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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. 

Uber hosts "ride-and-pitch" for Tampa Bay investors, entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs and aspiring startup founders in Tampa Bay have a new way to reach an investment audience for one day only: in an Uber car.

From 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Friday, October 9, select Uber drivers will host investors from the local Tampa Bay area, giving entrepreneurs the chance to "ride and pitch." 

Following two successful stints in its home base of San Francisco and in Philadephia, ridesharing company Uber has paired up with Florida Funders, LLC to bring Tampa Bay investors and entrepreneurs together - for 15 minutes per ride. 

David Chitester founded Florida Funders, a Tampa-based company that connects local businesses with investors and financing, in 2014, after noting that the Tampa Bay region was "losing too many young, promising entrepreneurs to places like Silicon Valley and Austin. If we can fund some of these firms, they can grow here, and the local community will benefit.''

Using modern technology to give them a few minutes of investors' time could be a good way to keep those young, promising entrepreneurs. 

Chitester found himself hesitant to get involved with the UberPitch contest initially - "but when I returned the call from Uber and discussed the concept, it really made sense for us to get involved," he says. "We are well connected in the Tampa Bay region with both investors and entrepreneurs. Also, we are disrupting the investment industry and Uber is disrupting the transportation industry, so it is a great match of philosophies." 

Since Uber has run the pitch contest in only a few cities around the country, the unconventional company's selection of Tampa as a host city "shows we are getting national recognition for the efforts everyone here is making in the local startup community and eco-system," Chitester says.

Each Uber car involved in the pitch contests will host two investors, riding separately, for an hour and a half each on Friday morning. Altogether, there will be two UberPitch cars around downtown St. Petersburg; two in Tampa's downtown and West Shore business districts; and one in the University of South Florida's growing "Innovation District." That means that riders can talk about their ideas with ten potential investors during the three-hour event.

To access Uber cars with investors, Chitesters says, local entrepreneurs will have to enter a special code (TBPITCH) when reserving a ride through the Uber smartphone app. Then, if an investor car is available, riders will have 15 minutes to pitch to an investor before getting dropped back off at their original locations.

Several of the participating investors are based in Tampa Bay; all in the state of Florida. Investor riders include:Interested in learning more about the Uber Pitch events? Search the hashtag #UberPITCH on social media sites and follow @Uber_Florida on Twitter for real-time updates.

Radio show podcast program teaches Tampa teens digital entrepreneurship

Local Tampa Bay area teenagers have the chance to learn about digital radio programming and podcast creation during a seven-week class at the Hillel Academy in Carrollwood.

Tampa Bay-based non-profit Forward Thinking Initiatives (FTI), in partnership with Life Improvement Radio, is teaching local students who range from 5th through 12th grades how to start their own radio podcast program at the Teen Radio Show: The Digital Entrepreneur program.

Students are learning “everything they need to know to create their own podcast program, including how to create scripts for actual guest interviews, how to use the technology, understanding how to finance their own show, how to create ads and sponsors, and how to interview exciting guests,” says FTI founder Debra Campbell.

Campbell hopes to see students take the skills they learn in the Teen Radio Show program, which began in mid-September and runs through mid-November, and apply them to other interests. 

“When young people think about starting their own business, they typically don't think to begin with their own passions and interests,” she explains. “Although all of our programs are under the umbrella of entrepreneurship and innovation, we frequently theme the programs to appeal more to the young people we work with.”

During the seven week digital entrepreneurship workshop, students learn about:
  • Technology used to create podcasts
  • Conducting an interview
  • Developing and writing scripts for guest interviews
  • Financing a radio show
  • Creating ads and sponsors for the show
  • Interviewing live guests on the air
Podcast programs created by students in the classes will run on Life Improvement Radio.

“What I hope the students will gain from the experience is a ‘no fear approach’ to learning something totally new, or even a bit intimidating,” Campbell says. 

Parents might just learn something, too: “Last time we ran the program, many parents stayed for the classes as well,” Campbell explains. “We welcome parents! It fosters great dinner conversations at home.”  
The two-month-long program takes place weekly on Friday evenings at the Hillel Academy in Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa. 

