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Reverse Trade Show Moves To Larger Venue, Clearwater Beach

The Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s (TBIC) annual reverse trade show event is moving to a larger venue in response to its growing popularity. The 2012 Florida Defense and Technology Showcase will take place Sept. 17-19 at the Sheraton Sand Key on Clearwater Beach. The annual event is in its sixth year, and is presented by TBIC along with the Florida Federal Contractors Association.

“This event has been very successful in the past,” says Danielle Weitlauf, manager of TBIC. “We have moved to a new location this year, which enables us to accommodate a larger audience.”

The annual three-day event includes a reverse trade show, a luncheon and golf tournament. The trade show is the most unique aspect of the event in that the exhibitors are defense subcontractors presenting their products and services to industry contractors looking for suppliers.  

Weitlauf says U.S. Congressman C.W. Bill Young is very involved in the event, and plays a vital role in showing contractors the capabilities of defense companies in Florida. She explains that the event is great for local suppliers in the defense sector to get exposure to various contractors and federal officials, regardless of their current size.

“About 80 percent of the exhibitors are local,” Weitlauf says. “Exhibitors range from early stage companies to large contractors within the defense sector.”

 In addition to the reverse trade show, there is a matchmaking event that matches contractors with specific suppliers.
 
“Attendees fill out a matchmaking form in advance of the event and then we are able to set up appointments based on the information provided,” Weitlauf says. “Local companies have increased their sales as a result of the trade show and matchmaking event.”

Click here for more information on the 2012 Florida Defense and Technology Showcase.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Danielle Weitlauf, Tampa Bay Innovation Center

MOSI Tampa Seeks Exhibitors For November Idea Faire

MOSI in Tampa is hosting its two-day inaugural Idea Faire in November. The Idea Faire is a celebration of human creativity and innovation. Exhibitors with ideas and creations related to technology, creativity and innovation are encouraged to participate in the event.

“We are looking for innovators in gaming, robotics, design, technology, music and art,” says Shannon Herbon, communication manager for MOSI. “This event provides exhibitors the opportunity to share their ideas and creations with the Tampa Bay community.”

The Idea Faire will be part of MOSI’s Idea Zone, which is a “do-it-yourself” lab that is currently open at the museum. Exhibitors who want to participate by sharing their ideas and creations can do so free of charge, however, participants must send in an application by Aug. 31st. Vendors who wish to participate in the Idea Marketplace can do so for a nominal fee.

The organizers of the event hope to have a diverse group of innovators and creative thinkers; therefore, there is currently no limit to the amount of exhibitors or vendors that can participate. Businesses, groups, educational institutions, innovators and clubs are invited to take part in the event.

“MOSI is the largest science center in the Southeast [U.S.], so we will find room for everyone,” says Herbon. “Rarely do you see an event that provides opportunities for vendors focused on robotics, video gaming, science and engineering.”

The 2012 Idea Faire at MOSI will take place Nov. 17th and 18th. To learn more about becoming an exhibitor or vendor at the event, contact MOSI at 813-987-6000.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Shannon Herbon, MOSI

Title Company Grows In Palm Harbor, Hiring 30+

Nationwide Title Clearing (NTC) in Palm Harbor plans to hire more than 30 people as the mortgage industry seeks the company’s expertise. NTC is a post-closing services provider for the residential mortgage industry, supplying property reports, lien release and assignment services, document tracking and retrieval and other business solutions.   

According to NTC’s CEO John Hillman, the company plans to hire between 30 and 60 people by the end of the year. He says the company is looking for account managers, programmers and web designers, as well as entry-level positions such as data entry.

 NTC was originally located in California and relocated to Palm Harbor in 2002.

“In 2002 the company was experiencing substantial growth, we were bursting at the seams and there was no room for expansion at our downtown Glendale, California high-rise office space,” Hillman says. “A decision was made to open an operation center in Palm Harbor and begin a year-long program to relocate the company with the final move in December 2002. We are proud to call Palm Harbor home, and are dedicated to being a part of the efforts to make this an even more attractive place to live and to bring more jobs to the area.”

