| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Tourism : Innovation + Job News

94 Tourism Articles | Page: | Show All

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? Booz Allen, Lowry Park Zoo, and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for growing companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay region. Here's who's hiring in the Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater area in May 2015:
 
The strategy and tech-consulting firm Booz Allen is hiring for an Assistant Editor to work under a senior editor in the company’s Tampa offices. The position requires a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications or a related field; three or more years of experience writing and editing long-form journalism, including working with an online publication; knowledge of AP style; and the ability to obtain a security clearance.

Experience as a magazine or newspaper reporter, knowledge of the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia region and/or experience with Arabic, Russian or Dari languages preferred. The position includes developing, writing and editing original online magazine content and proofreading.

To learn more, visit the Booz Allen website

Computer Mentors, a nonprofit tech service organization that helps kids develop skills for careers in the computer industry, is hiring for a full-time Programming Coordinator. The program includes serving as lead instructor for students in grades 4-8 basic computer programming skills and helping high school students build mobile apps for other local nonprofits through the STEM Corps program.

The successful applicant will have experience working with youth; experience programming, including knowledge of Android and iOS app development, graphical interface programming tools and programming robots.

To learn more about the role and to apply, visit the Computer Mentors website.

Health Hero, a St. Pete-based startup company that is gaining traction with the idea of reinventing healthcare plans through increased engagement, is hiring for multiple roles in St. Petersburg, including: Director of Sales, Growth Engineer, UX Designer, Ruby on Rails Developer, Native iOS Developer and Native Android Developer.

Learn more about available roles at the Health Hero website.

Do you love to volunteer, get involved in big events, and coordinate complex logistics? Oh, and a love of animals would be a bonus.

Lowry Park Zoo is hiring for a full-time Events/Volunteer Coordinator at the zoo’s central Tampa location. The successful applicant will have a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, communications, marketing, business or a related field. Experience in special events, fundraising, development or hospitality management is also preferred. 

The Events/Volunteer Coordinator will work under the direction of the Events Manager to plan and support zoo events (new animal exhibits, baby reveals, animal birthdays, for example) and volunteer projects. Duties will include organizing and implementing rental events; planning and implementing fundraising events (Zoo Zoom, the Charity Golf Classic, Zoominations, for example); cultivating in-kind donors; and offering other assistance as needed. Holiday and weekend availability required. 

Lowry Park Zoo is also hiring for a Director of Finance, Chief Development Officer, Education Instructor, Staff Accountant, and part-time, seasonal Summer Camp Instructors, among other roles. For a complete listing of available roles, visit the zoo website.

Florida Blue is hiring for several positions in the Tampa Bay area, including: Retail Center Navigation Nurse ARNP, Sr Mgr Medical Review, Senior Media Relations Consultant, Web Designer and Sr. Consultant Leadership Development.
Florida Blue offers private health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. 

To learn more about the  available job opportunities with Florida Blue in the Tampa bay area, visit the Florida Blue website.

Tech Data is hiring for multiple positions in the Clearwater area, including a senior financial analyst, a systems engineer and a senior copywriter. An applicant for the entry-level Financial Analyst position must have an AS or higher in Accounting, Finance, or Accounting Systems, along with 0-3 years of work experience 

The role will include data compilation, maintaining and distributing management reports, analyzing new business opportunities, efficiency initiatives, or other business issues. and maintaining systems applications, among other tasks.

The global technology distribution company headquartered in Clearwater is also seeking a Marketing Strategist. The position will act as Marketing Consultant for vendor partners and will be responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns for clients, working together with business development representatives and project managers.

Requirements include a BA in Marketing or Communications and a minimum of two years (five years preferred) of previous marketing strategy development and/or IT channel vendor/reseller marketing experience. 

For complete descriptions and a complete listing of available jobs with Tech Data, visit the company's website.

Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please 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.

Casting call: Musicians, show how 'St. Pete Shines' in the city's new national ad campaign

The City of St. Petersburg will place local singers and bands on the national stage in an upcoming advertising campaign.

During a live competition on Saturday, May 9, musicians who are based in the St. Pete community will have the chance to publicly perform a rendition of the classic song “You Are My Sunshine” at a live, battle-of-the-bands style competition.

Four winners will be selected, and the winning performances of the song will be featured in the city’s first national ad campaign.

Nina Mahmoudi, Creative Services Manager for the City, describes St. Pete as “a city filled with talented people, from artists and musicians to technology innovators and food and brewing connoisseurs.”

