Member Highlights: January 11 – 17, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Port Tampa Bay Partners With Florida-Based Business Continuity Firm

Port Tampa Bay announces that it has selected the Winter Haven, Fla.-based firm Protected Trust to maintain its flow of business operations in the event of any disaster, such as a hurricane.  The partnership with Protected Trust is a concerted effort on behalf of the port authority to ensure workforce business continuity, a key specialty of the firm, which also handles a wide range of IT security solutions for its diverse and international client base. Read more…

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Tampa General Hospital and Florida Hospital Announce West Florida Health, a New Jointly Owned Not-for-Profit Health Care Company

tThe top two ranked healthcare providers in the state of Florida, Tampa General Hospital and Florida Hospital, officially announced the name of their jointly owned not-for-profit company, West Florida Health.  Since the formal partnership announcement in September 2013, the new company established a board of directors and started developing plans for new health care services in the greater Tampa Bay area.  Officials of both hospitals stress the new company does not constitute a merger of existing hospital operations, or the sale of either one. Read more…

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PrimeGroup Insurance Announces Two Central Florida Insurance Acquisitions

PrimeGroup Insurance (PGI), a leading commercial insurance and employee benefits agency, announced that it has acquired the assets of West Orange Insurance Agency and Florida Central Insurance, Inc, both Central Florida-based insurance agencies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. West Orange insurance Agency and Florida Central Insurance, Inc. will become part of PGI operations. The acquisition establishes a new location for PGI in Central Florida to service the local market needs.

West Orange Insurance Agency located in Winter Garden, FL was founded in 2000 by B. Jo Accordino. The agency is primarily a specialist in personal lines insurance representing over 25 direct carrier appointments.

Founded in 1989 by Mark Estomin, Florida Central Insurance, located in Apopka, FL is a
Commercial Insurance and Personal Lines Agency that offers longevity in the marketplace, product diversity and various carriers that are new to the PGI offering.

Read more…

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Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Relaunches “Classified: The Class Action Blog” with a New and Improved Look and Features

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is pleased to share its new and improved Classified: The Class Action Blog which includes an updated interface with improved navigation. The blog is also now mobile responsive and easy to access from a smartphone or tablet.

Access/read the blog:

Classified: The Class Action Blog” provides class action news and practical summaries of key cases from around the country. It is written and edited by members of the Carlton Fields Jorden Burt National Class Action practice group, which is comprised of more than 70 class action defense attorneys. The blog is informed by insights and knowledge gained by handling complex, bet-the-company class actions at every state and federal court level, including the U.S. Supreme Court. A sampling of those cases can be found by viewing the firm’s Experience Map. Subscribers receive weekly emails with updates on blog posts and case developments. Visit the blog to subscribe.

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s National Class Action attorneys have defended hundreds of high-exposure class actions across a range of substantive areas, including financial services, insurance, consumer fraud, health care, real estate, antitrust, securities, products liability, toxic tort, telecommunications, tax, construction, and employment.

For additional Carlton Fields Jorden Burt class action resources, view the firm’s annual Class Action Survey, which details best practices for reducing class action costs and managing risks.

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Deliver Media and ISI Technologies Merge Together, Ready for 2015

Deliver Media, a full-service integrated marketing company with 20 years of experience that specializes in franchise marketing solutions nation-wide, has merged with ISI Technologies, who have been experts in bringing digital sales message creation for over 12 years. Deliver Media offers a full range of traditional and digital marketing services for large-scale, multi-unit franchises from direct mail and postcard marketing to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay-per-click and video marketing, as well as mobile apps. ISI Technologies has over 50 years of cumulative sales experience and prides themselves on their exceptional creative team who masters the art of simple explanation.

The combined forces of Deliver Media and ISI Technologies will give clients access to powerful digital sales tools that provides a unique and valuable first impression to their client’s customers and prospects. Both companies are excited about the addition of this strategic set of sales tools which will bring an added value to their marketing services. The ISI Digital Brochure provides an interactive sales tool for organizations to ‘Tell Their Story’ and provide customers another avenue to engage with services or products. more…

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Member Events

Jan. 17: Stageworks Theatre Co. to Host Fusion


Stageworks celebrates 31 years of award-winning professional theatre with Fusion, a multi-sensory evening of arts, connection and passion. Hosted by noted WFTS-TV news anchor Brendan McLaughlin.

