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LumaStream, St. Petersburg College Partner To Meet Workforce Needs

A new partnership combines academic learning with real world training to prepare students for high demand manufacturing jobs.

LumaStream, a designer and manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting systems, recently moved into a 22,000 square foot facility in midtown St. Petersburg. Within that facility is classroom space that is used to train and certify students from St. Petersburg College (SPC), providing highly technical training and electronics skills that can eventually leads to an associate of science degree and national certification.

The training is one program being funded by a $15 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor provided to the Florida TRADE Consortium, a partnership of twelve state and community colleges throughout the state of Florida. Funds are designed to help colleges better develop the technical workforce in their region through innovative, non-traditional initiatives.

Out of 120 applications, the first class of 11 students started January 4.

Students will use LumaStream’s facility and equipment for hands-on studies and will also be mentored and taught by their engineers and technicians. The company’s ultimate goal is to hire some of the students in the program, but some may go on to work at other companies.

"It’s about developing and growing talent organically in our own community rather than deciding to have to move someplace else," says Kelly Bousman, vice president of Marketing for LumaStream.

The company plans to stay in Tampa Bay, noting the attractiveness of the natural environment, weather and culture. They recently moved their manufacturing base from Canada to St. Petersburg and plan to hire more highly skilled, trained workers as a result of this partnership.

Partnerships like these increase local educational attainment, a goal of the Graduate Tampa Bay initiative launched in March 2012.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kelly Bousman, LumaStream

USF Health Pilots New Therapy For PTSD Patients

Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now have an innovative treatment option that offers promising results.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder experienced by combat military personnel and others who have been exposed to one or more life-threatening or traumatic events. According to PTSD Foundation of America, one in three combat veterans suffers from PTSD, yet less than 40 percent seek help.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) combines evidence-based psychotherapies with eye movements, and offers promising results within an abbreviated period of time compared with traditional therapist. Patients are asked to think about the traumatic experience and walk through it in their head like a movie. This elicits typical physiological responses to stress, including increased heart rate and chest tightening. They then participate in eye movement therapy, which creates a calming feeling or desensitization.

In the second stage, the patient reimagines the way the event occurred in a way they would prefer to remember it. They then do additional eye movement therapy, which essentially replaces the negative images in the brain with positive ones.

"It sounds a little farfetched, but memories can be changed," says Kevin Kip, PhD, professor and executive director for the Research Center at te USF College of Nursing. "When you bring up a memory, you can actually change features of it."

With ART, results can be achieved in just two to five sessions, compared with 10--12 in traditional therapies. It’s also unique in that the patient doesn’t have to verbalize or write about the trauma.

The first randomized controlled trail of the therapy with 57 participants was recently conducted by the Restore Lives Center at the USF College of Nursing, yielding promising results.

Representative Castor provided support through Congressional funding in 2009 for this and four other similar studies.

Approximately 300 clinicians in the U.S. have been trained on the therapy so far. Next steps include a larger study, with 200 veterans and a six month follow-up.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kevin Kip, USF College of Nursing

Tampa General Hospital Recognized For Use Of Technology

Imagine you’re in the hospital, laying in bed, watching TV. A box pops up on your television screen, asking about your pain level and providing you with a way to answer on-screen. If your pain is over a certain threshold, a nurse is alerted. You can also use your TV to interact with clinical staff, asking questions on a digital whiteboard and keeping a journal of your medical information.

The Get Well Network, an interactive patient care system, is just one of the ways Tampa General Hospital (TGH) is using technology to improve healthcare delivery. The hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) system recently received highest honors from the Health Information and Management System Society (HIMSS), an international organization that analyzes use of technology in healthcare.

The hospital received the Stage 7 designation, the final level of a multi-tiered process. Currently, only 2.2 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have this designation (four in Florida).

HIMSS looks at how the hospital leverages technology for better and safer patient care, quality outcomes improvement and reduction in medication errors. The designation includes an on-site inspection in which the hospital receives a thorough scrutinization. Nurses and doctors are questioned about how they use the system, and specific outcomes are studied, such as disease management, research and how available data is used to improve the wellness of the community.

They also look at governance in decision-making, including new ideas, innovations and the involvement of key stakeholders.