"We are a community known for our growing arts and culture,” Mahmoudi says. The casting call is “just one way we are engaging the community to show how ‘St. Pete Shines’.”

Bands and artists who are interested in competing in the “You Are My Sunshine” Music Contest must submit an entry to the contest website by Friday, May 1, 2015. Entry submissions should include a link to your website or reel (new recordings are not required from musicians, as long as a video of the artist performing is submitted).

Finalists will be notified and invited to play their version of “You Are My Sunshine” before a live audience.

The promotional campaign will “highlight our city's greatness," Mahmoudi explains, “and we decided using local talent was the best way” to do that.

Interesting in putting your own twist on the song, but don’t have much experience? That’s OK, says CLEAR Labs executive director Jenn Greacen. Interested parties who have never performed before are invited to submit a pitch video explaining why they should be selected as finalists.

“Anyone who would like to share their love for St. Pete should send in an audition," explains Greacen, whose St. Pete-based marketing agency is partnering with the City of St. Petersburg for the "Casting Sunshine" campaign. "You don't have to be a professional singer, you just have to have love for St. Pete!” 

Fans of the Sunshine City's local music scene are invited to attend the free public concert/competition, which will be held from 4-10 pm on May 9 at Sly Bar in DTSP.

“Even if you are not a performer, the entire community is welcome at the event to cheer on the finalists, help us in our selections, and, just in general, to come out and have a good time,” says Greacen.

Along with the chance to be featured in the campaign, contest winners will receive a $500 cash prize and a recording studio session, and will retain master publishing rights on their rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.”

Visit the City of St. Petersburg's "Casting Sunshine" website to learn more or refer to the contest’s rules of entry for details.

“You Are My Sunshine” Music Contest sponsors include local Sly Bar, The Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, and Urban Brew and BBQ.

Picture this: High fashion, high art intertwined at FMOPA

The works of three international fashion photographers will combine in one show for the first time at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA).

"High Fashion: Kristian Schuller, Billy & Hells, Taka Kobayashi,'' curated and hosted by FMoPA in downtown Tampa, opens May 1 and runs through June 22nd. It will kick off at FMoPA’s “First Friday” social hour, 6-8 p.m. on Friday. 

The exhibit, in large-form, brings to life the confluence of fashion and statement, the meeting of commercial and fine art. 

“Fashion photography is a natural bridging between fine art and documenting photography, “ says Zora Carrier, FMoPA’s Executive Director. “It is very much about aesthetic and conception, but also practical information.  This is a show commenting on the universal cosmopolitan of softness and femininity.”

While fashion is the common thread, each of the artists brings a distinct nuance to the table.  

Carrier describes Romanian-born Kristian Schuller, whose work is reminiscent of Daliesque surrealism, as “creating images out of this world,” with a “dreaminess and weirdness” that highlights the beauty of natural elements in stark contrast to the usual venues for high fashion. 

In FMoPA’s exhibit, Taka Kobayashi, of Japan, is working with the classical theme of geisha and fashion, but in a modern context.  Billy & Hells, a German photography duo, portrays pretty, feminine fashions of high aesthetic, “but the faces of the models are sad, with pain and suffering,” says Carrier, creating “a kind of unusual tension.” 

The FMoPA has a back-to-back line up of exhibits through the rest of the year. This summer, visitors can experience Florida-themed large format projects by two Tampa photographers Jason Henthorne and Joseph Gamble. In September, the FMoPA is collaborating with the Florida Aquarium in an underwater photography exhibit, which Carrier says is a joint effort to pay “homage to this deep earth interest.” New York based photographer Richard Renaldi, famous for his “Touching Strangers” project, will exhibit his work on hotel rooms and the “comfort and quirkiness of that.” The exhibit is timed to coincide with Tampa’s LGBT festival. 

Carrier says she is working on positioning the FMoPA as a social venue, “a nice place to come after work, maybe take a photography class.” To this end, she instituted monthly “First Fridays” at the museum, which include an opening or artist’s talk, food and wine. 

In addition to opening the High Fashion exhibit, this week’s First Friday will feature an artist talk by American photographer Jim Reynolds whose CityScapes exhibit is concurrently on display.

Who's hiring in Tampa Bay? Women's Tennis Assoc., Advluence, and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for growing companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay area. Here's who's hiring in and around Tampa in April 2015:

Advluence

Have you ever thought about working for a full service creative advertising agency located in the heart of Tampa’s growing SoHo district? Now’s your chance! Advluence, a successful startup developed by a University of Tampa graduate, is a young, innovative team of branders who have an impressive social media following and a steadily growing portfolio. Advluence is hiring for a Graphic Designer at their South Tampa offices.

