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Ideas Sought Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition, Tampa

Do you have an idea for a product or service that will help improve healthcare? Maybe you want to improve patient engagement or health provider effectiveness? Submit your innovation to the 2013 First Annual State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition.

The competition will be held Tuesday, May 14, at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa. The event is sponsored by Florida Blue, in partnership with the University of South Florida (USF) Center for Entrepreneurship.

A first of its kind for the State of Florida, the goal is to strengthen the life sciences and healthcare sectors throughout the state.

"It brings together the resources necessary to allow innovation to move from concept to the marketplace," says Michael Fountain, director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship.

The intrinsic benefits are attracting more innovative, up-and-coming companies that may choose Tampa Bay as their home.

"I’d love to see as many of these as we can realize that with the hub we have in medical innovation, they can come here and become a part of our business ecosystem," says Fountain.

Submissions can be entered into one of two categories: the Student Competition, open to current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a college or university in Florida or the Open Competition, which includes all other Florida residents.

Winners will receive cash prizes. Submissions will also be considered for Florida Blue’s Healthbox Florida Accelerator Program, which provides mentoring, staff and financial support to developing companies.

Applications can be submitted online until midnight April 19.  

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Michael Fountain, USF Center for Entrepreneurship

IGNITE Tampa Bay Stimulates Thought, Sparks Passion

What are you most passionate about? Can you answer that question in a five-minute presentation, using 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds?

On April 25, more than 20 community-minded individuals will take the stage at the Tampa Theatre to inform, educate and engage you about their favorite ideas and projects at IGNITE Tampa Bay.

With the mantra: "Enlighten us, but make it quick!" the event brings together the Tampa Bay community to share their personal and professional passions and experiences in bite-sized presentations.

Topics run the gamut and include arts, technology, health, education and business. You’ll hear Kip Curtis from the Edible Peach Patch Project talk about how community gardens in St. Petersburg are helping at-risk kids stay in school. Michele Northrup – aka the Saucy Queen – will discuss why companies can benefit from collaborating with their competitors. Ashley Mooney will teach how to constructively embrace failure to make it work to your advantage. Kevin Thurman from Connect Tampa Bay will discuss why you are the solution to Tampa Bay’s transportation challenges.

"There are so many people here in the community who don’t get a chance to speak publicly," says Sean Davis, co-chair of IGNITE Tampa Bay. "It’s a great way to get them out there."

Now in its third year, the attendance is expected to reach over 600 this year, with the new larger venue.

The event's unique format forces presenters to get to the point quickly, which further enhances the goal -- to stimulate thought and spark a fire with the audience, igniting them to take action and follow their own passions.

"Lots of people could benefit from understanding more about what’s out there," says Davis. "It starts to get other people thinking about what they can do."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Sean Davis, IGNITE Tampa Bay

Leadership Event Connects Nonprofits, Businesses In Tampa

The Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay and Bank of America are teaming up to present "Lead Yourself -- Wow Others." The 3rd Annual Leadership Conference, April 26 at the A La Carte Event Pavilion, offers networking and skill development for nonprofit professionals, board members and the business community.
 
The half-day event is unique in that it brings together professionals from nonprofit and for-profit businesses to discuss common goals and make meaningful connections.
 
"The event is targeted to be a melding of the nonprofit and for-profit sectors coming together to learn, but also for collegial networking,'' says Grace Armstrong, CEO of the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay.
 
The networking aspect is what most attendees identify as a major benefit of the event, as well as other programs provided by the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay. The center feels that companies have a lot to learn from each other, regardless of their company type.
 
A new addition to the conference this year is the presence of vendors who have products or services of interest to attendees, such as The University of Tampa’s certificate in nonprofit management, fundraising software company Bloomerang and the Nonprofit Consultants Connection.
 
Topics include: the new wave of entrepreneurship, how to inspire change and strategies for wowing the world. Keynote speaker Jon Acuff, author and CNN contributor, will speak about "The Map with Two Roads," or why now is the ideal time to make changes to your life or business. Donna Cuttting with Red-Carpet Learning Systems will talk about how to enhance he customer experience by engaging employees.
 
"It’s an opportunity to take a break from your daily work while still promoting your business and learning something new," adds Armstrong.
 
