Member Highlights: June 28 – July 4, 2015


Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Absolute Mobile Solutions Helps Pepin Academies Better Connect with Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities through Revamped Website

For over 15 years, Pepin Academies has provided a dynamic yet comfortable experience for students with learning disabilities. Recently, Pepin Academies added campuses in Riverview and Pasco County, which has allowed them to provide their outstanding services to a wider population. However, with growth comes the challenges of streamlining branding messages. Each campus varies slightly in terms of what it offers students and has its own website. Creating cohesive messaging that tied all three campuses together became difficult. Additionally, Pepin Academies wanted to ensure that parents of current students had access to necessary information.

Pepin Academies partnered with Absolute Mobile Solutions, a Tampa digital marketing agency that specializes in responsive website design and mobile applications, to produce a website that gave prospective parents and donors a glimpse into life and learning for students on each campus. The new website contains engaging images of students participating in a variety of learning activities. Links to all campuses are prominent as well pertinent information about academic offerings, extracurricular activities and opportunities to donate to Pepin Academies.

Pepin Academies, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has grown from a one room school house to a group of charter schools serving over 850 students with learning disabilities on three campuses. Pepin Academies is free for students and, through their programs, strives to break the destructive cycle of learned helplessness by finding students’ academic strengths and abilities and enhancing social skills.

“It’s always great for us when we have the opportunity to work with organizations like Pepin Academies. They are so passionate about serving our community,” said Alfred Goldberg, president of Absolute Mobile Solutions. “They give their best to students with learning disabilities and it was our desire to provide them with our best website. It was important that it would be easy for people to learn about their programs in an engaging way.”

“We needed a company that understood our mission and goals and made helping us achieve them a top priority. The Absolute team accomplished that by working tirelessly to determine the best strategy for creating a consistent brand identity for our organization and making important information easy to attain for current and prospective parents,” said Lauren Bergold, community relations director of Pepin Academies.

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All Children’s Hospital Heart Transplant Recipient Returns from Advocacy Trip in D.C., Speaking to Lawmakers about Children’s Health Issues


Heart transplant recipient and All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine patient Noah Nero and his family just returned to the Tampa Bay area after joining 44 other patients from across the country on Capitol Hill to speak to local Congress members about key healthcare needs for children. The Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day event, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Association, offered families and hospital staff the chance to highlight children’s health issues, including the need to improve coordinated care for children with medically complex conditions and the importance of access to highly trained specialists.

Noah, a Medicaid recipient, and his mother spoke with local lawmakers including, U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Kathy Castor and David Jolly, as well as staff from Senator Marco Rubio’s office. Noah’s mother, Cherish, shared their family’s story of how Noah was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome just a day after birth. One side of his heart didn’t function properly and after three surgeries to repair it, doctors eventually put Noah on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

At five years old, Noah received a new heart but he still visits his team at All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine for follow-up cardiac care. In addition to multiple heart check-ups throughout the year, Noah, now 7, also sees a handful of pediatric specialists for his cerebral palsy, lung disease, autism, osteoporosis, physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy and other medical conditions.

View pictures from Noah’s Visit to Capitol Hill

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Florida Poly’s High Tech Robotics Program Graduates Third Annual Class

Ted Willoughby of Wesley Chapel High School presents his poster at the conclusion of the MERIT graduation. Each MERIT participant chose a topic involving advanced technology that they researched for a poster presentation.

Ted Willoughby of Wesley Chapel High School presents his poster at the conclusion of the MERIT graduation. Each MERIT participant chose a topic involving advanced technology that they researched for a poster presentation.

Fourteen local high school students proudly demonstrated their robotic inventions and poster projects Friday evening during the third annual graduation ceremony of the Medical Engineering and Robotics Innovation for Tomorrow (MERIT) summer program at Florida Polytechnic University.

MERIT offers local high school students an intensive, hands-on learning experience in health informatics, nanotechnology, renewable energy, surgical robotics and other high-demand industries using advanced technology.

“The MERIT summer program is a great way for students to get up close and personal with key concepts in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Dr. Susan LeFrancois, Assistant Professor of Science and Logistics at Florida Poly and lead organizer of the annual summer program. “I am proud of all of our MERIT graduates. They thoroughly enjoyed working with high-tech innovations and learning about how they are applied in the real world.”

Florida Poly partnered with All Saints Academy, Lakeland Regional Health, The PUR Clinic, WellDyne and Winter Haven Hospital for the evening program, which began on June 1 at the University’s campus. During the last four weeks, students participated in a series of immersive, three-hour evening sessions that covered different topics in advanced technology, engineering and medicine. Leading faculty and industry experts from the partner organizations taught the classes and engaged students by using 3D printers, taking field trips and conducting research on a topic of their choice.

