Leadership Tampa: Tampa Day – We Have a Vision

iStock - Tampa Panoramic

By: Owen LaFave, The Bank of Tampa

Owen LaFaveIf you were to design a day to showcase Tampa called “Tampa Day,” perhaps your visioning session would start with thoughts of pirates, Cuban sandwiches, cafés con leche, and hand-rolled cigars in Ybor City. While those things certainly help define our local culture and identity, the Big Guava continues to become America’s next great city right before our very eyes. I believe I can strongly argue that we may arrive there on an international jet.

On March 11, Leadership Tampa Class of 2015 experienced “Tampa Day” the way our insightful leadership and passionate volunteers at the Greater Tampa Chamber envisioned: not where we’ve been, but where we’re going.

“Tampa Day” began before sunrise at one of the region’s most valuable assets, Tampa International Airport. In the off chance you haven’t heard, the new “Mr. Worldwide” (airport CEO Joe Lopano) is spearheading a billion dollar renovation to improve one of the best airports in North America, if not the world, which is now fully underway.

  • Why Mr. Worldwide? Since Lopano’s arrival, Tampa now benefits from international flights to/from Panama, Zurich, Frankfurt and Cuba. While this should be no surprise, more are coming! Additionally, TIA recently gained non-stop flights to Seattle with more west coast flights in development. San Francisco? Let’s hope soon we are greeted with service to Napa Valley, Silicon Valley and a direct flight to venture capital.
  • We learned about TIA’s commitment to doing business with disadvantaged, women and minority-owned businesses where 39 of 93 subcontracts and a direct commitment of $122.8 million have gone to such businesses.
  • We were welcomed to a behind-the-scenes tour of the 5 miles of baggage conveyor belts and the sophisticated and futuristic computer system that operates it all after a thorough, but brief and friendly security search by TSA.
  • Into the arts scene? I encourage you to take a quick look around the next time you’re running through the terminals to catch your flight. TIA is home to 30 different amazing art collections valued at over $11 million.

While Tampans are very well aware, we are quickly becoming nationally known as a foodie destination.  After the airport tour, we were treated to a mouthwatering lunch by the foodie queen and tourism visionary Maryann Ferenc, and a cooking demonstration by her talented executive chef at Mise en Place. With bellies delighted, we were shuttled off to tour downtown Tampa from the vantage of another one of Tampa’s tremendous assets, the Hillsborough River.

eBoats owner Josh Dohring graciously donated his fleet of electric boats available for rent to anyone.  The river tour enabled us to:

  • See the progress of the Riverwalk with plans to expand the walk from the Straz Center to Waterworks Park and Ulele;
  • Meet Tim Shackton, the head brewmaster at Ulele, who bestowed upon us his vast knowledge of craft beer and the unique brewing process at Ulele that makes their craft beer among the best in Tampa;
  • Have a waterside view of Curtis Hixon Park which was host to the Mayor’s River O’Green St. Patrick’s Day Celebration;
  • And discuss the West Tampa redevelopment efforts and redesign of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.

From the waters in the heart of downtown, Leadership Tampa was off to Amalie Arena, the southern epicenter for downtown Tampa whose offices are home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Vinik, and his team of visionaries at Strategic Property Partners to hear their plan of transforming the Channelside district and potentially all of downtown as a byproduct. The SPP team led a visioning session where Leadership Tampa 2015 creatively mind-crafted ideas that will no doubt be used in Mr. Vinik’s 18/7 live, work, play and stay concept (not 24/7 because he is expecting you to get at least 6 hours of sleep).

Finally as the sun was setting on the day, we were offered a sneak peak of the new Ferg’s Live Tampa across the street from Amalie Arena. Soon to open, the use of retrofitted 40-foot freight containers and a 10,000-square-foot courtyard designed for live music will add another great venue to America’s next great downtown.

Member Highlights: March 22 – 28, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Mayor Buckhorn, Tampa City Council – Invitation to Oath of Office

Oath of Office 2015 Invite PRINT (2)

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Rays Up! Opening Day is April 6

The Tampa Bay Rays unveiled their 2015 advertising and marketing campaign last week, opting to build upon the “Rays Up” message introduced last year. View new “Tampa Bay Rays: We’re Getting Ready for October”  (http://m.mlb.com/video/v48892683/a-message-from-longo-to-the-fans) message from Evan Longoria to all the Rays fans to get ready for the season!

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NorthStar Bank Announces New SBA Division

Brenda Winter

Brenda Winter

NorthStar Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Brenda Winter as Vice President, SBA Division Manager. Ms. Winter has over 25 years of experience in the commercial banking industry with a primary focus in SBA lending and comes to NorthStar Bank from HomeBanc where she was most recently Senior Credit Officer. In Brenda’s role at NorthStar Bank, she will be responsible for developing new SBA relationships as well as overseeing the SBA division of the Bank.

NorthStar Bank’s new SBA division is a significant and exciting addition to its existing team of lending experts. David Stone, President & CEO commented, “NorthStar Bank has been making SBA loans since our inception. Forming a SBA Division and having an experienced SBA banker to run it will allow NorthStar to further meet the needs of our clients and community.”

Along with the rollout of its SBA division, NorthStar Bank will be opening a new office in South Tampa at the corner of MacDill Ave and Azeele St. This will be NorthStar Bank’s third office and second in Tampa. Grand opening is anticipated in mid 2015.

NorthStar Bank, opened in 2007, is an independent community bank headquartered in Tampa, Florida with assets exceeding $200 million. NorthStar Bank provides the highest level of personal and commercial banking services by doing the unexpected to deliver unparalleled service quality and product value. It is the true alternative to mega-regional banks for anyone looking for cutting edge technology from a strong, stable community bank. NorthStar Bank is rated Five-Stars by BauerFinancial (www.bauerfinancial.com), the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. For clients looking to Bank Up, NorthStar is the clear choice. Member FDIC.

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Board of Governors Approves Florida Poly Housing Plan

The Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida has approved Florida Polytechnic University’s 2016 Housing Plan. The University will enter into a lease and operating agreement with Jacksonville-based Vestcor Communities, Inc. to build and operate a new 543-bed student housing facility on campus.

This will be Florida Poly’s second on-campus residence hall.

Located near the first residence hall, the new 131,000-square-foot, five-story dormitory will include amenities such as an outdoor pool and volleyball courts. Florida Poly expects the project will be completed in July 2016.

“We’re pleased to offer students another great on-campus option, designed to meet the demands of our growing University,” said Florida Poly President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “I’m grateful to the Board of Governors for their guidance and support during this process.”

Florida Poly’s first residence hall opened for students this fall. It is also owned and operated by Vestcor. Both the existing residence hall and the new facility are structured as public-private partnerships in which Vestcor bears all responsibility and risk associated with financing, designing, building, furnishing, operating and maintaining the facilities.

“All of our student housing options are designed with the modern student in mind,” said Dr. Steve Warner, Director of Student Affairs. “We want to make certain that our students are safe, comfortable and have the amenities they need to study, socialize and enjoy the University experience.”

Florida Poly’s existing residence hall will accommodate more than 400 students beginning fall 2015. The University is also exploring interim off-campus housing solutions to serve additional students until the new residence hall is complete.

Florida Poly officials anticipate that by 2016, the University will have more than 750 on-campus beds.

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Absolute Mobile Solutions Offers Free Website Testing to Get Companies Ready for Google’s Shift to Mobile-Friendly Websites

Absolute Mobile Solutions, a Tampa digital marketing agency that specializes in responsive website design and mobile applications, announced today that they will test websites for free to help companies determine if their sites are mobile-friendly. This is in response to a recent announcement on Google’s webmaster blog that it will officially update its search algorithm to consider “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking factor in search results starting on April 21. The official announcement states, “this change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results.”

It is estimated that 90 percent of businesses do not have a responsive website or mobile site. Many of these businesses had no plan to invest in a new or modified website this fiscal quarter. However, the Google announcement certainly will lead to a heightened level of urgency.

Google’s algorithm changes may impact businesses without mobile-friendly websites in the following ways:

A drop in ranking

While a specific penalty has not been noted for non-mobile-friendly websites, through the algorithm change and the label change before it, it’s clear that Google’s focus is on improving mobile search. Mobile-friendly sites will surely benefit with a rise in rankings. If these sites are rising, non-mobile sites have to fall. And if you examine it logically, if your site goes from page one to three in favor of mobile-friendly sites, does it really matter if you are being penalized or only being reshuffled due to an algorithm change?

The creation of a mobile-only index

At SMX, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, told attendees that Google was already working on a mobile-only index, but he wasn’t certain when the project would be complete. When this happens, your company can either benefit from the increased visibility or find themselves left out of mobile search completely.

Obviously, the affect that the Google algorithm change can have on your site’s rankings is real and potentially detrimental to the public’s ability to find you. If you are uncertain whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, contact us. We can use our tools to see how your sites will be affected by Google’s algorithm change, free of charge.

About Absolute Mobile Solutions

Since 1999, Absolute Mobile Solutions has been providing high quality mobile applications, responsive websites, and mobile strategy to clients worldwide. Absolute understands that to succeed on mobile, businesses need a strategy that matches consumer demands on every digital platform. Absolute Mobile Solutions specializes in mobile strategy, design, and development alongside digital marketing efforts such as SEO and conversion analysis. We combine the technological and marketing expertise necessary for companies to drive engagement and achieve success.

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Lakeland Middle School Student Creates Award-Winning Invention at Florida Poly’s 3D Printing Lab

Thirteen-year-old Christian Herman is proof that innovation can occur at any age. The Lakeland Christian School seventh grader has invented a pencil grip that helps children improve their handwriting skills – and he’s done it with a little help from the lab team at Florida Polytechnic University.

Constructed using one of Florida Poly’s Makerbot 3D printers, the pencil grip is made from flexible filament, is triangular-shaped, colorful and includes a light. When students press hard enough on the grip, it lights up. This extra pressure on the pencil and on the paper helps improve handwriting and legibility. The grip also trains students to hold their pencil correctly.

“Because of the light and the colors, kids have fun using the grip,” says Christian. “If these students can learn the proper writing form as kids while they’re developing handwriting skills, it will help them for life.”

The invention is already getting noticed. Christian’s pencil grip won first place in the engineering category at the Polk Regional Science and Engineering Fair in February. Next, he’ll compete in the 60th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida at the end of March.

