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Robotics competition brings STEM-focused K-12 students to Tampa

More than 50 teams of students from kindergarten age through to high school seniors will build robots, create lego structures, and participate in technology-themed challenges at Roboticon Tampa Bay on Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11.

Roboticon Tampa Bay will host a series of FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) educational events during the two days at the Bob Martinez Athletics Center at the University of Tampa in downtown Tampa: a LEGO League, Tech Challenge and Robotics Competition. All of the events are open to the public.

FIRST Robotics programs around the world are largely volunteer-run; nearly 200,000 worldwide volunteers work with around twice that many students. Studies of students involved in FIRST activities have shown that involved students are 50 percent more likely to attend college than their peers, four times more likely to pursue a career in engineering, and 2.5 times more likely to volunteer in their communities, says Roboticon Tampa Bay organizer and Eureka Factory Founder Terri Willingham.

“Ultimately, we want to build a capable, technically literate and professional workforce of future employees and business leaders in Tampa, and we need young minds like the ones that will be at Roboticon,” Willingham says. “This is our chance to make a powerful impact on visiting students. Caring business professionals make a difference in children’s lives, and can influence our economic future, as well.”

By highlighting technology and robotics at the local Roboticon, Willingham seeks “to show youth attending the event why they might want to live, learn and work in Tampa as they move on from high school.”

Highlights of the two-day Roboticon Tampa Bay events include:FIRST LEGO League team scrimmages will “give folks the chance to see some of our youngest engineers in training,” says Willingham, while robot-building will earn some high school students awards.

In addition to educational workshops and interactive competitions, Roboticon Tampa Bay will feature music by teenage DJ Jake Delacruz, as well as a “tropical Star Wars” performance by Steel Pan Band from the Maestro Maines School of Music on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m.

Also on Sunday, visitors can browse the FIRST Robotics Teams fundraiser.

“Robots and a sale! How awesome is that?” Willingham exclaims.

In early fall 2015, FIRST released a Newspaper in Education special edition dedicated to STEM themes to middle and high school students statewide in an effort to bring student -- and administrative -- attention to STEM fields.

Rather than allocating funds primarily to sports or non-academic programs, Willingham says, public high schools that invest “school dollars and student time into more STEM-related programming will provide a far higher return on the investment for schools, students and the community.”

Roboticon Tampa Bay is one of many innovative local events to receive funding from the Hillsborough County Economic Development Innovation Initiative (EDI2) grant.

“The outlook for science and technology careers is robust,” Willingham says. “The future is what Roboticon is all about. What it’s showing: just a slice of a world full of empowered, educated, supported and inspired youth can do.”

Hillsborough County “sees that future,” she adds, “and we’re grateful for our county’s dedication to these goals.”

All of the weekend’s Roboticon Tampa Bay events are open to the public, and Willingham anticipates up to 1,000 students, parents, and interested attendees from around Tampa Bay and across the state of Florida to stop by the two-day weekend expo. Over 50 teams are slated to compete; double 2014’s numbers. 

Marlow’s Tavern hires 62 new employees, opens in Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa

Marlow’s Tavern, a neighborhood-style tavern known for its low employee turnover, is making its first foray into the Tampa Bay area with a new restaurant in Tampa’s Carrollwood community.

Although the company eventually expects to open several restaurants in the region, opening first in Carrollwood in September made good business sense, says Harold Phillips, local operating partner for the restaurant.  

“Carrollwood is an established community with a diverse, fairly affluent residential base and a significant number of homes are within a five mile radius of our location,” says Phillips.

The restaurant will be located in the Village Center (13164 N Dale Mabry Highway), a high-traffic area that has seen substantial investment in the last few years.  

In 2014, the shopping and dining destination completed a multi-million dollar renovation project that resulted in an updated courtyard, a reconfigured entryway and a major remodel for anchor tenants, including an expanded, 49,000-square-foot Publix grocery store.

Marlow’s Tavern opened its first location in Alpharetta, GA, in 2014 and now has restaurants throughout Georgia, as well as locations in Orlando and Winter Park.

In an industry known for its high turnover – the average restaurant has a 100-to-150 percent annual turnover – Marlow’s Tavern has been averaging 18-to-20 percent, perhaps attributed to the company’s rigorous employee screening process.