Saturday, January 17 – 6-10 pm

Centro Asturiano
1913 North Nebraska Avenue
Tampa FL 33602

 Fusion features dance instructors, the genre-bending R&B of Velvet Williams – and a mix of arts, theatre, music, dance and conversation. The event celebrates Stageworks’ 31-year commitment to the Tampa Bay community, and the depth and breadth of Stageworks Theatre’s community outreach.

All proceeds benefit Stageworks’ programs for at-risk youth in the Tampa Bay area.

Stageworks is recognized as one of this year’s Top-Rated Nonprofits by Stageworks’ programs for youth include Drumming and Ensemble Acting,  creative outlets that channel energy and improve focus and interpersonal skills.

Stageworks moves beyond the typical drum circle to teach rhythm through mathematics. Instructor Alvon Griffin challenges youth to create drum compositions that use individual talents for improvisational rap, spoken word, step and dance.

Stageworks’ Improvisational Drama Program lets students create and stage their own performance. Through intense teambuilding students learn  communication, decision-making and conflict resolution skills, along with acting and performance.

In Drama for Personal Growth, Stageworks artists use drama, improvisational role play and drumming to teach positive methods for expressing anger and dealing with conflict.

Stageworks’ first two shows this season have earned rave reviews – our offerings in 2015 include a comedy by NPR’s Marc Acito about blended families and gay parenting, Birds of a Feather, onstage January 29 through February 15. An extravaganza of Fats Waller’s music, Ain’t Misbehavin’, is coming up this spring.
This year Stageworks earned Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay award for Best Theater, and our new Producing Artistic Director Karla Hartley won Best Director. Stageworks is proud to have a home in the vibrant Channel District, at the heart of this exciting Tampa neighborhood.

We hope you join us at Fusion, a celebration of arts and community.

Saturday, January 17, 6 -10 pm

Centro Asturiano

1913 North Nebraska Avenue

Tampa FL 33602

 Tickets are $200

Tables are $1500-$2500

Contact Andrea Graham to reserve a seat or table at or 813 784-6832.

Black tie and creative costume fusions are encouraged.

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New Hires & Promotions

Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. Welcomes New Hires Lori Martin, CPA, and Taylor Harmon

Thomas Howell Ferguson welcomes to the Assurance Services Department: Manager Lori Martin, CPA, and Staff member Taylor Harmon.

??????????Lori Martin graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Auburn University, and then went on to graduate from the University of South Florida with a Master of Accounting in Assurance Services. Lori has almost ten years of experience providing assurance, consulting, tax and other accounting services.  She has an extensive background in financial statement and internal audits, SEC and 404 compliance, tax, litigation support, business valuations, compilations and reviews.

Her practice spans numerous industries including:  technology, governmental, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, banking, retail, real estate, manufacturing, constructing, farming, hospitality, software development, 401k plans, charter schools, not-for-profit organizations, and foundations. In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, Lori is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMLS).

Taylor Harmon graduated from Florida State University with Bachelor’s degrees in ??????????Accounting and Finance. He is experienced in tax preparation for corporations, partnerships, individuals and not-for-profit organizations, as well as audit procedures for government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and construction companies. He is a brother of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

Thomas Howell Ferguson welcomes Lori and Taylor to the Assurance Services Department.

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Elevate, Inc. Welcomes New Chief Strategy Officer

Ansley HeadshotAnsley Kahn joins Elevate, Inc. as its new Chief Strategy Officer. Ansley is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida where she majored in International Relations and minored in Economics. As a student, she was an officer and charter member of the United Nations Association club and had the opportunity to travel to New York City and the District of Columbia for internships within the federal government. Ansley has a proven track record for working hard and producing results and looks forward to doing the same during her time at Elevate, Inc.

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IAT, Inc. Promotes Team Member to Vice President

JChernoffJeff Chernoff was recently promoted from Manager of Client Services to Vice President of IAT, Inc. Jeff Chernoff is a native of Tampa Bay who works in the family business. As an Insurance Advisor at Insurance and Trust, Jeff focuses on providing package policies for individuals and families, life insurance, disability income and long term care. Jeff and his family take pride in his being a 3rd generation insurance advisor serving businesses, families, and individuals.