The ideal candidate will have 1-2 years of graphic design experience, a BA in Graphic Desgin or a similar field, and will work closely with a team of designers, producers and marketers to design for various mediums. Must be proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Visit the company website to submit a portfolio and application.
 
BISK Education

The distance learning and online education company, Bisk Education, is hiring for 11 roles in Tampa, including: Marketing Manager, Database Admin, Instructional DesignerDeveloper, Media Buyer, Systems Engineer, Business Analyst, Mobile DeveloperHR Generalist, and other roles.

Bisk Education's headquarters is a 135,000-square-foot corporate campus in Tampa. A staff of more than 900 employees includes an award-winning advertising team, enrollment representatives who work to place students in programs, web developers, and more. To learn more about the positions or to apply, visit the company website.
 
The Great Escape Room

Aspiring sleuths, puzzle solvers and mystery fans: The Great Escape Room in the heart of downtown Tampa is hiring for multiple part-time positions. The Great Escape Room is a puzzle solving mystery game that is a perfect activity for friend groups, parties or business team-building exercises.

The ideal candidate will be fun, energetic and enthusiastic. The positions will be for 10-20 hours a week, primarily on evenings and weekends. Job duties include helping customers in the event that a clue or puzzle has a technical issue, fixing any technical difficulties, interacting with customers, light cleaning, and returning telephone messages and emails. To apply or to learn more about The Great Escape Room Tampa Bay, visit the company’s website.

Garcia & Ortiz, CPA

Garcia & Ortiz, CPA is hiring for a full-time Staff Accountant. The business is a corporate environment that maintains a family culture. The Staff Accountant will join a department of 10-15 members in accounting and finance, with responsibilities including assisting with preparation of annual and mid-year budgets, preparing journal entries, analyzing accounts and preparing reimbursement billings, and more. 

The successful candidate will have a BS in Accounting, 1-4 years of experience, know advanced Excel, and be familiar with applicable laws, codes and regulations. To apply, visit the company's website and follow instructions.

Kobie Marketing

Full service marketing firm Kobie Marketing is hiring for an Email Marketing Manager. The position will be target-focused, requiring 7+ years of experience with email marketing and at least three years experience with Exact Target marketing. The role will involve developing and managing all aspects of email marketing and production for email campaigns, including code development, campaign setup, testing and delivery, and reporting.

The successful applicant will have prior email marketing experience, HTML and AMPscript knowledge, project management experience, strong written and verbal communication skills, and advanced Excel skills. Kobie Marketing is hiring for several other roles in the Tampa Bay area, including Front End Developer and Project Manager. To apply, visit the company's website.

SPCA Tampa Bay

For those who would enjoy a career in animal welfare, the SPCA Tampa Bay is currently hiring for three fulltime positions, including Intake CounselorAdoption Counselor and Medical Assistant. The SPCA Tampa Bay recently announced that the hospital will expand to include a St. Petersburg location.

The Intake Counselor job role requires at least two years of experience working in an open admissions shelter environment, veterinary office or other animal welfare organizations, and five years of driving experience with a clean driving record. The successful applicant must be a Pinellas County resident.

The Adoption Counselor role requires three years experience of working in a retail environment. Weekend and evening hours required for both roles. For detailed job descriptions, and information about how to apply to either position, please visit the SPCA Tampa Bay website.

WTA – Women’s Tennis Association

The Women’s Tennis Assoc. is hiring in Tampa Bay for a Social Media Coordinator to work with the WTA’s Digital team on social media projects. Responsibilities include daily monitoring and maintenance of WTA social media pages; assisting in the gathering of social media user data; working with the WTA Digital team; uploading videos to WTA’s video platforms; and coordinating content with WTA’s content calendar.

The ideal candidate will have knowledge of and interest in tennis, excellent verbal and communication skills, a background in social media, journalistic experience, the ability to work independently and a BA degree in Media, Communications, Journalism or equivalent. The role requires evening, weekend, and holiday availability. To learn more and apply, visit the association’s website.

Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please 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.

Temple Terrace hosts new craft beer festival, food trucks

Tampa Bay, grab your growlers: there's a new craft beer fest in town.

