about Coast Autonomous, visit

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