The company currently employs more than 350 employees locally, and has hired 66 employees this past quarter alone. Hillman attributes the company’s growth to increased demand for land records research and reporting services. NTC has a proprietary software system known as PerfectChain Assignment Verification, which helps mortgage servicers maintain compliance.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: John Hillman, Nationwide Title Clearing

Manatee Manufacturer Growing, Hiring For 7 Jobs

Orbeco-Hellige, Inc., a manufacturer of instruments and products for testing water located in Manatee County, is expanding and plans to create jobs over the next five years. The company, which was originally founded in Germany in 1890, started its U.S. subsidiary in 1920 and relocated from Long Island to Sarasota in 2008.  With incentive money from the county, the company plans to expand its warehouse space to accommodate a testing lab, as well as hire additional staff.

"We plan on adding at least seven positions over the next five years,'' says Kaylie Boland, marketing and product manager for Orbeco-Hellige. "Our laboratory and warehouse expansion is scheduled to be complete this fall, and the first new hires are likely to coincide with their completion.''

According to the Manatee Economic Development Council, the jobs that will be added will pay 50 percent more on average than the county average wage. The company currently has 11 full-time employees, but is excited to welcome new employees as new positions are filled.

"The positions will cover several areas, but since our laboratory and warehouse expansion will greatly increase our production capacity, our first hires are likely to be laboratory and warehouse oriented,'' says Boland. "We pride ourselves on going above and beyond to make our customers happy, so anyone that we hire, regardless of the position, would have to be very 'customer service'-orientated.  Because of the technical nature of our business, we are always looking for people with a science and/or technical background to complement their area of expertise.''
 
The water analysis instruments Orbeco-Hellige produces serve the municipal and industrial water and wastewater markets. The Sarasota facility handles sales, service and support operations for North and South America. The company's worldwide markets include public health, science and medicine.
 
Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Kaylie Boland, Orbeco-Hellige

Tampa Marketing Agency Lists 10+ Jobs, Hiring

BlueGlass Interactive, an innovative digital marketing agency in Tampa, plans to double its workforce by the end of the year. The company, which was founded in 2010, has offices around the globe, including in New York, Los Angeles and Australia, however, its headquarters is in the Bay area.

"The founders of BlueGlass saw this as the best place to grow their business because the area has tremendous talent, low cost of living, and easy access to the airport,'' says Chris Winfield, Chief Marketing Officer of BlueGlass. "Not to mention that it’s a beautiful place to live.''

Winfield goes on to say that the founders of BlueGlass sought to fill a void in the digital marketing space. "With large agencies, you sometimes lose speed and the ability to be flexible,'' he says. "But with small agencies, you may find they have trouble maintaining consistency or servicing larger accounts. BlueGlass combines the best of both types of agencies; offering the personalized attention and speed of a boutique agency, while offering the scalability and reliability of a larger agency.''

Winfield says the company currently has 10 open positions, including account/business development managers, marketing and PR positions as well some support roles. Job opportunities can be found on the company's career page.

"One of the main goals at BlueGlass is to simply be a place where every single person loves coming into the office and loves what they do,'' Winfield says. "By hiring people who are excited about their work, and truly looking to deliver value back to our clients and back to the team, we've developed a unique culture of extraordinary employees.''

BlueGlass Interactive is located at 4343 Anchor Plaza Parkway, Suite 230, in Tampa.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Chris Winfield, BlueGlass Interactive

BarCamp/Code Camp On October 13, Tampa

Plans are underway for October’s technology event, BarCamp and Code Camp Tampa 2012. This will be the first year the two local events coincide with each other creating a networking and learning opportunity for local techies and entrepreneurs.

Both events have taken place in the past, with Code Camp in its seventh year and BarCamp in its fifth year. The collaboration of both well-attended occasions is expected to bring more than 1,000 attendees to USF for the day-long event on October 13.

“This event brings the technology community together,” say Joel Lopez, founder of 2Z Consulting and co-chairman of BarCamp/Code Camp Tampa 2012. “Businesses have been built as a result of this event, and while it occurs annually, attendees bond and collaborate throughout the year.”

The October event will bring two very different camps together giving attendees a diverse array of speakers, networking opportunities and valuable information. Code Camp, which is structured with speakers in a workshop environment, is designed for developers with a focus on Microsoft and its related technologies. BarCamp is more casual with no pre-planned schedules, and has a broader focus including topics for entrepreneurs and educators, not just developers. While both camps are unique in their own way, the focus remains on technology leadership and creative solutions.

