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USF Health gets $2M federal grant to improve geriatric care curriculum

Healthcare services for older adults in the Tampa Bay area received a big boost in funding during August 2015: $2.24 million in federal grant dollars.

The University of South Florida is one of only two awardees in Florida and 44 groups across the nation to receive a portion of the $35 million disbursed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program.

The three-year grant, awarded to USF Health in partnership with Tampa Family Health Centers (TFHC), will fund inter-professional training and curriculum for students entering health professions with the overall aim of improving care for older adults.

The bulk of the grant’s support goes toward encouraging inter-professional geriatrics education and training among USF Health faculty and TFHC health care professionals. TFHC and USF Health faculty will work together to create a custom, tailored geriatrics curriculum for incoming USF medical, nursing, pharmacy and physical therapy students, as well as current residents and fellows specializing in geriatric care. Students will also spend a rotation at TFHC for clinical training under faculty supervision.

More than 2,000 students will take the new, geriatric-driven curriculum.

“Florida does not have an adequate workforce to support the state's growing geriatric population,” says Dr. Rita D’Aoust, associate professor and associate Dean of academic affairs and inter-professional initiatives in the USF College of Nursing. “USF Health has tremendous potential to address geriatric workforce needs in our community and, ultimately, to transform geriatric care in our region.”

USF Health is a partnership of the USF Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the USF Physician’s Group.

TFHC, a federally qualified health center (FQHC), services underrepresented communities at 15 clinics across Hillsborough County. The center offers medical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health outpatient services to children and adults.

Federally qualified health centers “play an important role in providing primary care to underserved populations,” D’Acoust says, noting that around 80 percent of TFHC’s 6,000 patients ages 60 and over had an income below the federal poverty line in 2014. Common health complaints included obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

By taking on “the issue of building a resilient, trained geriatric workforce,” USF Health and TFHC aim to make geriatrics a primary focus in Florida’s FQHC primary care clinics, D’Aoust says. Together with the USF Byrd Alzheimer's Institute (BAI) and TFHC, USF Health aims to “embed geriatric primary care and related services into the FQHC and the training curricula of USF.”

In addition, the USF Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project will support three community-based organizations that provide long term care services or support for elders: Senior Connections, Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services and the Health Services Advisory Group. 

“The GWEP award will be a powerful catalyst to transform USF Health and revitalize student and resident interest in geriatric care,” D’Aoust says.                                                                                                                           

Celebrating the art of storytelling in Tampa Bay

Stories told through dance, photography, song, documentary and theater performances will be celebrated at the second annual Story Days in Tampa Bay from Sept. 8-12.

Presented by Your Real Stories, a nonprofit organization headed by co-artistic directors Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon, Story Days offers an “opportunity for people to tell and hear stories in all kinds of ways,” says Dunlap.

An affiliate member at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg and CEO of Communication Research Enterprises, Dunlap says, “Stories have an ability to cut across previously impenetrable barriers and divisions to reach people. They have a magical power.” 

Another one of Dunlap and Sheldon’s ongoing projects is St. Pete Stories featured earlier in 83 Degrees.  

The featured event at this year’s Story Days in Tampa Bay is the screening of a powerful documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China

The film will be shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg on Sept. 9 and at the University of South Florida School of Music Concert Hall on Sept. 10. In the documentary, Paula Madison, former GM and President of KNBC in Los Angeles and former news Director and VP for diversity at NBC in New York, recounts her search for her ancestry, which she traces back to Jamaica and before that, China, where her family’s tree goes back 3,000 years – 153 generations.

Several of her Chinese family members live in Tampa.  

“I’ve known Paula since the 1990s and she has wanted to tell her family’s story for many years,” says Dunlap.

Madison’s narrative begins with the story of her grandfather, Samuel Lowe, a Chinese laborer who immigrated to Jamaica in 1905. He fathered several children and then returned to China decades later. Madison’s mother, who was his oldest child, was three years old when he left. She never saw him again and always felt the loss.  