Registration is $75 per person until April 5 and includes lunch and a signed copy of Jon Acuff’s book.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Grace Armstrong, Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay

New Efforts Aim To Attract Residents To Downtown Tampa

Now there’s even more reason to spend time in and around downtown Tampa.

Touring Tampa launched this week and features over 50 tours available of downtown Tampa and the urban core, which includes the Channel District, Ybor City, Davis Islands and Harbour Island. The campaign increases awareness of the tours that were already in existence.

"It’s another way of getting people downtown and discovering their city," says Karen Kress, director of transportation and planning for the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Tours on the list include free walking tours, ghost tours, cigar factories, sailing charters, paddle boarding, public art tours and many at indoor facilities such as the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium.

Another benefit of the campaign is letting residents know about options to explore when they have out of town guests.

The campaign was organized by the Tampa Downtown Partnership, with support from Tampa Bay & Company and the Ybor City Development Corporation. Funding was received from the Hillsborough County Tourism Heritage Program.

The Downtown Tampa Arts and Entertainment Card also launched this week and features free or discounted items at 11 different venues in downtown Tampa.

For $30, the card includes admission to entertainment venues such as the Tampa Theatre and Tampa Bay History Center. It also includes free food and drinks at restaurants such as Mise en Place and Kahwa Expresso Café.

"We’re promoting all of the great things available in the urban core," says Kress.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Karen Kress, Tampa Downtown Partnership

Moffitt Cancer Center Fuels Biotech Startups, Tampa

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center’s Office of Technology Management and Commercialization (OTMC) is fueling medical innovations and helping to launch biotechnical startups within Tampa Bay.

Over the past four years, OTMC has launched 13 startups centered on the technological advancement of new drugs, new diagnostics and new devices that will improve the quality of patient care.

The core focus of OTMC is to set an infrastructure to facilitate the launch of faculty startups. By partnering with faculty, staff and industry leaders, medical innovations and discoveries are placed in an environment where technology can be further developed and eventually translated into commercial products that will benefit patients.

“Startups out of Moffitt are providing a number of benefits regionally and statewide. It’s creating new jobs, drawing attention to our region from outside investors so that we can access capital, and it’s also drawing attention from pharmaceutical companies and biotechnical firms interested in partnering or expanding to the state,” says Jarrett Rieger, director of OTMC.

The annual Business of Biotech conference is designed to create an atmosphere for faculty startups to interact with investors and the medical community to help further their success. The 2013 conference, which drew more than 350 participants as well as industry representation from outside of Florida, featured an investor forum, providing startups an opportunity to pitch business ideas to investors while receiving valuable feedback on developmental and funding milestones.

The 2014 Business of Biotech conference will focus on bringing additional business development officers from large pharmaceutical and biotech companies to foster more industry collaborations with the local area.

“It’s a high priority because the funding environment is changing. Academic institutions are looking to continue to support their innovations and research, and one way is to partner with industry. It is a big effort at Moffitt and other academic institutions to forge those types of relationships,” says Rieger.

Several of Moffitt’s faculty members have launched new companies and are gaining traction towards licensing medical technologies. Many startups are raising capital and have partnered with venture capitalists and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research to help fund critically needed medical studies.

Tampa’s growing medical market paired with technological innovations is a natural stimulant for the Tampa Bay region.

“The larger our presence in the biotech, life science and medical device area -- the more research and innovation going on here, the greater the probability that we’ll be able to attract biotech businesses to our region.”

For information on OTMC, new technologies, and startups visit their website or call 813.745.6828.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Jarrett Rieger, Moffitt Cancer Center Office of Technology Management and Commercialization

Hillsborough County Hosts Hack-A-Thon, Tampa

For the first time, Hillsborough County is opening up data from several of its departments for Tampa Bay coders, designers and others in the technology community to build apps.

The 3-day Hack-a-thon takes place April 12, 13 and 14 at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus, near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Coders and designers will work in groups to manipulate the data outside of the county’s firewall, so as not to disrupt any programs or services.

Event partners include Hillsborough County, HART, The University of Tampa, University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and several private sector businesses.

"It’s kind of like the perfect storm," says Lori Hudson, communications and digital media services director for Hillsborough County. "Everybody’s coming together in a really cohesive manner."

Departments providing data include Permitting, Fire Rescue, Emergency Management, Public Works and Animal Services. There will be 75 layers of county facilities and amenities data that can be mapped.