And Christian’s aspirations don’t end with the state science fair. He has a provisional patent on the pencil grip and is now working toward the full patent. He’s even launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it.

“I knew that I wanted to create a project using 3D printing technology. It’s something that really interests me,” says Christian. “I also knew that I wanted to help solve a problem that students were facing. I interviewed several teachers at my school to find out what their students were struggling with and how I could help.”

The answer teachers gave him: handwriting. They told him many children, especially those with special needs, were struggling with hand-eye coordination, making their writing hard to read.

Christian began to investigate the problem and developed several clay prototypes. The 3D printer at his school wasn’t quite right to complete his project, so Christian turned to Florida Poly.

“My mom and I did some research and learned Florida Poly has the biggest Makerbot 3D Printing Lab in the country,” says Christian. “The lab team was really welcoming and excited to help me perfect my product.”

Working alongside Florida Poly’s Chief Information Officer Tom Hull and Instructional Design Engineer Scott Johnson, Christian was able to use the school’s 3D printers to create a final pencil grip that he could begin testing with kindergarten students and teachers.

“It was a lot of fun having someone from the next generation of innovators on our campus, utilizing Florida Poly as the great community asset that it is,” says Tom Hull. “Christian is bright and driven. We simply provided him with the tools he needed and let him do his thing.”

“I’m really grateful to Tom and Scott at Florida Poly for their guidance and support,” says Christian. “My experience at the University really helped take my invention to the next level and has reaffirmed my interest in pursuing a STEM career one day.”

To learn more about Christian’s pencil grip and his journey to patent the product, visit his Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lightuppencilgrip/light-up-pencil-grip?ref=category_location.

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Member Events

March 27: Tampa Bay Storm Business Professional Night

Join us for Business Professional Night on March 27th at Amalie Arena!

The pre-game networking event will be in Firestick Grill between 6 and 7:30pm.

Don’t forget your business cards on the night as we will have a drawing for various prizes including Derrick Brooks signed memorabilia!

In addition, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jim Shimberg & Director of Player Personnel Dave Wilson will speak before the Storm Home Opener on March 27.

Ticket range is between $30 – $50.

  • $30 includes pre-game networking & Promenade Sideline ticket.
  • $45 includes pre-game networking & Chase Bank Club ticket.
  • $50 includes pre-game networking & Hooter’s Owls Nest ticket.

For information, please call Oisin Crean @ (813) 301 6506 or email ocrean@amaliearena.com

Storm Business Pro Night Oisin

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March 27: Stageworks’ Teen Creatives Team takes on Bullying on at the Gasparilla Fringe Festival

The students who attended Stageworks Theatre’s Teen Acting Intensive during spring break will be performing at the Gasp! or Gasparilla Fringe Festival that takes place on Friday, March 27 from 6-10 p.m. at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Our Teen Creative Team will perform short plays that take on bullying from a variety of perspectives at 6:30 p.m.

The Gasparilla Fringe Festival is a multi-disciplinary celebration of performing arts, featuring theatre, music, dance, visual art and more, sponsored by Creative Loafing and the Tampa Museum of Art.

Details on Gasp!. . .  http://cltampa.com/tampa/Gasp2015/Page#.VQxBiGZnKKk

Students involved are: Analisa Benitez, Christina Carter, Jacob Dankerl, Marcel Hartley, Melisa Hester, Summer Hoop, Sierra Lucas, Adam Mirajkar, Kyle Mogg and Ursula Trasorras, who attend Blake High School and Orange Grove Middle School.

They’ll be performing original plays about bullying written by the students, plus selections from The Bully Plays, a powerful collection of ten-minute plays  commissioned by established playwrights. The plays tackle not just the pain of being bullied and people who are bullies – but the bystanders that let those situations happen.

Featured plays:

  • Not Today Satan by Marcel Hartley
  • * Bystander Blues by Trish Lindberg
  • * The Conundrum by Brett Neveu
  • * We’re Your Friends by Werner Treischmann
  • Behind Closed Doors by Summer Hoop
  • Turning Tables by Christina Carter

* Published in The Bully Plays, by Dramatic Publishing.


Stageworks will be offering more programs for teenagers this summer. Contact 813-374-2416 or stageworkspad@gmail.com for information.

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April 1: U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor Hosts “Consumer Protection & Fraud Prevention Workshop”

Fraud Prevention (2)_Page_1 Fraud Prevention (2)_Page_2Back to Top

April 7: Tides of Change: Florida Aquarium’s 20 Years of Growth


Twenty years ago, the Florida Aquarium first opened its doors in Downtown Tampa’s Channel District. Since that time, the Aquarium has welcomed over 13 million visitors, educated 1.3 million students, and  has rescued and released 120 turtles.

Join us as Thom Stork discusses:

  • Florida Aquarium’s beginnings
  • How Tampa Downtown Partnership was instrumental in bringing it to its current location
  • The Aquarium’s catalytic role in the Channel District’s economic growth
  • The Aquarium’s accomplishments and plans for the future
  • The Aquarium’s six months of celebrations featuring exciting events and programs

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The Florida Aquarium – The Vinik Channelside Room 
701 Channelside Drive

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER (Use the PayPal option to pay by credit card)

Networking & Registration – 7:30 a.m.
Program & Continental Breakfast – 8:00-9:00 a.m.

Tampa Downtown Partnership Member – $20 / Non-Member – $25 / Corporate Table (8) – $160

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April 10: Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful To Host Tropical Nights Annual Fundraiser

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful announces that its 24th annual Tropical Nights fundraising event will take place on April 10, 2015, from 7 to 11pm at the TPepin Hospitality Centre, 4121 N. 50th Street, Tampa, 33610.

Tropical Nights is a fun-filled evening of social events and live music featuring over 200 one-of-a-kind items up for bid in the “You Must See It To Believe It” silent auction. Guests also will enjoy sampling foods from 10 Tampa Bay area restaurants while enjoying live music in a casual atmosphere.

The event provides a large percentage of funds for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to continue fulfilling its mission. One hundred percent of the proceeds are used directly in our community and help to make a cleaner, greener and more livable place for visitors and residents of Tampa Bay.

Tickets are $100. For more information or to register, call 813.221.8733 or visit www.keeptampabaybeautiful.org.

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April 23: Frameworks of Tampa Bay Annual Head & Heart Luncheon

Join Us for the Annual Head & Heart Luncheon


Register Now | Become a Sponsor

Keynote Speaker: 
Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., is the world’s leading researcher on hope. His mission is to help people of all ages exercise some control over what their future can become and teach them how to aim for the future they want in school, work, and life. He is also one of the most vocal advocates of psychological reform of America’s education system. He helps schools function less like impersonal factories and more like dynamic human development centers that help students achieve the meaningful futures they say they really want – including a good job and a happy family.

Head and Heart Award:
The Head and Heart Awards honor individuals and/or organizations that recognize the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) to life, academic and organizational success. In addition, they are committed to the promotion, advancement and modeling of the SEL framework which includes high self-awareness, social-awareness, emotion management, empathy for others, responsible and ethical decision-making, strong communication and conflict resolution capabilities, and civic engagement to help others in our global and local communities.

When: April 23, 2015
Where: A La Carte Event Pavilion | 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa, FL 33634
Check-in: 11:15AM – 12:00PM
Luncheon: 12:00PM – 1:00PM
Book signing: Immediately following

The Triad Foundation is generously providing a $50,000 2 for 1 match. That means, for every dollar donated, they will donate $2, up to $50,000!

Registration options:
Register online or we can invoice you. To be invoiced, please contact Dana at ddemahop@myframeworks.org or 813.579.6913. Payment must be made prior to event.

Included in your registration will be the chance to take the StrengthsFinder assessment and find out your top 5 strengths! Details will be emailed to you upon registration.

*Update table attendees

Table sponsorship questions:
Please contact Amanda at apage@myframeworks.org or 813-574-6924

Annual Student Photography Contest:
We will be displaying the winning images at this event and you have a chance to be apart of it! Between March 8th and March 21st, view the entries and vote for your favorite image by visiting our contest site.

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New Hires & Promotions

Elevate, Inc. Welcomes New Hires

Elevate, Inc. is pleased to welcome new public relations assistants: Arjun Patel, Fernanda De Castro and Maddie Peek.

Arjun-Patel-500px-LinkedinArjun Patel, a PR & Communications Assistant for Elevate, Inc., is one of the new members of #TeamElevate. He is an ambitious young professional who is in school studying Business Administration at Keiser University. Arjun moved to Tampa from Naples, FL back in July 2014 and has since been heavily involved in the Tampa community. Arjun also happens to be heavily involved with his school, recently joining the Student Government Association. Before moving to Tampa, Arjun was President of the Phi Theta Kappa – Beta Tau Tau Chapter National Honor Society. Arjun is a highly motivated individual who wants to help others succeed. He comes to #TeamElevate with experience in helping others as he was a Financial Representative Intern for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Please follow Arjun on Twitter @ArjunAtElevate.

Fernanda-Castro-500px-LinkedinFernanda De Castro, a PR and Communications Assistant for Elevate, Inc., is an optimistic individual who is passionate in anything she sets her mind to. She loves acquiring new knowledge and is an ambitious team player. Fernanda is an open-minded individual who uses a variety of strategies to increase new abilities. Originally from Brasilia, Brazil, Fernanda grew up just a few miles south of Tampa in Sarasota, Florida. Fernanda is currently a Communications major at the University of Tampa projecting to graduate in the fall of 2015. She is a current member of Sigma Alpha Pi Fraternity where she enjoys keeping up with the business community and how to become a positive leader. She previously filled an internship with Spectrum Productions/Mindclay Creative where she experienced working with National Geographical Wild, Busch Gardens, Bindi Irwin Web Series, and Disney World. Fernanda keeps busy by engaging herself in extracurricular activities such as intramural sports and women’s indoor soccer club, where she partook as a respective board member for two years. In her spare time she likes to read books, create videos, and write articles on her blog. Fernanda is a highly motivated individual who provides an efficient and productive work environment for her teammates. She thrives to find her inner creativeness, and looks forward in growing with #TeamElevate! Follow Fernanda today on Twitter @FernAtElevate.

Maddie-Peek-500px-LinkedinMaddie Peek is a new Public Relations & Communications Assistant at Elevate, Inc. She will be involved with creative social media content building, client strategy/ shadowing opportunities, and networking in Tampa Bay.