After retiring from NBC in 2011, Madison decided to begin the search for her grandfather, eventually finding her ancestral village in Shenzen, China. She reunited with hundreds of relatives who had not known about the existence of their extended family in the U.S.

Additional storytelling events during Story Days include an opening night reception on September 8 at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum www.woodsonmuseum.org in St. Petersburg. The museum will host a photography exhibition titled: My Soul Looks Back: The Decades of Day Work. 

Both archival photos and original portraits by Tampa Bay Times Director of Photography Boyzell Hosey will document the life of local domestic day workers – the African-American maids – and the white families that employed them during the time period from the 1930s through the 1970s.  

Photography and storytelling will also be highlighted at The Florida Holocaust Museum through another archival photography exhibition, This Light of Ours:  Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement. That exhibit will be on display Sept. 8 through Dec. 1.

The power of storytelling through dance will be showcased in I Remember the Days. USF graduate Vanessa Vargas has choreographed two dance movements, one based on her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease, and the other on the grief she experienced after the death of her fiancée.

For a little lighter fare, a evening of Reggae and Stories will take place at the landmark Chattaways Restaurant in South St. Petersburg, and Bicycle Stories, sponsored by Shift StPete, a nonprofit advocate for bicyclists and pedestrians, invites the public to share personal stories about the joys of bike riding, including learning to ride a bike and favorite bike trips. 

For those interested in telling their own stories, Dunlap and Sheldon have invited digital media expert Andrew Thornhill to discuss the art of digital storytelling and the steps required for success.  He offers two presentations at the Poynter Institute and the USF Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications in Tampa.

Local storytelling expert, Paula Stahel, past president of the Association of Personal Historians, will present a workshop offering tips on who to write your own memoir.

For more information about Story Days, including where to purchase tickets, send an email here, call 727-432-1602 or go to the Your Real Stories website.

Tampa exhibit features photos of sealife, oceans

Something fishy is going on in downtown Tampa.  

Marvels of the Reef opens Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA). The exhibit was produced in collaboration with the Florida Aquarium and runs through the end of the year. 

The collection, which showcases “mysteries of the sea” by seven international photographers whose work has appeared in National Geographic, is also intended to highlight the importance of environmental protection and environmental studies, a theme of relevance to the Tampa Bay community. 

“We are surrounded by water, which is important for every aspect of day-to-day life, [yet] it can be overlooked how important our bay is in Tampa,” says FMoPA executive director Zora Carrier. The exhibit, she says, “places the viewer at the scene of interaction; the images emphasize the spectacles of deep sea life and appreciation for aquatic nature.”   

“It’s an honor to partner with the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts on this exhibit,” Thom Stork, president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium said in a press release. “Through this exhibit, our community has yet another way to revel in the beauty of the ocean and hopefully become inspired to protect this very important asset.” 

A portion of the show’s proceeds will go toward the Florida Aquarium’s conservation efforts including the rescue and rehabilitation of animals.

About a five-minute drive from the Aquarium in the Channel District, The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, is located inside the Cube next to the Sykes building in the waterfront arts district in downtown Tampa. It is one of fewer than 10 museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to photography and one of two such museums in Florida.

Carrier says the two museums are working on putting together a weekend to give free admission to members of the opposite organization. 

Johnson & Johnson brings 500 Jobs, $23.5M investment to Tampa

Johnson & Johnson, the company best known for its baby products and Band-aids, is coming to Tampa in a big way.

By 2016, the company plans to open its North American shared services headquarters, a multi-functional center designed to consolidate and coordinate finance, human resources, IT and procurement for its operating divisions.

So what does this mean for the Tampa Bay area? Higher-paying jobs, and lots of them, 500 over the next three years, according to a statement by Florida Governor Rick Scott. 

Johnson & Johnson already has offices around the state, so it's familiar with the business climate and ready to recruit, says Ernie Knewitz, VP for Global Media Relations.

“We currently have a strong presence in Florida with businesses in Jacksonville, South Florida and other locations, and this will build upon the success we have achieved in the state,” he says. “Tampa has many attractive attributes, including the strong talent pool in the area, which will help us staff and grow our operation here.”