Students in the Teen Radio program are "gaining entrepreneurial skills such as budgeting, how to finance their programs and how to market them,” Campbell says, “but my hope is this will be the kind of learning kids gain when they get a new game that they want to learn how to play. They don't think about the learning, they just jump in.”

FTI aims to engage young students in after-school programs that focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and creative thinking. A recent FTI program hosted at the St. Petersburg Greenhouse taught students from local Artz4Life Academy about helicopter design and innovative thinking. FTI programs and partners such as the Greenhouse and the John F. Germany Library have earned accolades including the Kauffman Foundation Platinum Award and The Freedoms Foundation Leavey Award for Private Enterprise Education.


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.

Caution: Flashing yellow left-turn arrows light up more Tampa Bay intersections

Florida motorists still getting used to flashing yellow left-turn signals, are seeing more of them at intersections throughout the Tampa Bay area. The signals have become increasingly common along major roadways, such as State Road 60 in Clearwater, Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa and State Road 54 in Pasco County. 

The flashing left-turn arrows started appearing across the United States several years ago and caught on quickly as innovative devices to improve traffic flow. The first one was installed locally at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Belcher Road in Palm Harbor in November 2009. 

“Since then, the use [of these signals] has been implemented at state and local intersections throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties,” says Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Kristen Carson. 

In some respects, the distinctive-looking, four-lens traffic signals generally function in much the same way as the more widely recognized three-lens traffic signals; a green arrow provides a protected left turn; a red arrow tells drivers to stop. It’s the blinking yellow arrows that sometimes confuse drivers.

The flashing yellow arrows (actually an amber color) indicates that motorists in the left-turn lane are permitted to cautiously make left turns, but they must yield to oncoming traffic. 

A solid yellow left-turn light signifies that a red light is about to illuminate and therefore motorists should prepare to stop if they have not yet proceeded into the intersection. 

The flashing yellow lights have been replacing a common five-lens traffic signal widely referred to as a “doghouse” signal. Doghouse signals, featuring a clustered arrangement of four lenses topped with a single red light, provide drivers with a green left-turn arrow for a short time; once the protected green left-turn light disappears on the doghouse signal, a solid, circular green light indicates motorists should yield to oncoming traffic before making left turns. 

“Research from the Federal Highway Administration found that the flashing yellow arrow made significant improvements to left-turn safety compared with the circular green signal,” Carson reports. 

There are currently about 90 intersections in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties with the flashing yellow left-turn signals. More are on the way.

“The department has received positive feedback from citizens with continued requests for locations, on a case-by-case basis, to be modified with the flashing yellow arrows installed.”

USF area in Tampa gets new pedestrian safety beacons

New pedestrian safety beacons have been installed along a one-mile stretch of 50th Street between Fowler and Fletcher Avenues in North Tampa. The goal is to help prevent accidents such as one that involved a University of South Florida student who was seriously injured in November 2014 while crossing the busy two-lane thoroughfare. 

The flashing beacons were officially unveiled on Wednesday (Sept. 16, 2015), and transportation officials spent the morning along the road passing out educational cards to pedestrians to help teach them about the new safety measures. Deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were also out in force, pulling over speeding motorists. 

“Speeding is one of the biggest problems we face when it comes to pedestrian safety,” says Julie Bond, a senior researcher at the Center for Urban Transportation Research. “We don’t want people to be scared to walk. Walking is a healthy and enjoyable way to get around, and we want our community to enjoy these benefits and feel safe.” 

The $70,000 pedestrian safety improvements along 50th Street are part of a larger initiative in the USF area. In early 2015, $5 million in improvements were completed along the congested stretch of Fletcher Avenue between Nebraska Avenue and Bruce B. Downs, just west of the USF campus. Speed limits along that portion of Fletcher Avenue were also reduced from 45 miles per hour to as low as 35 miles per hour.

“This is really an extension of the pedestrian safety enhancements that were recently completed along Fletcher Avenue,” Bond says. The flashing beacons along 50th Street, which benefit students walking to and from several apartment communities just east of the campus, pave the way for further pedestrian safety improvements around USF. In the next year, similar pedestrian safety enhancements will be completed along 42nd Street and 56th Street. 