The inaugural Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest will take place May 9 in Woodmont Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Tampa. The beer festival, hosted by the City of Temple Terrace in partnership with the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace, will feature more than 30 craft brews, including varieties from:

3 Daughters BrewingBayshore Beer Co., Big Storm Brewing Co., Big Top Brewing Co.Bold City BreweryBrew Hub, Brooklyn BreweryCigar City BrewingCoppertail Brewing Co., Florida Avenue Brewing Co.GolfBeer Brewing Co.Harpoon Brewery, Oskar Blues BreweryTampa Bay Brewing Company, Tenth and Blake Beer Co.Two Henrys Brewing, and more.

If all that beer sipping stirs up an appetite, guests can enjoy food from a variety of local Tampa Bay area food trucks and on-site vendors, including Doogie Dogs a GogoMichelle Faedo’s On the GoNapolitanos Wood Fired Pizza & Calzones, PaniniRifficPop-N-Good Kettle Corn, and Smokin’ Aces BBQ.

Live music will be provided by local band jazz fusion band Jurika.

Cheri Donohue, one of the event’s organizers, anticipates more than 1,000 attendees at the one-day event. Donohue, a member of both the Temple Terrace City Council and the Rotary Club, calls the BrewFest “a thrilling new event for the city.”

Rotary Club members worked with City Council members to develop the BrewFest. Community leaders “immediately saw it as a good way to show off our lovely city,” Donohue says. 

Sponsors include local businesses such as Ward Seaford Attorneys at LawGaspar’s Patio Bar & Grille and Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club.

As an event sponsor, local company Brewmasters Club “takes pride in contributing to any effort to re-vitalize” the Temple Terrace area," founder Donnie Gallagher says. “The goal is to really get the community of Temple Terrace involved. I expect a great turnout.”

By hosting the craft beer festival, the Rotary Club hopes to attract “young movers and shakers to see what a ‘service’ club can do,” Donohue explains. “Our motto, ‘service above self,’ is one we take seriously, but our meetings are fun and invigorating. Even though we were established in 1925, we think creatively and are working to invite people to live, work and play in Temple Terrace." 

Event proceeds will benefit charities supported by the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace including CAIRFlight, the Bridge Healthcare Clinic at USF and Rotary's Camp Florida

Tickets bought before May 8 cost $30 ($35 after) and include unlimited tastings of more than 30 craft brews, two of which are custom Temple Terrace beers brewed exclusively for BrewFest. 

For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, visit the Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest website.

Test your sleuthing skills in The Great Escape Room

It's elementary, dear Watson: Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick would fit right in at a new entertainment space in downtown Tampa.

Inside The Great Escape Room, mysteries abound as teams of up to 12 “detectives” participate in a timed adventure to escape a locked space, solving riddles along the way.

Part scavenger hunt, part puzzle, the real-life room escape game is based on similar computer and mobile application-based games. Some puzzles involve strength in mathematics, some strategy, and others organizational skills. All are equally important for solving the room's challenges -- and escaping -- in under 60 minutes.

In February 2015, reporter and social media personality Meredyth Censullo joined a small group of Tampa Bay area bloggers and social media users for an early preview of The Great Escape Room, which she says is “unlike any other entertainment experience I've ever had -- and I'm all about trying new things!”

Tampa's version of the Great Escape Room is located in the heart of downtown, just upstairs from Taco Bus and Crumb and Cork on a busy block in easy walking distance from the Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa Theatre, and other downtown attractions restaurants, cafes, and The Vault event space.

The first Great Escape Room location opened in Orlando in May 2014, quickly followed by branches in Miami, Royal Oak (MI), and a soon-to-come Washington D.C. destination.

During their visit to The Great Escape Room, Censullo's teammates initially worked together to find clues, and then “generally gravitated toward working on the individual challenges and puzzles that suited their skills best,” she explains.  

Many “detectives” don’t solve the room’s riddles in time, but Censullo’s team of eight outwitted their competitors by a few minutes, escaping the room in 44 minutes and 29 seconds.

And if the challenge proves impossible –- or you simply get stuck? There is a little help available in the form of a representative who remains in the room during the detective game and can trade hints for clues hidden within the space.

“I love that Tampa is bringing new, fresh ideas to the city,” Censullo says. “Overall, the experience was a lot of fun -- there was a ton of laughing, which always makes for a great time.”

The blogger outing to The Great Escape Room was organized by Never Have I Ever Tampa, a trio who run a website dedicated to exploring local events, activities, and Tampa Bay area destinations, from dining to detective work (read more about NHIE Tampa in an 83 Degrees feature).

While there is no minimum number of attendees required to participate, heading to The Great Escape Room with familiar faces can make it even more enjoyable, Censullo says. The space’s website recommends visiting for parties or team-building sessions.