The company will also make a capital investment of $23.5 million into the Tampa region.

With plans to have the shared services center fully operational by mid-2016, Knewitz says hiring for positions related to finance, HR, IT and procurement are imminent. 

“We anticipate being able to begin the hiring process soon,” he says. “People can search for jobs at Johnson & Johnson's career site.”

Johnson & Johnson joins an increasing number of global companies that have decided to locate or expand operations in Tampa and Hillsborough County, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Covidien, Amazon and Ashley Furniture Industries.

Johnson & Johnson's North American shared services headquarters will be located at the Hidden River Corporate Center One Building at 8800 Grand Oak Circle in Tampa.

Lakeland Regional Health gets enhanced pediatric care

Pediatric patients at Lakeland Regional Health will now have enhanced care as the group teams up with Nemours Children’s Hospital of Orlando. The collaboration will allow Lakeland Regional Health to expand its pediatric specialty care services to the children and teens in its community.
 
Nemours Children’s Hospital opened in 2012. In addition to offering advanced pediatric care, the hospital has two pediatric interventional radiologists and a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of neuromuscular disorders.
 
Not only will more services be offered to patients through the agreement with Nemours, but research and educational resources will be available to pediatric care providers throughout Polk County and the surrounding region as well.
 
The partnership between Lakeland Regional Health and Nemours is vital because it will allow families residing in Polk County the opportunity to get treatment in their community for conditions that would have otherwise meant referrals elsewhere.
 
“Children needing pediatric specialty care often had to be referred outside our county to receive essential healthcare services,” says Danielle Drummond, senior VP and chief strategy and growth officer for Lakeland Regional Health. “Our strategic relationship with Nemours was formed to provide families with exceptional care options much closer to home.”
 
Lakeland Regional Health will build an eight-story pavilion for women and children on their medical center campus. The pavilion, which is expected to open early 2018, will offer healthcare services such as labor and delivery, obstetrics, newborn care, neonatal intensive care, pediatric surgery and pediatric emergency medicine.
 
“We feel very comfortable partnering with Nemours,” Drummond says. “Bringing specialty pediatric services to this community is keeping with the direction Lakeland Regional Health has been charting.”

Local actors put on 2nd festival in downtown Tampa

Drawing on its debut success last year and added star power, the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival is calling on area actors and theatre enthusiasts to attend the three-day event Sept. 4-6, 2015.

Festival events will take place at the Straz downtown, Stageworks Theatre in Grand Central at Kennedy in the Channel District and at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Ybor Main Stage. The Festival is packed with original plays and workshops, including quite a coup for such a new festival: master acting class with Broadway, TV actor/director and NBC’s Blacklist co-star Harry Lennix.  

“My goal is to empower the local actor,” says Festival Founder Rory Lawrence, a Tampa resident who founded his own theatre companies, RQL Productions and RL Stage, about six years ago and will present his latest comedy, “Hour Confessions,’’ at the opening events of the festival. Lawrence says he started the festival here because he had attended theatre festivals in other parts of the country, and realized, “Man, we don’t have a festival here!” 

He believed local theatre actors needed more support and networking opportunities. “There are so many actors here that don’t know how or where to go,” says Lawrence.

With much nail-biting leading up to last year’s first Tampa Bay Theatre Festival given the event’s meager pre-sales, he was thrilled when, by his most conservative estimate, more than 1,200 people attended, with several events sold out. “Plays were packed, workshops filled.” Lawrence says this year, they have expanded and are hoping to double attendance.

Thanks to the venue sponsors and the event’s premier sponsor, local law firm Maney Gordon, the festival is reasonably priced and accessible – with professionally taught workshops priced at $10, or $45 gets you into all of them throughout the weekend with discounts for other activities (the Lennix master class is charged separately). Several events are free of charge. 

In addition to the workshops and networking, there will be short- and long-form playwriting contests taking place as well as a monologue contest. Five full-length original plays written by local playwrights will be presented over the course of the weekend. Winners will be announced at the concluding awards ceremony, which is already sold out, though Lawrence may open more seats closer to the event. 

Advance tickets to the festival may be purchased through its website

NY Times columnist Charles Blow kicks off Presidential Event Series at Eckerd College

New York Times Columnist Charles Blow, known for his thought-provoking Op-Eds and recent memoir, “Fire Shut Up My Bones,’’ will be the opening speaker for the 2015-16 Eckerd College Presidential Event Series.  

His talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Eckerd College Fox Hall.

The annual Presidential Event Series brings well-known scholars, artists, writers, scientists and other distinguished individuals to the campus for conversations about critical issues affecting the world today. This year’s focus is on race, class, gender and sexuality.

Blow’s frank discussion of race, social injustice, culture and politics has earned him a considerable following both in the New York Times and as a TV commentator for CNN and MSNBC. His memoir details his experience growing up in poverty, his history of childhood sexual abuse, graduating magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, and eventually landing a job with one of the most prestigious newspapers in the country.

The Presidential Event Series continues on Thursday, Sept. 17, with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. The author of “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation at War,’’ Gbowee led the women’s peace movement that played a role in ending the second Liberian civil war. 

She is currently president of an organization providing educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and teens in West Africa. Her TED Talk discusses the untapped potential of girls to transform the world.

For more information about the Eckerd Presidential Series, including additional talks throughout the year, follow this link.

USF, Moffitt team up on study to help breast cancer survivors

USF and Moffitt Cancer Center have joined forces in an effort to better the lives of breast cancer survivors. The team equipped with a $2.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will begin a five-year study on how stress reduction can help repair the cognitive impairment of breast cancer survivors.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 25-percent of cancer survivors suffer from a “mental fog” otherwise known as “chemo brain” after receiving cancer treatment. These cognitive impairments include trouble with memory and concentration, and can last from a few months to 10 years after treatment has ceased.

Dr. Cecile Lengacher, professor and pre-doctoral fellowship program director at the USF College of Nursing, applied for the NCI grant, and says previous studies she has been a part of show a correlation between stress reduction and clearing up this “mental fog.”

“During the study, we teach patients about yoga, breathing exercises and meditation techniques that they can use to help their concentration,” Lengacher says. “We also teach the patients to be mindful of the present, so if the mind wanders, we can train it to come back to the present -- because when the mind wanders to unpleasant thoughts, or thoughts about their breast cancer experience, they can ruminate in those thoughts.”

Lengacher goes on to say that while they do not know how the stress reduction and mindfulness works to improve concentration and memory, research shows there is definitely something going on in the brain to repair the damage.

The study will look at 300 patients from Moffitt Cancer Center and the USF Health Morsani Center for Advanced Care.
Patients will be placed in three different groups: a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), control group and usual care.

“What is great about this is it’s not a pharmacological intervention,” she says. “The drugs don’t [always] work and they have side effects, so we are very excited about this approach, and proving it through this study.”

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? County offices, local chamber, downtown caterer and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for Growing Companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay region. Sign up for a sales manager role with the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce; patrol the parks on behalf of Hillsborough County; stage school productions for Berkeley Prep; all of these and more are part of the 83 Degrees Media monthly Tampa Bay jobs roundup.

Here's who's hiring in the Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater area in August 2015:

Berkeley Preparatory School is seeking a Performance Facilities Manager & Productions Technical Director and an Upper Division Administrative Assistant for the 2015-2016 school year. Berkeley Prep, an Episcopal-affiliated day school that was founded in 1960 in Tampa, is co-educational and enrolls students in pre-K through high school.

The manager/director role will include overseeing activities at the school’s Lykes Center for the Performing Arts and Gabos Family Recital Hall, and providing additional technical support for school events as necessary. The administrative assistant applicant should include a cover letter and CV with application.

To learn more about the roles or how to apply, visit the school’s website.

Do you have a passion for the culinary arts? Local caterer Catering By Kathy is hiring a Catering Administrative Coordinator for the growing CBK team. CBK specializes in corporate catering and recently opened Café 124 inside the University of South Florida Health's CAMLS building in downtown Tampa. The company aims to grow the catering business in the local region and to extend the Café 124 hours. 

Job responsibilities include administrative tasks, including event coordination and related communications; executing day-of duties with the Event Manager; invoicing; and more. The successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in hospitality or related field; have knowledge of Caterease or similar software; be detail-oriented and highly motivated, and demonstrate proven time-management and organizational skills.

Interested parties may email resumes and cover letters using the email subject title Catering Administrative Coordinator Position.
 
CopyPress, a content and software creation company, is hiring for two full-time positions, an editorial campaign manager and a PHP programmer. CopyPress is also hiring for several freelance rolls, including:
  • General Bloggers & Writers
  • Infographic Designers
  • Interactive Developers
Editorial campaign manager responsibilities include brainstorming, overseeing a team of writers and editors, working with the copy manager, and other copy production tasks. A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications and two years of professional experience are required.

The PHP programmer role requires four or more years of PHP and LAMP development experience; knowledge of JavaScript libraries like jQuery; and other qualifications.

To learn how to apply for a career with CopyPress, click here.

Hillsborough County is hiring for several fulltime positions in the greater Tampa area, including:
  • Accounting Clerk III
  • Election Technology Specialist
  • Engineering Specialist II (Traffic Engineering)
  • Environmental Technician II
  • Head Start Teacher Assistant
  • Librarian, Youth Services
  • Senior Librarian, Youth Services
To learn more about the job requirements or to explore a complete list of the available positions, please visit the County's job opportunities website
 
Do you love your local community? This might be the perfect fit: the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is hiring a Sales Manager.

The St. Pete Chamber seeks a sales professional to manage sales and membership. The role will include evaluating and upholding a community investment strategy for membership growth; securing sponsorships; securing advertising and new member sales; and other duties. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a sales-related field; four or more years sales experience and at least two years with a membership organization; a flexible schedule; and strong verbal and written communications skills.

To apply for this position, visit the Chamber's website.
 
Reach out over on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Hillsborough County budgets $1M for manufacturing jobs training

Hillsborough County is betting big on the manufacturing industry. Through a partnership with the Board of County Commissioners, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) will provide two years of workforce training and resources for manufacturing careers in Tampa. 

The BOCC and community partners like HCC are working together “to develop a shared strategy to strengthen the manufacturing talent pipeline,” says Lindsey Kimball, Hillsborough County Economic Development Director. 

The goal: increase the quantity -- and quality -- of manufacturing talent in the region. In total, the BOCC has reserved $1 million in funds for the Hillsborough County Manufacturing Academy.

The funds “represent a very strong commitment to ensuring that our community has the workforce talent to continue to make our manufacturing base successful," Kimball explains.

With $322,000 in funds from the County, HCC will offer two years of manufacturing training courses and other resources that will allow participants to prepare for careers in the manufacturing industry. Students will be able to learn about aspects of the manufacturing industry from engineering technology to welding techniques. Programs include summer camps, on-site manufacturing training and tours of local operations, paid internship opportunities for students, industry certifications, and more.

$80,000 is allocated to purchasing new or upgraded training equipment.

Overall goals for the program include raising community awareness of production-type jobs (with an emphasis on the engagement of women, minorities and veterans); developing on-the-job training opportunities with local manufacturers; and addressing the manufacturing skills gap through training and certification.

Community partners of Hillsborough County’s Manufacturing Academy initiative also include the University of South FloridaCareerSource Tampa BayUpper Tampa Bay Manufacturers AssociationBay Area Manufacturers AssociationFlorida Medical Manufacturers Consortium and the National Tool and Machining Association.

Also under the umbrella of the $1 million in manufacturing skills funding, in early 2015 the BOCC approved a $325,000 agreement with Hillsborough County Schools to increase manufacturing skills training in area schools. Funds have also been allocated to help develop and improve specialized manufacturing skills training programs at Armwood, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Middleton and Tampa Bay Tech high schools, and Brewster Technical College.

“The programs are coordinated and designed to offer students a continuum of learning,” Kimball says.

For example, Kimball explains, students in Manufacturing Academy programs at the high school level can move on to take similar courses at HCC.

"We are hopeful that this commitment to ensuring the success of manufacturing will help us grow our existing industry base and attract new businesses," Kimball says. "Hillsborough County is a very competitive location for manufacturers who can leverage our skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure, low tax-burden environment and business-friendly government."

Women's tech group to host August meetup at Cooper's Hawk Winery

Women with a professional or personal interest in technology are invited to join the Tampa chapter of Girls in Tech (GIT), a global networking group for professional women, at their 2015 kickoff event: Vino Night at Cooper's Hawk Winery.

"This is a great opportunity to be a part of an awesome movement," says Sylvia Martinez, Collaborative Technologies of Tampa Bay founder and CEO, and one of GIT's chapter organizers.

Girls in Tech is a global nonprofit with chapters in tech hubs like Tampa Bay spread across five continents. 

The group works to advance the “engagement, education and empowerment of influential women in technology and entrepreneurship,” Martinez explains. “We focus on the promotion, growth and success of entrepreneurial and innovative women in the technology space."

During the Girls in Tech Vino Night on Thursday, Aug. 13, the group will discuss "what types of events the chapter wants to see moving forward," Martinez says. After a hiatus following the 2014 death of Tampa GIT chapter leader Susie Steiner, the group is reorganizing for the 2015 kickoff event. 

"Unfortunately, our chapter hibernated after the loss of our former Girls in Tech leader," Martinez says. "We are excited to revive the group, and we know that's what Susie would want."

Martinez and Victoria Edwards, a digital content strategist for Florida Blue, served on the GIT board over the past two years and will stay on as group leaders moving forward; New Market Partners CEO and Startup Grind Tampa Bay chapter Director Joy Randels has also taken on a leadership role. All three women are key players in the Tampa Bay tech scene.  

The Tampa Bay Girls in Tech 2015 kickoff event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on August 13 at Cooper's Hawk Winery and restaurant, located at 4110 W Boy Scout Blvd in Tampa. 

The casual networking get together will offer attendees the chance to mingle over wine and cocktails and to meet the women in the growing tech community of Tampa Bay.

Martinez encourages "anyone interested in our mission of supporting and empowering women in the tech and entrepreneur space in Tampa Bay" to attend the GIT kickoff.

Tampa International Airport issues worldwide call for artists

Artists from around the world have the opportunity to showcase their talents as part of Tampa International Airport’s $953-million, multi-year upgrade. TIA and Hillsborough County’s Aviation Authority Board will award contracts to 12 artists for art pieces to display throughout the refurbished airport.

“The new public artwork is an essential part of the upgrades,” says TIA Communications Manager Danny Valentine. “We strongly believe that public art will enhance and enrich the experience for the more than 17 million guests who visit our airport every year.”

The call for artists comes in a year when the airport jumped from No. 3 to No. 2 in the Airport Service Quality Awards, and began construction on extensive upgrades that are expected to be completed by 2017.

TIA will issue a call to artists on Monday, August 17, but interested parties can begin building an online CaFÉ portfolio now at CallForEntry.org. The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 14.

Many types of art will be considered, from sculpture to hanging art.

“We have intentionally left the call open to all visual artists so as to get a robust and wide range of forms of artwork,” Valentine says. “The choice of artwork will be up to the Public Art Committee.”

The committee, which will judge submitted work and make a final artist recommendation to the Aviation Authority Board, includes the following members of the Tampa Bay community:
  • Former Aviation Authority Board member Ken Anthony
  • Seth D. Pevnick, Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Tampa Museum of Art
  • Kent Lydecker, Museum Director at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
  • Margaret Miller, Professor and Director at the University of South Florida
  • Robin Nigh, Public Art Manager with the City of Tampa
  • Dan Myers, Public Art Coordinator with Hillsborough County
  • Joe Lopano, Airport Chief Executive Officer
  • Chris Minner, Airport Vice President of Marketing
  • Jeff Siddle, Airport Assistant Vice President of Planning & Development
  • Paul Ridgeway, Airport Director of Maintenance.
TIA’s committee will select up to 12 finalists and present the artists to the board for “final approval and contract award,” Valentine explains.

The Tampa airport’s public art inventory is valued at $11 million, with art from over 30 different collections distributed throughout the airport’s many public spaces. Common themes include the Tampa Bay area and aviation, but decades of artworks from international and local artists combine to give the airport’s collection a wide range. In one baggage claim area, 22 tapestries woven by 20 women from Swaziland, Africa, hang as both an art display and an improvement on acoustics; a flower sculpture that weighs over 1,000 pounds hangs in one airside. A set of murals by a local St. Petersburg artist, George Snow Hill, dates back to 1939.  

Interested in adding your artwork to the collection? Criteria for artist submissions include:
  • A statement of interest that articulates the Artist’s, or Artist Team’s, desire to participate.
  • A resume (one resume per artist team), emphasizing experience in public art and working with public agencies.
  • Confirmation that Artist has completed a commission or sold, at a minimum, one piece of artwork at a value of at least $15,000
  • No more than 10 images that fairly represent the Artist’s, or Artist Team’s, body of work.
  • Three references for recently completed projects.
Local, state, national and international artists will be considered. Interested artists who have not met the minimum qualifications may enter the competition as an Artist Team by collaborating with another artist to submit an application.

To learn more, visit the TIA Call for Artists page or the Public Art program website.

Tampa Bay 'best choice' for Accusoft expansion; IT company to create 125 high-wage jobs

Accusoft, a leading global software and imaging solutions provider, is expanding its Tampa Bay headquarters with 125 new high-wage jobs in fields like software development and engineering. The positions will pay an average annual wage of $75,000.

Partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation helped to make the Accusoft expansion possible.

A combined incentives package totaling $750,000 was offered to the company through the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) program, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Tampa City Council. As long as the promised jobs are created, the funds will be allocated over the course of eight years.

"This partnership and support will help us attain our company's goals while also benefiting the local economy,” Accusoft President Jack Berlin says. “It means a lot to Accusoft to be given an opportunity to create meaningful, high-paying jobs in the Tampa Bay area.”

Berlin, who received an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, set his sights on Tampa as a business base after successfully selling a startup company in Atlanta.

He and wife Leslie were seeking a “better place to raise a family; a place to live before a place to work,” Berlin explains. “Having grown up in Savannah, I love the beach and salt water. Florida was very appealing. Tampa, we felt, was the best choice of all the Florida cities.”

Today, the feeling remains.

“The company stays where I want to live, and I love the area,” Berlin says, praising the Tampa Bay area for “plenty of big city amenities, a great airport, the bonus of great weather and beautiful beaches, and no personal income tax.”

A little history: Accusoft began as Pegasus Imaging Corporation in Tampa in 1991. Over the next two decades, Pegasus acquired several companies in the imaging and software development sectors; developed a medical imaging division; and in 2012 rebranded as Accusoft.

While the company never aimed to relocate, expansion outside of Tampa was briefly considered, Berlin says. The company opened a development office in Atlanta, but found that remote work caused problems, so they closed up shop. Accusoft’s Boston office was already established and running efficiently when Pegasus acquired it in 2008.

“Talent is more expensive up there, but we don’t shy away from hiring in Boston if we find the right person,” Berlin says, citing as an example a long-term development manager who speaks fluent Russian and runs much of the company’s outsourced activities.

Berlin hopes to attract a similar caliber of employee in Tampa with the creation of 125 new jobs that will pay a minimum average wage of $75,000. Hiring has already begun; most of the new positions require advanced degrees (B.S. or higher).  

“We continue to attract great talent from Tampa or to Tampa, and hope that continues,” Berlin says. “We will grow, but with continued hiring standards."

Accusoft joins several high-profile companies headquartered in Tampa and Hillsborough County that have expanded locally rather than relocating, including Bristol-Myers SquibbInspirataReliaQuestTribridge and Laser Spine Institute.

During a news conference announcing the company’s expansion, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that 879,700 private-sector jobs have been created in Florida since December 2010. Hillsborough is the fourth largest county in Florida, which is ranked third in the nation for high-tech companies.