These projects are funded and supported by a consortium of organizations, including the CUTR, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Transportation. Another major advocate is WalkWise Tampa Bay, a grassroots initiative that aims to educate local citizens on pedestrian safety. The organization also offers free, personalized pedestrian safety presentations. 

“We need to talk to more people,” Bond adds. “Education is the only way we can help pedestrian and motorists safely co-mingle on the roads.”

HART upgrades innovative app so you can track your bus

No more standing at the bus stop wondering where your bus is.

Living in a world with modern technology definitely has its pros, one being the ability to track the bus you are waiting for on your phone. HART recently launched a new technology for its customers called OneBusAway. Hart partons can instantly track buses to see where the bus is, and calculate the distance either by number of bus stops or miles from the customer's location.
Features include an interactive map with vehicle locations, search engine-based interface, and an ADA compliant text-only mobile interface. OneBusAway can be accessed by both traditional computers as well as smart phones.
According to Shannon Haney of HART, OneBusAway improves the passenger experience.

“As part of the pilot project in Tampa, Georgia Tech conducted pre-and post-surveys, that for the first time quantified the effects that real-time transit information had on the passenger experience,” he says.  “The results outstandingly showed that wait times on the bus and anxiety levels significantly decreased, while customer satisfaction with HART and the sense of security while waiting at the stop increased.”

A couple years ago, HART launched a similar OneBusAway app, which delivered real-time bus arrival information directly to a passenger’s smart phone or computer giving customers real-time information. Since it was launched, it has been accessed more than 300,000 times per month.

With the upgrade, allowing customers to track buses on their phones or computers, HART hopes to see an even larger increase in those numbers.

“This was an important investment for HART,” Haney says. “It fully supports our mission and agency goals to provide safe, innovative and cost effective public transportation services that enhance the quality of life in our community.”

Who's hiring? College, construction company, custom T-shirt designers, and more

Create custom T-shirts for customers around the country at Big Frog in Clearwater; take part in exciting biology lab research at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus; or promote the local area to international eyes in a media relations role with Visit Tampa Bay.

All of these and more are part of the 83 Degrees Media monthly Tampa Bay jobs roundup. Here's who's hiring in the Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater area in September 2015:
Big Frog of Clearwater

The custom designed T-shirt retail store seeks a Graphic Artist/Retail Consultant for the Clearwater location. Job responsibilities will include management of daily retail operations, generating quotes for custom work, creating custom artwork, and printing and fulfilling orders.

The successful applicant will have a working knowledge of graphics programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator or CorelDraw, or a related program. To learn more about the role or to apply, click here.

Bloomin’ Brands

The popular Tampa-based parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and other well-known national chains is hiring for a Digital Marketing Manager for Carrabba's Italian Grill. Responsibilities will include writing and editing blog and other social content; conceptualizing seasonal campaigns and other promotions and social program strategy; monitoring social media channels; and more.

A Bachelor’s degree with a copywriting or journalism background preferred; the successful applicant will have 3-5 years of related business experience.

The company is also hiring for a Director of Marketing Communications for Bonefish Grill. The role includes assisting with strategic planning and development of marketing communications programs; implementing various advertising initiatives across multiple print and digital platforms; developing strategies to drive system traffic, revenue and growth; developing partnerships with internal management stakeholders; and more.

To apply for either position or explore other opportunities, click here.
Ryland Homes

The construction and home design company seeks a Homebuilding Supervisor for the Tampa team. The role will include managing all aspects of homebuilding while maintaining a budget; keeping construction on schedule and managing materials; monitoring cleanliness and safety standards; obtaining necessary building inspections as required; and more.

Successful applicants will have a B.A. or B.S; be familiar with current building codes; and have at least 2-3 years of experience in high-volume production homebuilding.

To apply or learn more, visit the company website

University of South Florida

USF is seeking a full-time Research Lab Assistant in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at its Tampa campus. The candidate will work in the research laboratory of Dr. Kristina Schmidt, study mechanisms of genome instability in human cells; participate in scientific research such as analyzing data and performing genetic assays; and perform general lab maintenance duties such as ordering supplies and maintaining inventory.