"What’s unique about our organization is that we involve everyone who has to use the system on a daily basis," says Scott Arnold, Senior VP and Chief Information Officer for Tampa General Hospital. "What’s most important is patient safety and a higher quality of care."

TGH first launched its EMR in 2011, and has seen a reduction in medication errors of 63 percent since implementation.

by: Megan Hendricks
Source: Scott Arnold, Tampa General Hospital

Stop Rubbernecking Grows, Adds Jobs in Bradenton

If you have ever been an inquisitive passer-by or "rubbernecker" of an accident or crime scene, you know all too well of the potential safety hazards it can create.

Local Bradenton-based company Stop Rubberneccking has developed a portable barrier system to prevent others from seeing what's going on at the accident scene and giving responding officers an added layer of safety.

The company is expanding nationally and internationally, adding distributors, manufacturing and sales contractors.

"I had an inclination to invent something that I felt was necessary to keep people from rubbernecking at accident scenes. There would be an accident, and on the other side of the street, people would stop, stare and cause additional accidents," says President Carl Cannova.

Cannova, a retired president and CEO for Sysco Food Services of West Coast Florida, began to design and develop a prototype for the system in 2011 while working with Ro Brady, a local design company in Sarasota. The company went live in 2012 by incorporating and receiving patents, and by 2013 they were distributing and selling units of the SRN1000.

The SRN1000 is a portable barrier system that protects victims of accidents and their families from prying eyes, keeps officers safe while working accidents, and hides traumatic scenes from onlookers while also preventing rubbernecking. The screen is meant for use of law enforcement officers and has even been used by coroners and investigators who rely on the safety of the screen as well as the ability to protect from possible contamination and interruption to investigations. The system adjusts to 6 feet high by 12 feet wide and is expandable by attaching other SRN1000 systems.

Since February 2013, the company has sold more than 100 units throughout the U.S., and is now increasing national market penetration with new law enforcement clients throughout Washington, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and Kansas.

"We are thrilled to have the support of not only law enforcement agencies locally, but now also across the country. There’s so much opportunity in the U.S. Everything is manufactured here, shipped and assembled in Bradenton," says Cannova.

Stop Rubbernecking is also reaching out to markets in Europe and Bermuda.

As the company continues to grow, the need for distributors to handle the products has increased. The firm’s long-term growth plan includes the addition of manufacturing, administration and sales employess in addition to warehousing space.

For more information on products or career opportunities, visit Stop Rubbernecking online.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Carl Cannova, Stop Rubbernecking

USF Entrepreneurship Alumni Crowdfund Youth Community Center

Alumni from USF are on a mission to “Turn on the Lights” at the yet to be opened Youth Development Center in Tampa Heights.

The USF Alumni Society of Entrepreneurs, an organization of Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship and Applied Technologies graduates from USF, has developed Tampa Heights Unite. The project is using the crowd funding platform Indiegogo to raise funds for lighting a the new youth community center. Donors can contribute any amount toward their goal of $5,000, which they hope to raise by December 31.

The center is a project of the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association, a community-based nonprofit that provides leadership and civic development for youth in Tampa Heights through mentoring and support. The group is renovating an abandoned church at 2005 N. Lamar Ave., built in 1905, to turn it into a thriving, inviting place for at-risk youth and families.

"I walked into the church and could see the vision they had for the center," says Mit Patel, USF Masters in Entrepreneurship graduate and board member for the Tampa Heights Civic Association. "I fell in love with the project."

Patel’s company, MIT Computers is donating a computer lab, and Columbia Restaurant Group is providing a kitchen.

"We’re getting a lot of support from the community," says Patel. "It’s really a community-based, grassroots movement."

The renovation is part of a larger project, which includes a community garden, entrepreneurial garden club and playground that are already in existence.

The 9,055-square-foot center will include a Learning Center, Teen Center, Center for Creativity and rental space for meetings and events. Programs to be offered include: leadership skills, business and entrepreneurship, financial literacy, workforce preparation and technology training.

Completion of the renovation is expected for summer 2014.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Mit Patel, USF Alumni Society of Entrepreneurs

IRISS Creates 25 Manufacturing Jobs In Bradenton

Electrical maintenance safety solutions manufacturer IRISS is doing big business, expanding their Bradenton headquarters and creating 25 new high-wage jobs in engineering, accounting, sales, project assembly, welding, and machinery. Hiring will begin the first quarter of 2014.

In 2007, IRISS relocated to Bradenton and made the decision to consolidate its U.S. and UK operations. The firm eventually expanded from a 4000-square-foot space in a strip mall office center, investing $1.5 million in new equipment and opening a new $5.7 million 33,000 square-foot global headquarters in Bradenton in April 2013.

"As we researched our marketplace and looked at our industry and realized the magnitude of our growth as a result of the regulatory compliance safety laws, we realized we needed to have a facility of our own," says Karen Wells, VP of global business development.

Throughout the year, the firm has continued to grow significantly, acquiring a high-tech company from New Jersey that offers customers another safety solution as well as launching three new significantly large projects in 2014.

"Our growth has been to the point where we have to expand 50 percent more of our operations, and that is a result of three research and development projects that we’re getting ready to launch that are extremely sizable," says Wells.

IRISS will announce the details of the new projects in early 2014.

The firm is also expanding their new facility by 15,000 square feet which will feature a new 2-story warehousing facility to add equipment operations as well as the expansion of the manufacturing center.

The expansion project will allow IRISS to accommodate a sizable new client as well as having safety solutions immediately available for other clients.

IRISS has qualified to receive up to $28,196 in performance-based initiatives from Manatee County Government. The jobs created must have an average wage at least 15 percent higher than the current local average wage of $35,633. The company's facility also qualified for the county's rapid response permitting program.

The company’s site also features an 80-room state of the art training center that offers specialized industry training as well as "traincation" packages that promote local business development and tourism in Bradenton.

The company also works with Community Haven to employ disabled adults and additionally focuses on actively hiring disabled veterans.

For more information on career opportunities, visit IRISS online.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Karen Wells, IRISS

WaZINIT App Wins Startup Weekend Tampa Bay With Focus On Food Allergies

A mobile app that identifies food ingredients and allergens has won Tampa Bay's fifth Startup Weekend. WaZINIT is designed to help consumers with allergies and specific preferences compare products directly from their smartphones.

WaZINIT President and St. Petersburg native Brian DiVito has lived with Crohn's disease for over half of his life. For 16 years, he navigated a cycle of flare-ups, hospital stays, abdominal surgery and recovery related to the condition.

Along the way, DiVito learned that he had about 30 food allergies. He developed a new diet that avoided trigger foods. Today, he experiences virtually no Crohn's-related issues.

"With 30 allergies, I kept thinking, 'There's got to be a better way','' DiVito explains. "I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading ingredient labels in the store.''

Multiple food allergies also kept DiVito from trying new things. "Once I found a food product that worked, I'd stick with it,'' he says. "Current solutions that are out there limit you, many times, to the eight FDA allergies. They also charge a super-high premium.''

The eight major food allergens identified by the Food and Drug Administration include: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

"Our app will allow you to focus on many more specific ingredients: Do you want to eat this, or avoid it?'' says DiVito, who attended the University of South Florida, where he studied Architecture and Civil/Structural Engineering.

As a "hobbyist'' front-end developer, DiVito had been "kicking around'' the idea of an app that could help consumers search a large database for specific products or ingredients. Smartphone and tablet users will be able to scan products and identify ingredients from the app's directory.

Enter Startup Weekend Tampa Bay. The team included DiVito and his wife, Christina DiVito, along with Gregg Hilferding, Zach Kanzler, Todd Broyles, Adriane Jacobsen, Collete Lawson and Elizabeth Rugg. WaZINIT won.

"Our pitch for the judges was focused on how we could monetize the app -- but for me, the most important thing is to keep it free,'' DiVito explains. "Whatever their reasons, I want people to be able to use it and share it with family and friends for free.''

Now that Startup Weekend is over, the team is back down to a skeleton crew as they work to develop a beta version, market the app and source funding. They applied to the First WaVe Accelerator program, and competed in the Global Startup Battle, which is sponsored by Coca-Cola. DiVito hopes to "attract the attention and support'' of manufacturers like the brand.

"Ultimately, the goal is to keep the mobile app free of charge for the user,'' Di Vito says.

WaZINIT will be released in 2014 for mobile devices.

Writer: Justine Benstead
Source: Brian DiVito, WaZINIT

Verizon Wireless Recognizes Tampa Bay Companies For Innovation

Tampa Bay companies were recognized recently for using Verizon Wireless technology to improve efficiency and operations.

Now in its second year, the Verizon Wireless Technology Innovation Awards are hosted in various communities across the U.S. – this year in Arkansas, Central Alabama, Southeast Louisiana, Central Texas, the Carolinas and Tampa Bay. A winner is selected in each community to receive a $10,000 prize.

"We're looking to foster innovation, and specifically acknowledge and recognize our customers who are using our technology to innovate in the way they do business," says Chuck Hamby, Florida Region Public Relations Manager for Verizon Wireless.

The Tampa Bay competition was open to small to mid-size businesses with up to 500 employees. Companies submitted entries that explained how they use Verizon Wireless solutions to solve business challenges.

The overall winner was TransCare, a nonprofit division of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay that responds to non-emergency 911 calls. The company operates 19 ambulances and 10 other transit vehicles, responding to over 40,000 calls per year in Tampa.

In 2009, the company noticed a significant increase in call volume. Looking for a way to keep up and maintain operational efficiency, they implemented Verizon’s WiFi technology to equip each ambulance with internet capability, allowing for continuous communication between the vehicles and the dispatch center. Doing so reduced average response times from 15 minutes to 10, increasing monthly patient services by 40 percent.

"It really got us to a place of efficiency," says Terence Romatar, VP for TransCare. "Verizon stepped up to the plate and offered a solution. They’re not a vendor, they’re a partner."

The company also improved billing processes by transmitting data wirelessly.

"Tampa is a technology incubator," says Hamby. "This area in Florida is business savvy, tech savvy -- an early adoptive area."

Caldeco, a heating and air conditioning company, received the runner-up award. Other finalists in Tampa Bay included Creative Sign Designs and Freedom Boat Club.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Chuck Hamby, Verizon Wireless; Terence Romatar, TransCare

Tampa Native Opens Online Vintage Thrift Store

Maegan Hayward has always been both a thrift store and a fashion junkie. She says her sense of style gives her the unique ability to throw together trendy looks using what is already available.  

Growing up in Tampa, her passion for vintage thrift store finds started when her father, also an entrepreneur, took her to her first thrift store. As an adult, she started selling vintage finds on eBay and has now turned her hobby into an entrepreneurial venture with a website called Red’s Vintage Threads.

Affectionately named after Hayward’s red hair, the site features items she finds at thrift stores across the country, ranging from styles popular in the 1940s through the 1990s. There are close to 300 pieces of clothing for sale, in addition to shoes and accessories. You’ll find everything from a leopard coat to a Metallica T-shirt to a New Kids on the Block hat.

"It’s fashion forward, which really doesn’t make sense because it’s really fashion backward," says Hayward while laughing.

The site can be searched by size, price, color and era.

Hayward also runs a recording studio in New York, doing film and TV work while spending her free time thrifting for the store. She enjoys scouting a vareity of thrift stores to put together unique looks for the site. "It’s kind of neat to see the stuff that people have discarded," says Hayward.

Another motivator for her is the sustainability and environmental factor of reusing things.

Future plans include expanding online sales and eventually opening a store front.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Maegan Hayward, Red's Vintage Threads

Angelo's Invests $50 Million in Florida, 120+ Jobs In Pinellas

A national pioneer in recycled building materials, Angelo’s Recycled Materials, is expanding rapidly, recently selecting St. Petersburg, as its national headquarters and creating more than 120 new green jobs by the end December 2013.

Angelo’s, which has already created more than 100 jobs locally in 2013, recently added a new container division for construction and demolition job sites and currently operates six active recycling facilities.

As Angelo’s continues to expand through the addition of new recycling operations centers, the company also plans to add more than 200 jobs over the next few years.

"The company saw a real need for this kind of business in St. Petersburg. The entire area and the building has been repurposed to make the property more attractive. It is the perfect place to invest their future," says Mario Farias, public relations manager.

Founded by Angelo Iafrate in 1960, the company originally recycled reclaimed concrete into aggregate and road-base products. Realizing the opportunity to reuse many of the materials that were originally discarded during the demolition process, Angelo & his brother designed a machine to crush the concrete while extracting metals, sand, wood, plastics and other particles in order to avoid unnecessary landfilling and reduce costs on construction projects as they reuse materials.

In addition to the 13-acre site at its new St. Petersburg headquarters, the firm has invested more than $13 million in Pinellas County and over $50 million in the state of Florida, and is committed to continuing its investment in the Tampa Bay region.

"We are committed to investing in the greater St. Petersburg area and all of Florida by building upon our existing locations and developing new locations," says Angelo’s Principal Dominic Iafrate, Jr.

Angelo's recycling rate is over 80 percent in its St. Petersburg and Largo materials processing facilities, which is critical to helping city, county, and commercial clients reach the state's 75 percent recycling goal

The company is also in the permitting process to add four additional yards in Florida in 2014: one in Brandon, one in Tampa, and two in Orlando.

For more information on career opportunities, visit Angelo’s online.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Dominic Iafrate and Mario Farias, Angelo's

TEDxTampaRiverwalkWomen Celebrates Women's Ingenuity

TED first began in 1984 as a national conference that highlighted technology, entertainment and design, and has since become the go-to place for creativity, inspiration and new ideas. Local communities across the world host TEDx events, with the “x” indicating they are independently organized but still follow the TED structure.

For the first time in Tampa Bay, TEDxTampaRiverwalkWomen will highlight and celebrate creativity, innovation and insight from inspirational women across the world. The event will be held Thursday, December 5, at the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa, in conjunction with the TEDWomen event in San Francisco. Over 150 communities will be hosting TEDxWomen events on the same day.

A live webcast of Session I of TEDWomen will be shown, along with three local speakers. The global theme is: Invented Here, and celebrates invention in all forms, whether it be inventing a new product or service, creating solutions to world issues such as poverty or inventing yourself through creative expression.

"TEDxWomen is a great way to bring women together to celebrate the wonderful innovations we have come up with and continue to develop," says Jamie Klingman, VP of Learning is For Everyone, the event's host organization.

Local speakers include Loran Tripp and Lisa Demmi of Lab3 Marketing, who will talk about embracing differences to make an impact on our communities and the world as a whole. Monica Stynchula will discuss her entrepreneurial venture, Dovetail Care, which provides innovative approaches to healthcare management for seniors through the use of technology and database management tools.
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Jamie Klingman, Learning is for Everyone

LumaStream Donates Lighting To Tampa Coworking Space

A new partnership provides eco-friendly and highly efficient lighting for over 100 technology start-ups at Tampa Bay WaVE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and support to growing ventures.

The lighting was donated by St. Petersburg-based LumaStream, a digital lighting distributor. The company’s product converts high voltage lighting to low voltage and then sends it long distances in a more controlled way than traditional lighting systems. The result is a more efficient and longer lasting system, reducing lighting usage in commercial buildings by as much as 80%.

"The program that Tampa Bay WaVE has going is supporting hundreds of entrepreneurs every month," says Kelly Bousman, VP of marketing for LumaStream and advisor to WaVE. "To be able to donate the lighting that lightens the space and is part of where the bright ideas are hatched is a natural fit."

The lighting was installed at Tampa Bay WaVE’s FirstWaVE Venture Center in the Rivergate Tower in downtown Tampa.  The 16,000 square foot space houses over 100 local start-ups and entrepreneurial support organizations such as Startup Bus Southeast and Florida Next.

The new lighting will not only reduce energy consumption but will also allow WaVE to fully use its event space to support more evening events. It will also assist the Venture Center, which was originally started through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and support from the University of South Florida, with becoming self-supporting.

"We know the struggles that other tech companies go through, and it’s kind of our way of giving back," says Bousman.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kelly Bousman, LumaStream

Pecha Kucha Tampa Bay V13: Making You Think Differently

Pronounced "pech chak cha," Pecha Kucha Tampa Bay is a combination open mike, happy hour and forum for creative people to share what they are passionate about.

The term is Japanese for chit chat, and the event was started by a pair of architects in Tokyo in 2003. The idea was to provide a way for young architects and designers to network and show their work. It has grown to include talks about a wide range of topics and now takes place in 700 cities around the world.

The format, 20 slides per presenter that run 20 seconds each, help the presenters stay concise and to the point and keep the audience engaged.