“I would definitely recommend that others try it,” Censullo says. “This would be a group date night out.”
 
You don’t have to leave junior detectives at home, either; the Great Escape Room is suitable for anyone over 12 years of age.

“I think kids would love searching for clues, and older kids likely could solve the puzzles,” Censullo says.

The Great Escape Room in Tampa opened Thursday, Feb. 26, at 300 E Madison St, Ste. 301. The cost is $28 per person.

Who's hiring: The Infiltrator, Tampa Theatre, Hillsborough County and more

Did you know? 83 Degrees Media searches for growing companies to bring you exciting job opportunities in the Tampa Bay area. Employers, if you have a career opportunity you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@83degreesmedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Reach out over on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

This week, the Bryan Cranston-led movie, ’'The Infiltrator,'’ is first up on our list of hiring opportunities. There are no permanent roles, but for those who would like to appear on screen when the movie films scenes in Tampa in mid April, there’s a chance that you could! Selected extras will be paid for their work. Inquiries, resumes, and hiring questions should be submitted at the casting website. Click here for more information, or visit @FilmTampaBay on Twitter.

Dabble Lab, a new collaborative software development studio in Tampa, is about to launch and already growing. Dabble Lab, based out of Tampa Bay WaVE, aims to help successful companies retain a startup edge through “growth hacking.” Sound intriguing? The company is hiring for two positions, a Sales Coordinator role as well as a Growth Hacker, whose responsibilities will include sales, coding, and communication. Dabble Lab Tampa is set to launch in early Feb 2015.

Want to get involved with local business? Now’s your chance! The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is hiring an Events Manager. This position will assist the Director of Events in event planning, committee management, and providing service to Chamber members, among other duties. A Bachelor’s Degree and a minimum of 2 years of experience in event planning are required. To view the complete job description, click here.

Hillsborough County is hiring for over 30 positions, ranging from a Wellness Asst. in Aging Services to a Public Works Senior Engineering specialist. A Treatment Counselor Behavior Analyst position is available with Hillsborough County Children and Youth Services. The job requires a bachelor’s degree in a mental health field; Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) eligible to work in Florida; and other qualifications, which can be found on the county’s job board.

Lorrica, Inc is hiring for a Marketing and Communication Manager. The Tampa-based IT security company Lorrica, Inc provides security consulting to small and large enterprises. For consideration, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in marketing, and must have 3-7 years of marketing experience.

The historic Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa is hiring for two part-time, hourly roles: Patron Services Representative and Box Office & Operations Asst. Tampa Theatre has been a mainstay in the downtown since 1926, astonishing first-time visitors with the decadent interior and ceiling that is painted to look like a night sky. Today, the theatre is a Tampa City Landmark managed by a non-profit group, while the historic building is owned by the City of Tampa. To learn more about job opportunities, visit the Tampa Theatre website.

2 local museums celebrate anniversaries, invite families to party for free

Major museums on both sides of Tampa Bay are celebrating important birthdays in February. The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg celebrates its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 7th, while the Tampa Museum of Art honors five years at its current location on Sunday, Feb. 8th. 

On their special days, the MFA and the TMA are offering several art opportunities designed for children, plus celebratory balloons, live entertainment and docent tours.  Families are encouraged to take advantage of the full schedule of events, free of charge for all guests.

Saturday at the MFA in St. Pete, children can get in some yoga time, face painting and other hands-on activities. Sunday at the Tampa Museum of Art will include a parade at 2:30 p.m., sing-along music and birthday cake for all.

“We have been expanding on family days at the Museum as part of our strategic plan to really build a sense of community so that people of all ages feel welcome,” says Museum Education Joie Johnson of the Tampa Museum of Art. “It’s a chance for the public to see what we have without any barrier of cost.”  

The Museum of Fine Arts is launching its major golden anniversary exhibits for the year on the same date as it opened half a century ago. So, in addition to the festivities on Saturday, visitors will be permitted a first view of Monet to Matisse — On the French Coast and Life’s a Beach, Photographs by Martin Parr, as well as the already launched African-American Life and Family and MFA’s impressive permanent collection. MFA spokesperson David Connelly says Saturday’s events are in keeping with the Museum’s mission of making “world-class art accessible to the community.’’ 

The Tampa Museum of Art currently has six exhibitions on display, including selections from their permanent collection, which will be available for viewing and sketching on Sunday.  

