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Technology : Development News

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New St. Petersburg College library will serve students, community

St. Petersburg College and the City of Clearwater have partnered to build a joint-use library on the college's Clearwater campus.

Port Tampa Bay begins using massive new cranes

Two new gantry cranes at Port Tampa Bay mean bigger ships filled with containers can now be loaded and unloaded with greater speed and efficiency.

Dade City experiences new investments in downtown

Dade City is experiencing a development boom with a brand new $6.6 million city hall and police station, and new restaurants and shops -- with room for more. 

Tampa Bay area colleges add buildings designed for the future

USFSP, Eckerd College and the University of Tampa campuses are growing and upgrading facilities with new buildings designed to serve students long into the future.

Tech company in Tampa invests $1M in expansion, 45 new jobs

SunView Software, Inc. invests $1-million into expanding its headquarters to build a modern workspace that encourages collaboration and teamwork. The expansion will add 6,000 square feet to the Tampa headquarters as well as 45 new employees. 

Smart Gigabit Community coming to Pasco County, first in U.S.

A Pasco County community has been designated the first planned 'Smart Gigabit Community' in the U.S. by the US Ignite non-profit group. This 'Connected City Corridor" will be planned by Metro Development Group in partnership with Pasco County.

SPC receives funding for Bay Pines STEM Learning Center

SPC receives state funding to complete construction on new Bay Pines STEM Learning Center. The $4.7 million project will serve SPC students, Pinellas County schoolteachers as well as secondary school students and students from other colleges on STEM-related projects.

Priatek Plaza name stands tall in St. Pete

The notable One Progress Plaza in downtown St. Petersburg has been renamed to Priatek Plaza. The building is named after one of its tenants, Priatek, a performance-based digital signage company. 

Downtown Tampa quiet zone silences train horns with FDOT grant funds

A new 'quiet zone' will prevent trains from sounding horns in downtown Tampa as a result of the Florida Department of Transportation awarding the City of Tampa a $1.35 millon grant to create the 'quiet zone' along CSX railroad tracks throughout downtown Tampa.   

Architectural photography contest open in Tampa

The 2015 Architectural Photography Contest will take place in Tampa Bay, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects Tampa Bay and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.

Tech Data Expands Clearwater Headquarters

Tech Data Corp. renewed its commitment to Clearwater when company officials decided to expand its headquarters with a new 45,000-square-foot building. The facility will provide additional office and meeting space for the approximately 1,700 Clearwater employees of Tech Data, one of the world's largest technology distributors.

HCC's SouthShore Campus Adds Science And Technology Building

Enrollment at Hillsborough County College SouthShore Campus has steadily built in the past four years with current enrollment topping 6,500 students. College officials plan to build a Science and Technology Building in order to move students out of portable classrooms.

Carmel: New Cafe, Wine Bar Opens In South Tampa

South Tampa's latest restaurant, the Carmel Cafe, offers diners the option to order from iPads at their tables.

Secrets Of The Sea Marine Exploration Center, Aquarium Opens In 2013, John's Pass Village

The old St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium will be reborn as the expanded Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium in Spring 2013.

Two New Tenants Move Into City Center, St. Pete

Two new tenants, Bonezzi Switzer Murphy Polito & Hupp Co. and Aqua Marketing & Communications, recently moved into the 240,000-square-foot City Center in St. Pete while $8 million in renovations continue on the building

St. Pete City Center Gets Facelift, $8M Investment

The City Center in St. Petersburg is undergoing a major renovation.

Oshkosh Corp. Relocates Businesses to Tampa Bay

A conglomerate specializing in specialty trucks and equipment is merging subsidiaries and moving them to the Tampa Bay region.

Oshkosh Corporation has consolidated manufacturing operations of MedTec Ambulances with that of Pierce Manufacturing, its producer of fire trucks, located in Bradenton.

Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles (OSV) will merge with Frontline Communications in Clearwater. The two companies manufacture specialty vehicles outfitted with communications capabilities such as news trucks, police and military vehicles.

The planned relocation of both subsidiaries qualify Oshkosh for up to $1.44 million in economic development incentives. Enterprise Florida and the governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development worked with Tampa Bay officials and economic development organizations to assist in relocating the Oshkosh operations. The move is expected to produce up to 200 jobs.