“We’re looking for people who fit with our culture, what we call Marlow’s Magic,” says Phillips. “It’s a set of principles, beliefs and promises we make to our stakeholders, which includes everyone from our guests to vendors, the neighborhood and our employees.” 

Sixty-two employees were hired for the new Carrollwood restaurant from an initial applicant pool of nearly 1,000 online applicants, says Phillips. Personality tests, an interview with the management team, pre-orientation and then a two-week training program are all part of the hiring process.

Who is hiring in Tampa Bay? October job news roundup

Manage professional beverage services at Nestle's downtown Tampa offices; develop web designs at Bayshore Solutions in the Westshore business district; practice microbiology at Cambryn Biologics in Sarasota. 

All of these opportunities and more are part of the 83 Degrees Media monthly Tampa Bay jobs roundup. 

Here's who's hiring in the Tampa Bay area in October 2015:

Bayshore Solutions

Bayshore Solutions is hiring for multiple roles at the company's Tampa offices, including Senior Digital Account Manager, Senior Web Developer and Senior Project Manager. A Bachelor's degree in science and 3-5 years of experience are required in most cases. 

To learn more about individual job requirements or to apply, visit the company website.

Cambryn Biologics

Cambryn Biologics in Sarasota is hiring a QA Document Control Specialist. Responsibilities for the specialist position include managing and maintaining a document change control system and training program, and providing QA support. 

The successful applicant will have a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Biology or related scientific discipline, and a minimum of three years of progressive Quality Systems, Quality Control, Quality Assurance/Engineering experience.

Learn more about the role here.

CTV Capital LLC

CTV Capital LLC, a company owned by Tampa Bay Buccaneer Vincent Jackson, is seeking employees for a new business headquarters in Tampa. A ribbon cutting was held in late September at the new two-story building located at 4029 Henderson Blvd.

The real estate developer expects to add up to 100 jobs in the Tampa region. To learn more, visit the company website. For employment opportunities, send resume and cover letter to this email address.


National brand Nestle is hiring for a Marketing Manager Brand/Category in the Nestle Professional Beverage department in the company's downtown Tampa offices. Primary responsibilities will include providing marketing leadership for the development, launch, management and growth of products; development of sales programs; development and execution of training initiatives; pricing management; industry analysis; and more. 

The successful applicant will have a minimum of 5 years of marketing experience and business development; a record of leadership and management success, an undergraduate degree (MBA preferred); sales and foodservice industry experience preferred. For more details about position responsibilities or to apply, visit the company website.


Reliaquest is hiring for 10 different permanent roles in Sales, Recruiting, Service Delivery and Security (Analysts & Engineers). For a complete listing of job available with Reliaquest in Tampa, visit the company's online career center

Shutts & Bowen LLP

The offices of Shutts & Bowen LLP seek a Commercial Real Estate Transactions Attorney to join the Miami-based firm's Tampa team. Membership in the Florida Bar and a minimum of five years relevant experience required. AmLaw 200 experience preferred. For more details about relevant experience or to apply, visit the business website.

Shutts & Bowen is also hiring for several attorney positions in the Tampa area.

Volunteers of America of Florida

National service organization Volunteers of America seeks to fill several part- and full-time positions in their offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. To view available jobs (including a Clinician, Support Aide, Mental Health Aide, Independent Living Counselor, Full- and Part-Time Maintenance Worker and Program Manager), click here and search by location.

Hiring in the Tampa Bay region? Send a note to tips@83degreesmedia.com. Hired? Reach out on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Lingerie and swimwear company hiring at new Tampa stores, headquarters

Tampa Bay-area women and young adults have a new local shopping option when it comes to intimate apparel: lingerie and swimwear company Ashley Nation opened its first retail store in October 2015 at Westfield Citrus Park Mall.
The apparel company, which established national headquarters in Tampa in fall 2014, scouted locations along the East Coast of the United States before selecting Tampa.

Ashley Nation Founder and CEO Saul Perez calls Tampa “the perfect location,” noting that the decision to grow the company's retail brand and online sales from here was due, in part, to the city’s current growth, along with the “convenient national airport and great weather.”

“This market had all the things we were looking for,” says Perez. “But the most important thing is the people. The people here are so welcoming and receptive."
To kick off the store opening, Ashley Nation developed a partnership with the University of South Florida to benefit the charity Bright Pink with a giant game of Twister in the park. Since October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the breast and ovarian cancer awareness charity made sense as beneficiary, Perez says.