A B.A., B.S. or M.S. in Biology and basic knowledge of molecular laboratory techniques is required. Interested parties should email a resume and 3 letters of recommendation, as a single PDF, to Schmidt  (Find her email here).
Visit Tampa Bay

Not-for-profit corporation Visit Tampa Bay, a tourism and economic development driver in the region, seeks to fill a full-time role in National Media Relations. The role will include serving as a PR liaison responsible for national and international media relations; copywriting external and internal content such as sales brochures, destination guides or website, e-mail and online content; identifying and maintaining appropriate media outlets and contacts; compiling editorial calendars and weekly editorial leads; and more.

A Marketing, Communications or Journalism B.A is required, along with a minimum of 5 to 8 years of marketing, PR or communications experience, and at least two years of experience in Tourism Marketing; destination marketing experience also required.

Visit Tampa Bay also seeks a full-time Sales and Promotions Coordinator. The successful applicant will be knowledgeable in CRM, Salesforce or other industry software; hospitality experience and a degree in hospitality, business or a related field preferred.

Job responsibilities include assisting a team of National Sales Managers, including guiding preparation for sales presentations; bid proposal creation and assembly; planning and preparation of a tradeshow booth; preparing and processing sales leads, bookings and other related communication; and more.

To learn more about salary and benefits for either position, head to the Visit Tampa Bay website. To apply, send your resume to: HR@VisitTampaBay.com
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.

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.

Eckerd College alum launches eco-friendly sunscreen, cosmetics line

Each summer, boatloads of sunscreen are sold to beach-goers throughout the country. But where do the contents end up? Often, in the oceans.

Studies have shown that the chemicals found in many sunscreens or skin care products that contain sunscreen can contaminate, and even kill coral reefs (some can also cause problems for humans).

Enter Stream2Sea, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based startup company that aims to revolutionize the way we swim with eco-friendly sunscreen and skin care products that have been deemed safe for marine life.

Entrepreneur Autumn Bloom, who received a chemistry honors B.S. from Eckerd College in 1997, founded Stream2Sea. After starting and later selling off specialty cosmetics company Organix South, the Eckerd alum dove into the idea of protecting endangered ecosystems from human activities.

“Over 6,000 tons of skin care products enter coral reefs from tourist activities alone,” Blum explains in a blog post on the Stream2Sea website, adding that additional contamination products entering waters through runoff or sewage are not included in that statistic.

And even though other sunscreen brands on the market today may call themselves " 'ocean friendly,' many contain ingredients that are known to harm the fragile ecosystems and marine life of our waters,” Blum writes.

After developing Stream2Sea’s initial line of eco-friendly sunscreens and body care products, Blum, with the help of the Eckerd College Alumni Relations department and her mentor, Dr. David Grove, selected a team of scientists and students at Eckerd to conduct testing and research.

The research team, which included Assistant Professor of Biology Denise Flaherty and Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Science Koty Sharp, along with several of their students, worked with Blum on scientific trials refine her products.

“It was wonderful working with the knowledgeable professors and students at my alma mater,” Blum writes. “Watching the students apply their lab skills and education to my ‘real world’ requirements, proving the safety of Stream2Sea products, was an incredible feeling.”

Flaherty, who tested the products on fish with her students, says in a news release that the opportunity to work on applied research in the field and in the lab was a special one for students.

“Being able to see a project like this all the way through was very meaningful,’’ she notes.

Sharp’s team, which included Eckerd College marine science seniors Takoda Edlund and Samantha Fortin, spent a week in the Florida Keys collecting coral larvae samples to use for testing the Stream2Sea products. While sunscreen had been tested before on living corals, tests had never been done on coral larvae, Sharp says.

Stream2Sea products were tested on coral larvae and fish at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Tropical Research Laboratory in Sarasota. Tests concluded that the Stream2Sea products showed no evidence of harm to fish or to corals.

Participating students were so excited to see the positive results that “they actually cheered when every single fish was still alive after 96 hours of swimming in the shampoo-laced foamy water,” Blum writes.

Stream2Sea has identified a list of ingredients to avoid, such as nano particles that can flake off of skin as we swim as well as an ingredients dictionary to help consumers make sense of biodegradable cosmetics that are eco-friendly. 