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New Team Members at A Media Marketing

A Media Marketing is pleased to welcome Amanda Jasso and Alyssa Mammano to the team!

Amanda Jasso, Data Ninja
amm_photo_Amanda_crop300dpiAmanda is a strategic business analyst with over five years of experience in many diverse industries, from manufacturing to structural steel. She facilitates order processes using various research methods, and enables A Media Marketing to continue to provide competitive pricing utilizing strategic planning and reporting.

Alyssa Mammano, Content Ninja

amm_photo_alyssa_crop300dpi_sml_cmykAlyssa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and experience in a wide array of writing genres under her belt. She has since continued developing her writing style, expanding her portfolio to include web content, product descriptions, video scripts, newsletters, articles, blog posts and social media marketing.

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Squire Patton Boggs Welcomes New Hire

Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP welcomes Bryan Sims to the team!

Bryan SimsBryan has rejoined the firm after spending the past seven years as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary at SolarWinds, Inc., an IT management software company.

Bryan has over 20 years of experience advising and working in the technology industry. His practice focuses on advising software and other technology companies on mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and other commercial transactions. Bryan also has significant experience prosecuting, protecting and managing large corporate intellectual property portfolios.

He received a B.A. from Howard University and a J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law. Earlier in Bryan’s career, he served as Associate General Counsel and Vice President of Corporate Development and Business Affairs at open source software provider Red Hat, Inc.

Bryan joins our Global Corporate Practice as Of Counsel in the Tampa office.

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Member Accolades

Tampa Law Firm Bush Ross, P.A. Shareholder Elected to Serve on Firm’s Board of Directors

025-JenkinsRS(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Andrew Jenkins was recently elected to serve a three year term on the Firm’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Jenkins has been with the Firm since 2001.  His practice focuses primarily on commercial finance, secured lending, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate law.  Mr. Jenkins also represents creditors and trustees in Chapter 11 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations.

Mr. Jenkins is a member of the Board of Governors for the Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division and also sits on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.

About Bush Ross

Established in 1981, Bush Ross is one of the preeminent law firms in Florida dedicated to the representation of businesses and professionals.  Its attorneys practice statewide in the fields of aviation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, business, tax, corporate finance, commercial and casualty litigation, civil trials and appeals, professional malpractice, sports and recreation, health care, real property and lending, estate planning and community association representation.  For more information about Bush Ross, visit the firm’s website at www.bushross.com.

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Member Accolades

THF Congratulates Taylor Harmon on Passing CPA Exam

Taylor HarmonThomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm headquartered in Tallahassee, congratulates Taylor Harmon on passing the Certified Public Accounting exam. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Taylor has now satisfied all of the requirements to become a fully licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Florida.

Taylor joined the Thomas Howell Ferguson team in 2014 after graduating from Florida State University, with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. He has experience in both tax preparation and audit procedures, and has worked with a variety of clients including governments, corporations, partnerships, not-for-profits, individuals, and construction companies.

Jeff Barbacci, shareholder and Director of Assurance Services, states, “Taylor’s technical skills and versatility make him a valuable resource to our firm. With the CPA exam behind him, we are excited to see how he continues to develop and apply these skills within the profession and within the community.”


Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. is a full-service certified public accounting firm founded in 1993.  The firm employs approximately 75 CPA and non-CPA professionals in order to serve businesses and individuals from its locations in Tallahassee and Tampa.  For more information, please call 850-668-8100 or visit www. thf-cpa.com.

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Greenberg Traurig’s Michael G. Cooke Named to Law360 Environmental Editorial Advisory Board

Cooke_MichaelMichael G. Cooke, a Tampa attorney in the Environmental Practice of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A., has been selected as a member of Law360’s 2015 Environmental Editorial Advisory Board.

Cooke is one of 16 environmental lawyers across the country named to the 2015 board. The editorial advisory board was established as a platform for practitioners in the field to provide feedback on Law360’s coverage and offer insights to help shape future coverage.

“It is a privilege to be a part of this board.  I look forward to this opportunity to advance the understanding and awareness of important topics in environmental law,” Cooke said.

At Greenberg Traurig, Cooke concentrates his practice in administrative law, including environmental, utility and land use law. He represents industrial, agricultural, banking, government, and developer clients on matters involving clean air, climate change, electric generating facilities, renewable energy, telecommunications, utility plant and transmission line siting, water and wastewater issues.

About Greenberg Traurig -Tampa

Greenberg Traurig’s Tampa office represents clients in a broad array of civil and criminal litigation, trial, and appellate practice in state and federal courts—including complex and high-stakes trials—both in Florida and around the country.  We also regularly represent clients in labor & employment, real estate, environmental, land development, corporate, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, public finance, tax, and other business planning and transactions.  We work closely with our Orlando office to offer clients full-service representation in the region, with our six other Florida offices to provide seamless state-wide representation, and with dozens of Greenberg Traurig offices in the United States and abroad to provide clients with both local expertise and global reach. Nine Greenberg Traurig Tampa practices are listed as top-tier by U.S. News–Best Law Firms. And, members of our team are recognized in Chambers and Partners USA Guide, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, The Legal 500 United States, Florida Super Lawyers, Florida Trend magazine’s Florida Legal Elite, and Best Lawyers in America.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, multi-practice law firm with approximately 1800 attorneys serving clients from 37 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm is among the “Power Elite” in the 2014 BTI Client Relationship Scorecard report, which assesses the nature and strength of law firms’ client relationships. For additional information, please visit www.gtlaw.com.

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PeakBiety Branding + Advertising Celebrates 25 years of Adding Value to Brands

PeakBiety branding + advertising announces the celebration of a major milestone. The month of March marks the agency’s 25th year in business. In a volatile industry where some agencies barely outlast the ad campaigns they create, PeakBiety’s longevity can be viewed as a significant achievement.

“We are proud of the body of work we have produced for many terrific clients over the years,” says Glen Peak, president, one of the agency’s founders. “We are especially proud of how the agency has evolved from a traditional advertising agency to embrace digital capabilities for today’s more complex communications world.”

PeakBiety opened its doors in 1990 with a lot enthusiasm and zero clients. Originally known as Peak, Barr, Petralia, Biety (PB2), the name was later shortened to PeakBiety after the departure of two of the original partners. Since its inception, PeakBiety has been one of the few Tampa- or Florida-based agencies to hold membership in the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). In 1999, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce recognized the agency as Small Business of the Year.

Peak still actively manages agency accounts and functions as its brand strategist. He credits the agency’s core philosophy of balancing marketing savvy with creative flair as instrumental in its long-term success. “We’re not strictly a design-only or digital-only shop. We work to understand a client’s business and its audience so that we can create communication and media plans that influence results.”

In addition to Peak, the agency boasts a deeply experienced core team consisting of Amy Phillips, creative director, and Donette Arcos, media director. Both have been with the agency for more than a decade.

Throughout its history, PeakBiety has served large national brands such as Nokia, as well as a host of regional and local companies. Its experience spans many business sectors including utilities, healthcare, professional services, consumer products, manufacturing, technology and financial services.

In addition, the agency has long given its time and talent to support nonprofit causes. Over the years, it has developed branding/advertising for the American Cancer Society, Eckerd, Heartbeat International, Pasco-Pinellas Heart Gallery, Prevent Blindness-FL, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Hillsborough County Crisis Center, the Children’s Home and the Greater TampaChamber of Commerce.

About PeakBiety branding + advertising

Since 1990, PeakBiety branding + advertising has serviced local, regional and national clients in a variety of business sectors. The agency focuses on adding value for its clients by improving customer perceptions. This commitment is summed up in the agency’s promise, “the power of perception®.” PeakBiety is one of the few advertising agencies in the Tampa Bay Area to meet strict requirements for membership in the prestigious American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAAs). For more information, visit www.peakbiety.com.

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Member Highlights: March 15 – 21, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Agency Formerly Known as Fry Hammond Barr is now &Barr

For nearly six decades, Fry Hammond Barr (FHB) has been a leader in providing innovative marketing and communications solutions for brands of all types. It’s accomplished this by becoming an extension of its clients’ marketing functions and partners in their success. To better reflect what the agency has grown to be, wants to be in the future and elevate its philosophy of partnership, Fry Hammond Barr is now known as &Barr.

What does &Barr mean? First, it’s a brand that brings the agency’s partnerships to the forefront. Whether an employee, client, vendor or simply a friend – it personifies collaboration. Think Employee&Barr, Client&Barr, Vendor&Barr or Friend&Barr. This new name and brand better reflects the agency’s rich history of partnership.

Second, the new brand allows increased focus on the agency’s evolution of expertise. Founded as an advertising agency with deep expertise in marketing consultation, innovate creative design and results-driven paid media planning, the firm has evolved into a much different company than the one Chuck Fry, Bob Hammond and Pete Barr, Sr. founded 58 years ago.

While continuing its advertising excellence, the agency has adjusted to the changing marketing and communications landscape to better service the broader needs of its clients. Along the way, the agency has added comprehensive public relations services, a wide variety of digital solutions and expanded its strategic planning and brand development capabilities. &Barr enables the agency to bring its full-service expertise to the forefront. Envision Branding&Barr, Strategy&Barr, Design&Barr, Public Relations&Barr or Digital Marketing&Barr.

“This new brand, built upon partnership and creative thinking, is a natural evolution for us,” states Pete, Barr, Jr., President/CEO for &Barr. “We’ve been practicing this for quite some time and only want to elevate it in the future. We feel this new brand platform allows us to do that.”

“&Barr isn’t an ad agency, PR firm, design studio or digital shop – it’s a group of marketing and communications thinkers and doers that provide creative solutions for the things that keep our partners awake at night,” continues Barr.

For more information, please visit www.andbarr.co.