As part of the Open Data Movement, the county hopes to meet citizens where they are by allowing the community to be involved in the design process.

"This will be a way to develop services and products that people in our community will be able to use," says Hudson.

The event is the beginning of an ongoing effort within Hillsborough County government to grow technology and encourage innovative start-ups and small businesses in Tampa Bay.

Students and community designers and developers can register to participate online through April 4.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Lori Hudson, Hillsborough County

New Mobile App Offers User-Directed Ads, Tampa

Tampa-based MobAdWin offers a new type of advertising medium that uses a mobile app to benefit both customers and businesses.

Users open the app on their smartphones and view ads based on their pre-determined preferences. They then provide feedback about the ads and earn cash and other perks based on their activity. The user maintains complete control over their information, with no cookies to download, monitoring of Internet traffic or other lead-building devices. Participation is voluntary, and contact information remains private.

"We wanted to find a way to advertise with less money and better results, and to track responses and ROI," says Alex Dammous, co-founder of MobAdWin. Originally from Belgium, Dammous moved to Tampa Bay after vacationing in the area, and earned a masters degree in International Law from Stetson.

The users provide feedback about the ads they view, which businesses use to measure the impact of their advertising. Ultimately, the ads also drive traffic to the businesses, presenting a win-win. Current clients include retail establishments, bars, restaurants and small businesses.

MobAdWin recently hired advertising students from the University of South Florida to help grow the business. Originally brought on to assist with promotions at events, the students quickly learned the product and contributed ideas. Dammous responded by moving them into leadership roles. The company plans to continue sourcing local hires as the business grows.

The app is available for iphone or Android.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Alex Dammous, MobAdWin

Absolute Mobile Solutions Adds App Designers, Tampa

Absolute Mobile Solutions, a mobile technology development firm, is growing its Tampa team to include additional designers, project managers and marketing interns over the next month. Absolute now employs 42 team members internationally and six in Tampa.

“Although we have a strong development presence overseas, it is important for us to provide local project management, design and strategy in the U.S.,” says Alfred Goldberg, co-founder and president of the Americas. As the firm grows, adding project managers having specific expertise in mobile technology and design solutions is expected to add to the firm’s success.

Absolute is best known in the technology and software application industry for helping organizations develop and execute lasting mobile strategies.

“We’ve been adding project managers and will continue to add project managers as more projects come along,” says Goldberg.

The firm started as a software application development shop focused on the PalmPilot, and for the past 14 years, Absolute has been one of America’s leading mobile design and development companies. As the software application industry grew from hand-held technology of the ‘90s, Absolute focused its strategies on developing key software applications for the swiftly transforming mobile technology market.

“We started in mobile, and we stayed in mobile," says Goldberg.

In a highly competitive and dispensable technical market, Absolute’s client strategies focus on designing application interfaces that impact the user experience as well as aligning clients’ business objectives with strategic marketing planning that results in successfully attracting and retaining application users.

“About 8,000 new apps get submitted to Apple alone each week. The chances of your app staying unique for very long time is very slim. Our clients count on us to provide the best possible user experience to their users,” says Goldberg.

As a global firm based in Tampa Bay, Absolute has a large presence and plays a major role in the region’s technology arena. Often referred to as the “Forefather of Mobile” in the Tampa Bay region, Goldberg created a mobile design and development curriculum for three universities, including the International Academy of Design and Technology Online -- one of the first in the country.

Advancements in mobile technology continue to increase demand for consumers and companies alike. For companies exploring mobile technology applications as a value-add and sustainable growth option, avoiding missteps is serious business for companies who are not strategically focused.

“People are paying attention to Tampa Bay -- to our work in the cloud, to our work with mobile, and to the quality of life. More than anything, time is what’s going to settle some of the hype and let the world see where the best and brightest are.”

For information on hiring opportunities, visit Absolute’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Alfred Goldberg, Absolute Mobile Solutions

Socius Marketing Hiring Web Designers & Writers, Tampa

Within seven years, Tampa-based search engine optimization firm Socius Marketing has grown over 400 percent, recently expanding to an 8,300-square-foot office.

With a full-time staff of more than 35 employees, the company is continuing to grow and is hiring additional web designers, web developers, and staff writers. In the last year, Socius has grown an additional 55%, adding more than five new team members.

Founded in 2006, Socius Marketing specializes in creating customized internet marketing solutions, organic search engine optimization and website design and development for national clients in the healthcare, home improvement, office furniture, and military defense industries.