Moving forward, the company will continue to invest significant funding into testing, Blum writes, “so that we can state, with complete confidence, that we are the safest product on the shelves.”

Stream2Sea sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner and lotion are in stock on the company website. Prices range from $3.95-$16.95.

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? County offices, local chamber, downtown caterer and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for Growing Companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay region. Sign up for a sales manager role with the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce; patrol the parks on behalf of Hillsborough County; stage school productions for Berkeley Prep; all of these and more are part of the 83 Degrees Media monthly Tampa Bay jobs roundup.

Here's who's hiring in the Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater area in August 2015:

Berkeley Preparatory School is seeking a Performance Facilities Manager & Productions Technical Director and an Upper Division Administrative Assistant for the 2015-2016 school year. Berkeley Prep, an Episcopal-affiliated day school that was founded in 1960 in Tampa, is co-educational and enrolls students in pre-K through high school.

The manager/director role will include overseeing activities at the school’s Lykes Center for the Performing Arts and Gabos Family Recital Hall, and providing additional technical support for school events as necessary. The administrative assistant applicant should include a cover letter and CV with application.

To learn more about the roles or how to apply, visit the school’s website.

Do you have a passion for the culinary arts? Local caterer Catering By Kathy is hiring a Catering Administrative Coordinator for the growing CBK team. CBK specializes in corporate catering and recently opened Café 124 inside the University of South Florida Health's CAMLS building in downtown Tampa. The company aims to grow the catering business in the local region and to extend the Café 124 hours. 

Job responsibilities include administrative tasks, including event coordination and related communications; executing day-of duties with the Event Manager; invoicing; and more. The successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in hospitality or related field; have knowledge of Caterease or similar software; be detail-oriented and highly motivated, and demonstrate proven time-management and organizational skills.

Interested parties may email resumes and cover letters using the email subject title Catering Administrative Coordinator Position.
CopyPress, a content and software creation company, is hiring for two full-time positions, an editorial campaign manager and a PHP programmer. CopyPress is also hiring for several freelance rolls, including:
  • General Bloggers & Writers
  • Infographic Designers
  • Interactive Developers
Editorial campaign manager responsibilities include brainstorming, overseeing a team of writers and editors, working with the copy manager, and other copy production tasks. A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications and two years of professional experience are required.

The PHP programmer role requires four or more years of PHP and LAMP development experience; knowledge of JavaScript libraries like jQuery; and other qualifications.

To learn how to apply for a career with CopyPress, click here.

Hillsborough County is hiring for several fulltime positions in the greater Tampa area, including:
  • Accounting Clerk III
  • Election Technology Specialist
  • Engineering Specialist II (Traffic Engineering)
  • Environmental Technician II
  • Head Start Teacher Assistant
  • Librarian, Youth Services
  • Senior Librarian, Youth Services
To learn more about the job requirements or to explore a complete list of the available positions, please visit the County's job opportunities website
Do you love your local community? This might be the perfect fit: the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is hiring a Sales Manager.

The St. Pete Chamber seeks a sales professional to manage sales and membership. The role will include evaluating and upholding a community investment strategy for membership growth; securing sponsorships; securing advertising and new member sales; and other duties. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a sales-related field; four or more years sales experience and at least two years with a membership organization; a flexible schedule; and strong verbal and written communications skills.

To apply for this position, visit the Chamber's website.
Reach out over on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Women's tech group to host August meetup at Cooper's Hawk Winery

Women with a professional or personal interest in technology are invited to join the Tampa chapter of Girls in Tech (GIT), a global networking group for professional women, at their 2015 kickoff event: Vino Night at Cooper's Hawk Winery.

"This is a great opportunity to be a part of an awesome movement," says Sylvia Martinez, Collaborative Technologies of Tampa Bay founder and CEO, and one of GIT's chapter organizers.

Girls in Tech is a global nonprofit with chapters in tech hubs like Tampa Bay spread across five continents. 

The group works to advance the “engagement, education and empowerment of influential women in technology and entrepreneurship,” Martinez explains. “We focus on the promotion, growth and success of entrepreneurial and innovative women in the technology space."