"Historically,we have found Florida to be a good location for our businesses," says John Daggett of the Oshkosh Corporation. "Our facilities have been there for some time and both Frontline and our Pierce Florida locations have found it very conducive for business. After an extensive review of Oshkosh's manufacturing locations across the country and close consultations with Florida officials, Oshkosh  determined that Florida provided the most competitive business environment for the future of these businesses. It optimizes our manufacturing capacities and allows us to remain competitive in very competitive markets."

According to Daggett, Frontline vehicles have been used to broadcast Super Bowl and Olympics events, and products of all four companies are used by law enforcement, fire rescue, medical and military units that need and demand durable products of high-quality.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: John Daggett, Oshkosh Corporation

St. Pete Installs Pay-By-Phone Parking Meters

Tampa drivers set aside their quarters last month in favor of electronic meters, and now St. Pete drivers can enjoy easier and more efficient downtown parking.

Pay-by-phone meters have been installed along downtown St. Petersburg streets and avenues, allowing drivers to pay with plastic through their phones instead of digging around for quarters.

"The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for those without quarters to enjoy downtown," says Joe Kubicki, director of the city's Parking and Transportation division. "It's been an important part of our program for a while now and we're happy to have implemented it this week, on Oct. 27, 2010. It makes it more convenient for people to be downtown."

After receiving a number of responses to its official request for proposals, the city elected to contract Parkmobile to facilitate its transition from traditional to pay-by-phone meters. ParkMobile's Director of Marketing Sara Engle shares Kubicki's enthusiasm for the ease and efficiency the technology provides.

"ParkMobile is a very forward-thinking company," says Engle. We're constantly updating parking technology. We offer mobile apps for smart phones, but there are several ways you can use our technology: online on your personal page, or by dialing into our Miami call center or by using an app."

Engle says ParkMobile provides PCI Level 1 compliance to protect users from credit card fraud and identity theft. "That's a critical part of our technology," she says.

Kubicki says that after traveling to Fort Lauderdale to investigate their pay-by-phone program, the city decided to implement its own. And it was cheaper than the alternative requested by St. Pete residents.

"We had a lot of requests for change machines," explains Kubicki. "But those machines turned out to be more expensive than pay-by-phone. And pay-by-phone takes less than a minute to do."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Joe Kubicki, City of St. Petersburg; Sara Engle, ParkMobile

Florida, Tampa Bay Business Resources Join Forces At USF In Tampa

The University of South Florida (USF) is getting a new neighbor on its Tampa campus Labor Day weekend.

According to officials with USF CONNECT, the Florida Economic Development Council (FDEC) is moving to USF CONNECT's Research Park at 3802 Spectrum Boulevard. The move will bring two powerful business resources together in one location.

"The relocation will make it very easy to align what the university is doing with the goals of the FEDC and will provide a resource sharing opportunity," says Rod Casto, executive director of the USF Research Foundation, Inc.

USF CONNECT provides business support to technological businesses in the Tampa Bay region and throughout Florida. USF CONNECT's Research Park links research efforts with businesses in need of a research partner. The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI) also is an integral part of USF CONNECT and provides quality office and lab space for biotech and life sciences research.

The Florida Economic Development Council provides economic development throughout the state, and serves as a primary resource for policy development, legislative updates, education, networking and professional advancement for more than 500 Florida professionals. The FEDC provides leadership, communications, peer recognition and networking. It is moving from Tallahassee to relocate to the Tampa campus.

The relocation brings the FEDC to a more central location, which facilitates its service to businesses throughout the state. It will also provide USF CONNECT and Tampa Bay businesses with convenient access to the FEDC and its services.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Rod Casto, USF Resarch Foundation, Inc.

Tampa's Leroy Selmon Expressway Goes Electronic, Get Your SunPass

On a "Save on Tolls" website, former football defensive end Hall of Famer Leroy Selmon says he never liked quarterbacks. So now he's telling commuters how to "get their quarter back."

The Leroy Selmon Expressway is going electronic in September 2010, according to Sue Chrzan at the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority. "It looks like everything will be in place by Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, so that we are ready for the Monday morning commute," she says.

The expressway, which runs from the Gandy Bridge in South Tampa to the Brandon Town Center, is being outfitted with equipment and cameras, and its toll booths are being demolished to accommodate a smoother commute for drivers. Commuters with a SunPass transponder will save a quarter at each electronic tolling point.