Students in the MERIT program also assembled and programmed functional robots, which they demonstrated as part of the final assignment and graduation ceremony before faculty and special guests. All students kept their robots and received a certificate of completion.

“Being part of a hands-on learning experience involving robotics and medical advances was exciting, and something that I would not have been able to take part in if it were not for MERIT. I would not have missed this for anything. I would support this camp in any way that I can in the future,” said Ted Willoughby,who just graduated from Wesley Chapel High School and plans to attend Florida Polytechnic University in the fall.

Each weekly session of the MERIT program covered a different topic in advanced technology, engineering and medicine, including:

  • “Design and Rapid Prototyping with Tinkercad and Makerbot®” – Students gained hands-on experience using 3D printers and software;
  • “Innovation in Cancer Therapy” – Oncologists explained cancer therapy and offered students experience using scanners and therapy in a simulated experience;
  • “Robotics Lab/Surgery” – Physicians discussed high-tech surgery and allowed students to operate the CT and MRI scanning equipment as well as the da Vinci® Robot used in surgery.

“It’s been exciting to watch the MERIT students learn and be inspired by the innovative advancements our faculty and industry partners are applying every day,” said Dr. Ghazi Darkazalli, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Florida Polytechnic University. “For the third year, Florida Poly is proud to offer this experience to these bright young students and we hope it inspires them to keep learning.”

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IT Authorities is Growing

IT Authorities, a managed information technology services company based in Tampa, has added 24 jobs during the first two quarters of 2015. The jobs range from systems engineers to director and vice presidential roles, according to a statement. The company expects to hire 30 more people before 2016. The company attributes the hiring to recent acquisitions of client companies. It exceeded 2014 sales in this year’s first quarter. IT Authorities’ total known employee count is now at 73. It ranked No. 14 among managed IT services.

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Port Tampa Bay Applauds New DRIVE Act and Senate Support of Critical Provisions for Transportation | Port Tampa Bay Pleased with Passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Legislation

Port Tampa Bay is in strong support of a new six-year highway reauthorization bill titled Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act which is included in legislation the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW)released today.  The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate, and it addresses some key priorities for freight mobility, which would assist the nation’s seaports and provide a boost to the economy.

This strategic bill mark up by the EPW Committee is the first step toward movement of a full reauthorization package to be forwarded to the Senate Floor. The Senate EPW Committee held a press conference today to introduce the reauthorization bill, led by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer; U.S. Sen. David Vitter; and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

Key priorities included in the DRIVE Act mark up, identified by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), are as follows:

  • $13.5 billion formula-based freight program
  • Designation and redesignation of freight network, which would require inclusion of National Highway System freight intermodal connectors
  • Expanded port eligibility in the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program
  • $2.4 billion in competitive grant funds titled Assistance for Major Projects Program (AMPP), to assist states and regions with large corridor and multimodal gateway projects and contains eligibility for ports
  • Requires MAP-21 freight planning provisions for state freight plans and state freight advisory committees
  • National freight plan that is to be revised every five years

“The people of Florida, along with port communities across the United States, will greatly benefit with this new legislation. This is a great first step toward a solution to fully-fund our nation’s highway programs,” Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president and CEO, said. “Port Tampa Bay fully supports this pro-active proposal, as it will give the country a “roadmap” on our vital infrastructure, as well as creating a plan that will focus on a national freight program that will help spur trade and economic benefits that will be felt throughout our community for generations to come.”

Anderson, a strong proponent of legislative initiatives that result in economic development and positive trade-related outcomes, also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC), based in Washington, D.C., which was established to bring national attention to the need to significantly expand U.S. freight transportation capabilities and to work toward solutions for this growing national challenge.

Port Tampa Bay has enviable intermodal connections and has benefited from a state government that strongly supports its department of transportation. Most notably, the recent construction of critical intermodal infrastructure projects, including the Interstate-4/Selmon Expressway Connector, with its dedicated truck lane to and from the port complex, and the port’s Gateway Rail terminal, which opened in late 2012.

Port Tampa Bay—the largest economic engine in West and Central Florida—joins with other U.S. ports and trade associations in celebrating the U.S. Congress’ passage this week of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which is pro-growth and pro economic development—hallmarks of the port’s strategic direction.