During the Girls in Tech Vino Night on Thursday, Aug. 13, the group will discuss "what types of events the chapter wants to see moving forward," Martinez says. After a hiatus following the 2014 death of Tampa GIT chapter leader Susie Steiner, the group is reorganizing for the 2015 kickoff event. 

"Unfortunately, our chapter hibernated after the loss of our former Girls in Tech leader," Martinez says. "We are excited to revive the group, and we know that's what Susie would want."

Martinez and Victoria Edwards, a digital content strategist for Florida Blue, served on the GIT board over the past two years and will stay on as group leaders moving forward; New Market Partners CEO and Startup Grind Tampa Bay chapter Director Joy Randels has also taken on a leadership role. All three women are key players in the Tampa Bay tech scene.  

The Tampa Bay Girls in Tech 2015 kickoff event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on August 13 at Cooper's Hawk Winery and restaurant, located at 4110 W Boy Scout Blvd in Tampa. 

The casual networking get together will offer attendees the chance to mingle over wine and cocktails and to meet the women in the growing tech community of Tampa Bay.

Martinez encourages "anyone interested in our mission of supporting and empowering women in the tech and entrepreneur space in Tampa Bay" to attend the GIT kickoff.

Tampa Bay 'best choice' for Accusoft expansion; IT company to create 125 high-wage jobs

Accusoft, a leading global software and imaging solutions provider, is expanding its Tampa Bay headquarters with 125 new high-wage jobs in fields like software development and engineering. The positions will pay an average annual wage of $75,000.

Partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation helped to make the Accusoft expansion possible.

A combined incentives package totaling $750,000 was offered to the company through the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) program, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Tampa City Council. As long as the promised jobs are created, the funds will be allocated over the course of eight years.

"This partnership and support will help us attain our company's goals while also benefiting the local economy,” Accusoft President Jack Berlin says. “It means a lot to Accusoft to be given an opportunity to create meaningful, high-paying jobs in the Tampa Bay area.”

Berlin, who received an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, set his sights on Tampa as a business base after successfully selling a startup company in Atlanta.

He and wife Leslie were seeking a “better place to raise a family; a place to live before a place to work,” Berlin explains. “Having grown up in Savannah, I love the beach and salt water. Florida was very appealing. Tampa, we felt, was the best choice of all the Florida cities.”

Today, the feeling remains.

“The company stays where I want to live, and I love the area,” Berlin says, praising the Tampa Bay area for “plenty of big city amenities, a great airport, the bonus of great weather and beautiful beaches, and no personal income tax.”

A little history: Accusoft began as Pegasus Imaging Corporation in Tampa in 1991. Over the next two decades, Pegasus acquired several companies in the imaging and software development sectors; developed a medical imaging division; and in 2012 rebranded as Accusoft.

While the company never aimed to relocate, expansion outside of Tampa was briefly considered, Berlin says. The company opened a development office in Atlanta, but found that remote work caused problems, so they closed up shop. Accusoft’s Boston office was already established and running efficiently when Pegasus acquired it in 2008.

“Talent is more expensive up there, but we don’t shy away from hiring in Boston if we find the right person,” Berlin says, citing as an example a long-term development manager who speaks fluent Russian and runs much of the company’s outsourced activities.

Berlin hopes to attract a similar caliber of employee in Tampa with the creation of 125 new jobs that will pay a minimum average wage of $75,000. Hiring has already begun; most of the new positions require advanced degrees (B.S. or higher).  

“We continue to attract great talent from Tampa or to Tampa, and hope that continues,” Berlin says. “We will grow, but with continued hiring standards."

Accusoft joins several high-profile companies headquartered in Tampa and Hillsborough County that have expanded locally rather than relocating, including Bristol-Myers SquibbInspirataReliaQuestTribridge and Laser Spine Institute.

During a news conference announcing the company’s expansion, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that 879,700 private-sector jobs have been created in Florida since December 2010. Hillsborough is the fourth largest county in Florida, which is ranked third in the nation for high-tech companies.

“Companies like Accusoft know Florida’s pro-business climate is the best place to grow and create jobs,” Scott says.

Accusoft is headquartered at 4001 N. Riverside Drive and currently has 131 employees. Expansion will allow the company to grow its existing space by up to 25,000 square feet.