On the Save on Tolls website, Selmon, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and restauranteur, explains the benefits of an all-electronic tolling system along his signature road. He says those benefits include savings on time, gas and emissions as well as decreased accidents due to slowed traffic at toll booths. Those without a transponder will be billed through toll-by-plate technology, through which gantry-mounted cameras will take a picture of a vehicle's license plate as it passes through the tolling point. The bill will be sent to the address on the vehicle's registration.

According to Chrzan, it was a good time to go electronic because existing cash and electronic equipment needed to be replaced. Chrzan says less than 25 percent of Selmon Expressway drivers paid cash, which is a costly way to collect tolls.

Commuters who buy a SunPass mini-transponder online or at Publix or CVS for $4.99 and deposit $10 into their account will get a $4.99 credit. The pass is good statewide.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Sue Chrzan, Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority

Pick Up The Phone, Tampa: The Mayor’s Calling

Residents of Hillsborough County have the opportunity to speak to their elected leaders and share questions and concerns regarding the proposed 1 percent sales tax to fund light rail this week during a series of TeleTown conference calls and a public forum.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, former Congressman Jim Davis and other community leaders are calling residents of Hillsborough County to invite them to a TeleTown conference call in an effort to clarify the initiatives put forth by Moving Hillsborough Forward, a grassroots coalition championing light rail and other transit improvements. A 1 percent sales tax to fund light rail is on the ballot for November, and leaders say it is crucial that it passes.

"If we're going to progress, we have to have a modern transit system," says Iorio. "You can't have an economic region grow and prosper in the 21st century without a modern robust transit system and if you're going to have one, you need a light rail system. If we're going to be competitive and attract businesses and really increase the quality of life, it's critical."

The calls will be made region by region, beginning in Brandon on July 22, South Tampa on July 29 and New Tampa, University and Temple Terrace on August 5 and 7. Residents who pick up the phone will be invited to participate in a live conference call and ask questions of the mayor, former congressman and other community leaders.

"We're focusing on geographic areas so people on each call can understand the specific benefits planned for their part of the county," says Gary Sasso, a lawyer with Carlton Fields and chairman Moving Hillsborough Forward.

Residents also can participate in Transit Talk, a free open forum hosted by the Urban Charrette at the Tampa Museum of Art from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 29. Residents and business owners can speak in person to public officials, transportation experts and Moving Hillsborough Forward campaign representatives

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Mayor Pam Iorio, City of Tampa; Gary Sasso, Moving Hillsborough Forward

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Relocates To Pinellas Park

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering (CME) has moved from 2904 N. 44th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg to 3690 N. 70th Ave. in Pinellas Park.

According to CME spokesperson Fred Munro, the company needed more space for production of its technological equipment products and wanted to upgrade its facilities to present a more polished look to its visiting clientele. "Most of our customers are from out of town and this is a more professional location," says Munro. "We are closer to restaurants and hotels. It's better for hosting our clients."

CME is a high-technology business that develops and produces electrical power devices, remote sensors, and special test and support instrumentation for military and other industrial applications. Many of its clients are members of the military or federal employees.

Munro says the new facility offers 49,000 square feet, increasing its former space by 19,000 square feet. "We did a build out to improve a conference room and some offices," explains Hill. "But what the employees are most excited about is that there is now plenty of parking."

CME was founded in 1997 by former employees of Lockheed Martin and has contracts with all arms of the U.S. military, federal agencies and private companies. The company is currently operating under the leadership of Dr. Nancy Crews. Awards include the U.S. Small Business Administration's Tibbet's Award for Research and Development Excellence and DiversityBusines.com's Diversity Award. CME also was included in Deloitte & Touche's Florida's High Tech Corridor Fast 50 in 2002.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Eddie Munro, CME

Tampa Marketing Company Moves To Wesley Chapel

Ballywho Interactive, a social media marketing company, has moved from 5334 Primrose Lake Circle in Tampa to 2654 Cypress Ridge Blvd., Suite 101 in Wesley Chapel.

"Our firm is growing in both staff and clients and we need more space to accommodate that growth," says Jen Straw, Ballywho's community manager. "We plan to add five to seven employees by the end of this year.

Ballywho specializes in social media writing, creating web content as well as managing online campaigns. The company launched in June, 2009. Straw credits the company's steady growth to its founders' expertise "They have found a way to combine marketing expertise with IT. These two vital areas ensure that a brand's virtual presence and web presence are in parity."

Founder and CEO Elissa Nauful Plumley credits her staff and clients with the success they've enjoyed this past year. "We have a great staff focused on making the customer experience the most innovative and cutting edge. And our clientele are all unique and support our growth."

The new space is a little over 2,900 square feet with an open floor plan that includes a Wii room and employee lounge. The company intends to live green in its new digs.

"We are making our office a green office, buying local products when possible and working with local vendors," says Plumley. "We'll be working with vendors that use green practices, limiting the paper products and glassware we use as well as limiting bottled water and recycling everything that can be recycled. We'll also be implementing systems to make our office as paperless as possible and ensure new products are eco-certified."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Jen Straw, Ballywho Interactive

Pinellas Community Health Network Opens Women’s Health Center

Community Health Centers of Pinellas (CHCP) has opened a Women's Health Center at the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center in St. Petersburg.

"Staff will be able to focus on the needs of women," says Dr. Marilyn Fudge, assistant medical director of Women's Services. "The Women's Health Center will offer preventive care and education specific to women's issues in a safe and caring environment. Center staff will offer care before, during and after pregnancy."

The women's center is funded in part by $1.1 million in federal funding awarded by the American Recovery Reinvestment Act. A 3,800-square-foot addition adds six exam rooms to the existing facility at 1344 22nd St. S., which will be used for family planning, obstetric and gynecological care to the St. Petersburg community.

"I am pleased to see our federal tax dollars at work," says St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster. "Designed to address the health care needs specific to women in our community, this new clinic will lead to additional health and wellness services available to our Midtown residents."

There are five locations in the Community Health Centers network of care across Pinellas County, including Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Largo and Tarpon Springs in addition to the St. Petersburg facility. The $1.1 million in federal funding also will allow the network to upgrade its medical records system.

The Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center is located on the site where Mercy Hospital once stood. It was the first in the CHCP network of health centers opened and has been serving the community for more than 25 years.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Dr. Marilyn Fudge, Community Health Centers of Pinellas

Tampa Software Company Continues Steady Growth, Adds Jobs

Pilgrim Software, an international company headquartered in Tampa, is enjoying continued growth, despite the challenging economy.

"Our infrastructure continues to grow," explains Prashanth Rajendran, Pilgrim's COO. "Although we have expanded in Europe and Asia, the company itself has focused on Tampa as the hub. We plan to expand our operations here Tampa in the next year or so."

The company's growth is due to its global partner strategy and its software-as-a-service product.

"As we continue to bring in partners to resell our products, we're going to need more staff to accommodate that growth," says Rajendran. "It's the same thing with software-as-a-service. We take the IT burden away for the customer, but we need the staff to handle it."

Partners include Microsoft Certified, Cincom, PSC Group, HCL Technologies and CDC Software. SaaS, a relatively new service on the IT landscape, provides on-demand software online as opposed to the traditional model that requires software be loaded onto a hard drive.

Led by President and CEO Ami Utji, the original Pilgrim Software team came together largely due to their shared alma mater, the University of South Florida.

"The people who started the company had a common ideology," says Rajendran. The company's vision statement is "to be the world's most innovative and trusted provider of compliance and quality management solutions for regulated industries."

Pilgrim specializes in providing software solutions to businesses that serve life sciences as well as manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace and other related industries.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Prashanth Rajendran, Pilgrim Software

Bradenton Communications Company Gets $15 Million Investment

A Bradenton wireless communications tower company recently received $15 million from a private investment fund to expand business throughout several states, including Florida.

Tarpon Towers, wireless communications infrastructure company specializing in the acquisition and development of wireless communication towers, received the funds from Spire Capital Partners, a leading private investment fund specializing in communications technology, on March 15, 2010. A managing member of Spire Capital will join Tarpon's board of directors as part of the transaction.

"We are excited to have Spire Capital join the Tarpon family as we feel Spire's extensive experience in the tower sector and strong industry relationships will be invaluable to Tarpon as we continue to build our business and create shareholder value," says Ronald Bizick, Tarpon co-founder and CEO.

The need for more towers and the capital required to fund them arose from increased use of wireless technology such as smart phones and other devices that rely heavily on cellular transmission.

"Growth in our business is dependent on access to capital and we are seeing numerous opportunities to put capital to work at attractive returns," adds William Freeman, Tarpon's co-founder and president.

The investment will make possible more than 100 towers in 14 or 15 states, which will positively impact service through such carriers as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Tarpon currently owns 85 towers throughout Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, New York and California.

Tarpon Towers is based in Bradenton and has operated under its current management team since 2008. The company was able to add five new positions last year due to a previous investment of $50 million.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: William Freeman, Tarpon Towers

Scottrade Opens New Investment Branch In Bradenton

Scottrade, an online investment firm, opened a Bradenton branch on March 8 at 1528 Cortez Road W. The new branch serves as a resource center for customers who prefer to handle their investments online and for those who prefer to use a traditional broker.

At the new branch, customers will be able to access resources ranging from online tutorials of Scottrade's website, to advice on individual accounts and opportunities to trade through an on-site stock broker.

"We are committed to making the trading process easier and as effective for the customer as possible," says Manager Brooks Vanderzee. "At our office, we can give people full demonstrations of how the website works, and when they get home they can call us with further questions. We want to make sure they have a fully supported, positive experience. And we do have traditional accounts available through a broker here on site."

Vanderzee foresees adding to his staff within the next year. "We'll absolutely be looking for new talent as the need develops and as the economy improves."

The Bradenton branch is one of 40 across Florida. Scottrade is one of the largest online investment firms providing self-directed customers access to trading at transaction rates as low as $7.

The new office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with after-hours support available from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Brooks Vanderzee, Scottrade

IntegraClick Eyes Expansion On Sarasota Property

IntegraClick of Sarasota, one of Inc. Magazine's five fastest-growing companies of 2009, purchased a 12-acre campus at University Professional Park with an eye toward adding jobs and new marketing and tech businesses.

Ravi Ghai, IntegraClick's vice president of corporate development, credited the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota for helping to keep IntegraClick and Clickbooth.com in Sarasota. Tampa and Miami were considered as sites for the eight-year-old company's corporate headquarters.

"IntegraClick represents the type of business we want to see grow in Sarasota County," says EDC President and CEO Kathleen Baylis. "Their expansion here not only adds high-paying jobs in the community, but signals that high-performing technology firms, capable of further diversifying our economy, can thrive in our county."

Founder and CEO John Lemp has built IntegraClick and Clickbooth.com into a leader in the performance-based online marketing industry. In addition to a top spot on Inc. Magazine's annual list of fastest-growing companies, ClickBooth.com was named Website Magazine's No. 1 affiliate network worldwide.

The company has doubled its workforce during the past year to about 100 employees. The new campus, located just west of Interstate 75 on University Parkway with two Class A office buildings offering 79,000 square feet, also will accommodate ClickBooth.com's sister divisions, Calculated Creavity and Authorise.com.

A new office building for the site is being planned. When completed, the campus is expected to house about 500 employees, or enough room for IntegraClick to more than quadruple its work force of tech, marketing and communications professionals.

The company is expected to begin the move from its current headquarters on Cattlemen Road in April.

Writer: Carter Gaddis
Source: IntegraClick

Tampa Web Content Business Thrives As It Lives By The Blog

When Deana Goldasich of Tampa was laid off in June from her job as director of account management for Web design firm Magnetic, she found herself with choices. Job offers were on the table, she said, but she wasn't inclined to jump at the first chance to rejoin the corporate world.

Instead, she decided to found her own company, Well Planned Web LLC.

"I've wanted to go out on my own forever, and for me this was the final push," says Goldasich, who took an interest in Web design in 1998 and whose employment past also includes Home Shopping Network. "I was climbing the corporate ladder, but I was climbing the walls."

Goldasich's original vision for Well Planned Web when it launched in August involved traditional Web design and support. Quickly, she realized there was a more effective way to carve her niche in the Tampa Bay region's evolving Internet industry.

Her concept: Help businesses, large or small, maximize their online potential through the use of social media, with a particular emphasis on blogging as a way to portray a company's personality and vision in order to connect with potential customers.

"The real difference is I do a lot of education, coaching and training to help people understand the stuff from top to bottom, rather than build a blog and toss it in your lap," Goldasich says. "It's all focused on how to build a following online and build an audience."

She landed her first client, Devine Communications, on Aug. 3. Accounts with Tampa software company ConnectWise and interior designer Barbara Krai quickly followed. This week, she coordinates the launch of Ocala author and speaker Beth Ramsey's new site focused on workplace relations.

Goldasich said that in less than six months, her new business has generated as much net revenue as she made in salary during her final year with Magnetic.

"I think what's next for me is constantly what's on my mind," Goldasich says. "Even when I'm doing fine and I'm really busy, you're always looking ahead at what's next."

Writer: Carter Gaddis

Source: Deana Goldasich, Well Planned Web

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