Port Tampa Bay leaders strongly supported the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) and late last month issued a release urging passage of this important TPA legislation, which was fortunate to have bipartisan support.  With passage in both chambers of Congress now complete, Port Tampa Bay looks forward to the President’s signing of this important legislation.  Trade Promotion Authority is vital to successfully negotiating trade agreements that profoundly benefit the economy of our nation.  Port Tampa Bay, the largest economic engine in the Tampa Bay region, supports initiatives that result in economic growth and well-paying jobs.  Trade agreements are critical to facilitating cargo movement globally, and Florida stands to benefit for years to come because of successful TPA passage.

“News of this Trade Promotion Authority passage is fantastic news for the port, for the region and for the state.  Here in Florida, trade supports 2.4 million jobs, and TPA ensures that trade agreements will have the clearest opportunities to be successfully negotiated. The port firmly supports passage of this legislation, and we are extremely grateful to our leaders in Washington, the American Association of Port Authorities, and our fellow ports nationwide for their support. It’s important that we continue to recognize the value of our ports and the nexus of trade activity to our country, our economy and to our citizens. The positive impacts of TPA passage will be with us for generations,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said.

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Member Events

July 31: St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Presents Christmas in July Annual Donation Drive

BC1503564_SJCH Foundation CIJ Poster 2015P1

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New Hires & Promotions

C1 Bank Promotes Susan Maurer, SVP/Senior Commercial Lender, to Hillsborough County Market Leader

CaptureC1 Bank promoted Susan Maurer, SVP/Senior Commercial Lender, to the Hillsborough County Market Leader. Susan Maurer has been in the financial/banking industry for over 36 years and has worked with commercial lending and finance in both Texas and Florida. Susan graduated from National University in San Diego, CA, Leadership Collier and Leadership Tampa. Susan is a member of the Chamber’s Military Committee and Leadership Tampa Alumni. She was also the first female executive on the board at Bank of America in Texas.

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Celestar Holdings Corporation Promotes Deborah Miller to Business Relationship Manager, Names Lori Larsen as Chief Strategy Officer

debbiemillerCelestar Holdings Corporation announced today the promotion of Debbie Miller to Business Relationship Manager.  Ms. Miller will be responsible for implementing and managing Celestar’s business relationships and military affairs programs, in addition to developing and executing a comprehensive internal and external communications and community strategy to enhance Celestar’s corporate reputation.

“Debbie has been a critical factor in building Celestar’s presence in the community.  As a result of her hard work, she was recognized by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce with the Bob Cutler Volunteer of the Year Award. A true testament to Debbie’s dedication to supporting military causes”, said Gregory Celestan, Chief Executive Officer of Celestar Holdings Corporation.

leadership_llarsenEarly last month, Celestar Holdings Corporation announced the promotion of Lori Larsen to Chief Strategy Officer.  Ms. Larsen will be responsible for the development and execution of Celestar’s strategy as well as identifying growth opportunities across the subsidiary companies.

“Lori has been a critical component of Celestar’s growth and success.  She joined the company in 2005 as a Program Manager and quickly rose through the ranks of management.  She has helped drive Celestar’s growth from a startup business to a successful mid-tier enterprise”, said Gregory Celestan, Chief Executive Officer of Celestar Holdings Corporation.

Ms. Larsen holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from Marquette University with a Minor in Military Science and Leadership. She served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army from May1998 through August 2005 prior to joining Celestar.

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Member Accolades

Twenty-three Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Tampa Attorneys Named to 2015 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is pleased to announce that 23 of the firm’s Tampa attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers list. Of the 23 selected, five were noted as Florida Rising Stars.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to be included in the Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team to be included in the Rising Stars list.

The Tampa attorneys selected to the Super Lawyers list include: Cathy J. Beveridge, E. Jackson Boggs, Heather B. Brock, John D. Emmanuel, Darren D. Farfante, William J. Flynn, Calvin G.  Hayes, Mitchell I. Horowitz, Richard A. Jacobson, Rhea F. Law, Conrad J. Lazo, Carl R. Nelson, Ronald H. Noble, Richard G. Salazar, Hala A. Sandridge, Ted R. Tamargo, Scott A. Underwood and Edward M. Waller, Jr.

Those Tampa attorneys selected to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars list include: Blake J. Delaney, Meredith S. Delcamp, Thomas J. Hunt, Sarah Lahlou-Amine and Scott A. Richards

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.

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Tampa Law Firm Bush Ross, P.A. Shareholders Installed as HCBA President & Secretary

009-Andersen(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Carter Andersen was recently installed as President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Bush Ross President Jeffrey Warren introduced Mr. Andersen who was subsequently sworn in by Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta.

The Installation took place at the HCBA’s Chester H. Ferguson Law Center on June 17, 2015. During his speech, Mr. Andersen expressed his gratitude to colleagues and peers that have mentored him throughout his career. He explained how impactful those experiences have been in his life and stressed the importance of paying it forward.

