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 Rogers Park Golf Course and the Hillborough River from above. - Julie Branaman
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New Leaders Council Launches In Tampa Bay

There's a new opportunity for progressive leaders who want to play a role in shaping the future of our region.

New Leaders Council (NLC), a national nonprofit organization, recruits, trains and promotes the next generation of political leaders – whether they be elected officials, trendsetters or simply civic-minded individuals. The goal is to identify people from outside the traditional arena and provide them with the training and mentoring needed to become civic leaders.

The newly formed Tampa Bay Chapter of NLC officially launches August 20.

"It’s about building capacity for people who want to make the community better," says Rafaela Amador, co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Chapter.

The organization seeks leaders under the age of 40 who are interested in becoming a part of their fellows program. Each class of fellows will meet one weekend per month from January through May, where they will be exposed to speakers and topics ranging from fundraising to media engagement. The class will also select a community project. The focus is on the go-getters in the community who have a lot of energy, want to get involved but don’t know where to focus that energy.

"We want to take all ranges of different individuals and bring them together. The end goal is to have people graduate who want to make our community better and move it forward" says Justin Day, co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Chapter.

Interested applicants apply online through the national organization, with the final selection process being handled locally.

"There are so many of us who want to do something but don’t have the network to do it.  Bringing us all together and making us aware of what’s happening is what Tampa needs," says Amador.

For more information, use this email.

Writer: Megan Hendicks
Sources: Rafaela Amador, Justin Day, New Leaders Council Tampa Bay Chapter

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.

ODC Construction Acquires Farro Construction, Adds 50 Jobs In Tampa

Orlando-based shell construction contractor ODC Construction recently expanded its service market and acquired Tampa-based Farro Construction. The expansion brings about an integrated team of more than 500 construction experts, with plans to add 50 more skilled construction laborers by December 2013.

"This was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for both companies,'' says CEO Isaac Lidsky. "Integrating Farro Construction into ODC Tampa will guarantee ODC’s industry-leading service and quality as we continue to grow in that market.''

In June 2011, Lidsky and a team of partners acquired ODC Construction and began to set an ambitious expansion plan in motion -- including developing new projects and strengthening business relationships in Tampa Bay.

By mid-2012, ODC had launched its Tampa division which quickly grew from 2 employees to more than 100.

After developing a successful business partnership with Mike Farro, founder of Farro Construction, ODC saw a unique opportunity to further develop the Tampa market while integrating the expertise of Farro Construction’s team to continue ODC’s rapid growth.

"Farro Construction has a great reputation as a shell contractor in Tampa -- they’ve been doing it for years. We got to talking with Mike, and it was a remarkable situation. I think it was meant to be," says Lidsky.

With home prices having risen 15 percent in Tampa -- 11 percent over the last year -- ODC’s expansion plans include further cultivating the Tampa market to produce continual solid company-wide growth.

"Construction is really leading a broader economic recovery. The new home market in Tampa is a phenomenal and obvious place to be," says Lidsky.

The company additionally recently launched a new Carolina office based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Farro’s previous experience in the Charlotte market will only add value to ODC as the company continues to move forward in its growth strategy. Farro is now ODC Charlotte’s construction manager.

"I know we will do great things together. We’re just getting started," says Lidsky.

For more information on career opportunities or unique business partnerships, visit ODC’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Isaac Lidsky, ODC Construction

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

Accuform Signs Grows In Brooksville, Globally

Family owned and operated Accuform Signs makes signs and other products that inform, protect and motivate employees in the workplace.

"The products are designed to help people think more about being safe," says CEO Wayne Johnson.

The company was founded by Johnson’s parents, Ron and Veronica Johnson in 1976. Originally in New Port Richey, they began with just one type of custom product. Since then, the company has grown to 296 employees and a three-building campus in Brooksville.

Wayne Johnson began working for the company in a sales role in 1977 and eventually worked his way up the ranks to CEO. He is also Managing Partner, along with his brother David.