Lopez says that he and other organizers are seeking corporate sponsorships from local businesses. With the mass number of technology-minded people attending BarCamp/Code Camp, Lopez says it is a great opportunity for businesses to get involved in the tech community.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Joel Lopez, BarCamp/Code Camp Tampa 2012

Rocky Point Software Company Hiring IT Professionals, Tampa

AgileThought, a custom software solutions company in Tampa, is planning to hire 18 people by the end of the year. The company, which was founded in 2004, provides enterprise mobile and custom software solutions. It was founded by friends and colleagues David Romine, Ryan Dorrell and John Wagner who had each spent many years leading internal IT organizations for global companies in Tampa before starting AgileThought.

“Our entire business is built on our partnerships with our clients,” says David Romine, CEO of AgileThought. “Having a presence in Tampa, enables us to have more face time with our clients which build stronger partnerships.”  

The growing company also recently relocated to the ninth floor of 2502 North Rocky Point Drive overlooking Tampa Bay.    

“We're growing at an incredible pace, and we needed a new, larger space to accommodate our staff,” says Jeff Alagood, COO of AgileThought. “These changes are about improving and expanding our organization and our desire to provide the best possible working environment for all our great team members.”

The innovative and creative work environment includes a game room and a fully stocked refrigerator. The leadership team hopes the unique perks will attract top talent to its growing company. Currently there are open positions for a senior developer, technical architect and UI/UX designers.

AgileThought is also expanding in the Midwest U.S. with a new office in Chicago. The company serves clients nationwide and aims to continue growing and expanding in the future.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: David Romine and Jeff Alagood, AgileThought

MosierData Selects NonProfit For Web Package

MosierData, a web development company in Lakeland, picked a Tampa nonprofit as the winner of its 2012 Pro Bono Outreach Package. The winner receives a website designed by MosierData, and a social media branding package.

TampaBay-Job-Links, an organization that helps those seeking employment, was selected as the recipient for the outreach package. According to MosierData CEO Jim Mosier, the Tampa-based nonprofit stuck out from the other applicants.

"First and foremost, we were impressed by the application package they submitted, which included a ton of literature and full background on the organization and its board of directors,'' says Mosier. "Secondly, they already had a good idea of what they were looking for from us, and had the internal staff willing to do the day-to-day operations and maintenance, including an infrastructure in IT to support the site.''

The current economic and unemployment situation also played a part in his decision, Mosier says.

"When we looked at the three finalists, one of the considerations we took into account was determining the impact we could make in the community,'' he says. ''There are a lot of people looking for work and the fact that this organization was founded to help people help themselves really struck a chord with us.''

Mosier and his team have already planned their kick-off meeting and are excited to get started. MosierData will supply TampaBay-Job-Links with a new website, branding for their social media platforms and email campaigns.

"It is more of a higher-end site than we initially planned on including, but we are dedicated to this and are giving them the system they need,'' Mosier says. "We are excited about how this will impact the people in the community looking for work.''

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Jim Mosier, MosierData

Verizon Launches Family Video Contest, Tampa Bay

FiOS Quantum, Verizon's latest home broadband service, was recently introduced to the Tampa Bay region. As part of Verizon’s announcement of the new service, the company is holding a contest called “Families on FiOS.” Tampa Bay area families, roommates and friends can enter the contest and the winner will receive a home technology makeover valued at approximately $9,000.

"We want to know how families and friends are using technology in this new day and age for their communications, information and entertainment needs,'' says Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon’s Florida region president of operations. "In turn, Verizon can use this information to help offer Tampa Bay residents the optimal consumer experience.''

According to Milla, FiOS Quantum is a record-setting broadband service, which features download and upload speeds that are twice as fast as those previously offered.

"Verizon is able to offer Internet at speeds two to three times as fast as the competition because it has the nation’s largest all-fiber-optic network,'' Milla says. "The competition can't touch our FiOS Quantum speeds because of their hybrid fiber/copper networks, which constrain their speed.''

To enter the contest, residents must film a short video (three and five minutes long) and upload it to the contest website. All films must be submitted by Aug. 6. Verizon's team will select five entries, and the public will be voting for their favorite video beginning Aug. 13. The contest is open to anyone residing in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties, where FiOS is offered.

"We want to see Tampa Bay in action,'' Milla says. "This contest is about residents showing they're at the cutting-edge of technology trends. Also, being a little entertaining never hurt anyone’s chances.''

The winner of the grand prize will be announced Sept. 19.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon

2 Media Companies Merge, Create Up To 5 Jobs

Two successful media companies are merging and as a result will create jobs for media professionals in Tampa. The Web Decorators and Kim Francis Communications have come together to produce a full-service integrated inbound marketing agency. The new company, Media Fusion, will service customers through integrated solutions including, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, content publishing and social networking.

“The marketing service industry is transforming,” says Cindy Kelly, president of Media Fusion. “Media is moving in a more viral direction. As a result, companies are investing more of their marketing dollars in content like blogs, social media and webinars and less in traditional forms of media such as print, radio and television. The merger of our two agencies will allow us to be more of a hybrid marketing agency that is more tech savvy, agile and collaborative then most traditional PR firms.”

As a full-service marketing agency, Media Fusion will be looking to expand as its client base grows. Kelly says she expects to add two to five new positions in the next two years.

“The merger allows us to increase our service offerings and will ultimately grow our client base,” she says. “We anticipate our company will employ professionals with experience and expertise in content marketing, social media consulting, blogging, search engine optimization, mobile marketing and website development, as well as evolved forms of publicity, brand marketing and crisis communications.”

Web Decorators
, which was previously located in the Westchase neighborhood, has been in business since 2005 and has since relocated to the offices of Kim Francis Communication in Ybor City. Operations for the merged company, Media Fusion, will be housed at 1517 E. 7th Ave., Suite E, in Tampa.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Cindy Kelly, Media Fusion

USF Ranks 10th Worldwide In Patents, Tampa

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) ranked USF 10th  worldwide among all universities granted U.S. patents in 2011. Every year the IPO ranks the top 300 organizations worldwide to receive patents; this year 11 universities were included. Other institutions on the list include Stanford, MIT and Caltech. While USF ranked 281st among all organizations, it was the only university in Florida to be included in the report.

USF is a global research university, and part of what distinguishes us is that our faculty, staff and students are true innovators, free to think in any direction, and given incentives for success,” says Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, USF VP for research and innovation. “The discoveries and patents that come as a result of USF’s unwavering focus on research and innovation represent the potential for new products, new jobs and new businesses.”

USF was issued 86 patents, which is an increase of more than 3 percent from 2010. Valerie McDevitt, assistant VP for patents and licensing at USF, shared some of the most innovative patents USF created. They include:

1. Radioactive seeds that allow a breast surgeon to find suspected lumps or lesions for biopsy, resulting in earlier surgery times, a better procedure and improved outcomes;

2. A new type of roller coaster that lets the rider control their path to a larger degree than on most roller coasters;

3. A hands-free “dancing wheelchair” on which the rider uses his or her entire body like a joy-stick to move the chair;

4. A “backpack relocator” for wheelchairs that moves the backpack from the back of the chair to where the user can access its contents, providing tremendous independence for returning veterans and others with handicaps that limit their range of motion. 

Click here for a full list of the IPO report.
 
Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Paul R. Sanberg and Valerie McDevitt, USF

Tampa Marketing Agency To Add 1-2 Jobs Soon, More Later

Tricycle Communications, a digital marketing agency in Tampa, has plans to double its size in the next five years. The company, which was founded in 1996 by two entrepreneurs, currently has 17 employees. Since its inception, Tricycle Communications has experienced success despite a sluggish economy.
 
“We attribute our success to our combination of solid marketing expertise, strong business ethics and savvy risk-taking, along with our knowledge of technology and its use to solve tough marketing challenges,” says Tona Bell, president and CEO of Tricycle Studios. “We see our clients, and they see us as long-term strategic marketing partners. Collaboration is key.”
 
Bell founded Tricycle Communications with her business partner, Randy Rosenthall. Both had a strong background and expertise in marketing. The company has found a niche in medical device and diagnostics, biotech and pharmaceutical industry, logging over 45 days in the field last year. The company has a network of OR trained and certified videographers and producers who can shoot HD videos in the operating room.
 
According to Bell, this unique specialty has helped the agency to grow to where it is today and will be the driving force behind further growth in the future. To support this growth Tricycle Studios will be hiring additional talent.
 
“At a minimum, we will probably be adding one to two people in the next year,” Bell says. “We could easily double in size in the next five years.”
 
Bell goes on to say that the company will be seeking individuals with expertise in account/content management, creative services and programmers.
 
Tricycle Studios is located in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa at 1905 E. Seventh Ave.
 
Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Tona Bell, Tricycle Studios

Temple Terrace Mobile App Maker Plans To Grow, Hire 50+

M-ize, a start-up tech firm in Temple Terrace, is hiring with plans to increase their headcount ten-fold by the end of 2013. The company, which was founded by Ashok Kartham, will be run out of a 6,000-square-foot office in Hidden River Parkway. Kartham, who in 2011 sold his previous business, 4CS, a warranty and service lifecycle management software company, is relocating to the Tampa Bay region for his new venture.

“I chose the Tampa Bay area as the headquarters because of the favorable business environment, access to technical talent and the weather,” says Kartham. “M-ize will start with a team of five employees, and I will hire 20 to 25 people over the next three to six months, then I expect the company to grow to over 50 people in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Kartham says M-ize is a platform for connected, social mobile consumers to manage the products they want and own. Through his mobile app consumers and companies can connect, and customers can access related information, advice and support from social networks or product companies. In the same way, product companies can reach, engage, support and service consumers.

Kartham is currently hiring software product managers, user interface designers, technical architects and programmers to develop the platform and software.

“I also plan to add to my executive team by adding a chief technology officer (CTO) and a chief marketing officer (CMO),” Kartham says. “I will also be adding sales positions in the coming months.”

Those interested in applying for M-ize are encouraged to visit either Dice or the Tampa Bay Technology Forum career center to view openings. Candidates can also email their resumes.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson                                      
Source: Ashok Kartham, M-ize

TBTF's coolTECH 2012 Comes To Tampa On June 22

The annual coolTECH event hosted by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) in Tampa is scheduled for Friday, June 22. Every year the event showcases the latest in technology and innovations created locally.

"coolTECH is important to our region's technology community because it shines a spotlight on the innovations and technologies being developed right here in our own backyard that will change the way we live and work,'' says Kimberly Wander, events manager at TBTF. "It also gives us the opportunity to highlight the entrepreneurs in our community.''

Wander says there is a fresh lot of exhibitors at this year’s event, including a solar thermal powered air-conditioning and water pumping system, the only web-based family emergency notification system tied to the national 911 agency network and a keyless keyboard that enables individuals with special needs the ability to communicate.  Nearly 50 exhibitors will display their latest technological innovations.

In addition to the exhibits, coolTECH 2012 will also feature Dr. Kenneth Ford, founder and CEO of the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC).

"Dr. Ford will be talking about human-centered computing, which is how human thought and action are inextricably linked to technology systems,'' Wander says. "Attendees will hear what the future will hold when computational systems are designed to amplify the human and machine components together in ways that exploit their strengths.''

Now in its fifth year, coolTECH will be held at the Tampa Convention Center on June 22 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and tickets can be purchased online.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Kimberly Wander, Tampa Bay Technology Forum

Online Contest Seeks Votes On Best American Products

As the economy rebounds, the National Mail Order Association (NMOA) is promoting American-made products through a nationwide contest sponsored by the Tampa Bay Inventors Council and JoTo PR of Clearwater.

NMOA's Made in America Hot Product Contest started June 1, and is open to American manufacturers and inventors.
 
"I know there are thousands of inventors, craftsmen and smaller manufacturers all over the USA with fantastic products that never get any exposure beyond their local area,'' says John Schulte, president of the National Mail Order Association. "Our catalog members and other retailing merchant members are always looking for new products to sell, and many of these direct merchants are willing to work with small manufacturers on a single product basis. Not like a big box retailer that demands most people to cut prices and then go through a distributor.''
 
Once a manufacturer or inventor enters his or her product into the contest, anyone can vote online for the product they like best. Voters will rate the product on a five-star system, and can also provide feedback to the creator, including a perceived retail value.
 
“It’s a win-win all around; manufacturers get exposure, retailers find new products to sell and the American public gets to have fun, and learn about all the great stuff that’s made in America,” Schulte says. “The American public will be picking what they like and want by voting for their favorite products, and that will determine the winners.”

The contest has local ties in its sponsors, Clearwater-based firm JoTo PR and the Tampa Bay Inventors Council.

As for voters, there is incentive for them as well because they will be automatically entered into a drawing for prizes. Winners will be announced in February 2013.
 
Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: John Schulte, National Mail Order Association (NMOA)
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