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June coding weekend will aim to help Tampa’s homeless through technology

A June event will aim to benefit Tampa’s homeless population through computer coding.

The hack-a-thon, hosted by Hillsborough County annually in conjunction with the National Day of Civic Hacking, has been rebranded as a ‘code-a-palooza’ for 2016.

The weekend-long event will take place at Peak 10, an IT and cloud storage services company that is the premiere sponsor of the weekend-long code fest. Peak 10 is an anchor member of the Tampa Innovation Alliance, a group working to redefine the area surrounding the University of South Florida in northeast Hillsborough County.

Tampa Innovation Alliance board members set out to put on a traditional weekend hack-a-thon event, but with the goal of creating “an element that will stretch out longer than just the weekend, and actually solve a real-world problem,” explains Alliance executive director Mark Sharpe.

A request by the Alliance to Hillsborough County for data led to a counter-request: solve a problem for us. County or government-sponsored hack-a-thons often have a civil services component, and for the June ‘code-a-palooza,’ the focus is on the homeless population in the Tampa Bay region.

“They’ve got social service organizations helping them to manage this homeless problem, which the county is responsible for, but they don’t have tracking devices or an application which can effectively connect the homeless person -- many of whom do have smartphones -- with the services,” Sharpe explains.

Using county-provided data, coders and creative thinkers will work together to bridge the gap between members of the homeless population and the service organizations that aim to connect with them.

By creating an application that enhances on or is compatible with the county’s existing software, Sharpe hopes to see coding teams develop something that can "maybe even have a market application.”

“There are severe homeless problems in other cities,” Sharpe says, “like Denver, Colorado,” with whom the Alliance has partnered for the 10-10-10 conference.

“We’re still kind of exploring -- we don’t have it all figured out -- but we’re going to be encouraging people who have coding skills, or who can solve problems, to join in at ‘code-a-palooza’ in June,” Sharpe says.

Coding skills are not required to participate.

A winner of the weekend event will be announced on the final day of the hack-a-thon, but the Alliance hopes to see concepts worked on by the teams continue to grow, Sharpe says. Peak 10 will allow interested coders to use the company’s cloud data system for work throughout the summer and fall, and Alliance partners such as University Mall may facilitate projects by providing meeting space.

“We hope the winner might have the opportunity to sell their application, or have it used by the county,” Sharpe says.

To learn more about the June ‘code-a-palooza’ event, visit the Tampa Innovation Alliance website.

February job news: Who's hiring in Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an established children's hospital and an emergency veterinarian are all businesses based in the Tampa Bay area who are hiring in February 2016. 

All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine is hiring for a Special Events Manager. A BA and a minimum of five years experience in event planning is required. The Special Events Manager will plan, manage and execute events and fundraising initiatives, overseeing special events coordinators.A successful candidate must have reliable transportation. 

To apply or to learn more about the role, click here.

The Aspire Group seeks a Sales Consultant at the University of South Florida. A BS in Sports Management or a related field is required; communications, customer service and computer skills are necessary.

To learn more or to apply, click here.

Emergency veterinarian services provider Blue Pearl is hiring for a Digital Marketing Associate. A Bachelor's degree in a related field (website development, digital marketing) is preferred; at least one year of marketing experience is required.
An understanding of search engine optimization and various social media platforms, as well as basic HTML, is expected.

Learn more or apply here.

Bristol Myers Squibb is hiring for several positions in Tampa, including roles in technical support, analytics, IT management and more. Learn about specific job requirements or apply for these roles here.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce seeks a Creative Services Manager. The successful applicant will have a BA in graphic design, communications or a related field, as well as 3-5 years of experience in a graphic design role. Primary responsibilities will include creating graphics, communications content, creation of event material, and other tasks.
 
To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, design portfolio, writing sample and three references to the Chamber of Commerce via email.

Social Venture Partners seeks an Executive Director to manage day-to-day operations of the organization and to serve as spokesperson for the group. Responsibilities will include providing support to growing partners, recruiting partners, planning and organizational development; the successful applicant will have knowledge of the Tampa Bay nonprofit community. To apply, email a resume and cover letter to svptampabaysearch@gmail.com.
 
Find out more about the role here.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seek to fill two communications roles with the football organization: a Communications Coordinator in the Marketing Department and a Communications Coordinator in the Community Relations Department. Successful applicants will have at least one year of marketing copywriting and brand experience; a BA in Journalism; strong knowledge of AP style, and the ability to work independently. The role will include authoring external communications; editing marketing materials and revising as necessary, and contributing to Bucs social media accounts and website.

