New research council, better EDC focus, more startup buzz: 5 things to know about Tampa Bay
Wake up and good morning: 5 things happening in the Tampa Bay business community you should know about:
1. The first meeting of Tampa Bay's new Research Council was held earlier this week, a new organization of medical/biotech interests here that hopes to serve as a clearinghouse of biomedical information and shareable databases for the region, and serves as a catalyst for encouraging more research organizations here. The effort is chaired by Dr. Debbie Sutherland, (photo, left), the new CEO of USF's Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation (better known as CAMLS). Read more here.
2. I visited with Rick Homans (photo, right) this week, the recently arrived (from New Mexico) CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. who's wasting little time in putting his own imprint on and people into the business recruitment and retention organization. Plenty is afoot there but two people-related changes gives insight into the EDC direction. Jennifer Mikosky, formerly with FKQ Advertising & Marketing, now heads the EDC's reorganized and re-emphasized marketing department. And Keith Norden, Homans predecessor and who initially was to focus as an EVP of the group international business opportunities for the EDC, is out. Read more here. Norden's looking for new work possibilities. It's early yet but Homans has a tech streak in him that looks promising, including the adoption of CRM (customer relationship management) software that looks like a smart data management move that other economic development groups around here might want to ask -- are we up to speed on this?
3. James Utterback, the once heralded CEO of Moffitt Cancer's for-profit joint venture M2Gen who then left and evaporated from the public, is back on the radar. He's joined the board of a company called Laureate Biopharmaceutical Services, a contract development and manufacturing organization. Utterback was on my "People to Watch" column in 2010. Check out what M2Gen's now up to here.
4. Ran into John Morrow (photo, left) on Wednesday, one of the founding team of the Gazelle Lab business incubator at USF St. Petersburg. He's pleased with the entrepreneurial buzz (granted it's chaotic but that's part of the process) he's sensing across the Tampa Bay area. Consider this flurry of activity: A 1st place win in a national competition by members of the USF St. Pete Entrepreneurship Club; Tampa's Startup Weekend, 54 hours of crazy innovation on April 13-15; and from Tampa Bay, Celestar Corp. CEO Greg Celestan, Valet Waste CEO Michael Ferris, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman, Raymond James executive chairman Tom James and Bluepearl Veterinary Partners CEO Darryl Shaw are among the judges of this year's Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
5. And finally, I shared a breakfast this week with Ed Sweda, the veteran watcher of tobacco litigation and senior attorney of the Tobacco Liability Project run out of Northeastern University in Boston. Ed's here to cheer on his Boston College Eagles in the Frozen Four NCAA hockey finals at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But he's also visiting Florida which happens to be ground zero in the court wars against rich cigarette companies. See what Sweda has to say in my column today in the Tampa Bay Times.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times