Interested in working for Accusoft? Proficient in C++, Node JS, JAVA, HTML5, CSS, .NET skills? Berlin encourages interested parties to connect on Linkedin or visit the Accusoft website

Upcoming Tampa Bay tech events focus on community, collaboration

Summer is here, temperatures are high and tech-centric events are happening all around Tampa Bay. Technology-driven meetups and innovation-fueled gatherings in Tampa Bay during summer 2015 all seem to share a common theme: cooperation and collaboration with other members of the local tech community. 

83 Degrees Media has the scoop on which tech-oriented events are happening when, so settle in with your desktop screen or smart device and start scrolling -- summer in Tampa Bay has a lot of tech to offer!
Saturday, July 25: Tech Community Night at the Rays Game
6 p.m.-10 pm.
Tropicana Field
1 Tropicana Drive

Join fellow techies, community leaders and friends as the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Baltimore Orioles during a baseball game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Discounted tickets at $30/person include a baseline box seat in section 134, and access to the on-field Casey Musgraves concert post-game.
For more information, visit the Tech Community Night Eventjoy website.

Tuesday, July 29: Startup Grind
6:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
CoWork Ybor
1901 E. 7th Ave.

Each month, Startup Grind events around the country unfold as fireside chats between moderators and guest speakers, who share stories of their successes – and failures – as entrepreneurs. Tampa Bay moderator Joy Randels brings speakers from a variety of industries to join chats at locally owned venues around Tampa Bay, including well-known thought leaders and entrepreneurs.

To get a feel for the meetup style, see the above video of a June 2014 Startup Grind event featuring Tampa native Joey Redner, the founder of Tampa's well-known craft brewery Cigar City

Join Startup Grind Tampa Bay in July 2015 at CoWork Ybor Blind Tiger Cafe to hear from Jeff Gigante, founder of Ciccio Restaurant Group, the company behind The Lodge, Green Lemon, Ciccio’s/Water and other well-known South Tampa eateries.

For more information visit the Startup Grind Tampa Bay website.
Friday, July 31: Homebrew Hillsborough
8:30 a.m.
Tampa Club
101 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 4200

Homebrew Hillsborough is an innovation of Hillsborough County Economic Development. Monthly meetups take place at coffee shops around the county, and local business owners, tech enthusiasts and community members are encouraged to attend, network and enjoy local coffee as they discuss ways to make a “Homegrown Hillsborough.”

During July’s event, attendees will enjoy a visit to the Tampa Club, a private dining club situated high above the streets of downtown Tampa in the Bank of America plaza. For more information, visit Homebrew Hillsborough's website.
Wednesday, August 26: Startup Grind will host patent and intellectual property attorney Christ Tanner, of Tanner Law. To register, click here.

Thursday, August 27: Ignite Tampa Bay 
6:30 p.m.
Cuban Club
2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba

Ignite events have a simple request: “Entertain us, but make it fast.” During each Ignite events in cities across the country and world, speakers have five minutes to discuss a topic of their choice, aided by slides and whatever props they carry to the podium. In Tampa Bay alone, speakers at annual Ignite events have covered topics that range from extreme sports to inventions to politics. The only thing that’s discouraged is a direct sales pitch.

Interested in speaking at the next Ignite Tampa Bay, hosted at the historic Cuban Club in Ybor City? Learn more here. For more information about volunteering at or attending Ignite Tampa Bay, visit IgniteTampa's website.

Friday, August 28: Homebrew Hillsborough
8:30 a.m.
The monthly coffee networking meetup for members of the Hillsborough County community will be hosted at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), located at 4801 E. Fowler Ave.
Saturday, August 29: TEDxTampaRiverwalk
1 p.m.
John F. Germany Library Auditorium
900 N. Ashley Drive

TEDx events are independently organized talks, modeled after TED talks, that communities can create around topics of their choice. The theme for the 2015 TEDxTampaRiverwalk is "Going Places!" Potential speakers should consider applying that theme to their speeches: scientifically, socially, economically, geographically, artistically and philosophically. The event will be held at downtown Tampa's John F. Germany library auditorium.