Apply for one of these roles via Teamwork Online.

The Buccaneers are also hiring for a Graphic Designer; a BA in Fine Arts is required.

Hiring in the Tampa Bay region? Send a note to tips@83degreesmedia.com. Hired? Reach out on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Startups compete for top spot in Bright House pitch competition

Five startup companies formed in the Tampa Bay area have been selected from a pool of more than 30 small businesses to compete as finalists in the Bright House Networks Pitch 6 competition.

Finalists include:

Motorworks Brewing
Residential Acoustics, LLC (learn more about the company in this 83 Degrees profile)
Safer Home Services
Urban E. Recycling 
VetCor, LLC

The annual Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards recognize a number of regional companies in categories for startups, mid-size, small and large businesses. The Pitch 6 competition serves as the final phase in selecting a winner for the Start-up Category of the awards.

"The Tampa Bay region’s best start-ups will pitch their company to our panel of judges," says Joe Durkin, Sr. Director of Corporate Communications at Bright House Networks.

Bright House Networks partners with local and regional Chambers of Commerce, including those in Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and surrounding counties, to select local businesses and startups for recognition in the awards program each year.

For a complete list of the finalists in every category, click here

The Tampa Pitch 6 startup competition will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, at the Straz Center's Jaeb Theater in downtown Tampa. A post-show reception will immediately follow.

Winners of the "shark tank style" event will be announced on February 11th at the communication company's Regional Business Awards Gala, where up to $1 million in prizes and services will be awarded to winners across the four categories.

To learn more about Pitch 6 or purchase tickets, click here. Find tickets and information about the Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards Gala, Feb 11 at the Tampa Convention Center, here.

HCC to offer free entrepreneurship program for veterans

A new entrepreneurship program that is geared toward military veterans will be locally implemented with the help of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

The nonprofit Veterans Florida, which developed the entrepreneurship program, was developed itself by the Florida Legislature in an effort to create more job opportunities for vets in the state.

As a network partner of Veterans Florida, Hillsborough Community College will offer training and entrepreneurial education to veterans living in Florida who aim to open their own businesses through the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program.

HCC has the distinction of being the only community college selected as a network partner of the program, which will also be implemented at the University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University. The colleges and universities will allocate existing small business development resources to the development and implementation of the program.

“Entrepreneurs fuel our growing economy,” HCC president Dr. Ken Atwater noted in a news release. “This program will help our service men and women get equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in the global marketplace."

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is provided free of charge to Florida resident veterans who are active duty or who have been honorably discharged; $1 million in program funding was granted from the Florida Legislature. Vets who plan to relocate to Florida to pursue entrepreneurship are also eligible for the program.

Program participants begin training with an online entrepreneurial development-training course before moving on to on-site training at one of the five partner institutions, including HCC. The program covers travel expenses for the in-class portion of training.

During in-class training, veterans will have the opportunity to work with local business leaders and entrepreneurs to further develop and examine business plans.

Following the intensive, face-to-face phase of the program, veterans will receive continued mentorship as they grow and lauch their businesses, as well as follow-up support from Florida Small Business Development Council business consultants.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program host partner, the University of West Florida, will oversee the program from its Florida SBDC Network and Military and Veterans Resource Center. At HCC, the program will be administered through the college’s Institute for Corporate and Continuing Training.

“We are pleased to build upon the programs that we currently offer to the thousands of veterans we serve each through the Veterans Florida Program at HCC,” Atwater said.

The education received through the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program “will empower the next generation of great veteran entrepreneurs to make lasting contributions to the state’s economy,” says the group’s executive director, Bobby Carbonell, by offering veterans in the state “access to high value, entrepreneurship education through our world-class state universities and colleges.”

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program website is set to launch in February 2016; interested veterans can visit the website to apply for the program or contact (850) 898-3489 or info@FloridaVetBiz.org for more information.

USF Tampa, Patel College host global ecotourism conference in January

The inaugural Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), which is organized by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), will be hosted by the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability in Tampa January 25-27, 2016. TIES is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that seeks solutions for more environmentally sustainable tourism options, including ecotourism. 

The ESTC conference will draw many notable tourism industry experts, including representatives from TIES, National Geographic Explorer, United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Walt Disney Company, and many others from the United States and around the world.

Hosting the conference in Tampa is seen as a natural fit because much of the Tampa Bay area’s economy is based around tourism, and the state of Florida as a whole saw 97.3 million visitors in 2014. For those reasons and others, David Randle, Director of Sustainable Tourism at the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability, says the ESTC conference should matter to locals. 