Innovation Alliance invites businesses to help transform University area of north Tampa

The Tampa Innovation Alliance aims to transform almost 15,000 acres of commerce, housing and retail surrounding the University of South Florida and affiliate hospitals into a revitalized “Innovation District” that will attract local visitors and tourists.

After a 10-year stint as a Hillsborough County commissioner, Mark Sharpe has stepped into the role of executive director for the Tampa Innovation Alliance. The group formed in 2011 with intentions to redevelop the university area as a premiere destination, but focused too much on a “master plan,” Sharpe says. “I want to make sure that we focus on our key mission: to create this ‘Innovation District’ core.”

The area, which stretches from I-75 on the east to I-275 on the west; north to the Bearss/Bruce B Downs intersection; and south to Busch Blvd, is comprised of thousands of acres in which run-down retail and residential blocks co-mingle with specialized hospitals like Moffitt and the VA center, the University of South Florida’s campus, and popular entertainment destinations like Busch Gardens and MOSI Tampa, the Museum of Science and Industry.

“I think there is a way to capture some of the market that is driving past or through, not stopping, at the local businesses that abut these major anchors,” Sharpe explains. “We’re going to focus on outreach and bring in members, large and small, who will all partner together.”
 
A kick-off luncheon on Friday, Jan. 9, serves as the group’s first outreach to the broader community, Sharpe says. Local businesses both inside and outside the future Innovation District are invited to join Sharpe and other Tampa Innovation Alliance members, such as USF President Judy Genshaft, at the USF Connect Building to discuss the group’s next steps and ideas for area branding.

Businesses are invited to provide feedback at Friday’s meeting, along with a series of monthly meetings Sharpe plans to host, similar to those he conducted at Buddy Brew during his run as a county commissioner. The first of these meetings, open to the public, is scheduled for Jan 23.

The first focus is getting organized, Sharpe says. “I’m doing it all right now – I’m approving colors of the logo, and spellchecking things, and calling people to encourage them to come.”

The group’s current members and partners include Fifth Third Bank, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Brighthouse, Tampa International Airport, EWI Construction, and more. Tampa Innovation Alliance’s Kickoff Luncheon will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at USF Connect, 3802 Spectrum Boulevard in Tampa.

Plant City native brings Christmas cheer in new movie

A new Christmas-theme movie set to debut December 18 at Tampa Theatre and on digital video devices features a Tampa Bay connection.

The film, “An Evergreen Christmas,’’ starring Plant City native Charleene Closshey, brings her home for the holidays.

“It means a lot to bring the film back to my home, where I grew up,” Closshey says. 

An Evergreen Christmas is loosely based on the family of Closshey’s fiancé, Jeremy Culver, who directed and co-wrote the story with his sister, Morgen Culver.

The Culvers’ grandfather owned a Christmas tree farm in Michigan before he died last year.

The heartwarming film celebrates the values and community support often found in small towns.

In “An Evergreen Christmas,’’ Closshey portrays Evie Lee, a young woman forced to put her glamorous Hollywood career on hold to return to her small Tennessee hometown when she learns about her father’s sudden death.

As the eldest sibling, Evie discovers she has been named the executor of the family’s once thriving Christmas tree farm, an estate now strapped with a massive inheritance tax, much to her younger brother’s dismay.

Evie faces a life-altering decision whether to save the family’s legacy or pursue her music career. Her decision would ultimately determine her place in the world.

“Life is about reaching goals and dreams, and community support is important to that happening,” Jeremy Culver says.

Closshey agrees: “My character is more like a rock until she realized she needed that community support,” says Closshey, who attended Harrison Performing Arts Center, a performing arts high school in Lakeland.
 
The movie’s colorful cast includes veteran actor Robert Loggia and country singer and actress Naomi Judd, who portray Evie’s paternal grandparents; and Tyler Ritter, son of the late actor John Ritter, plays Evie’s ex-boyfriend who has grown up but still holds romantic feelings for her.

A special screening of the dramedy will be at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa. Closshey, Jeremy Culver and Morgen Culver are scheduled to attend, make introductions and participate in an audience Q&A after the film.

Closshey, an accomplished violinist who also plays several other instruments, says a three-minute video of a song in the movie called “My Tennessee Home” will be shown at the screening. The music video, filmed at the Southern Barn in Lithia, features about 100 Plant City and Tampa area residents.
 
Supporting and promoting the film industry in Florida is important to Closshey. 

“It’s where I grew up, so I have a great love for the state and its people,” she says.
 
“An Evergreen Christmas’’ also is available at Walmart and on iTunes, Amazon, and it hits Netflix on Dec. 21.