Mr. Andersen has been actively involved with the HCBA for the past eight years, having
served on the Board of Directors.

Mr. Andersen’s practice includes civil litigation matters in both state and federal courts
and in alternative dispute resolution settings, including arbitration and mediation. He
regularly handles business, commercial and contract disputes, construction and real estate disputes, employment litigation, professional malpractice matters (defending attorneys, accountants, architects and engineers), trade secret disputes, and other general commercial litigation matters. Mr. Andersen is also certified as a Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

025-JenkinsRS(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Drew Jenkins was appointed as Secretary of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  Mr. Jenkins will serve a one year term commencing in July 2015.

Mr. Jenkins’ practice focuses primarily on commercial finance, secured lending, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate law. He also has extensive experience representing creditors and trustees in Chapter 11 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations.

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Englander Fischer Senior Partner & Attorney Partner Recognized as ‘Legal Leaders’ by Peers

CaptureEnglander Fischer LLP congratulates senior partner, Lenny Englander, and attorney partner, Sidney Werner, on being named to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite of 2015”. This is the 11th year that Florida Trend has presented its list of attorneys whose distinction within their profession has earned them recognition from fellow attorneys and colleagues.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that is put towards our clients,” says Leonard S. Englander, founder of Englander Fischer.

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17 GrayRobinson Attorneys Listed Among Florida Trend’s 2015 Legal Elite

GR Logo Color

GrayRobinson, P.A., announced that Florida Trend has recognized 17 attorneys on its annual Legal Elite special report, recognizing the top attorneys in the state as chosen by their peers.

The resulting lists of top attorneys represents fewer than 2 percent of the active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida. Two GrayRobinson attorneys were ranked as Up & Comers, representing those who are under the age of 40 and have exhibited leadership in the law and in their community. The list also includes Gary S. Salzman, who is recognized in the Legal Elite Hall of Fame.

GrayRobinson attorneys named to the 2015 Florida Trend Legal Elite (listed alphabetically below by location):

Fort Lauderdale:

Jeffrey T. Kuntz, Appellate*


William H. Andrews, Labor & Employment


Sandra  G. Sheets, Wills, Trusts & Estates


Brian H. Bieber, Criminal Law

Leyza F. Blanco, Bankruptcy & Workout

Joel Hirschhorn, Criminal Law

Kevin M. Levy, Business Law

Marlene Quintana, B.C.S., Labor & Employment


John A. Boudet, Commercial Litigation

Christopher L. Carmody, Jr., Government & Administrative*

Mayanne Downs, Commercial Litigation

Frederick W. Leonhardt, Government & Administrative

Gary S. Salzman, B.C.S., Commercial Litigation**


Debra Deardourff Faulk, Intellectual Property Rights

Brian K. Oblow, Civil Trial

Stefan V. Stein, Intellectual Property Rights

Woodrow H. Pollack, Intellectual Property Rights

(*) Up & Comer

(**) Hall of Famer

About Legal Elite

Published once a year by Florida Trend, Legal Elite is a special report that recognizes the best attorneys in the state as chosen by their peers. The resulting lists represent fewer than 2% of the active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida.

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Tampa Based No Mo Nausea Wins Miami Venture Hive Business Pitch Competition & Interest from Venture Capitalists

No Mo Nausea is proud to announce that it has been selected as the winner of the annual Miami Venture Hive business pitch competition.  The competition provided a forum for over one hundred early stage companies to pitch their business to venture capitalists from across the United States.  No Mo Nausea’s CEO, Jacqueline Darna, was chosen for her innovative natural anti-nausea product presentation. Her expertise spiked the interest of venture capitalist Chip Gessner, financial backer to Facebook, Twitter, and Uber.

The company has gained attention throughout 2015 including  being selected as a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Startup Scholar; being endorsed by multiple U.S. physicians, being chosen as KIWI Magazines Eco-Friendly Family pick of 2015, and being selected as an anti-nausea product of choice by scuba divers licensed by the National Association of Underwater Instructors.

“I felt like I was watching an infomercial, perfectly pitched, well done,” said Sandy Goldman, Partner at The Brand Liason LLC; “No Mo Nausea, you represent Tampa very well. You make us proud,” remarked Art Fyvolent, CEO, Ideas4.

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Forty-Four Trenam Kemker Lawyers Named Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Rising Stars

Trenam Kemker is proud to announce Florida Super Lawyers has named forty-four of our attorneys to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.  Florida Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice. Their patented selection process is rigorous and results in third-party validation of their professional accomplishments. Click here to view the Trenam Kemker attorneys that are listed.

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The Tampa Bay Chamber 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.