“The world is facing increasing challenges from issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, nitrogen and phosphorous overload, changing land use patterns, threats to our water supply, chemical pollution, and more,” says Randle. “These changes, while not always on the radar of the average Tampa resident, are changes that will impact us all.” 

He says tourism accounts for 9 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and 11.5 percent of the globe’s workforce, making it one of the world’s largest industries. “It is also the fastest-growing industry in the world, and the sustainable tourism sector is the fastest-growing sector within tourism. It is perhaps the best opportunity for humans to leverage needed change in our world.” 

The theme of the 2016 Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference is “Transforming Our World Through Sustainable Solutions” and will discuss solutions to global challenges that can be found in the local setting. On the docket are presentations about international sustainable tourism opportunities, a look at ecotourism options in Florida, dinner at Busch Gardens and a sustainable meal by the Chiles Group

Those interested in learning more information about the 2016 ESTC Conference, which will be held at the Patel Center for Global Solutions at USF Tampa, can check out the conference’s website

Cigar City Brewing founder among speakers at upcoming 'business failures' meetup

Inspirational quotes that highlight growth out of failure and the ability to overcome setbacks on the path to success abound, especially online. Rather than read about successes and failures, however, members of the local startup community can mingle with area entrepreneurs during the second edition of F*** Up Nights Tampa Bay on Thursday, January 14. 

That's when Tampa Bay's high-profile meetup - with the not-so-family-friendly name - is back, for the group's first gathering in 2016. Many an f-bomb will be dropped, if the inaugural event is any indication.

Cigar City Brewing founder Joey Redner is among the speakers at FUNTampaBay's upcoming get-together, where business owners will share failure stories with Tampa Bay area startup founders in an informal way over beer, wine, and light snacks.

Along with Redner, speakers at FUNTampaBay on January 14 include the former NFL guard Ian Beckles, who is also the longtime co-host of The Ron & Ian Show on iHeartMedia, and successful serial entrepreneur Joy Randels, who has launched more than a dozen technology companies around the country.

Randels is herself the organizer for the Tampa Bay chapter of Startup Grind, which invites successful - and sometimes not-so-successful - founders to join Randels in a fireside chat and Q&A before a live audience.

Since the launch of FUNTampaBay in October 2015, event organizer and University of South Florida alumni Maria Alithinos says the group has been getting "more and more interest from the Tampa Bay community.

"To make the next event a bit more engaging, we're adding an 'Open Mic F*ckUp,'" Alithinos explains. After speakers finish their presentations, audience members can take the stage for five minute mini-sessions.

The open mic element is unique to Tampa Bay, and while Alithinos says she doesn't know how it will play out, "It could be cathartic" for attendees who open up about past mistakes to the crowd.

FUNTampaBay: Vol II will be held at Redner's Cigar City Cider & Mead1812 North 15th Street in Ybor City. The meetup will take place from 6:00- 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Alithinos expects the event to hit the venue's 75-person capacity. To register for tickets or learn more about the event, click here

The inaugural FUNTampaBay event unfolded in CoWork Ybor and The Blind Tiger Café. Local business owners and serial entrepreneurs Brent C.J. Britton, Chuck Papageorgiou, and Scott Moore spoke at the meeting, which drew around 50 guests on a weeknight in early October 2015. Speakers shared anecdotes about losing millions on bad deals, crippling whole companies, and how to make the perfect mistake in business.

"I really hope FUN becomes part of the Tampa Bay startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem," Alithinos says. "I think it's valuable. It would be awesome for the movers and shakers in the area to share their professional bad luck stories...because we all have one." 

Mingle with local tech crowd at upcoming Tampa Bay area meetups

Meet like-minded friends and potential business partners at the upcoming Collaborative Technologies of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Startup Week, and other technology events put on by and for tech enthusiasts and members of the Tampa Bay startup scene in spring 2016.

FUNTampaBay
Thursday, January 14
6 p.m.
Cigar City Cider and Mead
Ybor City

The second edition of F*** Up Nights Tampa Bay -- or FUNTampaBay -- will be held at event speaker Joey Redner's Ybor City outpost, Cigar City Cider and Mead. During the informal gathering, hear discussions about success and failure from speakers including Redner, local serial entrepreneur Joy Randels, and former NFL guard turned media personalist Ian Beckles. The event will also open the floor to audience members for an "Open Mic" portion.

To search for tickets or learn more about FUN events around the world, click here.

1 Million Cups
Wednesday, January 20, recurring
9 a.m.
St. Petersburg GreenhouseHillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center

1 Million Cups, a weekly Wednesday morning gathering where area business leaders and local residents come together to hear aspiring startups and growing companies pitch their ideas, has become a staple of both the St. Petersburg and Tampa business communities. The Bay area's first 1 Million Cups event took root at St. Petersburg's Greenhouse in 2013, and expanded across Tampa Bay to the Hillsborough County Mark Sharpe Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in 2015. Now, each week brings a packed house of community members to hear new ideas and sip on donated Kahwa Coffee

Each Wednesday morning, visitors to either location can hear from new startups or get updates from past presenters. To learn more about Tampa's 1 Million Cups meetups or to apply to present, click here; see information about 1 Million Cups in St. Petersburg or apply to be a presenter here.

Tampa Bay Startup Week
February 8-12
TBD

Tampa Bay technology enthusiasts and members of the startup scene saw a new concept unfold in 2015 - a full week of dedicated events, broken down by track and then further by subject matter. Topics ranging a wide gamut of interests from coding to beer brewing drew a diverse crowd to the events -- some interactive -- that took place around the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The 2016 Tampa Bay Startup Week main event sponsor is Chase, working together with tech.co. Stay tuned for more info about events, speakers, and special opportunities - in 2015, events culminated with an open skate on the ice at Amalie Arena.

To learn more or register for Tampa Bay Startup Week events, click here.

1776 Challenge Cup
Wednesday, February 10
Tampa Bay WaVe offices
Tampa

The 1776 Challenge Cup offers grand prize winners up to $1 million in prizes during the final round of a startup pitch competition. A local round one will take place at startup business accelerator and venture center Tampa Bay WaVe in downtown Tampa on February 10. The Cup is billed as a ‘worldwide tournament for the most promising, world-changing startups to win cash prizes, make international connections and share their vision on a global stage.'

Southeastern Entrepreneurship Conference
February 19-20
8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
University of Tampa John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center 
Tampa

At the two-day 2016 Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (SEEC 2016), local college students will come together with students from top-ranked schools across the nation to compete in the Spartan Pitch Competition at the John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center on the University of Tampa campus.

During the competition, students will pitch startup ideas to a panel of judges in hopes of securing funding for their business ventures. Along with the business challenge portion of the event, students will have the opportunity to network with business leaders and peers. Around 20 speakers will also share insights on business and entrepreneurship.

The event is open to the public, and members of the local business community are encouraged to attend. To register, click here.

#Collabtb (Q1 Tech & Entrepreneur Peer Networking Event)
Thursday, March 3
5:30 p.m.
The Getaway
St. Pete

Hosted by Collaborative Technologies of Tampa Bay with partnership from Tampa Bay Tech Events, #collabTB quarterly meetups draw a crowd of several hundred to the laid-back beach bar behind St. Pete staple The Getaway. The focus of the gatherings is networking and community-building in a relaxed atmosphere, with no speakers or formal agenda.
 
Tech startups and area entrepreneurs,aspiring students, and those who want to make new connections in the community are encouraged to attend. Raffles, "swag," and giveaways will be offered.

To register for the Collabtb Q3 Tech and Entrepreneur Peer networking event, click here. Be sure to use the hashtag #Collabtb on Twitter.

Are you, or an organization you know, hosting a tech-oriented event in the Tampa Bay area in 2016? Let us know in the comments below to have your activity included in a future 83 Degrees newsletter!

January job news: Who's hiring in Tampa Bay in 2016

Digital marketing agencies, architecture consulting and stonework firms, beachfront customer service and other roles with expanding local companies are highlighted in the first 83 Degrees job news roundup of the year. 
 
Here's who's hiring in Tampa Bay in January 2016:

St. Petersburg-based A1 Marketing Concepts is seeking to fill several fulltime marketing and communications positions, including Marketing Coordinator, Public Relations Assistant, Business Management Associate, Sales Account Representative, and Customer Relations Associate. The company provides targeted marketing and promotional campaigns to clients in a variety of industries. To learn more about available roles or to apply for a position, click here

A digital marketing agency with the distinction of being a full-service HubSpot Gold partner is seeking a Marketing Director to join the Big Sea team in downtown St. Petersburg. Job requirements for the role at Big Sea include five or more years of marketing industry experience;  a BA/BS degree in Communications or Marketing is "strongly preferred"; excellent written and verbal communication skills; time management and organization skills; the ability to think creatively; HubSpot certifications, WordPress and web-based CMS experience preferred. To learn more or apply, visit the company website.