“We continue to grow and are focusing on expanding into new industries,” says President Chris Behan.

Because the firm helps a wide variety of national companies establish brand recognition as well as generate leads for their local networks, Socius’ employees have very specific specialties and capabilities that are a tailored fit for their clients.

“We create original content for our clients’ websites so that they own the marketing solution. We are always looking for talented writers,” says Public Relations Manager Jacintha Anderson.

Hiring employees having expertise in such areas as law, engineering, electronic media, commercial art and multimedia technology is a value-add to Socius’ clients.

Placing a keen focus on targeting client needs and accomplishing results has helped Socius continue to grow in a shifting economy. “Marketing is even more important than ever. By focusing on the results, what converts, and having phenomenal employees, we are able to produce those results for our clients,” says Anderson.

“We are excited to serve our clients and are proud to be a part of their growing businesses as a result of the work we do,” says Behan.

The corporate culture at Socius is built around employees working closely with each other to accomplish company and client goals while experiencing flexible regular business hours -- and half-day Fridays.

Interested writers should have degrees and experience in English, public relations, marketing or communications. Candidates interested in web design and development should have 2-3 years of experience in php, html and design. To apply, visit Socius’ website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Chris Behan and Jacintha Anderson, Socius Marketing

Tampa Bay Positions Itself As A Key Global Market

As an incubator for entrepreneurship and business growth, Tampa Bay’s community leaders, partners and business owners are positioning the region as a key global market.

The 2013 International Town Hall hosted by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation provided leaders and business owners with key insights on entering the international marketplace and attracting foreign direct investments beneficial to the region and that also open new trade markets for local companies.

"This is an exciting opportunity for area business leaders to learn more about the international initiatives taking place in Tampa Bay,'' says Jim Pyburn, co-chair of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment task force, and director of Trade Development & Latin America for the Tampa Port Authority.

Tampa’s community partners have a strategic focus on global expansion opportunities, particularly through importing and exporting. As Tampa Bay businesses and community leaders explore and prepare for international expansion initiatives, it's essential to evaluate core strengths unique to the region.

"Look at the intersection between assets and opportunity. Trade changes your economic future, not only your pocketbook, but also in job creation,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, whose city was the 2011 pilot market for the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Initiative.

Rybak also presented leaders with a community case study that explores key objectives significant to the development of a regional export plan. "If we do this right, it changes who we are. It makes us better able to work together and affects us competitively,'' says Rybak.

As communities make shifts toward global expansion opportunities, it is important to build bridges that focus on leveraging community and governmental partnerships and strengthening business to business relationships that result in capitalizing on the strategies and expertise that have been effective for established local businesses that have traded in other places.

By concentrating on "globalized'' versus "globally interested,'' the region can benefit from fostering relationships among local businesses that have been successful in the international marketplace, and entrepreneurs and small businesses considering global expansion opportunities.

The 2013 International Town Hall workshop sessions gave attendees an opportunity to get advice from such experts as Joe Phillips of OCO Global, an authority on foreign investment and global economic development strategies. It also allowed information share on available resources and key steps involved in the international marketplace as well as valuable insights on trends and challenges businesses face in international business development.

"These workshops are invaluable for businesses considering global expansion,'' says Andrew McIntosh, co-chair of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment task force.

What's next as Tampa Bay grows as an international market?

Focusing on building a pathway that others follow by strategically emphasizing Tampa’s rich cultural history, capitalizing on business bridges, and growing the region from the inside-out in order to attract international investments and development projects.

For more information on Tampa Bay's international business initiatives, visit the Tampa Hillsborough EDC's website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Andrew McIntosh, Jim Pyburn and R.T. Ryback

Tampa Bay WaVE Announces Inaugural Class In FirstWaVE Accelerator Program

Tampa Bay WaVE recently accepted the first group of startups into its FirstWaVE Accelerator Program.

The companies will receive assistance in all phases of development, including workshops, bootcamp events, mentors, professional services and opportunities to meet with investors and other successful entrepreneurs. They will also have access to the coworking space at FirstWaVE’s new Venture Center in downtown Tampa.

"The program will fill in some of the missing skills sets and experience that my team doesn't have,'' says Brian Burridge, president and founder of Commendable Kids, a startup that is part of the inaugural class.

Commendable Kids is an online experience that helps parents, teachers and other caregivers motivate and encourage children toward achieving goals, reaching milestones and learning new skills.

Parents sign up online, and their children can earn badges for their accomplishments. The parents then add information to their account to illustrate what their child did to earn the badges. They can invite family and friends to become supporters and give the children virtual "high fives.''

As an early supporter of Tampa Bay WaVE, Burridge was eager to be a part of the first class in the Accelerator program.

"Tampa Bay is a lot stronger in tech than anyone realizes,'' says Burridge. "FirstWaVe is laying the foundation that will build confidence in developers and help them know there is support.''

Burridge is looking to the Accelerator program for validation that his company can be sustainable as well as help with marketing to allow him to reach even more families.

The early stage start-ups making up the inaugural FirstWaVE Accelerator class are: SHOOTRAC, Cartooga, Secondhand Living, Drawer, Commendable Kids, Confy.co, Kite Desk and  SavvyCard.

FirstWaVE is currently accepting applications for the next class. The deadline to apply is April 1.
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Brian Burridge, Commendable Kids

USF Chemists Create New Material For Cleaner Air

A team of students and faculty at the University of South Florida have developed a material that will provide more efficient, less costly removal of carbon dioxide from the environment.

The team worked with faculty members from King Adullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) on a collaborative research grant with the goal of finding a new compound for more efficient carbon capture and separation. Challenges with existing materials include high energy costs associated with the separation and purification process. The new material is not only more cost effective, but also works in the presence of water vapor, something other materials have not been able to do.

The breakthrough material, known as SIFSIX-1-Cu, was not easy to develop. The family of contents existed, but the chemists made new versions by combining inorganic and organic chemical building blocks that are part of a general class of materials known as Metal-Organic Materials, or “MOMs.” The result is a crystal that contains holes that trap molecules of CO2, but allow other molecules to pass through.

"We're in a new age of design of materials," says Mike Zaworotko, professor of chemistry at the University of South Florida. "You could say we’re more architects than chemists because we design materials to have a particular structure and properties, which was not an option in the past."

The material could have lots of practical implications for clear-air technologies that address the global challenges in controlling carbon emissions, including clean coal, natural gas purification and the purification of biogas created by plant fermentation.

The next step is to turn the material into a product and a process, which will involve more collaborative efforts and possible entrepreneurial opportunities both locally and nationally.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Mike Zaworotko, University of South Florida

Morgan Stanley Adds 110 Jobs, Temple Terrace

Global financial services firm Morgan Stanley is growing its wealth management business in the Tampa Bay region. Over the next three years, the firm plans to add 110 positions, including financial advisors, client service associates and operations managers.

Morgan Stanley provides a range of wealth management, investment banking and investment management services as financial adviser to companies, governments and investors globally.

"Their decision to expand here will not only create new, high-wage jobs for our residents -- it ensures the existing 70 positions will now remain in Hillsborough County,'' says Ken Hagan, chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

Alternative locations for the firm’s expansion included cities in Utah and Ohio. Tampa Bay’s talent pool of qualified professionals, depth of resources, diversity and family-friendly atmosphere placed the region at a competitive advantage.

"Tampa’s diverse population, skilled workforce and attractive quality of life make it key for recruiting, developing and retaining the best talent in the industry,'' says Jose Morales, executive director with Morgan Stanley.

In addition to growing its wealth management business, Morgan Stanley aims to nurture existing client relationships while making a long-term investment in Tampa Bay.

"Florida is an important market for us,'' says Morales. "We have developed strong client and community relationships here. The expansion is a natural extension of our business success in the state of Florida.''

The expansion project includes a $550,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund incentive approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Temple Terrace City Council. The performance-based incentive includes  $5,000 for each new job created -- $440,000 to be paid by the State of Florida, $55,000 by Hillsborough County and $55,000 by the City of Temple Terrace.

"The partnership with the State of Florida has been instrumental to making a long-term commitment to invest in the growth of our business in Tampa,'' says Morales. "With this partnership, we expect to recruit, train and develop people for long-term successful careers.''

The expansion also includes the renovation of a 25,294-square-foot technologically enhanced Temple Terrace facility, which will be ready for existing and new team members to occupy in early April.

For information on hiring opportunities, visit Morgan Stanley’s website.

Writers: Kaye Brown
Sources: Jose Morales, Morgan Stanley; Ken Hagan, Hillsborough County

Total Quality Logistics Adds 50 Jobs, Tampa

Total Quality Logistics (TQL), the nation's second-largest freight brokerage firm, is adding 50 new positions to its Tampa team. Since the company launched the Tampa satellite location in 2010, it has grown from a core team of 7 to more than 100 employees.

Founded in 1997, TQL specializes in truckload transportation, connecting consumer product and industrial goods shippers with truck operators to transport freight to destinations across America.

TQL is now adding logistics account executives to focus on business development and sales management while ensuring that clients receive smooth freight service from pick-up to delivery.

"We need hard-working, motivated individuals who want to put in the time and effort it takes to succeed in this industry,'' says Executive VP Kerry Byrne. Employees selling with the firm over two years acquire an average annual compensation of more than $60,000.

In 2009, the company began a national expansion initiative, adding over 1,200 jobs in just four years. "We have grown an average of 30 percent each year,'' says Byrne. TQL's growth plan includes a focus on organic growth through strategic personnel and technological investments, market penetration through valued customer service relationships, opening additional satellite locations, and creating up to 400 jobs nationwide.

"Our Tampa location allows us to attract top talent from the surrounding colleges and universities. Our projection is that our Tampa operations will nearly triple in the next three years,'' says Byrne.

TQL offers a unique training program for employees and has a keen concentration on providing a corporate culture inclusive of challenging and celebrating employees. "More than 90 percent of the company's current sales leadership team has been promoted from within,'' says Byrne.

Interested candidates are encouraged to learn about career opportunities on TQL's website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Kerry Byrne, TQL

University of Tampa Aims To Increase Women in Technology

The University of Tampa (UT) is joining the national effort to attract, increase and retain the number of women in technology fields by participating in The National Center for Women and Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Pacesetters program.

Launched in 2010, the Pacesetters program is designed to recruit untapped talent pools of technological women as well as retain women at risk of leaving their organizations -- commonly referred to as “net new.” The 2013-2015 initiative includes a two-year fast track program and a collaborative network of senior executives from 20 universities and 14 companies working to add almost 2,000 women to the U.S. technological field.

“Twenty-five percent of IT professionals are female,” says Natasha Veltri, assistant professor of information and technology management and lead on the NCWIT Pacesetters program at UT. The goal of the Information and Technology Management (ITM) Department at UT is to increase female enrollment in the management and information systems program (MIS) from 23 percent to 50 percent.

To heighten that effort, UT’s ITM professors are practicing “in-reach” -- connecting with students during early college years, learning about their career and technological interests, and introducing them to classes, opportunities, industry connections and mentors so that students can explore the field.

By 2020, an estimated 1.4 million technology jobs will be added to the workforce. With 56 percent of women in computing and technology leaving jobs at the mid-career level, women in technology represent a significant value-add to companies.

“We encourage students to learn computing and pursue careers in this field; this way we can address the IT shortage and create a new pool of qualified, educated workers,” says Veltri.

Veltri also reaches to her network of IT professionals who have been successful within the field to serve as role models to students. “There are many female professionals who are passionate about this issue and who want to serve. We can support students considering a career in IT and can share our experiences with them by using our business connections.”

ITM works closely with the business community in Tampa Bay including Tampa Bay Technology Leadership Association and Tampa Bay Technology Forum. They also have an advisory board that keeps updated with the industry’s needs in order to prepare students for workforce leadership.

Each month, the Office of Career Services lists several openings for IT positions. “We don’t have enough candidates to fill those roles,” says Veltri.

“The innovation in the IT field has been tremendous in the last four years, and for us to continue the innovation, we need the right supply of talent. For us to provide our region with the right talent, we have to grow this locally. That way we can attract new employers.”

ITM is additionally working to increase interest and career development for females in technology by partnering with Tampa Bay’s technology professionals and utilizing UT’s Office of Career Services to introduce students to internships and career opportunities. ITM also provides a hands-on technology and computing platform to middle and high school students through their Get Smart program.

“There is a pipeline of talent, and we can contribute by developing local talent to grow Tampa Bay's industries, businesses, and IT field in particular.”

Visit the website for details on all of the University of Tampa’s information and technology management degrees. For more information on the Pacesetters program, contact Natasha Veltri via email or at 813.257.3970.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Natasha Veltri, University of Tampa
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