He is the recent recipient of Ernst & Young’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, in the Family Business category.

"We’re really a big, giant family so it was kind of appropriate to be in that category," says Johnson.

The award was based on a successful track record, as indicated by the company’s doubling in size every five years. "Hernando has been a great place for us to accomplish a lot of that growth because of the strong workforce availability," says Johnson.

Other award criteria included financial stability. The company was able to finance most of its growth without incurring debt and is currently exporting products to Canada, Mexico and Latin America.

A third criteria was culture and company environment. The company has been nominated for and won several “best places to work” awards locally because of its strong commitment to its employees.

Accuform's newest products focus on lock out tag out safety. These products help people control hazardous energy, such as locking out power while certain equipment is being used. They’re also developing new graphic materials that can cling to any surface -- even concrete block walls.

The company is planning another expansion with a 304,000 feet facility in 2014.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Wayne Johnson, Accuform Signs

Where Love Grows: Meals Reconnect Tampa Families

A family is anyone under your roof for a day or a lifetime.

That’s the motto of Where Love Grows, a Tampa-based nonprofit with the mission of enriching families so they may in turn enrich themselves.

The organization was founded in 2012 by Vicki Anzalone, who moved to Tampa from New Jersey six years ago seeking warmer weather to help her fibromyalgia.

The inspiration came from watching her two sons, Chase and Chad, help their friend raise his son, Cam. Cam was being raised by single parents who had no extended family in the area. Anzalone watched the "it takes a village" concept come to life as Cam’s family became a network of his parents’ friends, who would often gather around the dinner table for laughs and good conversation.

The most recent initiative is Victoria's Good Table. Inspired by Anzalone’s grandmother, Victoria, the program provides a safe dinner table for hungry children in the Tampa area.

"My best memories came from around the table," Anzalone recalls of growing up. Her idea is to create these memories for children who would not otherwise have them due to poverty.

Anzalone cooks the meals out of her own home with just a 4-burner electric stovetop and receives help from volunteers for the delivery and serving, feeding 70 – 130 kids at a time, mostly at the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay. Meals are served family style, while people engage in conversation.

 "I’ve been asked to cook and come live with many children," laughs Anzalone.

Victoria's Good Table has fed 800 kids in Hillsborough County since its launch in January. Anzalone has received support from organizations such as Feeding America Tampa Bay, Chobani and the Tampa Yankees, who recently donated tickets to the Field of Dreams event which fed 130 kids.

"I’ve been blessed to be able to serve, but what I get back in return outweighs any efforts or cost," says Anzalone.  
Future plans include larger scale events with parents in attendance.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Vicki Anzalone, Where Love Grows

Healthbox, Florida Blue Team Up To Create Jobs

Florida Blue is partnering with Chicago-based Healthbox to bring to Florida the platform designed to stimulate healthcare entrepreneurialism and expose the healthcare industry to innovative solutions.

Just two years old, Healthbox is experiencing significant growth, expanding to Boston and London with a mission to create opportunities for healthcare entrepreneurs while fostering broader system collaboration.

"We saw a need in the industry for more innovation. From that, we saw that entrepreneurs needed to be introduced to different groups within the healthcare industry, but we also wanted to learn from them and learn to grow within the context of the industry," says Healthbox Communications Manager Abbie Ginther.

Since the program's inception in 2012, 37 early-stage healthcare companies have received capital investments with more than 80 partnerships while creating nearly 20 new jobs.

"Success of startups lead to growth and infusion of capital which leads to economic development and job creation across the state. It is certainly something that will help spur the economic development statewide," says Les McPhearson, innovation and business development executive for Florida Blue.

With each new emerging local program, 10 healthcare startups are targeted to be selected into the program and receive $50,000 in seed capital in exchange for 7 percent equity.