L-3 Communications is hiring an ISR Systems Engineer in the company's Tampa offices. Qualifications include a BS or MS in a relevant field, with eight or more years of intelligence analysis or C4ISR experience, or specialized training combined with 10 or more years experience. To learn more, visit the national security company's website.

Masonite International is hiring for a variety of roles at the company's Tampa offices; current openings range from senior roles in accounting and auditing to customer service or internship positions. To explore job qualifications for these roles, click here to visit the company website or visit the company's job openings on LinkedIn.

The Fortune 1000 Pall Corporation is seeking a Manufacturing and Industrial Engineer to work from the materials science company's New Port Richey offices. Job requirements include a minimum BS in Engineering; at least three years related work experience in a technical capacity; five years preferred. Computer proficiency, with experience using SAP and CAD/CAM, and in the Filtration and Aerospace industries, preferred.

To learn more or apply for this role, visit the company's career website. Summer internships at the NPR location are also available.

PGT Industries has operated from Sarasota County for several decades as a leading industry supplier and manufacturer of custom aluminum, vinyl and impact resistant house windows, doors and porch enclosures. PGT plans to hire dozens of new employees in fields that range from sales to customer service to finance or engineering. To browse a complete list of all PGT Industries current job openings, click here to visit the company's job website. 

Downtown St. Petersburg-based Symphoni Media is hiring a Web Designer. Two or more years of experience with HTML and CSS is required, along with a portfolio, strong design skills, and excellent communication skills. To apply for this role and explore all job qualifications, click here.

The 20-acre beachfront hotel property Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach is hiring for dozens of positions in early 2016. Job roles are both part- and full-time positions, including Valet, Cook, Reservations Agent, Front Office, Security, Night Auditing, Bartending, and many more; available positions cover a range of experience and educational requirements. 

To browse available positions, click here to head to the resort's website.

Hiring in the Tampa Bay region? Send a note to tips@83degreesmedia.com. Hired? Reach out on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

UT student team wins local round of Hult Prize competition

A student-led team from the University of Tampa hopes to pitch their ideas to President Bill Clinton and a panel of judges for the chance to earn $1 million in startup funding.

Each year, hundreds of teams from universities around the world compete in the Hult Prize competition to solve a pressing issue related to education and poverty.

The 2016 challenge: “Can we build sustainable, scalable and fast-growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces by better connecting people, goods, services and capital?”

The annual competition awards one million dollars in start-up funding to the team of students that develops the most compelling solution to this question.

Each student team competes in a regional round before moving on to the finals in New York City next fall; but before teams can head to Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, or Shanghai for regionals, they must win the competition at the local level. In December 2015, a student team from UT, led by business management student Bay Downing, took top honors in the local round of competition.

Team OptiMrkt was chosen of the 10 competing teams because they “had the most compelling idea,” explains Hult Prize at UT Campus Director Caio Amaral. “The main argument was that the initiative and team work in OptiMrkt was very optimistic.”

OptiMrkt aims to reinvent the way that trade works for those “on the bottom of the pyramid” with a fresh approach to urban markets.

The team also “had partnerships lined up, and a business model that impressed most of the majority of the judges,” says Amaral, who competed for the prize in 2014 on team BamBoost (read about their story here).

OptiMrkt team members include Downing along with MBA-seeking Chenoy Ceil and entrepreneurship students Luciano Perdomo and Monty Berrow.

“UT is very proud of OptiMrkt and how far they have come,” Amaral says.

OptiMrkt will compete with around 50 teams, including those from Ivy League schools like Harvard and MIT, during a regional competition March 11-12, 2016. If they win the regional phase, team members will have the opportunity to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator program in summer 2016, along with the top five teams from other regions.

There, Amaral says, “They will launch from a simple idea to being feasible in the market.” 

Finally, they will travel to New York City to pitch their solution before world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative’s next annual meeting in late September 2016.

The University of Tampa is no stranger to the Hult Prize competition; multiple teams have made it to regional and final competitions in previous years. Team Tembo, which operates from the UT Innovation and Collaboration building, has transitioned from student project into a full-scale, growing business.

To learn more about Tembo’s efforts to provide education to children and parents in urban slums through mobile phones and an evidence-based curriculum, or to contribute, visit their GoFundMe page

Tampa father, son build tiny house as model for others

A father-and-son duo in Valrico are hoping to make a big impact with their little house. The 200-square-foot-home the two are building together will soon be going on a 20-city tour across the U.S. to teach others the importance of quality control in construction practices.

Paul Lynch, the patriarch of the team, is an attorney with Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick, LLP based out of downtown Tampa. Working with his eldest son, Corbett Lunsford, the two are building the tiny house to be efficient, with solar panels, a composting toilet, sensors built into the walls to measure performance and the highest-quality non-toxic materials available.

“My son is an expert in testing homes, like a doctor for houses, and in his view and those of his fans, once you have metrics about your home you can make educated decisions and get control,'' says Lynch. “Like the craze for Fitbit pedometers, or feedback displays in new cars, better information about how the things we own are performing means we become better owners.”

The first stop on the 20-city tour will be in St. Augustine in April 2016. For the purpose of the tour, the tiny house will be called the 'tiny lab' due to its innovative features including technology from Mitsubishi that uses an infrared eye to sense areas in the home that need the temperature adjusted. During the tour, Lunsford and his team will spend one week in each city offering tours, workshops and contractor training.

During the tour, Lunsford and his wife will also be taping a TV show called Home Diagnosis and a web series called Ms. Tiny Detective. According to Lynch, it really is a family effort.

“Not a lot of guys get the opportunity to build a house with their kids, so I'm trying to enjoy the whole thing,” he says. “Obviously it's a bit stressful, we're building a house that has to withstand a hurricane and earthquake at the same time. But it's going to make great memories, and I'm proud of what we've already accomplished with the structure.”

For more information on the tour, visit their website.

In-Towner trolley gives free rides in downtown Tampa

The free In-Towner trolley makes getting around downtown Tampa a little less expensive. 

The trolley, operated by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Authority, provides weekday trips from 6-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. 

“It’s more convenient,” says HART CEO Katharine Eagan. “It’s one more option we’re providing so people can easily travel downtown while leaving behind their cards and congested parking lots. Whether it’s for medical appointments, shopping, entertainment, or work, we want people to be aware that the can use public transportation to take them there.” 

The rubber-wheeled trolleys make trips every 15 minutes along their routes that conveniently take riders to several major destinations, including Harbour Island, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Park, David A. Straz, Jr., Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa Theatre, Tampa City Hall, the major downtown Tampa hotels, the TECO Line Streetcar system, the federal and county courthouses, and the Marion Transit Center. Service animals are allowed on the trollies, which are also equipped with bicycle racks for those who wish to take along their bikes. 

According to HART Public Information Officer Sandra Morrison, the free trollies are seeing sufficient foot traffic, though service is confined now to fairly limited service hours that largely serve the rush-hour crowd. “There has been talk about extending hours on the weekdays and also offering weekend hours,” she says. “The trollies were just made free on October 1, so it’s still a relatively new service.” 

Creator of Chinese family robot talks tech at Startup Grind Tampa Bay on Dec. 16

The final meeting of Startup Grind Tampa Bay in 2015 will feature a founder who is visiting Tampa as a potential U.S. headquarters for his company, Solbit, which is currently based in Shenzhen, China.

Gavenraj Sodhi, CEO of 7 Senses Labs (formerly iMedia), will visit Tampa along with Solbit, the company's product and namesake. The founder and CEO will demonstrate the prototype of Solbit, a family robot, at the Startup Grind Tampa Bay event at CoWork Ybor on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Sodhi initially launched iMedia as an edutainment company using gamification for students in grades K-8, but the technology has since evolved into Solbit, a company that aims to deliver educational materials focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) through the use of the family-friendly robot.

Solbit's robot features integrated camera capabilities and a cloud-based language library that help the robot to serve as a child’s personal learning companion. 3D printing functions, voice recognition and other Artificial Intelligence functions are just some of the improvements Sodhi hopes to makes to the robot in time.

Initially, Solbit is aimed to serve as a learning-based companion for children ages 4-7.

Team data scientist and robotics engineers are working to further develop ways to foster two-way communication between child and robot to create a better learning experience, Startup Grind Tampa Bay founder Joy Randels says. 

"From an artificial intelligence standpoint, our ecosystem is developing into a content-friendly, data-rich environment," Randels wrote in an email. "The robot is meant to learn and adapt with the child and family."

Solbit, which is incorporated in Hong Kong with offices in Shenzhen, is currently funding its product through bootstrapping, some funding from JD.com, which is akin to Amazon.com in China, and winnings from several competitions, like the 1776 Challenge Cup for Education.

Randels, who has long known Sodhi and served on the board of one of his previous startup companies, offers some highlights of Solbit:
  • Dr. Cory Kidd, a long-time robotics expert and MIT Media Lab alumni, has joined as Director of Robotics and will be supporting 7 Senses Labs in the development of learning robots and the A.I. portion of the platform
  •  Bater Makhabel, from Tsinghua University, joined as Data Scientist with a focus on machine learning and algorithm development
  • Solbit just launched with Essential Learning Group in Shanghai, a pilot for a first learning module, that leverages Leap Motion and Intel Real Sense for kids to gesture during the learning exercises for skills mastery and for those that have learning disabilities. The module launched in September in Apple and Android stores and will be supporting Solibit integration 
Click here to register to attend Startup Grind Tampa Bay at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16, at CoWork Ybor, 1901 E. 7th Ave.

Upcoming Tampa Bay career fairs include local schools, construction company

A number of Tampa Bay area companies are seeking candidates for part- and fulltime positions in a variety of fields across Tampa and St. Petersburg during late 2015 and early 2016. Career fairs in Tampa Bay can connect job seekers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas with the industry leaders and resources that help open the door for new hires.

College students and new graduates, young professionals who seek entry into a new field, or individuals planning a career change, take note of these upcoming winter 2015/2016 Tampa Bay area career fairs:
 
Tuesday, December 15: North American Roofing Career Fair 
10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch
6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Suite 300, Sarasota

The large commercial roofing company is hiring for positions in project coordination, project management, inside sales and more.
 
Tuesday, December 15: Tampa Ultimate Staffing Job Fair 
9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
4300 W Cypress St, Suite 150, Tampa

Tampa Ultimate Staffing is hiring for bilingual call center customer service representatives.
 
Tuesday, December 15: Pinellas County Schools First Annual Winter Job Fair 
Pinellas County Schools Administration Building
301 4th St SW, Largo

The Pinellas County School District job fair is aimed specifically at recent and current college interns. Jobs available include instructional positions for elementary education, early childhood education, ESE, English language arts, reading, math, science, guidance, and speech/language pathologists. Email Jenny Furlott to confirm attendance.
 
Wednesday, December 16: Yale Enforcement Services, Inc. Job Fair
 9 a.m. – 1p.m.
5602 Thompson Center Ct, Suite 400, Tampa

Those with a current and valid state of Florida security license (D or G) are invited to attend; veterans and retired law enforcement are encouraged to apply.
 
Thursday, December 17: Career Showcase Job Fair
5 p.m.
Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore
700 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa
 
Monday, January 11, 2016: Tampa Bay Job and Career Fair presented by the Tampa Bay Times
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Coliseum
535 4th Ave N, St. Pete
 
Tuesday, January 12, 2016: National Career Fairs Tampa Career Fair
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Westshore Airport
4500 West Cypress St, Tampa
 
This career fair will feature an iPad giveaway.
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016: CareerIntro Career Fair
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Crowne Plaza
5303 West Kennedy Blvd, Tampa
 
February 2, 2016: University of South Florida Career Fair Week
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Marshall Student Center Ballroom, USF campus
4103 USF Cedar Cir, Tampa

Wednesday, February 24, 2016: USF St. Petersburg Career Center Job and Internship Fair 2016
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
University Student Center
6th Ave S, St. Pete

This job fair aims to connect USFSP students with local companies to facilitate matches for jobs and internships. 
 
Employers, are you hosting an upcoming career fair in the Tampa Bay area? Put potential future employees on the right path by sharing the details of your upcoming job or career fair in Tampa Bay with 83 Degrees. Reach out over on Twitter (@83degreesmedia) if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Tampa native launches mobile boating app for marinas

A mobile app that allows boaters to make reservations for docking vessels with the ease of booking a table at a restaurant has expanded to Tampa Bay area marinas.
 
Dockwa, which launched in the New England area in May 2015, has seen rapid expansion on the eastern coast of the United States and into the Bahamas, with more than 175 participating marinas in 16 states getting on board with the application.
 
“There's an incredibly vibrant entrepreneurial spirit within Tampa, and I'm grateful to be a part of it and eager to expand Dockwa's footprint in the region," explains Dockwa co-Founder and CEO Michael Melillo, a Tampa native. 
 
Dockwa is marketed as “Open Table meets Hotel Tonight.” The award-winning mobile application and marketing platform has raised over $1.4 million in angel and private investments from such investors as David Skok of Matrix Partners and HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan. 

The app has a simple, straightforward premise aimed at connecting boaters to marinas in real time: interested parties can download Dockwa, explore the app’s maps, and hit a button to reserve a slip. Payments don’t go through until customers verify their reservations on site at the marinas; all information is kept in an integrated database.

A growing number of marinas in the Tampa Bay area have joined the Dockwa network, which includes 40 marinas across the state. Local partners include:
  • Gulfport Marina in Gulfport
  • Port Tarpon Marina in Tarpon Springs
  • Marina Jack in Sarasota
  • Longboat Key Club Moorings in Longboat Key
  • Tampa Marriott Waterside Marina in downtown Tampa
An expansion to the Gulf Coast made sense, Melillo says: “Tampa is among the top boating destinations in Florida.”

But bringing his business to Tampa Bay also struck a personal chord, Melillo says. "Expanding Dockwa to the Tampa Bay area has been an important milestone both personally and professionally for me. Tampa is also where I was born, lived for a number of years, and frequent often to see family.

“Having the opportunity for them to see Dockwa contribute to the Tampa community and economy is an especially rewarding experience,” says Melillo, who earned a BS in Finance/Economics from Elon University and spent time as a financial analyst before co-founding Dockwa in fall 2014.  

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) launched a partnership with Dockwa in October 2015 that allows members who arrange dockage through the Dockwa app or online platform to waive booking fees.
 
By early 2016, Melillo plans to expand the company to include marina partners on the west coast of the U.S.

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? Search engine, IT company, CPA, staffing agency, and more

The most recognizable name on the internet is bringing a new technology to Tampa Bay: Google is seeking applications for multiple roles in Tampa Bay. Hilton Hotels, a local marketing agency and other businesses are also hiring for part- and full-time positions in the Tampa Bay area in December 2015.  

Here's the 83 Degrees Media monthly Tampa Bay jobs roundup:

Online giant Amazon is still hiring for a number of temporary, seasonal positions at the megastore's Lakeland fulfillment center. Seasonal Fulfillment Associates must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or equivalent. To learn more or apply, visit the company's website

Bollenback & Forret, PACPAs Clearwater-based full service accounting and consulting firm, is hiring for a Tax Accountant. Requirements include five or more years of tax experience working in public accounting, an active CPA Certification and excellent people skills, as the role requires working with and alongside staff and clients. 

The firm is also hiring for an administrative assistant. To learn more or apply for either position, visit the Bollenback & Forret website

Fintech (Financial Information Technologies), is hiring for two roles at the company's Tampa headquarters. Fintech provides the alcohol industry with an electronic payment platform. The company is hiring for a Marketing Assistant and Customer Support Specialist.

Visit the company website for more details about job requirements, or to apply.

Google is seeking candidates for several roles related to Google Fiber, including City Manager, Community Impact Manager, and Associate City Manager. The search engine company notes in the job listings: "At this time, there is no guarantee that Tampa will be named a Google Fiber city. We’re exploring interest and talent for the opportunity in advance." 

As a member of Google's business operations team, the roles would involve representing Google Fiber to members of the community, from startup spaces to homeowner's meetings, and managing the team. 

Primary responsibilities for the Community Impact Manager position include developing and managing relationships within the community, with nonprofit organizations, and with community leaders. Minimum qualifications include at least 10 years of professional experience in nonprofits, coalitions, field campaigns, advocacy or managing volunteer networks; and a BA/BS degree, or equivalent practical experience. The City Manager role requires a BA/BS degree or equivalent practical experience as well as 15 years of experience in general management, operations or strategy roles. 

Hilton Hotels is hiring for part-time work-from-home positions in a number of cities, including Tampa. The Virtual Reservation Sales Specialist is virtual and requires at least six months of experience working in a performance driven role, computer proficiency, excellent communication skills, and at least one year of steady job experience in a sales role. High school diploma required, Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree preferred.

To apply, visit the Hilton careers website.
 
Hire Ed Solutions is seeking to fill a variety of full-time positions in Tampa, including Business Analyst, Email Marketing Coordinator, Instructional Designer, and Social Media Marketing Coordinator, among other positions. The company, which is based in Tampa, is a boutique staffing agency that identifies, recruits and places candidates in professional and executive positions in the field of post-secondary education. 

To explore all open positions in post-secondary education staffing with Hire Ed Solutions, click here.
 
Marketing agency Sparxoo is hiring for a full-time Multimedia Designer, Web & Mobile Developer and Strategic Account Director in Tampa. The full-service agency, which has offices in downtown Tampa as well as Miami, is also seeking several interns in the fields of graphic design, marketing and social media.

To apply or learn more about these positions with Sparxoo, visit the company website.

Hiring in the Tampa Bay region? Send a note to tips@83degreesmedia.com. Hired? Reach out on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.
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