The November 22 event at the Tampa Museum of Art is the 13th of its kind in Tampa Bay. The concept was brought to the region by Kenneth Cowart, architect at ASD. The first event in 2009 came about from Cowart’s desire for an artistic outlet and a way to meet new and interesting people. Originally hosted by the Tampa chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the events quickly grew to become “the” event for creatives in the region.

Speakers at V13 will share about tactical urbanism, driverless transportation, a water park in Bradenton and arts in education, among other things. Attendees will walk away with a unique way of seeing things, a different perspective about ideas and an understanding about what others in Tampa Bay are doing.

"It’s about the sharing of ideas, inspiration, and things that you’re passionate about," says Cowart. "Events like this are critical to stirring up creative juices and having people engage with their city.

Admission is $5, and the event is open to the public.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kenneth Cowart, Pecha Kucha Tampa Bay

Teen Business Challenge Builds Creativity, Collaboration

Next February, 20 entrepreneurial-minded teens in Tampa Bay will have an opportunity to hone their business skills and bring a new idea to life.

The first ever Teen Business Challenge, February 21 – 23 at FirstWaVE Venture Center in Tampa, allows selected teens to participate in workshops and activities to hone their entrepreneurial skills, creativity and perhaps even create a new business.

The event takes place over a three days. Participants start by learning basic concepts such as creative problem solving, concept modeling and marketing. They then gather in teams of five to create a business model, taking it into the community to identify potential customers. The final step is a Shark Tank-style pitch competition to an audience of local business leaders, venture capitalists and investors.

"I know that if kids could be a part of this somehow, they would love it," says David Harris, executive director for Teen Business Challenge and graduate of the University of South Florida.

The inspiration for the program came when Harris saw a 10-year-old boy begging on a street corner. "We’ve got to be able to reach these kids, let them know there are alternatives," thought Harris. The group is targeting those in low-income neighborhoods that might not otherwise have access to this kind of opportunity, but anyone can be nominated.

A gamification component provides additional motivation by awarding points at different times during the event.

All participants receive an iPad mini, with the winner receiving additional prizes. But, the ultimate win is the skills gained by everyone involved. "I like to feel like everybody leaves a winner," says Harris.

Teen Business Challenge is partnering with Computer Mentors Group and 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay on the first event.

The event will take place annually in Tampa, and will eventually be expanded on the global level.

"We want to show kids how to uplift themselves, and leverage their awesomeness to come up with new products and ideas," says Harris.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: David Harris, Teen Business Challenge

HealthPlan Services Expands, 1,000+ Jobs In Tampa

HealthPlan Services is expanding its Tampa offices to make room for the 1,000 jobs the company will add by 2018. The company has made a $34 million capital investment toward infrastructure and new facilities to accommodate the firm’s growth in Hillsborough County.

HealthPlan Services currently employs more than 650 employees in Hillsborough County and provides sales, benefits administration, retention, reform and technology solutions to the insurance and managed care industries.

HealthPlan's new site will feature an operations center that will house all employees in IT, sales, customer services, human resources, and finance. The newly created positions will focus on building new platforms as well as helping to maintain existing client platforms.

"This expansion strengthens our commitment to provide our clients with the innovative services and high-quality customer support they need to succeed in the evolving post-reform insurance landscape," says CEO Jeffrey Bak.

With the influx of the new federal healthcare law, the client base of HealthPlan naturally grew to include clients who needed assistance to connect and participate in Obamacare.

As the company considered the amount of staff needed to handle the increased operations, Bak alternatively considered Ohio and Nevada for expansion sites, ultimately choosing Florida for its talented workforce and lower taxes.

"We have more than 40 locations, and we looked at all of our main hubs. We chose to expand here in Tampa," says CFO Steve Saft.

The firm will also receive state-based incentives worth several million dollars for each job created in addition to grants toward worker training programs.

Enterprise Florida, Hillsborough County, City of Tampa and the Tampa Hillsborough EDC were involved in facilitating the company's expansion in Tampa Bay.

"We are glad that the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and the governor made a compelling offer. So far, we’re happy," says Saft.

For more information on career opportunities, visit HealthPlan Services online.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Jeffrey Bak and Steve Saft, HealthPlan Services
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