"The exploration is a journey. There are insights and intelligence to be gained that can add value," says McPhearson. "It is a combination of a very disciplined and rigorous program to help these companies become successful and grow while providing them the opportunity to run their companies. We want to help them find that right balance to help them become successful.''

Florida's resilient healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem paired with technological innovations and the incubation of startups presents an opportunity to capitalize upon regional growth opportunities that lead to economic stimulation and job creation.

"Florida poses some interesting dynamics that other regions don't face. Our hubs in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, central and south Florida bring different dynamics around access to capital, research, acadamia, and entrepreneurial support. We view it as an opportunity to weave some of this together," says McPhearson.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Abbie Ginther, Healthbox; Les McPhearson, Florida Blue

Tampa Entrepreneurs Develop BuzzMe App

Imagine that it’s 5 o’clock and you just remembered that today is a friend’s birthday. What do you do other than admit you forgot? You could call, post on Facebook, send her a text, or do something really cool, like buy her a martini at a local restaurant. You don’t even have to be at the venue to make it happen. And neither does she.

Thanks to BuzzMe, a new startup by Tampa entrepreneurs Nathaniel Waring and Philippe Theodore, users can browse a venue’s drink list or menu (pre-loaded on the app) from anywhere in the world, select and pay for the item they want, and then send or “buzz” the surprise to a friend. The recipient can redeem the gift whenever they happen to be at the venue. BuzzMe takes a small commission on each order.

What’s in it for the venue? “It doesn’t cost the restaurant or bar anything to participate, it gives them great visibility and they’re getting a sale from someone not even in their place of business,” says Waring. “It’s absolutely risk free.”

BuzzMe launched in June and so far, says Waring, about 15 local places are participating as are several national liquor brands. 

“I get pitched every day about different marketing ideas and this is one of the best,” says Alex Steppacher, Florida sales manager for Russian Standard Vodka. “People ages 25 to 35 are very social media-oriented. The brand exposure for us could be tremendous.”

Waring’s goal is to sign up 100 bars and restaurants in the Tampa region by fall, eventually expanding to Orlando and Gainesville and then to other areas around the country.

Writer: Janan Talafer
Sources: Nathaniel Waring, BuzzMe; Alex Steppacher, Russian Standard

USF College of Business, DTCC Partner To Further Workforce Development

With the rapid growth of Tampa Bay’s information technology industry creating a need for a highly skilled technical workforce, businesses and academia have an opportunity to work together to create synergies. The USF College of Business and DTCC created a partnership with that goal in mind.

DTCC recently hosted College of Business Dean Moez Limayem as a guest speaker for their START Business Professional Network (BPN). START (supporting, training, advancement, recruitment and retention of talent) is one of many BPN’s, which provide opportunities for DTCC’s employees to train, mentor and network with their peers. START focuses on beginning to mid-career level professionals.

Limayem focused his talk on trending topics relevant to DTCC’s employees, including analytics, cyber security and how to manage large data sets. The presentation was not only heavily attended by DTCC’s local employees, but was also broadcast to other offices such as London and New Jersey.

"From a motivational standpoint, the positive energy in the building was great," says Eric Miller, managing director for DTCC Tampa. "Hearing about just in time topics is very helpful."

Limayem also met with senior technology professionals at DTCC to discuss programming languages and other skills they seek in new graduates, allowing USF to enhance curriculum with workforce-ready programming.
Future plans for the partnership include internships and classroom case studies.

Partnerships like these help develop the right pipeline of talent from Tampa Bay universities to allow students to graduate with not just a degree but additional training needed to hit the ground running at local companies.

"One great thing about the Tampa Bay community is that everyone is partnering together," says Miller. "It’s a very collaborative approach between the business community leaders, the education leaders and the elected officials. I can’t say enough good things about what our region is doing to drive the right common efforts."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kasi Martin, Eric Miller, DTCC

Graduate Tampa Bay: State College Of Florida Eases Transition To College For Adult Learners

An estimated 700,000 Tampa Bay residents have earned some college credit but haven’t completed their degrees. Others of a non-traditional college age may want to hone their skills or make a career change, but they don’t know where to begin.  

State College of Florida (SCF) makes it easier for adult learners to return to earn a degree. "It’s a major piece of our overall mission to serve that population of students," says Gary Russell, VP of academic affairs at SCF.

For those who have not been in school for a while, the biggest challenge is often becoming reacquainted with the academic environment. To assist with this, SCF provides workshops and tutorial services to get people up to speed. But, they don’t stop there.

The mission of catering to adult learners can be seen across the college. SCF's professors take a personal interest in assisting students wherever they may be, with expanded and flexible office hours. "There was never a time I felt cut off from them," says SCF graduate Jodi Johnson.

The Lakewood Ranch campus recently started a Saturday College, allowing people to earn an Associate’s Degree completely by participating in Saturday courses. An ambitious learner could complete an entire Associate of Arts Degree in a single calendar year.

"Lots of people would like to upgrade their skills, or retrain," says Russell. "Having these options allows them to do just that while at the same time continuing to work."

Earning a degree can have a direct positive impact on job quality as well as prepare people for their next opportunity. The Graduate Tampa Bay initiative led by the Tampa Bay Partnership aims to increase the level of college degree attainment in the region by one percent, leading to a more prosperous community and increased economic vitality.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Jodi Johnson, Gary Russell, State College of Florida

Webjet Grows, Adds 15 Jobs In NoHo In Tampa

Tampa-based online travel agency Webjet is adding 15 jobs over the next year. The company is seeking experienced travel agents and customer service staff members to accommodate their bustling growth and growing customer service needs.

In 2009, after building a successful career in sales, travel and global business operations and additionally helping to transform Australia’s Virgin Blue Airlines from low-cost carrier to world carrier, Germany native Mathias Friess partnered with Webjet Australia -- the largest online travel agency in Australia and the Pacific -- to form a joint venture that would bring a division to North America.

For Friess, whose wife Carren Rieger-Friess was a Tampa native, the decision was easy. Webjet opened its North American headquarters in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Tampa in April 2010 and soon became among the top 10 online travel agencies for airfare purchases in the United States.

Coupled with a proprietary technology algorithm and a strategic mix of search engine optimization methods, Webjet's goal is to bring low-cost international travel fares to the Americas while providing pristine customer service and support. And the company’s philosophy is straightforward:

Simple online booking with no surprises.

"We put the price first. Our technology finds airfare that others may not find. We find you a way which is convenient, but most importantly gives you a price advantage," says CEO Friess.

Webjet has also established an innovative customer education platform via Google+ Hangouts, collaborating with students, bloggers and customers to share expert advice to those travelling abroad.

"Everyone is on social media. We may as well have certain topics and customer groups -- talk to them and give them our expertise. We have it, and we’d like to share it. Travel is emotional -- you want to be helped with qualified people," says Friess.

The company recently expanded into Canada and Mexico, both new sites which are managed from the Tampa office, and additionally signed an agreement with Kayak, giving the company more growth.

Within three years of its stateside launch, the Webjet team has grown from 9 to 20, recently relocating its offices to North Howard Avenue.

"We knew there was going to be growth moving forward, and we do expect to see substantial growth in the next year," says Friess.

For information on hiring opportunities and business partnerships, visit Webjet’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Mathias Friess, Webjet

Project GenYes! Brings Arts To Life For Generation Y

The Tampa Bay area is booming with technology accelerators, which provide mentoring and other resources to take a new company from idea to implementation. Inspired by the success of this model, Studio@620 in St. Petersburg offers a new accelerator for emerging artists in the millennial generation.  

Project GenYes! is led by Tampa Bay entrepreneurs Hunter Payne and Reuben Pressman, along with John Collins of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, artist-in-residence Sharon Scott, grant master Sandy Tabor and Bob Devin Jones of Studio@620. Funding is provided by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

"We’re inspired by accelerators for tech company startups because of their focused collaborative energy and are excited to see artists function within this platform," says Pressman.