Visit the TEDxTampaRiverwalk website for more more information.
Thursday, September 3: #Collabtb Q3 Tech and Entrepreneur Peer Networking 
5 p.m.-8 p.m.
The Hyde Out
1809 W. Platt St.

Collabtb quarterly techie and entrepreneur peer networking events bring together several hundred members of the Tampa Bay technology community in low-key environments where appetizers, specialty drinks and networking are the main attractions. Bonus: The first 200 guests receive a free T-shirt. Raffle items will also be given away to a few lucky winners.

To register for the Collabtb Q3 Tech and Entrepreneur Peer networking event, click here. Be sure to use the hashtag #Collabtb on Twitter.

Friday, September 25: Homebrew Hillsborough
8:30 a.m.
The monthly coffee networking meetup for members of the Hillsborough County community will be hosted at Tre Amici at The Bunker, located at 1907 N. 19th St. in Ybor City.
Saturday, October 10- Sunday, Oct. 11: ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2015
9 a.m.
University of Tampa Bob Martinez Athletics Center 
401 W. Kennedy Blvd

ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2015 presents a variety of engaging and innovative activities for teams of students from around Florida, grades K-12, to compete in a fun robots-oriented event. ROBOTICON will host events like the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge scrimmage and build day; FIRST LEGO League practice and training as well as a Jr. FIRST LEGO League mini-Expo; a vendor hall, career expo, and more. Join other teams at the University of Tampa campus Bob Martinez Athletics Center, across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa, for the two-day special event.

For more information, visit the ROBOTICON website.

Are you, or an organization you know, hosting a tech-oriented event in the Tampa Bay area in 2015? Email the info here to have your activity included in a future 83 Degrees newsletter!

Call for Florida companies: Compete to win $150,000 in prize money

Tampa Bay area startup and growth stage companies will have the chance to win $150,000 in prize money this fall.

The 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase in South Florida will offer select companies from across Florida the chance to present their businesses before a selection committee and to contend for cash awards.

The November 4 showcase, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables, is co-hosted by Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida, Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida.

Interested companies have until Sept. 24, 2015, to apply to compete in the showcase.

“This event offers selected Florida-based companies the opportunity to receive expert coaching and mentoring, in addition to the opportunity to present in front of investors and to compete for prize money,” Florida Venture Forum Managing Director Pat Schneider says. “All in all, this is a great opportunity for Florida's entrepreneurs.”

Cash prizes will total up $100,000 for a growth stage company, or $50,000 for a startup company. To be considered, growth stage companies cannot have raised more than $3 million in equity capital from professional investors, and startups cannot have raised more than $500,000.

Factors for selection will include aspects like a company's potential to attract third-party investment, prior funding, innovation and possibility of job creation. 

Preference will be given to growth stage and startup businesses in sectors like space transportation and advanced aerospace platforms, International Space Station and human life science, cyber security and robotics, and other components of information technology and health technology.

The wide array of industry sectors "offer Florida-based entrepreneurs broad categories for consideration,” Schneider says.

To learn more about the event’s selection criteria, click here; to apply for the 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase, click here
Along with the capital acceleration competition and time reserved for business networking, the showcase will feature an investor panel discussion and a keynote speaker. Retired NASA astronaut Capt. Winston Scott, who was born in Miami and who logged 24 days in space, will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase.

“Since Space Florida is sponsoring the prize money, it seemed befitting to have an astronaut speak,” Schneider says. “Also, many of the characteristics behind a successful space mission can be applied to successful entrepreneurship.”

Space Florida is an aerospace and spaceport development authority that works to promote aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce in the state of Florida. The organization partners with aerospace businesses to help them grow and thrive in Florida, where much of the necessary infrastructure to be competitive in the industry is already in place.

Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida has advised entrepreneurs and investors for over two decades through mentorship, management of incubator programs and customized services for startups in South Florida.  

Tampa-based Florida Venture Forum, a a nonprofit, statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, connects growing startup businesses with access to capital from local and national resources. The organization hosts the the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition and the Early Stage Capital Conference. 

Florida Venture Forum will host the 2016 Florida Venture Capital Conference on January 27-28, 2016.
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