Aqua Marketing positions Bradenton as top travel destination for sports enthusiasts, pet owners

St. Petersburg-based Aqua Marketing & Communications recently received international recognition for promoting unique aspects of the Bradenton area for tourists.

Founded in 2011, the company is a full service firm specializing in the tourism and economic development industries within the State of Florida. Current and past clients include Collier County, the City of Dunedin, Manatee County and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The company’s recent projects for the Bradenton area helped them win international recognition from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing International (HSMAI), the lead international association for the hospitality industry.  

The company put together a sports marketing campaign to position the area as a destination for athletes, coaches and tournament directors to come for training and competitions. The campaign included a virtual “Sports Playbook,” which provided highlights of the region as a destination, facilities available for tournaments and other events, and resources such as medical rehab and therapy, dining and entertainment.

The second piece targeted men’s travel, an often untapped market for the tourism and travel industry, where marketing if often focused on women. They offered a 3-night, 4-day “guys’ getaway,” which included boating, fishing and cigar bars. The promotion is believed to be the first of its kind in the travel and hospitality industry.

A third piece for the Bradenton area was a sweepstakes targeting pet travel. Bradenton is already well-positioned in this area, with several beaches, cafes and restaurants that allow dogs, as well as a high percentage of pet-friendly accommodations. Aqua Marketing created a Pet Owners’ guide to the Bradenton area, which included a list of all of pet-friendly hotels and resorts, activities that can be done with dogs and dog boutiques and bakeries.  

The judges were impressed with the innovation displayed in the campaigns, as well as the results achieved.

The company has nine full-time employees, in addition to part-time employees and freelancers and recently hired several new employees to meet demand. They intend to remain in St Petersburg for the long term.

"Downtown St. Petersburg is a very robust, great place to have a business," says Dave Di Maggio, the company’s Founder and President, noting the central location, robust restaurants and events and the accessibility and attractiveness for clients.

8-Count Studios adds new twist to urban dance battles

Downtown Tampa’s newest renovated theater space turned dance studio hopes to revolutionize the way dance battles are run.

Traditionally, a ballroom or swing dance studio will host a recital to allow its students to show off their work, sometimes with a competition element. In the urban and hip hop scene, their version of a recital is referred to as a battle or jam. Jamming originated as an informal show-off of dance moves in a social circle, where dancers would clear a circle and then take turns displaying their best moves. In a battle, the circle becomes more formal and individuals or pairs of dancers pair off against each other in a competition-style event.

Most battles lack an element of formality, with different dance styles competing against each other. In a desire to formalize these events, 8-Count Studios on North Franklin Street in Tampa is hosting a Layer Cake Battle on January 3.

"We want to revolutionize how battles are run," says Hope Donnelly, co-owner of 8-Count Studios.

The event is named Layer Cake Battle because of the layered judging that will be done in rounds. Using Donnelly’s sports dance background, the studio will introduce a bracket system that will list names of dancers on a board. Dance brackets include: popping and locking, wacking and voguing, breaking, and krumping. Each winner will progress to the next level with prizes awarded in each bracket until an ultimate Best of Show winner is announced.

"Dancing is a sport, so we’re treating it like a sport," says Donnelly. "Dancers are athletes; they are competitors."

Well-known choreographers and judges will be flown in from across the country. The event will also include workshops, vendors and a concert. Cash and other prizes will be given to the winners, as well as a private brunch session with the judges.

The event is open to the public. The price of admission is $20 per person.

Ringling Museum unveils rare circus banners by Belgian artist

A newly restored blast from circus pasts will be on display at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota starting Friday, Nov. 7, through March 2015 as a series of four, rare, early 20th-century, large-scale circus banners by Belgian artist Frans de Vos will be literally unrolled before the public. 

The 9 x 9.5-foot century-old banners were stumbled upon by Circus Historian Howard Tibbals, while paging through a London auction house catalog in 1989.  Listed almost as footnote, with a tiny photograph, were “de Vos banners, good condition.” Tibbals, a collector and model-maker, was intrigued and purchased them, but when they finally arrived, “good condition” was inaccurate: the banners were torn, re-stitched together, crumbling, fragile. The damage was severe, the life of the circus and the century had taken its toll.

Though information about the artist Frans de Vos (1919-1938) is scant, Ringling Museum researchers know he came from a circus family and was a scene designer. There are hints that these banners served as advertisements and backdrops for his family’s own circus. 