The accelerator, which focuses on jazz, dance and theater, uses both virtual and physical space to turn concepts into performances while bringing multigenerational audiences together. Twelve artists will be selected initially from those who apply online to participate in a private two-month online workshop with vocalist, writer and mentor Sharon Scott. Six artists from that group will then go on to the second stage, where they will receive one-on-one mentoring, a website to gather additional support from the community, a $1,000 stipend to use toward their performance, and access to volunteers and creative space at Studio@620 to work and perform.

"This is crucial for the Tampa Bay community to keep our emerging artists engaged," says Pressman. "It says to them: We want you to share your journey here with us in Tampa Bay. Let’s all stick around and make something beautiful together!"

The team hopes the creativity collaborative energy of the project will serve as a sustainable model for other arts organizations around the world.

The deadline to apply is mid-October.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Reuben Pressman, Project GenYes!

Tampa Convention Center Increases Green Efforts, Saves Money

The Tampa Convention Center (TCC) recently joined over 15,000 organizations (49 in Tampa) to become an ENERGY STAR PARTNER, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that encourages companies to use energy efficient practices. Among other things, the partnership encourages companies to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent or more.
 
"Our facility decided that we wanted to do a better job of being a good partner, not only in the community but also to the environment," says Eric Blanc, director of sales, marketing and convention services for TCC.

During the last year, TCC staff looked at ways to make the 23-year old building more efficient. They started by moving from a standard method of observing energy usage after the fact to a new system that allows them to monitor the electricity used on a real time basis. This allowed internal programs and controls to be put in place to help control electrical usage, such as only running air conditioning in areas that are occupied and decreasing use of escalators when they are not being used. Overall, these efforts led to a 10% decrease in electrical costs over the last six months.

TCC also has an agreement with TECO that allows them to buy back electricity during peak periods, diverting power they would be using to other areas of demand. Additionally, they underwent a $1 million project to retrofit the lighting system in the exhibit hall, using a federal grant to replace outdated lighting with high efficiency LEDs.

They are also active in recycling, going beyond the traditional plastic, paper and aluminum. For example, shows that use building products donate leftover supplies to local charities such as Habitat for Humanity. They also donate extra convention supplies such as pens, tote bags and books to Teaching Tools for Hillsborough Schools, which provides these supplies to public school teachers for use in the classroom.

The ENERGY STAR partnership is one step in TCC’s long-term efforts to become a LEAD certified facility.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Eric Blanc, Tampa Convention Center

Tampa Begins Mobile Payment Option For Parking

Those who work, live or play in downtown Tampa can now pay for on-street parking through a mobile phone app. Can't find your car? The app will help with that as well.

The City of Tampa recently launched a pay-by-phone option through Parkmobile. Customers register with Parkmobile for free and download the app, available for iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry. Drivers can then scan a QR code near their parking space and pay for the amount of time desired. There is also an option to pay with a flip phone using a toll free number.

You can receive text message alerts and reminders when your parking session is near expiration. The app has the added benefit of walking you back to your car if you can’t find it.

Three years ago, the city replaced the traditional coin-only parking meters with networked meters that provide the option to pay with cash or credit card at one of many stations. Use of on-street parking has increased since.

"People are taking advantage of the flexibility they have to a greater degree," says Irvin Lee, public works director for the City of Tampa.

The system came at no cost to the City of Tampa because the infrastructure was already in place. Parkmobile charges users a $.35 convenience fee per transaction, which is waived now through September 30, 2013.

"We think this is a great match with the tech-savvy community that exists in Tampa," says Lee. "We believe folks will like this and it will take off."

Eventually, the City plans to expand the program to all parking garages. Parkmobile is also currently available in St. Petersburg.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Irvin Lee, City of Tampa
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