Plus, the walls of the company’s first store are hot pink. 

Members of USF’s student government and several sororities helped spread the word about the charity Twister game, which took place September 26 at USF's Riverfront Park.

The partnership with USF is fitting: for one thing, Perez says, students are the store’s “core demographic.”

Perez recruited local advertising and branding agency Schifino Lee to help conceptualize a brand identity and Wilder Architecture to develop the storefront design.

"We felt that all of the expertise we needed to grow the brand is available here in Tampa,” he explains.
Ashley Nation sells sleepwear, swimsuits and intimate apparel.
“Free your sexy” is the brand's official motto, but Perez says it's "more than a slogan to us. It’s an attitude towards living a spontaneous lifestyle. We want our customers to be true to themselves, and our brand is a reflection of that."
Perez plans to expand Ashley Nation to include stores at Westfield Brandon and Countryside malls as early as late 2015. A Sarasota location is also a possibility for 2016, Perez says.
Ashley Nation is currently hiring for sales associates at retail stores, as well as for “numerous positions in our corporate office in Tampa,” Perez says. Available positions at Ashley Nation headquarters include Marketing Coordinator and E-Commerce Operations Manager.
Email Ashley Nation to learn more about job openings.

Tampa JCC engages community, writers in Books & Conversations Festival

Tampa’s Jewish Book Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is bringing in authors from the national stage as well as showcasing local authors in its two week “Books & Conversations” Festival that kicks off October 18, 2015. The festival is open to the public and most of the events take place at the Tampa Jewish Community Center located at 13009 Community Campus Drive near Citrus Park Mall. 

“We are offering experiences, not just a chance to hear an author talk about their book,” says Jewish Books & Conversation Committee Chair Debbie Doliner who says that in addition to promoting Jewish literature, the festival aims to engage attendees and the authors in conversation. 

“We don’t want just ‘readers’ — this is open to the entire Tampa Bay community,’’ Dominer says. “There is always great food and drink and some other interesting aspect.” 

Many of the authors write on Jewish themes, such as Washington-based Sarah Wildman’s award-winning Paper Love, Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind who discovered in her grandfather’s love letters and her subsequent research, the story of his escape from pre-World War II Europe and the lover he left behind. Dan Ephron, former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, explores the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and its continuing impact in Killing A King, The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel. Local author Lynda Lippman-Lockhart’s book, The Laundry Room, brings to life the true story of the clandestine ammunitions factory run by young Israelis to arm its troops at the end of the British occupation in the late 1940s. 

Other themes are more universal – tickets are selling fast for author Judith Viorst’s luncheon at Maggiano’s. Viorst’s diverse writing ranges from newspaper to children’s books –- you may recognize Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day which sold over 2 million copies and was made into a Disney comedy last year -- to adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also slated as a highly entertaining personality and poet and to that end will discuss her latest book Wait For Me and Other Poems About the Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage. 

Joshua Braff, author of the The Daddy Diaries and until recently a Tampa Bay resident, and local author Barbara Post-Askin  who wrote Reflections of Liberty, A Memoir will also be presenting during the festival. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by visiting the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation; reservations are recommended. 

James Rosenquist donates art for raffle at FIVE by FIVE in Tampa

The Arts Council of Hillsborough County is hosting its one-of-a-kind FIVE by FIVE art sale and fundraising event, now in its fourth year, at the Tampa Museum of Art on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8 p.m. There is a $10 admission fee which includes access to TMA’s fall exhibition, XTO+J-C: Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

New this year is a donation by popular American Artist James Rosenquist, a “protagonist in the pop-art movement,” whose very large scale work and exhibitions have graced some of the most important museums in the world including the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the MoMA in New York, and many others. 

Rosenquist’s signed artist proof entitled “The Meteor Hits Picasso’s Bed” is a 11’’ x 14’’ black photogravure monoprint and is the twelfth of only 28 artist’s proofs. Clayton Galleries in Tampa donated the framing of the piece.

“Instead of auctioning it, we are going to raise money with this print through a raffle -- keeping the same philosophy, making it democratic,” says Terri Simons, Director of Program Services at the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and organizer of the event. Raffle tickets for the Rosenquist piece will go for $25.

