TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) ꟷ Congratulations to USAF Lt. Col (Ret.) Karen Mertes of Tampa. She is the 2023 Remarkable Woman for Tampa Bay.

The competition is part of a nationwide search by WFLA’s parent company Nexstar Media Group, Inc for one woman who fulfill select criteria such as community contributions, self-achievement, and impact on families. Nexstar selects four local women from essay nominations entered online from each of its media markets. Panelists scoured through nearly 150 local Tampa Bay essays about remarkable women throughout the region. Just fractions of points separated the four finalists.

Each local winner travels to Los Angeles to be considered for “Nexstar Woman of the Year.” Mertes will compete with 110 other remarkable women winners from across the country.

If you missed any of our finalists’ stories over the past month you can see and read about them again on wfla.com/remarkablewomen.