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IDRGroup Partners with AlienVault to Provide Customers a Flexible and Affordable Managed Security Service

IDRGroup is excited to announce it has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with AlienVault to provide their Managed Security Services offering to customers utilizing AlienVault’s premier threat detection and compliance management product (Unified Security Management (USM)). Incorporating threat intelligence via AlienVault Labs Threat Intelligence and the Open Threat Exchange, the use of USM will enable IDRGroup to deliver enterprise-strength cybersecurity services at price points that “make sense for the small to mid-market businesses that make up our customer base”, according to Mark Maiville, CEO.  “We’re really excited to have aligned our services with such an agile, innovative and forward-thinking company with an attitude and philosophy that so closely mirror our own.  We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

Based in the Tampa, Florida area, IDRGroup provides enterprise-grade cybersecurity services for computers and networks to small and medium-sized businesses.  IDRGroup brings decades of experience in the information and network security fields, working for global Fortune 500 companies, with extensive experience in Security Operations (deploying and supporting Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), firewalls, proxy servers, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) systems) and Security Governance (corporate security policy and procedures development, security and compliance audits, enterprise controls).  IDRGroup engineers hold certifications in ethical hacking, security incident handling, SIEM design, analysis and management, cybersecurity forensics and are AlienVault Certified Security Engineers.

About AlienVault

AlienVault™ is the champion of mid-size organizations that lack the staff, security expertise, technology or budget to defend against modern threats. Our Unified Security Management™ (USM) platform provides all of the essential security controls required for security visibility. Powered by the latest AlienVault Labs Threat Intelligence and the Open Threat Exchange™—the world’s largest crowd-sourced threat intelligence exchange—AlienVault USM delivers a unified, simple and affordable solution for threat detection and compliance management. www.AlienVault.com

AlienVault, Open Threat Exchange, ThreatFinder and Unified Security Management are trademarks of AlienVault.

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Absolute Mobile Solutions’ Alfred Goldberg Speaks about Mobile’s Emergence as a Mass Medium to Marketing Students at the University of Tampa

Absolute Mobile Solutions president Alfred Goldberg will share his experience and expertise with marketing students at the University of Tampa’s Sykes College of Business on Monday, March 16th.  The discussion will focus on the prevalence of mobile usage in our society and how engaging users on mobile platforms can have a tremendous impact on business.

Goldberg will discuss the emergence of mobile technology as a mass medium. He will also give examples of why including mobile in your marketing strategy can be transformative to your business, product or even, your industry.

“It is critical for your business to be at the forefront of how people search for brands and products. Consumers utilize their phones daily to help make buying decisions and have conversations about the products and services that they like or dislike,” said Goldberg. “Also, with smartphones and tablets accounting for 60 percent of all online traffic and changes in Google’s search algorithm to support mobile-friendly websites, there’s no time like the present to make mobile a part of your marketing strategy.”

“We’d like to thank Alfred for taking time to share his knowledge and experiences with our students,” said Loran Tripp, marketing professor at the University of Tampa. “He gives a tremendous real world-perspective on digital marketing that enhances what our students learn on a daily basis.”

About Absolute Mobile Solutions

Since 1999, Absolute Mobile Solutions has been providing high quality mobile applications, responsive websites, and mobile strategy to clients worldwide. Absolute understands that to succeed on mobile, businesses need a strategy that matches consumer demands on every digital platform. Absolute Mobile Solutions specializes in mobile strategy, design, and development alongside digital marketing efforts such as SEO and conversion analysis. We combine the technological and marketing expertise necessary for companies to drive engagement and achieve success.

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Member Events

March 1 – 31: Middle & High School Students Ride Free on HART with School ID


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March 24: Ride HART for FREE on City of Tampa Runoff Election Day


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April 9: HUB International Presents “Benefits Technology: Transforming the Transactional Experience into Workforce Engagement

This seminar will explore how technology is transforming the transactional experience and what employers should consider when developing a long-term, comprehensive and integrated benefits management strategy. Click here to register.


Connect to HUB on Linkedin | Follow HUB on Twitter | Connect to HUB Facebook

Upcoming Events
Visit our website for upcoming events or register for
live webinars and view on-demand recordings of
previous webinars.

Contact HUB International Florida
Toll-Free 800.797.0441

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April 9: Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission Grand Opening

Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission Board and Staff Members invite you to come and celebrate the grand opening of their new building at 4148 N. Armenia Ave., in Tampa, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 9th at 2:30 PM.

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April 17: Moffitt Cancer Center’s 9th Annual Business of Biotech Conference

To register for this event, click here.

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April 25: Tampa International Airport 5K Runway Fun Run

For details and link to registration, visit TampaAirport.com/5K.

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New Hires & Promotions

Schifino Lee Hires Senior Art Director and Copywriter to Talent Roster

Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding announces the hiring of Jon Rodriguez as Senior Art Director and Mike Looper as Copywriter.

Jon RodriguezJon Rodriguez joins the full-service agency bringing considerable talents as an illustrator and designer. He has worked on projects for Toyota, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Buffalo Wild Wings, Shoe Carnival, Publix, Sweetbay Supermarket, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Florida’s Natural, and Costa Rica Tourism. Prior to working in advertising, Jon exhibited his illustrations in galleries across the country with some of his work being featured in various books and art blogs. He earned his degree in Graphic and Interactive Communication at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Mike LooperMike Looper’s skills as a writer make him an excellent addition to Schifino Lee’s creative team. He has worked on projects for HondaJet, Lowes Foods, BASF, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Moffitt Cancer Center, Ekornes, Lennar Homes, S&N Communications, Polivka International, and Texas Children’s Hospital. Before getting into advertising, Mike studied Writing and Media Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Mike brings an exciting new point of view, voice, and personality to a wide variety of Schifino Lee clients.

About Schifino Lee:

Schifino Lee is a national branding agency with a proven track record for building brands through integrated communications in digital, traditional, experiential and social media. Schifino Lee clients include Westshore Pizza, WellCare Health Plans, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Gerdau, M.E. Wilson, Vigo Importing/Alessi, and The Bank of Tampa. Information is available at www.schifinolee.com.

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Member Accolades

TransCare Medical Transportation, a Division of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Receives Multi-Year CAAS Accreditation

TransCare Medical Transportation (www.transcaretampa.com), a division of the Crisis Center TransCareof Tampa Bay recently announced that is has received a three year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS).

TransCare operates ambulances and medical vans in Hillsborough country. It provides 9-1-1 Basic Life Support (BLS) services in Hillsborough County; non-emergency medical transportation between medical facilities, non-emergency wheelchair transportation services, countywide psychiatric transports to/from all area hospitals & state psychiatric facilities; and stand-by service for special events.

TransCare is the only CAAS accredited organization in Hillsborough County and one of only nine CAAS accredited agencies in the State of Florida.

“We’re committed to providing high-quality medical transportation in Tampa Bay. The CAAS accreditation validates the standard of excellence we’ve established at TransCare. Facilities and individuals who turn to us for their transportation needs can expect professionalism, compassion, and reliability.” stated Maria Porto-Duarte, CFO/ Interim CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

CAAS is a non-profit organization which was established to encourage and promote quality patient care in America’s medical transportation system. The primary focus of the commission’s standards is high-quality patient care. This is accomplished by establishing national standards which not only address the delivery of patient care, but also the ambulance service’s total operation and its relationships with other agencies, the general public, and the medical community. The Commission’s standards often exceed state or local licensing requirements.

TransCare is a local social enterprise owned and operated by the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. TransCare revenues help fund many of the Crisis Center’s crisis intervention programs.

About Crisis Center of Tampa Bay

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is Tampa Bay’s elite provider of crisis and trauma services. Responding to over 160,000 requests for help each year, the nonprofit agency offers a range of evidenced based programs designed to meet community needs:

  • Corbett Trauma Center (individual, family & group trauma counseling and research)
  • Sexual Assault Services (forensic exams, advocacy, empowerment and prevention services)
  • Family Stabilization (financial education and case management for working families)
  • Child and Family Safety (case management, advocacy, financial literacy, parent and child mentoring and education focused on keeping families intact through risk reduction and reducing barriers to educational success of children)
  • Community Outreach and Training (community response and training)
  • 2-1-1 Contact Center (suicide prevention, crisis counseling and information & referral services)
  • TransCare (9-1-1 emergency and mental health ambulance services, medical van transportation)

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Business, Education and Political Leaders Participate in STEM Roundtable


Discussion focused on long-term needs to elevate STEM education

Local business, education and political leaders participated today in a roundtable discussion about the benefits of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational efforts in the Tampa region, and the state of Florida. The roundtable followed presentations to students at T.R. Robinson High School entitled “Racing Accelerates Creative Education” (R.A.C.E), a national touring program from Mazda Motorsports that uses the science, technology and math of auto racing to inspire students to consider the many career options in the STEM disciplines.

The roundtable was hosted by Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. More than a dozen regional leaders participated in the discussion, which focused upon the importance of STEM efforts and its benefits for the region.

“We have 60,000 open STEM jobs in Florida, with 13,000 of those jobs right here in the Tampa Bay region,” said Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We have an opportunity to better match the skills our students are learning to the jobs that will be available to them. Companies are going to go where the talent is, so we need to ensure we have the talent here in the Tampa Bay area.”

The roundtable discussion generated ideas on driving improvements and change for STEM education and taking advantage of opportunities for Tampa area students. Consensus was clear amongst participants that the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will play a leading role in driving STEM initiatives forward in the area, aligning the efforts that are already taking place while focusing on long-term progress to elevate STEM education.

“It’s clear from today’s discussion that there are already a lot of initiatives taking place across the board to elevate STEM education,” said Bob Rohrlack. “We need to continue that focus and align our efforts, so that the necessary steps are being taken today to empower tomorrow’s workforce in STEM-related jobs and careers.”

“We not only must provide our students with a strong foundation in STEM, we need to provide pathways for them to connect to the job opportunities that are out there,” said Jeff Eakins, acting superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools. “As the school district, we know our role is to be the driving force in talking with any company interested in coming into this area, so that they know we are providing the workforce they need to fill jobs.”

In addition to Robinson high school teachers and students, the following business, education and community leaders were also in attendance at today’s roundtable event:

  • Rep. Kathy Castor, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Larry Plank, director of STEM education, Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Susan Pareigis, president, The Florida Council of 100
  • Ava Parker, chief operating officer, Florida Polytechnic University
  • Ron Christaldi, Chairman, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
  • Daniel James Scott, executive director, Tampa Bay Technology Forum
  • Molly Demeulenaere, interim director, Museum of Science and Industry

Member Highlights: March 8 – 14, 2015


Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Absolute Mobile Solutions Helps the Tampa Bay Water Bike Company Sail into the Open Market with a New Website and Branding

Capture- TB Water Bikes

Dan Fleishbein had a novel idea for a business. He wanted to create a service that took advantage of our amazing weather, involved the outdoors and capitalized on an emerging community of working professionals and residents in downtown Tampa. His venture, Tampa Bay Water Bike Company, gives customers the opportunity to ride the picturesque Hillsborough River in a safe, easy, and inexpensive way, on a water bike. With limited capital, Fleishbein needed to establish the Tampa Bay Water Bikes brand in an affordable but dynamic manner.

Tampa Bay Water Bikes tapped the talents of Absolute Mobile Solutions to produce a fun, colorful and visually-driven website to capture the spirit of water biking on the Hillsborough River. The new website features captivating photos of people riding water bikes past some of downtown Tampa’s most recognizable structures, including the Rivergate Tower, the Platt Street Bridge and the Tampa Bay Convention Center. Visitors to the website are enticed by the potential of viewing these iconic Tampa structures from a new perspective.  Information about water bike and biyak rentals are easy to find and customers can book sessions online.

Creating the new website was a part of the development of a comprehensive brand identity package for the Tampa Bay Water Bike Company. Absolute also produced the company’s logo along with several ads and promotional items. They also produced a style guide to help ensure the uniformity of future work.

“We love it when people have exciting ideas that improve the way in which our community comes together. We are proud to help Tampa Bay Water Bike Company bring their outstanding and innovative product to consumers,” said Alfred Goldberg, president of Absolute Mobile Solutions. “Dan and Amanda are great people who have created business that helps remind us why we love living in Tampa Bay.”

“The team at Absolute Mobile Solutions has proven to be an invaluable resource to us as we launch Tampa Bay Water Bike Company. Because we have a limited budget, getting the best bang for our buck is critical,” said Fleishbein. “The care they’ve taken in helping us build a great brand speaks volumes about their talent and professionalism.”

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Concorde Career Institute Offers Chamber Members 20 Percent Reduced Tuition

Concorde Career Institute – An Allied Health school would like to offer to all Chamber of Commerce organizations the opportunity for their staff, staff’s spouse, significant other, and/or dependent children to receive a reduced tuition of 20% on the following programs.

  • Nursing (Associates  Degree)
  • Respiratory Therapy (Associated Degree)
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Medical Office Administrator
  • Dental Assistant

The reduced tuition is contingent upon approval of a signed partnership agreement between Concorde Career Institute and the organization.

For more information please contact Rod Kirkwood (Concorde Career Institute Campus President) at 813-314-2478, or rkirkwood@concorde.edu.

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Florida Poly Students Vote on Top Four Mascot Concepts

Florida Polytechnic University is one step closer to developing its official mascot. The school unveiled four final mascot concepts Monday afternoon, and hundreds of students will be voting on campus Tuesday beginning at noon for the mascot concept they like best.

The final concepts include:

  •  The Hydra: Inspired by Greek mythology, a four-headed serpent could represent the four STEM fields and the year 2014 when the University officially opened.
  • The Pioneers: A contemporary take on the concept would connote modern-day explorers, pioneers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • The Technocats: A steampunk-style robotic feline, based in part on the Florida panther and in part on the school’s unofficial mascot, a local cat adopted by campus construction workers.
  • The Wizards: A version of the classic persona focused on problem solving, invention, and making the seemingly impossible a reality.

“Choosing just one of these designs will be tough – they all capture the spirit of Florida Poly and our commitment to innovation, problem-solving and creativity,” said University President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “Thankfully, the decision is in the hands of our capable student body.”

During the last several weeks, 20 #NextGreatMascot Concept Teams collaborated to develop and pitch mascot concepts, receiving expert advice and coaching along the way. Made up entirely of student volunteers, these Concept Teams even participated in a one-time, introductory “Design Thinking” course that immersed students in the constructs of problem definition, market research and creative production.

Concept Team volunteers were selected to participate in the initiative via a first-come, first-serve application open to the entire student body in January. Eighty-seven students responded, representing 16% of Florida Poly’s Inaugural Class.

“Florida Poly is dedicated to the principle of applied learning, and this mascot design challenge is one more way that we’re offering students hands-on, real-world problem solving opportunities,” said Director of Student Affairs Dr. Steven S. Warner. “The Concept Team volunteers have taken pride in developing a lasting legacy at Florida Poly and I think they’ve had a lot of fun doing it.”

Voting is the final step in the student-centered process to create Florida’s #NextGreatMascot.

The winning concept will be developed into finished artwork and will become Florida Poly’s official mascot, to be revealed during an on-campus celebration on April 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building.

“A mascot is an important piece of our identity, something we’ll be known for,” said Jacob Livingston, a freshman studying Health Informatics and a member of the team who presented The Pioneers. “It serves two purposes: 1) recognition and 2) a symbol of what we represent. When people see our mascot, they’ll have an idea of what Florida Poly is and why we do what we do.”

To learn more about the top four mascot concepts and to see photos and videos of the concept presentations, visit Florida Poly’s Making of the #NextGreatMascot blog at www.flpoly.org/mascot. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #NextGreatMascot.

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OAI Becomes OAI Visual Branding

OAI announces a new tagline, Visual Branding, to support the company’s repositioning. With Visual Branding, OAI distinguishes itself as the preferred provider of products and services that drive attendance, deliver impressions, enhance experiences and increase sponsorship benefits for events, venues, teams and organizations.

oai“It’s an exciting time for our company as we now present ourselves as experts in Visual Branding. We have been providing our customers these benefits for 25 years and now through this new tagline we feel we can better communicate to clients the full scope of capabilities available to them through our services and products,” states Michael Garcia, Founder and President of OAI Inc.

Visual Branding products and services have been recognized for adding value to some of the world’s most well-known and respected organizations by increasing the memorability and enjoyment of their brands. OAI provides these benefits through a variety of high-quality products and services that are designed to efficiently convey a brand’s unique identity while increasing its impressions with visual communications that are powerful and consistent.

“Our first step in adopting this new positioning was rebranding our own facilities with signage and displays that reflect our new tagline. We also updated our marketing materials and website to showcase our Visual Branding capabilities. We look forward to speaking about these at some of the trade shows and conventions we’ll attend in the coming months,” said Allie Golden, Marketing Manager of OAI Inc.

OAI invites brands to learn more about the benefits of Visual Branding through a complimentary consultation regarding the best practices to achieve business and design objectives.

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Member Events

March 12: Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers Opens at Stageworks Theatre

SusanHaldeman, GregThompson, ErinFoster, NatalieSymons

Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers opens March 12 at Stageworks Theatre, a classic Simon comedy not often seen onstage these days.

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers finds a middle-aged man attempting to seduce three different strong-willed women, trying to spice up his very ordinary life.

It’s one of the last scripts Neil Simon wrote in a traditional three-act structure – not overlong, but each woman gets featured in her own act. And it’s one of the first scripts he wrote where the humor isn’t just for laughs, but explores character.


  • Greg Thompson
  • Natalie Symons
  • Erin Foster
  • Susan Haldeman

Directed by Georgia Mallory Guy

Photos by Caroline Jett

March 12 – 29 at Stageworks Theatre

Ticket information is at www.stageworkstheatre.org or 813-374-2416.

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March 13: Tampa Downtown Partnership’s 19th Annual Downtown Development Forum


The Downtown Development Forum focuses on the exploration of innovative ideas in urban development and serves as a catalyst for discussion and problem solving for major urban issues in Downtown.

This year’s program features:

Industry Updates & Forecasts

Representatives of some of the most important Downtown “industries” will give a “barometer” report of activities in their respective business sectors, in order to give us a picture of how each sector is performing and what we can expect in the near future in the following industries:

  •  Commercial Office: Andy May, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Residential: David Traynor, Smith & Associates
    Tourism/Hospitality: Greg Orchard & Patrick Harrison, Visit Tampa Bay     
  • Port Tampa Bay: Lane Ramsfield
  • Technology: Daniel James Scott

Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places

Peter Kageyama, Author

TDP 4th Biennial Worker / Resident Study

Pat Hill, HCP Associates

Go Hillsborough: County Transportation Planning

Mike Merrill, Hillsborough County

Tampa Waterfront 2020: America’s First Crowdsourced Neighborhood

Bob Abberger, Strategic Property Partners, LLC

March 13, 2015 | Hilton Tampa Downtown Hotel – 211 N. Tampa Street   

Click Here to Register

Networking & Registration – 7:30 a.m.
Program & Continental Breakfast – 8:00 a.m. to Noon
Member Admission – $65 / Non-Member Admission – $75

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March 17 – 18: Solvability DCAA Compliant QuickBooks Boot Camp

DCAAQB Boot Camp Flyer j (2)

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March 19: Conversa Invites You to Attend Carly Fiorina’s UP Project Luncheon

WCOF Luncheon Invite_Individual_8-5X111 (2)

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March 19: Operation Helping Hand Monthly Dinner


This month’s Operation Helping Hand dinner will be on Thursday, March 19, at 6PM at the James A. Haley VA Hospital SCI Building.

Since 2004, Operation Helping Hand has extended all necessary efforts to assist and support over 950 military wounded/injured being treated at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, and many of their visiting families.  We’ve been blessed with very generous donations from so many generous individuals, organizations, corporations, etc. We are indeed fortunate to have outstanding volunteers and the required support over the past 10 years, and we will continue our mission as long as we are needed.

For more info, please contact:

Bob Silah, Captain, USN (Retired) 
Chairman, Operation
Helping Hand 


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March 19: Solvability GovCon Webinar Series – Wrap Rates

Solvability GovCon Webinar Series (2)

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New Hires & Promotions

Jacklyn Massrock Promoted To BKS-Partners Benefits Director

Jacklyn Massrock (2)Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners (BKS-Partners), one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in Florida, announced the promotion of Jacklyn Massrock from Senior Benefits Consultant to Benefits Director.

“This position reflects the personal and professional growth Jacklyn has consistently delivered since joining the organization nine years ago,” said Elizabeth Krystyn, Founding Partner at BKS-Partners. “She has played a pivotal role in the Employee Benefits and Commercial Risk Management value propositions and has kept us all up to speed on the evolution of the Affordable Care Act.”

As Benefits Director, Jacklyn is responsible for the strategic planning and execution of our largest clients’ employee benefits programs. Jacklyn analyzes benefit plans, contribution strategies, eligibility, and client objectives to align client budgetary constraints within the context of their culture. In addition, she works closely with our ERISA attorney and actuary partners to develop long-term strategies for our clients in light of Healthcare Reform.

“As a founding colleague, I’ve watched BKS grow and am so proud of what we’ve accomplished and what we have ahead of us. I genuinely love what I do,” said Jacklyn Massrock, Benefits Director. “Our colleagues are an extension of my family. We collectively celebrate each other’s successes and support each other when we are faced with a challenge, both professionally and personally.”

Jacklyn’s expertise includes:

  • Analyzing benefit plans, contribution strategies, eligibility, and client objectives to align client budgetary constraints within the context of their culture
  • Projecting renewal action through analysis of premium versus claim experience, benchmarking data and market trends
  • Analyzing and negotiating renewals for both fully insured and self-funded accounts
  • Managing stewardship calendar and client deliverables, as well as monitor compliance and regulatory issues

Jacklyn Massrock may be reached at 813.984.3207 or jmassrock@bks-partners.com.

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Englander Fischer Hires New Marketing Coordinator

L MacKay Head ShotThe law firm of Englander Fischer LLP is pleased to announce that Lauren MacKay has joined their team as Marketing Coordinator. MacKay graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing. She moved to the St. Petersburg area in June 2014 after serving as Marketing Coordinator for a land developer in Brandon, Florida. In addition to her role with Englander Fischer, Lauren is actively involved in the yoga community of the downtown St. Petersburg area.

“I am looking forward to bringing new ideas to the table for Englander Fischer for 2015,” says MacKay. “I am very pleased to be a part of this successful team, and hope to further our success even more through our marketing efforts.”

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Member Accolades

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs Congratulates Team Members on Major Accomplishments

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs Congratulates Canita Peterson on Being Named One of Florida’s Top 10 Public Accounting Professionals

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm headquartered in Canita Peterson - WebTallahassee, congratulates Canita Peterson on being recognized by the National Academy of Public Accounting Professionals (NAPAP) as one of the Top 10 Public Accounting Professionals in Florida for 2014. The individuals selected by NAPAP for this prestigious list have demonstrated an extraordinary amount of knowledge, skill, experience, expertise, and success in their field.

In order to qualify for the NAPAP’s Top 10 list, accountants must first be nominated by a licensed practicing accountant or client. The NAPAP processing committee selects a portion of these nominated accountants to advance to the final selection stage based on their license status, number of nominations, certifications, publications, awards, years of experience, and areas of expertise. The NAPAP Board of Governors constructs the final list, selecting CPAs whose desire for continuing education, peer and client reviews, and demonstrated leadership abilities are truly exceptional.

Canita is a Shareholder and Director of the firm’s Tax Services Department. She has over twenty years of experience in providing consulting, tax, and accounting services to clients in a variety of industries. She is a current board member of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Board of Directors for First Commerce Credit Union, and the immediate Past Chair for the Tallahassee Downtown Re-Development Commission.

Winston Howell, Managing Shareholder at Thomas Howell Ferguson, states, “Early on in her career, Canita emerged as a leader in the field of public accounting. Since then, she has donated her time to support other organizations within our community while continuing to positively influence our accounting profession. While we are proud of all that she has accomplished, it is gratifying to see her talent recognized at a statewide level by a national organization.”

Thomas Howell Ferguson Congratulates Michael Kalifeh on his Appointment to the Tallahassee Market Advisory Board for Hancock Bank

Michael Kalifeh - WebThomas Howell Ferguson P.A. (THF), a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm headquartered in Tallahassee, announces that Michael Kalifeh has been appointed to the Tallahassee market advisory board for Hancock Bank.

Michael, along with the other six new members to the advisory board, join the four current advisory board members consisting of Karen Moore, Sean Pittman, Dave Ramsey, and Ken Stafford – leaders in the banking, legal, and marketing industries.

A graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 29 and shareholder with Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., Michael has approximately eleven years of accounting experience in providing tax compliance and consulting services to corporate, partnership, not-for-profit, trust, and individual clients.  In addition to being a CPA, he is also certified as an expert in sales and use tax in Florida, holding the CFST designation (Certified in Florida Sales and Use Tax), which is sponsored by the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and authorized by the Florida Department of Revenue.

Michael also serves the community as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Board of Governors with the Governor’s Club.  Additionally, he is a board member for the not-for-profit organization Lee’s Place.

Emory L. Mayfield, Jr., Hancock Bank market president, states, “We are honored to have some of the best leaders in our region representing Hancock Bank.”

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Leadership Tampa: Port and Agriculture Day

Lucy Terrill, CPA, CGMA, The Mosaic Company

Terrill, LucyThe Leadership Tampa Class of 2015 spent Port and Agriculture Day learning about the interconnected life cycles of four important economic drivers in Tampa Bay: phosphate fertilizer, Port Tampa Bay, agricultural science, and farming. Though the day started with an unprecedented fog event that even Ohio State couldn’t buy its way out of, it ended with delicious strawberry shortcake enjoyed in the Florida sunshine.

One of the oldest industries in Central Florida and dating back to the discovery of mineral deposits in the 1880s is phosphate fertilizer production. The industry continues to be an enormous economic engine not only for the central Florida producer of phosphate fertilizer, The Mosaic Company, but also for the supporting businesses such as Port Tampa Bay where the fertilizer is exported both domestically up the Mississippi River to the farmers in America’s heartland, as well as to customers overseas.

Port Tampa Bay was our first stop where we heard about the port’s history, current impact, and future opportunities from President and CEO Paul Anderson, and John Thorington, VP of Government Affairs & Board Coordination. In addition to fertilizer, which comprises two-thirds of the port’s $15.1 billion impact and half of the port’s 80,000 jobs, the port has a variety of other activities including:

  • Cargo shipping such as automobiles and consumer goods
  • Cruises
  • Shipyard activities (marine repairs and maintenance)

We were very fortunate that the fog lifted enough to allow for a waterside tour of the port facilities via the Florida Aquarium’s Bay Spirit II. From the water, we saw the ConAgra grain bins used to produce flour in downtown Tampa, the limestone piles imported from Mexico for roadways, the containers used to bring consumer goods into the market, the Amalie Oil facility and much more.

Once back landside, we boarded buses to Riverview to view Mosaic’s fertilizer production facility and Coastal Education Center. Mosaic’s Coastal Education Center sits right on Tampa Bay and was developed to educate Hillsborough County fourth graders on the bay’s ecology in line with their science curriculum. There, Mosaic’s employee volunteers lead students in engaging, hands-on learning experiences such as fishing with seine nets, testing water samples, bird watching, utilizing a microscope, and my personal favorite – hunting for fiddler crabs! We also picked up some key fourth grade science knowledge including that horseshoe crabs are actually arachnids (who knew?).

Back on the bus, we traveled past farms and cattle fields to the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. There we heard about Hillsborough County’s second largest industry, agriculture (first is tourism) from Center Director Dr. Jack Rechcigl and Simon Bollin from Hillsborough County’s Agriculture Industry Development Department. Did you know that the Tasti-Lee tomatoes that we love from Publix were “born” at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center?

Our visit to the center concluded with tours of the facilities where we met scientists conducting various studies including development of new varieties of strawberries (I understand the grape-strawberry hybrid tastes like fruit snacks), plant disease diagnosis and fertilizer research.

One last trip on the bus brought us to our final stop of the day which was a real treat… strawberry shortcakes at Goodson Farms!

Port Tampa Bay and Agriculture Day provided insight into aspects of Hillsborough County that few ever see or consider but that have enormous economic impacts both in the Tampa Bay area and far beyond.

Member Highlights: March 1 – 7, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Schifino Lee Creates Unconventional Advertising Campaign for Sweetwater Organic Farms, Launches National Marketing Campaign for Thirsty Duck

Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding recently created a series of unique print ads for Sweetwater Organic Farms, a nonprofit community-supported urban organic farm and environmental education center in Tampa, sdFlorida. The print ads were awarded Platinum winners at the 2014 MarCom Awards, a national creative competition sponsored by the Association of Marketing & Communications Professionals.

The three iterations of the ads featured handwritten lines of copy which come together to form the shapes of a carrot, tomato, and eggplant. The copy touts the virtues of buying local organic vegetables, stating that while you may be able to buy organic veggies in the grocery store, they are often shipped in from other countries, bruising and decomposing along the way.

The concept behind the ads was that not everyone knows that all organic is not created equal. By educating the consumer on the difference between “grocery store organic” and “local organic”, one would be more likely to get their vegetables from Sweetwater, Tampa’s premier local organic farm.

“The neat thing about the ads is that they don’t look like ads,” said Pat Floyd, the art director at Schifino Lee responsible for designing and drawing them. “I sat down and drew them all in one go to make sure they truly felt hand-drawn, as well as adding consistency to the style.”

The aim of the campaign was to increase the membership in the farm’s community-supported agriculture program.  Members pay a seasonal fee and then have access to a share of the farm’s weekly crop. The farm also has a Sunday farmer’s market, a summer camps for kids, and a schedule of ongoing events.

SDFSchifino Lee has launched an integrated marketing campaign for Thirsty Duck, a manufacturer specializing in advanced stormwater management technology.

Thirsty Duck is a disruptive technology that goes against the convention that only large ponds are the time-tested solution in stormwater management. Thirsty Duck’s innovation allows for a constant discharge rate regardless of water surface elevation, delivering a “cruise control” function as well as the reduction of detention pond size by up to 50%.

Thirsty Duck engaged Schifino Lee in 2014 to build an integrated marketing campaign to establish credibility and educate its target audience on its nontraditional innovation.  Schifino Lee identified that the industry was unaware of Thirsty Duck’s products and how they could benefit from them.

“You Don’t Know Duck,” an in-your-face campaign, was developed to get the attention of the target audience in an impactful and humorous way. The marketing campaign focuses on the benefits of Thirsty Duck’s product such as an ability to reduce stormwater pond size by up to 50%, optimizing water flow rates, and pollution control.

The campaign features a bold headline treatment and prominently displays Thirsty Duck’s TD product line. Advertising was also customized for each target audience to focus on key points that were important to them, such as being permittable and its economic benefits. The campaign was executed through strategic branding, web videos, eblasts, banner ads, brochures, print ads, a website (www.thirsty-duck.com), and microsite (www.youdontknowduck.com).

“We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to create a national campaign for such a well-respected manufacturing company. The new marketing campaign allows Thirsty Duck to reach out and educate national leaders and its audiences about controlled stormwater management and its benefits,” said Dan Stevenson, Executive Creative Director at Schifino Lee.

In 2015, Schifino Lee aims to refine the campaign to educate customers by providing them with a deeper knowledge of Thirsty Duck and to encourage consideration and trial of its stormwater management solutions.

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Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute Patient Makes History as Smallest Child in Florida Implanted with Unique Cardiac Monitor

All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine successfully implanted a unique and cutting-edge cardiac monitor into one of its young patients for the first time. A pediatric cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute implanted a two-year-old girl with the LINQTM Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) from Medtronic – the smallest child in the state of Florida implanted with this device.

The monitor, roughly the size of a triple-A battery, gives doctors valuable information about potential abnormal heart rhythms and only requires a small incision. A cellular home transmitter helps the monitor send data to the cardiac team at All Children’s Hospital to determine the best course of treatment for patients.

“This is just one more tool to help us, especially when it’s not clear what the right course of action is,” said Jamie Decker, M.D., the pediatric cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute who implanted the device. “This allows us to do things in a ‘stealth-like’ fashion so we’re not doing invasive surgeries that may not be necessary, and we hope to take advantage of this remote technology more in children because it is a much less invasive procedure and allows us to monitor patients from their home.”

Thanks to the device, the team at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was able to review weeks of data until they could verify that the girl, now three years old, suffered from a genetic condition that put her at high risk of having dangerous heart rhythms. The cardiac team determined surgery was necessary to implant a pacemaker internal cardioverter-defibrillator, which not only detects dangerous rhythms, but corrects them.

Read More About this Device and the Patient

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The Omnia Group, Inc.Celebrates 30th Anniversary


The Omnia Group, Inc., a behavioral assessment and consulting firm in Tampa, is celebrating its 30th anniversary on March 5th.  Omnia offers employee behavioral and cognitive assessments as well as professional development training at www.Xceliq.com.  For more information, please visit: www.omniagroup.com

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Smolker Bartlett Names Sheppard Managing Shareholder, Announces Name Change

73608782f50eb6af17bb69bdcd662692_MThe Directors of the Tampa-based firm of Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Sheppard, P.A. proudly announces the appointment of Shannon M. Sheppard, as Managing Shareholder.

Ms. Sheppard has concentrated her practice on commercial real estate since 2004.  She joined Smolker Bartlett in 2011.   She currently chairs the firm’s Commercial Real Estate Practice Group and focuses her practice on complex real estate transactions.  She and the firm represent developers, borrowers and lenders in matters involving retail and industrial properties, single-family subdivisions and multi-family developments throughout the State of Florida.

Ms. Sheppard will oversee all aspects of firm management including strategic and long-range planning, business development and client relations.

The Tampa-based law firm of Smolker Bartlett has changed its name from Smolker, Bartlett, Schlosser, Loeb & Hinds, P.A. to Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Sheppard, P.A.    The firm also announces the relocation of its offices to:

100 N. Tampa Street, Ste. 2050
Tampa, FL  33602

The firm, which recently announced the addition of two attorneys to fill key roles, specializes in commercial real estate and commercial litigation.

Visit Smolker Bartlett at:  www.smolkerbartlett.com.

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Chamber Member Companies Now Hiring

 Visit Tampa Bay: Sales and Promotions Coordinator

Currently, we are looking for a detail oriented, customer centric professional to join our team as a Sales and Promotions Coordinator. This person will be responsible for assisting a small team of National Sales Managers while supporting the mission, vision and values of Visit Tampa Bay. Click to view job description.

The Omnia Group, Inc.: Support Specialist/Receptionist

We are looking for a well-spoken, detail oriented, fast learning, multi-tasker who is self-motivated, team focused and not afraid to pitch in anywhere that help is needed. This position coordinates operations of the front desk including incoming and outgoing production work (all online) and provides administrative support to sales and operations.
Your day will consist of answering the phone, welcoming visitors, data entry, helping clients, sending emails, scanning, faxing, cleaning and some other basic administrative duties. You’ll help our sales team by preparing meeting folders and supporting materials for upcoming presentations, adding contacts into our customer data base, and performing internet research. You’ll create welcome packages and send to our new clients in a timely fashion. Click here to view job description.

The Omnia Group, Inc.: Marketing/Sales Administrative Assistant

A diverse position, proactively handling all administrative functions, programs and activities of SVP of Sales and Marketing Specialist. Submit resume for consideration.

Our company is a small – medium sized behavioral assessment and consulting firm in Hyde Park. We are celebrating 30 years in business and looking for an energetic, business savvy administrative professional to join our team. Benefits package includes generous vacation time, paid holidays, 401K, dental and health. Click here to view job description.

DTZ: Graphic Designer

DTZ is a global leader in commercial real estate services providing occupiers, tenants and investors around the world with a full spectrum of property solutions. Our core capabilities include agency leasing, tenant representation, corporate and global occupier services, property management, facilities management, facilities services, capital markets, investment and asset management, valuation, building consultancy, research, consulting, and project and development management. Click here for job description

Englander Fischer LLP Seeking Rainmaker/Complementary Law Group

Englander Fischer is expanding.  We seek rainmakers and Law Groups in disciplines that complement our existing firm strengths and add value to our core creed of providing big firm expertise with boutique client service. We are a collegial practice that engages in Courageous Professionalism, continuing to build on a 25 year reputation of excellence in the Tampa Bay commercial arena.

Offering a robust platform to expand existing practice areas with seasoned and stunning AV colleagues, ideal candidates will possess experience and a solid and portable book of business.

Complementing practice areas include Construction, Government, Health Care, Labor and Employment, Professional Malpractice, Real Estate & Finance, Securities or Tax.

Confidential Inquiries should be directed to Evelyn Delgado COO @ edelgado@eflegal.com or 727-898-7210.

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Port Tampa Bay Signs Lease with Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment to Handle Sulphur Product

Pictured: Richard Tager, president of Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment, Inc., shakes hands with Charles Klug, chief legal officer, Port Tampa Bay (sitting). Back: Greg Lovelace, marketing director, PTB; Billy Roy, Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment; Craig Roberts, project manager, PTB; Mike Seifert, engineering project manager, PTB; Lane Ramsfield, vice president of real estate, PTB; Cathy Pinion, project manager, PTB.

Port Tampa Bay today signed a six-year lease with Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment, Inc. (GCBE), to handle prilled sulphur imports on a five-acre parcel of land at the Port Redwing, in southern Hillsborough County (site location illustrated below).


Headquartered in Palmetto, Fla., Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment has been doing business in Tampa for the past 20 years and has expanded its operations into the Northeast, South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  GCBE is a stevedore and terminal operator that also owns and leases equipment to shipping companies, as well as other stevedores and terminal operators, and has a current customer base that presently handles fertilizers, salt, aggregates, limestone, sugar and other miscellaneous bulk cargos.

“We at Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment are enthusiastic about kicking off our activity at Port Redwing and to grow our relationship with Port Tampa Bay. Our site is the perfect location to handle unique products such as prilled sulphur and will enable us to best serve our customers,” Richard Tager, president of Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment, Inc., said.

In recent years, Port Redwing has been developed to accommodate for bulk and break bulk cargo activity, with new berths, paved roadways, fencing and lighting. The area is a prime site for the future development of maritime-industrial and manufacturing activities. Port Tampa Bay continues to market its available land resources for viable, sustainable economic development.

“We are very excited to expand maritime cargo activity at Port Redwing, and this new partnership with Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment sends the message that Port Tampa Bay has the available land, transportation connectivity and capacity for diversification that our customers desire,” Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president and CEO, said.  “We look forward to working with Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment for many years to come.”

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Member Events

March 11: Action Coach Hosts FREE Business Seminar: “6 Steps to a Better Business”

ActionCOACH invites you to a free business seminar on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at the Centre Club, 123 S. Westshore Blvd. 8th Floor. Guests are invited to arrive at 11:30 am for networking with the session commencing promptly at 11:45 am; Wrap up at 1:30 pm. Lunch provided. Spaces are limited so please register below NOW!


6 Steps Promo (3)

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March 12: Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers opens at Stageworks

Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, comes to Stageworks Theatre March 12-29.

One of the last traditional three-act theatre pieces Simon wrote, the play will be performed as written – with one act for each of the three strong-willed women a middle-aged man tries (unsuccessfully) to seduce, as he tries to spice up his very responsible life.

Greg Thompson

Greg Thompson

Greg Thompson plays Barney Cashman, owner of a fish restaurant and married family man, who’s been thinking a little too much about mortality. He tries three times to sneak into his mother’s New York apartment for assignations with three different women, with increasing panic that his very normal life is going to continue as is.

Natalie Symons plays a cynical married woman who’s been coming to his restaurant, with a wicked sense of humor. Erin Foster is a too-young hippie actress who won’t hold still long enough to be seduced. And Susan Haldeman plays a friend of Barney’s wife’s, suffering from depression and Barney’s last hope for a fling.


Pictured left to right: Natalie Symons, Erin Foster & Susan Haldeman

The play premiered on Broadway in 1969. Director Georgia Mallory Guy is a vibrant young woman who finds the script a thrilling challenge for today. “It’s written by a genius and I love the challenge of taking on his words and, with the insight of my actors, crafting moments that bring the story to life. It’s one of those great scripts where the comedy lies in the absurdness of the situation, and yet the situation could actually happen to us.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers takes on themes such as Desires, the Fear Of Missing Out – and Morality. The word ‘Decent’ finally makes its way into Act III and the truest question of the play is: Can a person’s desires negate their decency? Or should a decent human be allowed their desires, their fears and their needs? It’s not an easy question and I truly believe every audience member would have a different answer, and that’s why this script still holds such merit and why it still has a place in American Theatre today.”

Greg Thompson performs all over Tampa Bay, and recently finished Tampa Rep’s acclaimed production of Bethany. Natalie Symons is known for her work at freeFall and American Stage. Her original play, The Buffalo Kings, just finished a sold-out run at freeFall Theatre. It’s Erin Foster‘s debut at Stageworks, but she’s been performing in plays and short films since she was very young, and recently finished a Job-Side production at Jobsite Theatre. Susan Haldeman is known for her work all around Florida. Her current exciting news is that she’s the new company manager at freeFall Theatre.

The New York Times review of the original production found The Last of the Red Hot Lovers a turning point in Neil Simon’s writing: “There is the dimension of humanity to its humor so that you can love it as well as laugh at it.”

Director Georgia Mallory Guy believes the three-act structure, a feat many theatres don’t attempt these days, honors Simon’s script and allows this complex story to flow as it should, with each woman given the spotlight. It is “fantastic storytelling. The script creates a lovely evening of theatre.”

“It’s a situation we don’t like to talk about – adultery, cheating – but it’s something we’ve all encountered or perhaps felt the temptation. So it causes us to think while we are laughing; it’s the genius of comedy.”

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers

March 12-29
Stageworks Theatre

1120 E Kennedy Blvd
Tampa FL 33602

Tickets available at www.stageworkstheatre.org or 813-374-2416.

Tickets $30. Discounts available for Seniors, Students and Theatre Artists.

Preview night: March 12, $15

Opening night with reception: March 13, $40

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New Hires & Promotions

Creative Contractors Announces Leadership Promotions

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Creative Contractors, Inc., a Clearwater, FL based construction manager, announces that Joshua Bomstein will assume the title of President on March 1, 2015. Joshua joined the Creative team 10 years ago, and heads up the Business Development efforts for the Company. Joshua holds a B.A. from Emory University.  He succeeds his father, Alan Bomstein, who founded the construction firm 40 years ago. Alan will continue as CEO of the Company.

Additionally, Mr. Bomstein announces that Alan Holderith, a 26-year veteran and Senior Vice President with Creative will become the Chief Operating Officer (COO.) Alan is responsible for all administrative, financial, and legal functions at the company, and will continue to do so in his new role. Alan has a B.S. in Building Construction and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Florida.

Also, Jerry Siminski, a 22-year veteran and Senior Vice President with the company was promoted to Chief Construction Officer (CCO.) Jerry functions as the executive overseeing all construction and estimating activities. Jerry holds a B.S. in Building Construction from Purdue University.

Brett Johnston, a VP and Senior Project Manager, will assume the title Vice President – Healthcare. He will be the senior executive for all healthcare construction. Brett is a 12-year veteran with Creative. Joe Primiani, a VP and Senior Project Manager, will assume the title Vice President – Education. He will be the senior executive for all education construction. Joe is a 14 year veteran with Creative.

Creative Contractors (www.creativecontractors.com) is a construction manager and general contractor headquartered in Clearwater, FL. The company builds throughout West Central Florida and is celebrating its 40th year in business. Notable clients include Ruth Eckerd Hall, Saint Leo University, University of South Florida, Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee School Boards; the City of Largo, and numerous public agencies. For more information, contact Billie Timonere at btimonere@creativecontractors.com or 727-461-5522.

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Member Accolades

Kobie Marketing Named Winner in Second Annual Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards in Tampa

Kobie Marketing announced today that it was named a first place winner in Bright House Networks second annual Regional Business Awards in Tampa. Kobie was recognized in the large business category for their products, services, and thought leadership. Winning businesses were honored at a special celebration on February 5, 2015 at the Tampa Convention Center, which featured State of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks as special guest speakers.

Kobie is a leading loyalty marketing service provider and industry pioneer serving major brands across retail, banking, travel, hospitality, telecommunications, restaurant, and CPG industries.

“The entire Kobie team is thrilled to be recognized by Bright House Networks for this distinct honor. Customer loyalty programs require complex strategies, technology and management to run smoothly, but many companies lack the expertise or in-house resources to develop and manage loyalty programs on their own. That’s where a company like Kobie Marketing comes in,” said Jennifer James, Director of Marketing, Kobie Marketing. “We develop loyalty programs that help our clients grow and retain their customer base, gain insights about customer preferences, influence customer behaviors, and offer seamless customer experiences.”

Kobie’s service and product offerings include loyalty strategy and program design, a proprietary technology platform called Alchemy®, and day-to-day program management. From program design to analytics, communications planning, and brand experience, Kobie helps brands retain customers, drive profits, and create stronger engagement between customers and their brand.

Bright House Networks teamed up with Chambers of Commerce in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Manatee and Sarasota counties to host the second annual event that connected local businesses in a celebration of best-in-class.  Bright House Networks awarded prizes totaling over $1,000,000, including commercial TV production, air time, customer newsletter, and cash.

The first annual Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards in Central Florida will take place on March 19 at the Church Street Station Ballroom in Orlando. For more information and to purchase tickets/tables, visit www.brighthouse.com/RBA.

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Hill Ward Henderson Founding Shareholder Receives 2015 Outstanding Service Award

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Benjamin H. Hill, III recently received the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation’s 2015 Outstanding Service Award. The award was given at the 59th Annual Fellows Awards Reception and Banquet in Houston on February 7, 2015 in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s Mid-Year Meeting. The Outstanding Service Award recognizes an attorney that has consistently adhered to the highest principals and traditions of the legal profession and to the service of the public in their professional career.

Mr. Hill is a founding Shareholder of Hill Ward Henderson. As a member of the Litigation Group, his practice is primarily focused in the areas of complex litigation, including professional liability, products liability, and general commercial matters. He is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by The Florida Bar and certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by The National Board of Trial Advocacy. As a trial lawyer he has served as counsel to the Governor of Florida, has represented the Florida Senate, and has represented the Florida House of Representatives.

His professional activities include service as President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, President of the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar, and President of The Florida Bar.  He served on the committee which established one of the nation’s first board certification programs.  He was a founder of the Florida Bar Ethics School which offers ethics courses to lawyers in lieu of punishment for minor ethical violations.  He served on the ABA Board of Governors and chaired the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability.

In Florida, Mr. Hill helped establish and then chaired the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (the first of its kind in America).  He recently completed almost two years of service as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee for the Federal Judiciary which investigated and rated over 175 potential presidential federal court nominees during his tenure.

His community service includes service as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Hillsborough Community College and the Board of Directors of Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation. He is the immediate past chair of the Moffitt Foundation and is an elder at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church.

His pro bono activities include service on the Board of Bay Area Legal Services and service on the Florida Supreme Court’s Innocence Commission.  He has received numerous awards, including The Florida Bar’s outstanding service award. He was honored with an award given by the District Court Judges in the Middle District of Florida for his extraordinary service to the Federal Bar.

Hill Ward Henderson is a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices headquartered in downtown Tampa. With 100 over attorneys, the firm has a wide range of local, regional and national clients.  For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.hwhlaw.com.

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Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs Congratulates Jeannie Lim for Earning the Certified Pension Consultant Designation and Julian Dozier on Earning the Accredited In Business Valuation Credential

Jeannie LimThomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm located in Tampa, congratulates Jeannie Lim for receiving the Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA). The CPC designation is awarded to individuals who have at least three years of experience in plan consulting and exhibit competence in various aspects of pension and related employee benefits consulting.

In order to demonstrate her knowledge and experience, Jeannie had to complete specific core and elective online modules, as well as a comprehensive proctored CPC essay examination. In total, Jeannie was required to pass eight different exams, on various areas of expertise, to receive this designation.

Jeannie is a Senior in the firm’s Tax Services Department and works out of the Tampa office. Prior to joining Thomas Howell Ferguson, she was a Senior Pension Administrator with a Tampa, FL firm, responsible for the technical review of administrative reports, as well as overseeing the daily operation of the plan administration team. Jeannie has over 15 years of experience in the areas of consulting and administration of qualified plans, and has earned several professional designations for her expertise in this field including Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA), Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) and Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA).

Canita Gunter Peterson, Shareholder of the Tax Services Department, states, “We are so impressed with Jeannie’s determination for constant growth. She has been an important part of our Tax Services Department for a long time, and we look forward to providing her the means to continue to develop her skills and knowledge for many years to come.”

Julian Dozier

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance, and tax services firm headquartered in Tallahassee, congratulates Julian Dozier for receiving the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The ABV credential is granted to CPAs with considerable professional experience in business valuations, who are members in good standing with the AICPA.

In order to qualify for this credential, Julian had to complete a minimum of 75 hours of life-long learning and education activities in the area of valuation and demonstrate significant business experience in the area of financial forensics by passing a rigorous exam.

Julian is a Senior Manager in the firm’s Assurance Services Department. For approximately nine years, Julian has practiced public accounting at Thomas Howell Ferguson where his expertise includes auditing, consulting, and taking the lead in the firm’s forensic accounting and litigation services practice. He is knowledgeable in many areas of fraud prevention and detection, and has obtained the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential and the Certified Financial Forensics (CFF) designation in addition to being a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Winston Howell, Managing Shareholder at Thomas Howell Ferguson, states, “As the first CPA on our current staff to receive this designation, Julian has encouraged growth and versatility amongst his fellow CPAs and has paved the way for the future success and expansion of our firm. He is a leader and an incredible asset to the accounting profession, and we are proud to call him one of our own.”

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Schifino Lee Wins Thirteen 2015 American Advertising Federation Tampa Bay Awards Including Two ‘Best of the Bay’ Awards

5Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding, a leading full-service advertising agency in the Tampa Bay Area, was recognized with 13 awards including two “Best of the Bay” awards at the AAF–Tampa Bay Awards Gala on Thursday, February 26.

The firm’s first “Best of the Bay” award of the evening was received in the Newspaper, Color category for its “Ourganic is Better Organic” campaign for client Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa. The campaign features handwritten lines of copy which come together to form the shapes of a carrot, eggplant, and tomato on three separate iterations of the ad. The campaign touts that all organic is not created equal and the benefits of buying local organic vegetables.

Schifino Lee’s second “Best of the Bay” distinction honored the agency’s “Be the Santa Toy Drive” campaign in the Advertising Industry Self-Promo category. The campaign featured a tear-away poster printed with a cutout Santa beard advertising the toy drive hosted by the agency this past holiday season. The posters were placed in the community and allowed the public to create their own beard and “become their own Santa” when delivering holiday gifts.

“I am very proud of what was accomplished last year, and I’m confident we will continue to elevate our game and do even better next year,” said Ben Lee, Principal and Co-founder of Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding.

In addition to the two “Best of the Bay” awards, the agency took home 7 Gold and 4 Silver AAF-Tampa Bay awards. For the complete list of 2015 winners, visit: www.aaftampabay.org/winner-books/A3-TB-WinnerBook2015_WEB.pdf.

The winners of the “Best of the Bay” awards will compete at the district competition in Orlando, Florida on May 2 for a chance to move on to the national American Advertising Federation Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 13.

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