The FIVE by FIVE event is in many ways “artists helping artists” notes Simons, as artists donate original artwork, the proceeds of which fund the Council’s individual artist grants and workshop programs. This concept, she says, is what inspired Rosenquist’s donation. She says that in addition to the exposure and prestige artists receive by participating in the event, the FIVE by FIVE also aims to “enable those who might not usually buy original art to start collecting and thereby benefit artists beyond this one-night event.” 

The FIVE by FIVE theme entwines itself throughout the event as nearly 600 pieces of 5”x 5” art created from a wide range of media -- and submitted from around the world -- will be on display for sale, at $25 per piece. The artwork is displayed anonymously, without the artist’s name being visible, to encourage buyers to choose the work on its appeal only, and not whether the artist is well-established. 

Local professionals in theater, dance, music and spoken word will perform in five- to 15-minute increments throughout the event in the FIVE by FIVE “Lounge” located in the Stephen Dickey Lecture Hall at the Tampa Museum of Art, set up with a club-like atmosphere with lighting, seating and bar for the evening. 

The complete list of performers is still shaping up, but attendees can look forward to The Kuumba Dancers, Lucha Libro Tampa Bay, Monday, Monday, Shoes at the Door, Soho Indigo and Yellowish Blue & Pink among others.

For more information, click here.

TiEcon Florida 2015 brings innovators, investors to Tampa

Silicon Valley investors and serial entrepreneurs from the Tampa Bay Area and around Florida were among the speakers and attendees during TiEcon Florida 2015 on October 3rd at the Westin Harbour Island Hotel.

The conference's program was "very meticulously assembled to take the audience through an incredibly inspirational day, filled with story-telling,” says TiE Tampa Bay President-elect and TiEcon Chair Ramesh Sambasivan.

Entrepreneurs and investors traveled from around the nation to attend TiEcon Florida 2015, which highlighted such topics as raising capital, bootstrapping efforts and business accelerators.

TiEcon Florida 2015 attendees learned ''about innovative disruption from millennial entrepreneurs who are presently redefining the banking, sports-media and web-browsing experiences, the future of healthcare and life sciences,” Sambasivan says.

Other topics included: “What it takes to found and fund startups in Florida; how to get media-savvy; what it takes to raise entrepreneurs; and what investors look for in Florida, as told by a venture capitalist and angel investors.”

In short, Sambasivan adds, the day's event speakers addressed “the issues that keep startup founders up at night.”

A group of “very approachable” speakers differentiates TiEcon from most other conferences, Sambasivan says. “The day is peppered with phenomenal keynote speakers who will literally regale the audiences with inspirational stories of their entrepreneurial journeys."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn opened the event's dinner banquet, and comedian Kabir Singh performed. 

During a pitch segment, startups had a chance to be picked to present to angel investors from the TiE Tampa Angel Forum. The top 3 finalists -- Residential Acoustics led by CEO Walter Peek, Knack led by Co-Founder & CEO Samyr Qureshi, and Grand Opinion led by CEO Ashish Dhar -- won an invitation to pitch to real investors (an exclusive event for TiE Tampa Bay Charter Members who are accredited investors). The Pitch-Your-Startup award did not involve getting a capital infusion as part of the event.  

Sambasivan says the conference is “among the best kept secrets of Florida's entrepreneurial ecosystem, where speakers are highly accomplished entrepreneurs.”

TiE Tampa Bay aims to foster entrepreneurship in Florida startup ventures through access to TiE's global network, mentoring and early stage funding, Sambasivan explains. 

“TiEcon Florida is for every person who enjoys a good, inspiring entrepreneurial story. TiEcon Florida is for those who want to meet mentors, investors and like-minded people. TiEcon Florida is for those who believe in entrepreneurship as an engine of prosperity and economic development," Sambasivan says.

To learn more about TiE Tampa Bay, visit the group’s website.

Design Week art installations to transform Selmon Greenway

A pop-up festival, art installations along the Selmon Greenway and design-inspired events throughout the local region are all part of the expanded Tampa Bay Design Week in October 2015.

“As our urban core continues to grow and we discuss issues of mobility, it is critical to engage the public in a conversation about design's impact on our daily lives,” explains Design Week chair Kim Headland.

Interested parties are welcome to attend a design charrette session on September 25 and join a team, Headland says. After that session, teams will begin the process of building and displaying their final installation along the Selmon Greenway path, which opened in spring 2015.

Already, teams include members from an array of design disciplines, such as architects, landscape architects, graphic artists, artists, photographers, planners, interior designers and students. Those interested in the role that public art plays in the local community may want to join.

Design charrettes are “an opportunity for guided brainstorming” for teams to begin developing concepts around the TBDW theme, 'Mobility and Connectivity','' explains Headland, a member of event sponsor American Institute of Design Architects.

Topics for consideration include:
  • What design elements will encourage pedestrian activity?
  • How does design and art impact our daily routines in the city?
  • What role does tactical urbanism play in our downtown community?
  • How can design influence the experience along the Greenway and make it "uniquely Tampa"?
  • What is the future potential of our City's under-utilized areas?
  • How can design elements and space adjacent, positively impact the greenway?
  • How can design promote economic growth and development along pedestrian paths?
  • How do historic events and places impact future design on a variety of scales?
The main objective of Design Week is “to promote the importance of design to the broader community, while engaging the community in relevant conversations about how design shapes our built environment,” Headland explains.

The Design Week team hopes to accomplish that goal by demonstrating the impact of design on local community through temporary art installations by the design teams, which will be placed along the Selmon Greenway, between the Tampa Riverwalk and Jefferson Street.

Headland hopes to see the designs “engage festival goers in thinking about 'Mobility and Connectivity,’ specifically along the Greenway.”

Events for TBDW will begin October 9 and conclude with a “Made in the Shade" event and a pop-up festival on October 17th.

The free, family-friendly pop-up fest is set to coincide with Tampa’s Streetcar Fest on the same day. The TBDW lineup has also expanded to include stops in St. Petersburg: a Dining by Design event, and a panel discussion with Rogers Partners Architects and ASD about the new St. Pete Pier designs.  

“Tampa Bay Design Week brings together designers, enthusiasts, leaders and citizens to celebrate, inspire, showcase and grow Tampa Bay’s creative community,” Headland says.

For a full schedule of events or to learn more about the Sept. 25 design charrette, visit the Tampa Bay Design Week website

Women entrepreneurs compete for $70,000 from the SBA

Entrepreneurial women in the Tampa Bay area have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in cash or prizes -- and the chance to compete for a $70,000 award, furnished by Microsoft.

The 2016 InnovatHER Business Challenge invites local female industry leaders and business owners to share their ideas for products and services that would enrich everyday lives on a national stage.

Those finalists will have an opportunity to compete for $70,000 in the second year of the Small Business Administration’s national prize competition, InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit.

Local nonprofit organization The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, a partner agency of the SBA is offering the local challenge as part of the partnership.

“We are funded for five years by SBA to provide business counseling and training for women,” explains Women's Business Centre director Stacey Banks-Houston.

Women make up 57 percent of the workforce, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. The SBA’s 2016 InnovatHER Business Challenge “is a great way for women to gain exposure for their business nationally, as well as technical assistance,” Banks-Houston says.  

The challenge officially began on September 14th, but “women can get started until at least November 1st,” Banks-Houston says. “The competition ends November 30th, so participants must be able to complete the requirements by then.” 

Requirements for the competition include:
  • Attending three Women’s Business Centre workshops or webinars
  • Participating in three hours of business counseling with a WBC counselor
  • Submitting a 2-minute video explaining how you would incorporate Microsoft products in your business.
  • Submitting a business plan
Videos must be submitted by November 20; the three finalists chosen on December 2 will win up to $5,000 in cash or prizes.

Funds for local level prizes are contributed by sponsors and supporters of the Women's Business Centre, Banks-Houston says.
Winners of the local round will then move on to the National SBA InnovateHER Challenge, when they will compete for $70,000.

During the finals, up to 10 finalists will compete for the three levels of cash prizes, provided by Microsoft. 2016 national InnovateHER finals will take place on March 16 and 17, during a Women’s Summit in the Washington, D.C. area.

Learn more about the SBA InnovateHER Challenge requirements here.

Concerned about qualification? Banks-Houston says that a product or service’s potential impact is more important than experience.

“Any woman with a product or service that has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, has the potential for commercialization, and fills a need in the marketplace” should consider competing in the challenge, she says.

Interested in starting a conversation with other challengers? Try using the hashtag #innovatHERTampa on social media.

Top comedian returns home to Tampa to perform

Ranked as one of the 50 greatest stand-up comedians by shareranks.com, Tampa native Steven Lolli is bringing his High Class Poverty comedy tour to the Carrollwood Cultural Center September 18 at 8 p.m. Hand-picked by Lolli, up-and-coming comedians Tyler Horvath and Tarik Lewis, also locals, will open and emcee the two-hour show in the heart of Carrollwood.

Lolli, a graduate of Gaither High School, moved to Los Angeles in search of comedic success and began earning his underground status as the only Jewish comedian in black comedy clubs in south L.A. in early 2002.  His brand of comedy is described on his website as “controversial,” “dirty,” “foul-mouthed” and “sexual” and has garnered acclaim by some of the most important faces in comedy today, collaborating with the likes of Katt Williams and headlining for an awards benefit honoring Lily Tomlin, Jane Lynch and the President of HBO. Lolli’s video “Yoga Ho” may give you some insight into his sense of humor.

Steven Lolli is “a bit of a grittier comic, a little bit edgier than what we typically have programmed,” says Adrienne Hutelmyer, Marketing & Community Relations Director at the Carrollwood Cultural Center, which hosted him successfully last year as well. She notes that the Center offers “something for everyone -- audiences like to go to a comedy show. They are very loyal and laughing is good for everybody.” 

Hutelmyer says the Cultural Center has been offering different kinds of comedy shows for over four years, which has proven popular. Girls Night Out is next on their comedic agenda featuring comedians Catherine Maloney, Traci “The Princess of Parodies” Kanaan and Aniria. 

For more information or tickets for the shows, follow this link.

Local horror theme park hiring hundreds of seasonal Halloween employees

An expansive wooded park located in the quiet suburban neighborhoods north of Tampa will be transformed into a horror park for fall 2015. Think haunted hayrides, a house of horror and a monster-themed midway, all with a hint of zombie or other pandemic-inducing mayhem.

The horror park, “Scream-A-Geddon,” is located in Dade City on the grounds of aerial adventure park Treehoppers, which opens to the public at noon on September 15.

Treehoppers CEO Benjamin Nagengast says that the 60-acre, independently owned park “offers the most immersive scream park experience in Central Florida.”

To staff the new Halloween attraction, Nagengast is seeking around 400 seasonal employees for both full- and part-time positions. Job opportunities include actors, shift supervisors, greeters, parking attendants, cashiers, make-up artists and more.

Training will be provided; no experience necessary. To apply for a seasonal role with Scream-A-Geddon, please visit the attraction’s website.

“Scream-A-Geddon” will open on September 25, and remain open for select dates through November 1, 2015. Find a list of frequently asked questions here.
The Scream-A-Geddon theme is “fear to the extreme,” Nagengast says, and the park’s forested location helps increase the spook factor. Several of the park’s six attractions take advantage of the natural surroundings – the half-mile 'Cursed Hayride' through the woods; the 'Dead Woods', a forest trail attraction complete with a creepy back story.

Other attractions of the horror park include an interactive haunted house with Hollywood-quality special effects and the midway, where visitors can enjoy carnival games, food and beverages, and beer.

Scream-A-Geddon “is Florida’s scariest haunted horror park,” Nagengast says. “Once victims enter Scream-A-Geddon they will all be subjected to the horrors within.”

Due to the nature of the event, Scream-A-Geddon is recommended for adults and teenagers aged 13 years old and older.

"Being an independent Halloween horror park allows us to stretch the boundaries of what customers have come to expect at the more 'corporate' Halloween attractions in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas," Mark Bremer, creative director at Scream-A-Geddon, said in a press release. "Victims who want a more interactive, intimate and terrifying haunted experience will be thrilled when our facility opens this fall."

Moffitt develops genetic test for pancreatic cancer

For the nearly 50,000 people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, there is hope on the horizon when it comes to treatment of this deadly disease. Moffitt Cancer researchers have developed a genetic test that can predict which pancreatic cancer patients will benefit from surgery.

"There is an unmet need to develop a reliable test, which will better predict prognosis for patients with early pancreatic cancer and thereby allow for personalized treatment,” says Dung-Tsa Chen, Ph.D. and senior member of the biostatistics and bioinformatics department at Moffitt.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most deadly cancer according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the high mortality rate is attributed to lack of effective diagnostic and prognostic tests.

“We found through our research that the patients who survive long-term may have a different genetic makeup, and so we looked at what we call the signatures of those genes, and compared them to those who didn’t do so well,” says Mokenge Malafa, M.D., F.A.C.S., department chair and program leader for Moffitt’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. “Dr. Chen did his statistical magic and he was able to match from a pool of genes, which patients would do well and which would not.”

Malafa goes on to say that with this information, he as a surgeon, can do a genetic test early on before doing surgery and if the patient is not a good candidate for surgery, they can look at other treatment options.

The study, which was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute Pilot Research Awards in Personalized Medicine, was published in the PLoS One journal.

Malafa says the next step and research project in the fight against pancreatic cancer is a blood test that would catch cancer early on.

“From very little tissue samples, we could really perfect the signature where we could tailor the patient’s treatment based on this signature,” he says.  “Another option would be to use the information we have on genes, and how they affect the behavior of the tumors, we may be able to find a specific drug and target or intervene early on. In the future, we will find ways to make the outcome for these patients not so dismal.”

Johnson & Johnson brings 500 Jobs, $23.5M investment to Tampa

Johnson & Johnson, the company best known for its baby products and Band-aids, is coming to Tampa in a big way.

By 2016, the company plans to open its North American shared services headquarters, a multi-functional center designed to consolidate and coordinate finance, human resources, IT and procurement for its operating divisions.

So what does this mean for the Tampa Bay area? Higher-paying jobs, and lots of them, 500 over the next three years, according to a statement by Florida Governor Rick Scott. 

Johnson & Johnson already has offices around the state, so it's familiar with the business climate and ready to recruit, says Ernie Knewitz, VP for Global Media Relations.

“We currently have a strong presence in Florida with businesses in Jacksonville, South Florida and other locations, and this will build upon the success we have achieved in the state,” he says. “Tampa has many attractive attributes, including the strong talent pool in the area, which will help us staff and grow our operation here.”

The company will also make a capital investment of $23.5 million into the Tampa region.

With plans to have the shared services center fully operational by mid-2016, Knewitz says hiring for positions related to finance, HR, IT and procurement are imminent. 

“We anticipate being able to begin the hiring process soon,” he says. “People can search for jobs at Johnson & Johnson's career site.”

Johnson & Johnson joins an increasing number of global companies that have decided to locate or expand operations in Tampa and Hillsborough County, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Covidien, Amazon and Ashley Furniture Industries.

Johnson & Johnson's North American shared services headquarters will be located at the Hidden River Corporate Center One Building at 8800 Grand Oak Circle in Tampa.

HART CEO earns White House recognition as innovator in transit

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) has a slogan: Driven to Serve You.

The public transportation authority serving Hillsborough County is currently experiencing record numbers of riders, expanding the TECO streetcar line, employing innovative technology and enabling young professionals to go carless.

Now HART CEO Katharine Eagan is garnering national attention for HART with her nomination for the White House "Champion of Change" program as an innovator in transportation for the future.

Eagan is recognized in the category "Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation." The U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host the winning White House “Champions of Change” focused on this category at an event on October 13, 2015; selected individuals will be notified in late September.

For consideration, individuals must have shown outstanding leadership in transportation and innovation in developing and implementing strategies for enhancing transit systems for the future.  

Eagan credits “the hard work of our entire team” at HART for the recognition.

“As a team, we are incredibly proud that our efforts to be a change agent and a transportation agency of choice have been noticed on a national scale,” she says. “Personally, I’m honored to be considered, and excited to build on this momentum as we keep moving forward.”

One of the drivers behind Eagan’s nomination: technology. HART is pursuing updated fare technology for eight Tampa Bay area counties, Eagan says.

If implemented, Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties would utilize the same fare technology – including “smart cards and bus passes that you purchase from and scan on your phone,” Eagan explains. 

HART, which was founded in 1980, will also be the first transit agency in the state to be ISO 14001 certified, Eagan says, “which draws environmental stewardship and sensitivity into all aspects of how we deliver service.”

Eagan credits HART’s innovation in tech and transit to necessity: “We don’t have the time to wait! Like many public agencies, we shrank our administrative staff during the recession, but technology kept evolving and new challenges arose in transit and transportation.”

Business as usual, Eagan says, wasn’t cutting it. “So what would?”

Solutions like a low-cost semester pass for Hillsborough Community College students “made transit more affordable and didn’t require a special fee,” Eagan explains. “That’s been a very popular innovation.”

Another example of change: HART’s newly revamped website.

One of the first agencies to use real-time bus arrival tool OneBusAway, HART has also developed partnerships with MegaBus and RedCoach to bring more routes to downtown Tampa from across the state; additionally, the MegaBus Orlando-Tampa route will expand to include Burnett Park and Ride in eastern Hillsborough County.

HART routes include fixed and express bus service, as well customized services like HARTplus, which offers door-to-door paratransit in vans, and HARTflex, a neighborhood connector route. The agency is seeking partnerships with taxis to make these services even more viable, Eagan says.

A partnership with “private transit providers [including private cabs, Uber and Lyft] to provide a rideshare-style program as part of our 'first mile, last mile' solution” is being considered, Eagan says.

Eagan, who earned a BA in history at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and an MPA at Angelo State University, has been HART CEO since May 2014. Eagan has earned prior recognition for her leadership and track record in transportation: she was placed on the 2012 Mass Transit 40 under 40 List and was named the National Association of Women in Construction's Rookie of the Year in 2012. 

Concentrating efforts on the goals of increasing ridership, refining HART’s community image and setting “the transit agency bar higher as a trendsetting innovator” led to success for the agency, Eagan says.

“Thanks to the great work of our over 750 employees, we are better positioned today to provide the Tampa Bay area with quality service and choices.”

In other words, Eagan – and HART – is driven to serve you.

Find a new career at fall job fairs in Tampa, St. Pete

As summer transitions to fall, a number of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg area companies are seeking candidates for part- and full-time positions. New graduates, young professsionals, those seeking a career change or industry advancement, take note of these upcoming job and career fairs in the Tampa Bay area in late summer and fall 2015.

Career fairs in Tampa Bay can connect job seekers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas with the industry leaders and resources that help open the door for new hires.
Monday, August 24: Tampa Bay Lightning/Amalie Arena Part-Time Job Fair
3-7 p.m.
Promenade Level, Amalie Arena
401 Channelside Dr, Tampa

This part-time job fair will fill positions for Amalie Arena events, Lightning hockey and Tampa Bay Storm football games. Positions include: ushers, guest service, security, housekeeping, retail, concessions, kitchen staff, warehouse and more. Applicants are asked bring five copies of their resume and written references. Enter via the main staircase off of Ford Thunder Alley.

Thursday, August 27: Tampa Premium Outlets Job Fair
10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Embassy Suites USF/Busch Gardens
3705 Spectrum Boulevard, Tampa

Open to the general public. More than 800 jobs to be filled. Dress professionally and bring

Wednesday, September 16: USF St. Petersburg Annual Part Time Job and Internship Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
University Student Center, USFSP
6th Ave S, St. Pete

Open to USFSP and other USF system students and alumni.

Monday, September 21: Tampa Bay Job and Career Fair presented by the Tampa Bay Times
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Coliseum
535 4th Ave North, St. Pete

More than 50 local employers will be in attendance. Professional business attire required. Bring at least 20 copies of your resume.
Tuesday, September 29: CareerSource Pinellas/CareerSource Tampa Bay Intern Hiring Event
5-8 p.m.
The EpiCenter, St. Petersburg College
13805 58th St N, St. Pete

Business attired recommended. Refreshments will be served. Interested parties may pre-register online.
Wednesday, October 7: CareerSource Pinellas Career Fair
Time TBA
The EpiCenter, SPC
13805 58th St N, St. Pete

Open to the general public. Veterans will receive priority of service. A CareerSource Tampa Bay recruiter will be present to offer resume assistance and job search techniques. Job seekers, click here to preregister for the career fair.

Thursday, November 19: Tampa Career Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Westshore Airport
4500 West Cypress Street, Tampa

Employers, are you hosting an upcoming career fair in the Tampa Bay area? Put potential future employees on the right path by sharing the details of your upcoming job or career fair in Tampa Bay with 83 Degrees. Email the 83 Degrees Innovation & Job News editor with "Hiring" in the subject line. Reach out over on Twitter (@83degreesmedia) if our job listings put you on the path to success.
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