Prior to his work in the insurance industry, Jeff worked in higher education at the University of North Dakota, Ferris State University, and Virginia Tech. He holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida and a Masters Degree from the University of North Dakota.
Jeff is actively involved in several community organizations including the Centre Club, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and Hillels of the Florida Suncoast.

OAI Names Dr. Michael Cooper As General Manager

Michael CooperOutdoor America Images (OAI), a leading provider of visual branding solutions, appointed Dr. Michael Cooper as General Manager to guide the company’s growth and expansion for the upcoming year and beyond. In this role, Dr. Cooper will coordinate the efforts of OAI’s executive staff and its various departments to deliver on business objectives, while focusing on new business, technology and financial opportunities.

Dr. Cooper will use his experience in leadership and strategic planning from his former roles as Assistant Dean and Campus Director at Springfield College, as well as Director of Diversity and Regional Director of Outreach at World Golf Foundation and The First Tee, to improve the effectiveness of OAI’s policies and practices. OAI looks forward to his guidance when strengthening the company’s image and further enhancing staff development.

With 25 years of experience providing major clients with Visual Branding solutions, OAI offers a variety of high-quality products and services designed to efficiently convey your brand’s unique identity while increasing its impressions with visual communications that are powerful and consistent.

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Member Accolades

Hill Ward Henderson Attorney Elected To Board of Directors

Harrell_Sandra_SMLSandra H. Ransdell, an attorney at Hill Ward Henderson, was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Founded in 2012, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is dedicated to raising money and advocating for the creative community. They provide studies and other resource materials to help make the case for the importance of the arts as an economic driver that also contributes and enhances quality of life. The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance strives to be the community voice for the arts, empowering artists, arts organizations and creative businesses to work collaboratively.

Ms. Ransdell is an Associate in the firm’s Real Estate Group. Her practice includes institutional lending, real property purchase and sale transactions, commercial development and commercial leasing. Upon graduation from Stetson University college of Law, Ms. Ransdell received the Edward D. Foreman Most Distinguished Student Award and was selected as a member of the National Order of Barristers.

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Bush Ross, P.A. Shareholder Appointed to United States Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel

006-Moe(Print)Bush Ross shareholder Anne-Leigh Gaylord Moe has been appointed to a Merit Selection Panel for the United States District Court in and for the Middle District of Florida.  Ms. Moe was appointed by the Honorable Anne C. Conway, Chief United States District Judge in and for the Middle District of Florida, following a majority vote of United States District Judges in the Middle District.

The Panel is tasked with providing assistance to the court in filling two vacant full-time United States Magistrate Judge positions, one in the Tampa division and one in the Ft. Myers division.  Ms. Moe is the only attorney on the panel from the Tampa Bay area.

Ms. Moe has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for her practice involving contract and employment disputes, professional liability defense, and construction law.  She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, and Florida Super Lawyers for her practice in the field of commercial litigation.

In her practice, Ms. Moe represents corporate and individual clients in both state and federal court.  She has successfully tried multiple cases to verdict in both bench and jury trials.  She regularly acts as local counsel to non-resident firms in matters pending before the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  Ms. Moe is President-Elect of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Before entering private practice, Ms. Moe served as a law clerk to the Honorable Virginia M. Hernandez Covington, United States District Judge, Middle District of Florida.  Ms. Moe is a graduate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Arizona State Law Journal.

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Gaston’s Culinary Services, Inc. Wins WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award

BCA_2015-badge-bottomGaston’s Culinary Services, Inc. won a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® for 2015 as determined by reviews from its clients! The Couples’ Choice Awards recognizes Gaston’s Culinary Services as being among the top 5% of wedding professionals nationwide.

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Hill Ward Henderson Founding Shareholder, Benjamin H. Hill, III Named 2015 Outstanding Service Award Recipient

Hill_Ben_SMLBenjamin H. Hill, III was recently named the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation’s 2015 Outstanding Service Award recipient. The award is given annually to a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation who is nationally recognized as someone that has consistently adhered to the highest principals and traditions of the legal profession and to the service of the public in his or her professional career. Mr. Hill will be honored and presented this award 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.

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About Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.