“They must have been treasured objects – they kept all four, they kept them together,” says Ringling Circus Curator Debbie Walk. “Truly remarkable, you don’t often find one, and here we have four!” Walk says the banners are also noteworthy in that they show performers performing, not sideshow banners which typically portrayed the unusual or weird.  

Tibbals, primary donor and creator of the Ringling Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center, selected Barbara Ramsay of ARTEX Conservation Laboratory in Washington D.C. to restore the banners, a seven-year process now complete and ready for viewing.  Ramsay is now part of the Ringling team as Chief Conservator. 

“The whole story of conservation and restoration is a wonderful and remarkable story of survival,” says Walk. She admires Tibbals tenacity in all things circus and says he ”spends a great deal of time searching out the circus world, and goes the next step. He wants people to see it not just today, but a generation from now, two generations from now.”

The de Vos banners will be exhibited in the Ringling Museum of Art through the end of March, 2015. The exhibit includes a looped visual presentation highlighting the comprehensive seven-year collaborative restoration experience.

Tampa Water Taxi adds Riverwalk ferry service

Tampa Water Taxi Company, LLC plans to add a continuous loop through the Tampa Riverwalk to its transportation lineup.  

Now going into its seventh year of operation, the company was founded by Capt. Laurence (Larry) Salkin, who was shocked when he moved to Tampa and found a city with a large amount of area surrounded by water that had very little water-based activities. Salkin wanted to show off the city from a different vantage point, to residents and visitors alike.

"Our water is a diamond. It’s a gem," says Salkin. "The views of Tampa from the water are like no views you can get from anywhere on land."

The biggest compliment during his tenure with the company was from a 96-year-old seventh generation Tampa resident, stating that he never knew the city looked this beautiful.

The company offers regular public tours of the water surrounding Tampa’s downtown, including a city overview called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Tampa," history tours, and year-round dolphin tours.There are also sunset and nightlife tours, featuring the lighted bridges.

They also provide private charters for parties and weddings, and transportation to and from Davis and Harbour Islands to Amelia Arena for Tampa Bay Lightning games and concerts. The four boats seating 30 people each have transported as many as 400 people during a single event, lightning the traffic congestion.

The company is planning a new ferry service for the Tampa Riverwalk, which is scheduled for completion by the end of November. The ferry will run a continuous loop along the Riverwalk Friday afternoon through the weekend, with the ability to get on and off at stops along the way. The goal is to charge a minimal cost for riders and obtain sponsorship to cover expenses.

Air taxi service takes off from Sarasota-Bradenton airport

Statewide travel from the Sarasota area just got a little easier with the emergence of Lift Air, a new air charter and taxi service that elevates intra-state travel above the cloud of rush hour traffic congestion on Florida’s notoriously busy highways.

Based out of the Rectrix Aerodome at the Sarasota International Airport (KSRQ), Lift Air is an outgrowth of SRQ Aviation, a Cirrus Aircraft Training Center that expanded from a pilot’s training facility into a fully-operational air charter service this year. Lift Air currently flies in and out of every airport in the state, offering affordable air travel from Tallahassee to Key West.

“Simply put, air charter is the business of renting the entire aircraft to our customers and their itinerary, as opposed to purchasing individual seats through a traditional airline. Air taxi is air charter operating on an on­-demand basis,” explains Lift Air Consultant Bill Russini.  

Russini says that the air charter and taxi service was created to fill a need that emerged in the wake of the recession, when Census reports documented a nearly 2 percent growth in the populations of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. 

“The demographic potential of offering Florida's Gulf Coast an alternative means of personal air travel gave birth to Lift Air. … The economic impact is immediate in Sarasota and Manatee counties, and extends further to our main maintainence facility located at the Tampa Executive Airport in Hillsborough County,”  Russini says. 

Lift Air currently consists of seven full and part-time employees who maintain operations at the Rectrix Aerodome at KSRQ, as well as in Lift Air’s Hillsborough-based maintenance facility.

The fleet consists of new 2014 Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircrafts. These lightweight, single engine piston aircrafts provide a convenient, cost-efficient alternative to jet travel, and are equipped with state-of-the-art emergency technology. Each Lift Air aircraft is equipped with Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) technology, a system that launches a 55-foot diameter parachute that lowers the plane to the ground when activated in the instance of in-flight emergency. 

Although Lift Air currently operates solely within the state lines of Florida, Russin says that the company its working to expand its operations in the near future. 

“As to our future, Lift Air plans further inter­state and international (Bahama) certification next year,” Russini says. “One only needs to contemplate the domino effect we have in advertising and destination service support to Florida's economy.”
94 Tourism Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts