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Amazon Deal Brings 1,000+ Jobs To Tampa Bay

Signed, sealed and delivered.

Amazon is set to open its newest fulfillment center in Ruskin, creating 375 new quality jobs having at least 115 percent of the state’s average wage. The new operation will bring more than 1,000 permanent jobs to Tampa Bay.

The expansion of Amazon into Florida will additionally create several hundred seasonal temporary employment opportunities as well as construction jobs.

"This is bigger than landing the Super Bowl, a national convention or the Olympics. It’s a mega-storm of growth that’s hitting our county with feeder bands that will create economic growth all over this area," says Commissioner Sandy Murman.

USAA Real Estate Co., a company that works with Amazon on the development of its distribution centers, and Ryan Companies US, Inc. reached an agreement late Wednesday, closing on the sale of land for the South Hillsborough County property that will house Amazon’s new distribution facility.

Amazon has signed a long-term lease with USAA for the South Shore Corporate Park property near Interstate 75 and State Road 674 in Ruskin. Construction of the fulfillment center will begin immediately.

The deal comes nearly four months after Amazon’s proposal to expand and create more than 3,000 jobs in Florida.

The company’s expansion project for the development of the center in Ruskin also includes a 3rd party investment of $200 million toward improvements and equipment, further increasing Amazon’s stock in the Tampa Bay market.

For additional information, visit Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Commissioner Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County

Tampa Summit To Feature Driverless Cars As Transit Option

Automated Vehicles or driverless cars are on their way to Tampa Bay as part of a future trend that will be discussed at the first Florida Automated Vehicles Summit November 14th-15th at the Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel.
 
Hosted by the Florida Engineering Society, the summit is sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) and Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn are some of the dignitaries expected to attend.

"The purpose of this summit is to monitor the use of AV technology, and to identify the relevant policies that should be in place for AV technology to become mainstream,'' says Jason Bittner, Director of CUTR and a leading proponent of using AV technology to make Florida cities better.
 
The summit is expected to draw students, research scholars, elected officials, automobile and equipment manufacturers, transportation planners and engineers, trade and industry organizations, public agencies and consulting firms. You can RSVP here.

"The summit is going to address key institutional challenges in fully implementing the technology,'' says Bittner.

Apart from fulfilling basic human transportation needs, autonomous vehicles (AV) provide automated navigational capabilities by using advanced control systems that interpret surrounding sensory information. In the last decade, numerous breakthroughs in information technology and significant advancements in the auto sector have resulted in Google taking a lead in developing the AV technology.
 
In April 2012, Florida became only the second state to allow the testing of AVs on state and public roads. The first and third states were Nevada and California respectively.

The summit will be a key event to discuss the nuances of AV technology with public officials, consulting professionals and industry organizations. In addition, the event will provide Florida university students and reserachers an opportunity to showcase their work related to AV technology.

"At the end of the summit, the attendees will have a framework to set up AVs in the Tampa Bay Area and a plan to follow-up with additional meetings in spring 2014,'' says Bittner. "The summit is essentially setting up Florida to become a leader in this technology and its use in our Cities.''

Writer: Vinod Kadu
Source: Jason Bittner, Director of Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)

Tampa Startups Compete For National Attention At Tech Cocktail Event

Have you heard of Taskvilla, a Tampa company that offers business-hiring software? How about Tie the Knot, a custom website and iPhone app builder for the modern bride and groom?

Tonight at Fox Jazz Cafe on West Kennedy Boulevard, these local startups, along with LilyPad, Seat by Seat, and Valet Boss, will each compete for the title "Hottest Showcasing Startup'' and the chance to continue on to a two-day national conference in Las Vegas.

Since 2006, Tech Cocktail has hosted "Socials'' in cities worldwide, including tech hubs like San Francisco and Austin. For the first time, Tech Cocktail is coming to Tampa.

"Tech Cocktail was created to stimulate local tech communities,'' explains Gracie Stemmer, marketing director for Tampa Bay WaVE and head of the Tech Cocktail Committee in Tampa. "The event will showcase some of the area's most exciting tech companies and most supportive organizations.''

Entrepreneurs, supporters of the tech community or members of the public who are interested in what is taking place in Tampa Bay's tech world are welcome to attend, Stemmer says.

Criteria for selection of the five startups that will demo tonight included being established less than three years ago, raising less than $1 million in total funding, and having a working product in at least beta stage.

Each startup will have two minutes to pitch their products, while attendees will have the opportunity to network with members of the local entrepreneurial community and area tech enthusiasts.

Community-building events are an asset to Tampa's entrepreneurs, Stemmer says. "When our local community comes together and rallies around our startups, we are re-enforcing and strengthening what Tampa Bay has to offer.''

Tech Cocktail Celebrate, to be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-23, will offer 30 worldwide finalists the opportunity to showcase their companies to big names in the tech world.

"Becoming a recognizable tech community in the national entrepreneurial arena will not only keep our talent here in Tampa Bay, but also allows us to move talent in to our thriving area,'' says Stemmer.

Tech Cocktail's Social is Tuesday‚ Oct. 8th‚ 6-8:30 p.m., at Fox Jazz Cafe at 5401 W. Kennedy Boulevard.

Writer: Justine Benstead
Source: Gracie Stemmer, Tampa Bay WaVE

Citizinvestor Partners With Schools To Feed Hungry Children

A partnership between Citizinvestor, Feeding America Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County Public Schools allows the community to fund meals for at-risk children in Tampa.

The effort is the first community-wide initiative for Citizinvestor, a Tampa-based crowdfunding platform that allows citizens to fund municipal projects. The platform puts decision-making in the hands of the community by allowing them to provide funding for the efforts they deem most worthwhile, with the added benefit of being able to directly see where their dollars are spent.

With the title “Weekend Food Backpacks for Kids,” the $10,800 target goal will provide 12,000 meals over the school year to students in need at Oak Park Elementary School in Tampa. 99 percent of the school’s students qualify for the county’s Free and Reduced lunch program. The students receive free breakfasts and lunches during the school week, but often go home to empty pantries on the weekends. These children are at risk for decreased educational performance, health problems and behavior issues.

"Success would be getting this funding as quickly as possible so Feeding America can pay for the meals that these children need in our community," says Jordan Raynor, co-founder and partnerships director for Citizinvestor.

The concept of crowdfunding is new to Feeding America Tampa Bay, but it seems like a logical fit because of Citizinvestor's knowledge of what the local community likes to support.

Citizinvestor recently celebrated its first anniversary, having funded 70 percent of its projects during this time. The startup’s success led to their recent opening of 550 square feet of office space in downtown Tampa. They will also be hiring a full-time Developer and Project Marketing Associate.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Jorday Raynor, Citizinvestor

ROBOCON Tampa Bay Celebrates Technology, Learning

Elementary, middle and high school students from the Tampa Bay region and across the Southeast are coming together for the ultimate in community-based STEM collaboration.

ROBOCON Tampa Bay, a two-day event October 25 and 26 at the University of Tampa, features demonstrations, workshops, a college and career fair and robotics competitions. FIRST Robotics teams will participate in Ultimate Ascent, a high speed game of ultimate robot Frisbee. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national organization that inspires youth to discover science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through robotics competitions.

Workshops will be taught by Tampa Bay business leaders on topics such as programming and technical skills as well as how to run a business, providing students with real-life application to accompany the educational aspect.

One unique attribute of the FIRST programs in Tampa Bay is that teams are formed across schools and even from homeschool environments, giving students a chance to interact and collaborate with people from a variety of backgrounds.

The event is produced by Learning is for Everyone, a Tampa-based nonprofit that provides creative learning opportunities for all ages. Funding was received by a matching grant from the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation as well as from Hillsborough County's new program, EDI2. Tampa Bay Sports Commission is also an event partner.

An important goal of the event is to grow economic opportunities in Tampa Bay, particularly in technology fields, to help retain local talent.

"We want to show the connection between childhood technical hobbies and jobs in a strong economy," says Jamie Klingman, board member for Learning is for Everyone.

The event is free and open to the public, and local businesses are encouraged to attend to meet students for possible internship and apprentice programs.

"We need to highlight and celebrate our students and their achievements, especially in technology," says Klingman. "They will be the next big leaders in the technology world, and the drivers going forward."

The organizers also hope to use this event to attract the national FIRST competition to the Tampa Bay area.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Jamie Klingman, Learning is for Everyone

Ignition Deck Offers DIY Funding For Startups

A Tampa entrepreneur and his Canadian business partner are offering individuals and companies an alternative to crowd funding that removes the middle man and provides more control over the process.

Their creation is Ignition Deck, a Wordpress plug-in that allows you to create your own crowdfunding platform and raise funds using your own website. Unlike traditional platforms, the cost is a one-time fee rather than a percentage of funds raised.

The product is the brain child of Tampa resident Nathan Hangen and Sean Christensen of Alberta, Canada. Their parent company, Virtuous Giant, also provides crowdfunding consulting as well as designs mobile and web applications.

The pair got into crowdfunding because they wanted to raise money for a project but couldn’t find the solution.

"Our philosophy is that we want to build tools that help entrepreneurs succeed," says Hangen, CEO and co-founder of Virtuous Giant. "We just love building stuff for entrepreneurs."

Bands such as A House for Lions and Big Tree Bonzai used Ignition Deck to fund their first albums. Robert Space Industries recently used the platform to raise $13 million over the course of a year to build Star Citizen, a space simulator game.

The most recent company to use the platform is Ski Nation. Developed by former Olympic ski team member Jack Turner, Ski Nation is trying to raise $300,000 to build a mobile network of skiiers that they can call their own.

Next steps for Virtuous Giant include a fully hosted crowd funding solution, allowing people to customize their own website in a Wordpress-like function to provide even more control of the end product.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Nathan Hangen, Virtuous Giant

MOSI Tampa Hosts STEAM Summit On Innovation

What do science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) have in common? They’re all part of Tampa Bay’s growing reputation as a region that nurtures innovation, and they will all be discussed at an upcoming professional leaders forum.

Hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), the forum on October 10 is a first for Tampa Bay and brings together professionals from all industries and across the region.

"The goal is to have a conversation with business leaders in the community about the importance of STEAM education, the opportunities that brings to Tampa, and our challenges as a region as we strive to be an innovative place," says Molly Demeulenaere, VP of development for MOSI.

Panelists include Raul Cuero, PhD., MOSI's 2013 National Hispanic Scientist of the Year. A microbiologist originally from Columbia, Cuero is a national spokesperson for STEAM and innovation who discovered through growing up in poverty that creativity can help bring about a better way of life.

Kerriann Greenlagh, Ph.D., a local organic chemist and University of South Florida graduate will provide an entrepreneur’s perspective of taking her liquid bandaid, KeriCure, from lab to market.

The panel is rounded out by local artpreneur and biologist Jeff Hazelton whose innovations include medical games, animation and imaging technology.

In addition to the panelists, the event is intended be an interactive conversation with involvement from the entire community.

STEAM is a focus of MOSI’s masterplan for 2025, but it has always been an important part of the educational process for the museum.

"As a science center, we have been teaching STEM/STEAM since MOSI opened in the 1950s," says Demeulenaere, adding that many people don’t realize that art is already integrated into STEM initiatives. For example, architecture plays a critical part in building design, as does design as an element in automobile manufacturing.

In bringing the STEAM conversation to the masses, MOSI also hopes to inspire the next generation of our region’s youth to take advantage of careers in STEAM fields. "We want people to know that it’s accessible, that it’s not hard for them to accomplish."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Molly Demeulenaere, MOSI Tampa

Spectrio Grows, Adds 20 Jobs in Oldsmar

Oldsmar-based audio/video marketing firm Spectrio is growing, adding 20 sales jobs to its 80-member team over the next year and a half. The company is adding sales administrators, sales support staff and telemarketers.

To understand what Spectrio does, consider the pleasant background music heard in hotels, banks, retail establishments and on corporate telephone messaging systems. Spectrio provides the creative energy behind helping to brand companies with appropriate sounds and music.

"We make sure that the content that we’re delivering is top quality," says CEO Aaron Kleinhandler.

Spectrio’s team features technical writers, programmers, professional voice talent, spokespersons, designers and more, all who collectively create audio and video content as well as digital signage and demonstrations for companies throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Founded in Clearwater in 2001 as Audio Messaging Solutions, business partners and friends Mitch Keller and Aaron Kleinhandler joined forces to create a company dedicated to serving the brand needs of other companies. The firm soon acquired other businesses, consolidating products and services to offer supplementary services that complimented their product offerings.

"We view ourselves as a marketing partner. The content we provide helps a company maintain their brand, extend it and reinforce it," says Kleinhandler.

By 2005, the firm had 13 employees in its Clearwater office, soon moving to Oldsmar and growing to 40 by 2013. Spectrio now has more than 80 employees and over 50 contractors.

"We’ve almost outgrown our facilities in Tampa. We are continuing to acquire other businesses and are now starting to expand our sales force," says Kleinhandler.

The company has additionally attracted interest from investors and private equity groups. Spectrio’s growth plan includes opportunities that will allow long-term scalability to the firm.

"We really like the area, and we’ve made a long-term commitment to the Tampa region."

For more information on career or business opportunities, visit Spectrio online or call 727.787.2440.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Aaron Kleinhandler, Spectrio

New Interactive Tool Helps High Schools Track Financial Aid Applications

Less than half of high school seniors in Florida complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which helps determine their qualifications for college financial assistance. A new online tool aims to help schools change that, and ultimately increase the number of students who enroll in college.

The Florida FAFSA Finish Line was created by Florida College Access Network (FCAN), a Tampa-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve college and career preparation for Florida students. The tool allows schools, researchers and other educational stakeholders to monitor the number of 12th graders who complete the FAFSA. The data is extracted from the U.S. Department of Education and Florida Department of Education for the 2011 – 2012 and 2012-2013 school years.

"If students don’t have money, they don’t have access to college regardless of their academic preparation. We want to be able to use the data in a more dynamic way and create a platform for other people throughout the state to use and interact with it," says Troy Miller, senior researcher and policy analyst at the FCAN and creator of the tool.

The interactive map is searchable by indicators such as school name, city and county and provides information at the school level such as percentage of low-income students and graduation rate.

The FAFSA is an important tool in the college application process because it alerts students to financial aid available -- both in the form of loans and free Pell grants. A growing population of students in Florida demonstrate financial need (during the 2012-13 school year, 59 percent of K-12 students were eligible for free and reduced lunch), but studies have shown that many don’t fill out the application because they don’t think they will qualify for aid.

The Florida FAFSA Finish Line is intended to be a resource for schools to track and monitor their own progress with helping high school seniors complete the FAFSA. They can also compare themselves with other schools to identify areas where they can improve.

"We want to provide useful, local, targeted data to raise the importance about the FAFSA," says Miller, adding that the data is timely, and taken from the most recent school year (February through June 2013).

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Troy Miller, FCAN

Granex Opens Manufacturing Facility, Adds 50+ Jobs In Tampa

New and emerging stone processing company Granex, Inc. is beginning construction on its new manufacturing facility and will create new jobs for more than 50 new employees. Over the next four months, the company will add crane operators, machine handlers, office administration, marketing specialists and accounting team members.

Granex specializes in processing dimensional stones like granite and marble. By sourcing stone from several different countries and importing them directly into the United States for processing here, it essentially creates a new industry segment for domestic engineering of distinct stones.

"It’s a new kind of industry. This industry will bring the Tampa Bay area onto the world map of manufacturing cities. We will be importing from almost 40 different countries, and we will proudly put Made in USA," says Granex President Raj Emandi.

The opening of the new northeast Tampa manufacturing facility is a part of a $6 million capital investment that will provide a place to process the direct imports, attracting American buyers while presenting a significant cost-savings alternative to purchasing from other countries.

"We are producing huge blocks of granite and marble stone and cutting them in America," says Emandi.

After production, Granex will also begin exporting to other countries including Europe, and Central and South America.

The company is obtaining final permitting for construction of the new facility, will complete construction within four months, and will go straight into production.

Emandi’s goals are to create a wholesome environment for employees by introducing them to the new jobs, offering training, and positioning them for long-term growth with the company's specialized services.

Granex’ growth plans include targeting $8 to $12 million sales within the first two years, expanding the capability and volume of the company and increasing sales, further creating additional job growth.

"Within two years, we will be increasing the capacity of the company by adding a few more machines. We are anticipating to double sales and add more jobs," says Emandi.

For more information on unique business partnerships or career opportunities, visit Granex online or call 813.874.8400.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Raj Emandi, Granex

CopyPress Grows, Adds 5+ Jobs In Tampa

In the last two years, Tampa-based content creation and marketing firm CopyPress has grown significantly, adding creative writers, artists, designers and videographers to create content and multimedia capabilities for their clients.

After developing a successful product for another company, CEO Dave Snyder spun the prototype out as a “content mill” in 2011, launching CopyPress and pairing clients with creative writers to develop relevant and meaningful content for their project needs. The company has since adapted its model, delivering tailored, fresh content solutions designed to drive traffic for their clients.

"In 2011, we had to look at what we were doing from a business perspective, and we started going towards the realm of higher quality content," says Snyder.

In 2012, the company grew from 5 to 12 in-house employees and 100 contract creative writers, while merging with another group that focused on publishing.

"We started to really re-create what we were doing. When we made a big change to our current model in 2012, we didn’t know if we would be around for the next few months. But with a little bit of foresight and a lot of love -- but also the camaraderie and our culture here -- it really helped build up where we are now where people really hold each other accountable," says Snyder.

Focused on fine-tuning their content marketing and publishing process, the company developed a Content Life Cycle that matched creative writers with publishers, then further matching them with advertisers. This effectively offered advertisers the ability to create memorable, shareable content while offering publishers the ability to reach their demographic.

From 2012 to 2013, CopyPress grew its staff to 57 employees in-house and at least tripled sales in comparison to 2011 and 2012.

"We’ve been able to tap into what Tampa has -- its resources -- and really make the most of it, says Snyder. We train and put them on the path to professional development," says Snyder.

CopyPress plans to launch an open marketplace in 2014, a place where small businesses can go to connect with creatives in order to create the content necessary to grow a specific area of their businesses. The company now has 200 Certified Creatives and plans to grow to 500 over the next 12 months.

For more information on career opportunities with CopyPress, visit them online.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Dave Snyder, CopyPress

xByte Technologies Adds New Location, Jobs

Sarasota-based xByte Technologies nearly tripled its physical space recently with the purchase of a new 30,000-square-foot facility in south Manatee County.

The company refurbishes and resells IT equipment, specializing in servers, storage components and networking equipment. They relocated to Tampa Bay in 2006, seeking a great living environment for employees.

They currently work mostly with Dell, HP and IBM computers. The new facility will allow them to expand their offerings to include Cisco products as well as expand their server manufacturing lines. In addition to hardware, the company will also be adding services component to its business model, including leasing, hosting and short-term equipment rentals.

The company participates in the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation’s (EDC) jobs incentives program to help identify qualified candidates.  

"The community involvement with organizations like the Bradenton Area EDC has been tremendously helpful for us to get our name out there," says Stephen Jaynes, COO for xByte Technologies, noting that the recognition they receive locally helps them attract good candidates and support their growth.

The expansion will bring about 10 to 20 new positions within the next year, adding to the current employee base of 32. Positions will be sales, administrative and IT technicians.

The company was recently honored in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Florida Fast 100 privately held companies. "It’s big news for us, something we’re very excited about," says Jaynes. The award reflects revenues, job growth and community involvement.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Stephen Jaynes, xByte Technologies

USF Grads Create New Approach To Online Giving

People interested in charitable giving now have a way to donate to Tampa Bay's hidden gems with complete transparency and assurance that 100 percent of their donation will be used for the intended purpose.

Track Your Effect features little known Tampa Bay charities that are in need of assistance. Opportunities to give run the gamut – from hay for abused horses to personal energy transportation vehicles for victims of landmines.

The website is the brainchild of recent University of South Florida graduates Todd Lincoln and Jason Scolaro, who met in a class through the MBA program. The inspiration came from their mutual frustration with charitable giving, especially as fake charities tend to pop up after national tragedies.  

"We can provide some great insight into how the money is spent and used, who it’s delivered to, and how it’s delivered," says Scolaro, Tampa native and USF MBA graduate, and co-founder of Track Your Effect.

The team meets with each charity to determine their unmet needs and then sets specific goals. They then create a web portal for the community to donate to the individual project. Once the goal is met, they purchase the items and deliver them directly to the charity, being able to show donors copies of receipts. Videos are created at the beginning and end of each project to add another layer of transparency for donors.

The team also hopes to raise awareness of nonprofits that may have flown under the radar but are doing good work and have real needs. The first project raised enough money to buy over 6,500 diapers for families in need through Lithia-based Blessed Bottoms.  

"We hope this will increase charitable giving in the community, and inspire more do-gooders." says Lincoln, Track Your Effect co-founder and USF Masters in Entrepreneurship graduate.

Track Your Effect is part of a larger project called Transparency Initiative led by Scolaro and Lincoln. The two intend to take the idea of transparency to the next level and provide clarity into other processes that are not so clear, such as the political sector.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Todd Lincoln, Jason Scolaro, Track Your Effect

Hackerspace Builds A Community Home In Tampa

How would you like to use a 3D printer to turn a wild invention into a working prototype? At Tampa Hackerspace, this kind of dream will soon be a reality.

Sufficient funding for the group's founding members to set up shop at CoWork Tampa was met in early August.

Working under a "short deadline to make it happen,'' founder Bill Shaw explains, the group appealed to Facebook members to help raise enough initial revenue to secure their new space, a large open-floor plan venue on the ground floor of the West Tampa building.

Education is the primary goal of the Tampa Hackerspace, says Shaw, founder of nonprofit Inspiration Labs. Shaw hopes to "build a community of people who like to experiment and tinker.'' 

Along with offering free classes and facilities where individuals and groups can work on projects, Tampa Hackerspace will house "equipment that's mostly too expensive for people to purchase on their own. We'll have 3D printers, laptop location equipment, soldering stations -- there will be a lot of things that people can come to use as members,'' Shaw explains.

Classes will be taught by members and the curriculum will be regulated by member interest, but Shaw notes that the Tampa Hackerspace hopes to bridge the gap between a "hackerspace and a makerspace.''

He emphasizes, "The type of audience that we're targeting are people who are into the do-it-yourself thing -- and not just traditional 'hardware' people. We have a pretty large number of people now who are into electronics and robotics and technology, and I think we have the potential to bring in members who enjoy different types of art projects, like the Tampa Bay Steampunk Society.''

Classes will also cover a broad range of topics: "Technology is not the only component; there's a large creative side to what we're trying to accomplish, as well,'' Shaw explains.

The group relies on the community it brings together, with "a small amount of revenue from classes,'' Shaw says, to raise enough funds for furnishings, equipment, and consumable resources.

"Primarily, our revenue will come from members. … There are a lot of other operating expenses now that we've secured the space,'' explains Shaw, "but CoWork Tampa has been really supportive in helping us make it work. And as we grow, we'll be improving equipment and adding new things to make it more valuable as a member.''

Tampa Hackerspace will offer 24/7 access to "keyholder'' members for $100 monthly, while lower-priced options are also available. Meetings, which Shaw hopes will becomes a weekly occurrence as Hackerspace finds footing, are open to the public.

Over 35 participants attended the group's second meeting. The next Tampa Hackerspace event will be held tonight (Aug. 20), at 7:00 PM, at 3104 N Armenia Ave.

Writer: Justine Benstead
Source: Bill Shaw, Inanimate Reason, Inc.

USF College Of Pharmacy, CoreRx Develop Market-Ready Talent

The University of South Florida College of Pharmacy and Clearwater-based CoreRx recently received a $200,000 grant from the Florida High Tech Corridor designed to train students to meet local demand for pharmaceutical careers.

Pharmaceutical companies in Tampa Bay historically have had to look outside of the region to find talent, from pharmaceutical hubs such as New Jersey or Michigan. USF’s long-term goal is to create a hub in Tampa Bay so companies can find the talent they seek.

"We create the talent right here and then the students get the opportunity to get into positions where they can create opportunity and build leadership," says Srinivas Tipparaju, assistant professor at USF’s College of Pharmacy. "We want to be in the forefront of what’s going on in the industry."

CoreRx provides drug development from the pre-formulation stage all the way through to manufacturing. The grant will allow for multidisplinary collaboration among USF’s College of Pharmacy and College of Engineering, providing undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to work with CoreRx’s scientists through hands-on projects and internships. The cross-college collaboration helps address the need for a more highly skilled workforce in STEM fields.

Among other things, students will learn about the development of drug delivery systems, the functionality of ingredients found in modern drugs and techniques involved with quality control. Students will also be challenged to use technology to develop new solutions that will overcome current issues with drug delivery systems.

The idea is for students to be market-ready, with no lag time in transitioning from an academic setting into industry.

The program is initially for one year, but long term goals are to extend it beyond that, and eventually develop patentable technologies.  

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Soure: Srinivas Tipparaju, USF College of Pharmacy
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