“Companies like Accusoft know Florida’s pro-business climate is the best place to grow and create jobs,” Scott says.

Accusoft is headquartered at 4001 N. Riverside Drive and currently has 131 employees. Expansion will allow the company to grow its existing space by up to 25,000 square feet.

Interested in working for Accusoft? Proficient in C++, Node JS, JAVA, HTML5, CSS, .NET skills? Berlin encourages interested parties to connect on Linkedin or visit the Accusoft website

Celebrate Tampa Bay area arts, culture at Hyde Park encounter

The Tampa Bay Business for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) and its “pArtner,” Hyde Park Village, are hosting an “Art is Good” cultural encounter to celebrate art and artists at Piquant Epicure & Cuisine on Thursday, June 25th, at 5:30 p.m. The event is open and free to the public. 

“Those who attend the event will get a wonderful flavor and introduction to our artists – not just Tampa Bay-area based, but artists who have followings beyond our area,” says Susana Weymouth, TBBCA’s executive director since January of this year. “We have a very deep talent pool here of all types. We [TBBCA] are really trying to publicize and support art in general.”
 
The interactive event will highlight Hyde Park’s Public Art Initiative, which consists of iconic cheery banners of the “C’mon, Get Happy” and “Forget Your Troubles” variety created by New York-based Artist Deborah Kass and Tampa Bay area artists who submitted pieces inspired by Kass’s work.
  
Of the eight local finalists, the winner, Artist Jon Lee from Clearwater, will be formally announced at the event along with TBBCA’s Impact Award winner for “Patron of Culture & the Arts.” Hint on the latter: what restaurateur and arts champion, whose deep roots in Tampa go back generations, proudly shares his collection with diners at Ulele any day of the week?
 
TBBCA was founded over 25 years ago by local businesses to support and encourage business-arts alliances. The organization hosts cultural encounters and supports local arts events throughout the year, provides scholarships to high school students pursuing higher education in the arts and recognizes local business leaders who have been exemplary in their leadership and support of arts and culture.

“Arts and culture are economic drivers that are essential to the prosperity and wellbeing of our community and contribute to the quality of life,” says Weymouth, noting that arts are good for business. “You need to be able to attract a strong creative class as an employee base, and retain them. We firmly believe that businesses will thrive if their employees can partake in [cultural activities]. And that is what we enjoy in this area, an enormous amount of culture.”

Top Florida artists on display at juried exhibit in Sarasota

A call to artists underway until the end of this June will culminate in the third annual “Florida Flavor” at Art Center Sarasota, a juried exhibition to showcase the extraordinary talents of Florida-based artists.  The show, which is expected to draw more than 300 two- and three-dimensional works, will fill all four of the center’s galleries July 9-August 14, 2015.

This year’s exhibition will be juried by internationally acclaimed Artist Robert Tarbell, known for his arrestive technique in manipulating smoke to create his works. Tarbell’s “Failure to Appear” series was a hit at the 2014 Art Basel in Miami and was awarded the 2014/2015 John Ringling Towers Fund Individual Artist Award. Tarbell, who lives in Sarasota and teaches at Ringling College of Art and Design, says he was "drawn to work that is conceptually strong, technically sound, and incorporates interesting materials or unique processes."

Though the Florida Flavor exhibit is not themed, Art Sarasota Executive Director Lisa Berger says some artists “take it as a theme.” But the real goal of the exhibit is to provide “a broad picture of the diverse talent in Florida.” 

“We get everything from digital art, photography, mixed media, all kinds of paintings, sculpture, even videos sometimes. A really nice mix,” says Berger. 

In addition, she says summer is a good time to attract cultural tourists form around the state. “A lot of people who visit Sarasota, the tourists, people that live in Florida, like to do local day trips and things like that.  It gives our audience a flavor of the state they live in, to celebrate the artists that are working and living here.”

Florida artists who wish to be considered for inclusion in "Florida Flavor" can bring their work to Art Center Sarasota on June 30, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Artists may also submit their work online until June 26, 2015.
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