Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

North Pinellas Business News for Feb. 2

On Jan. 21, an addition of nearly 11,000 square feet was "topped out" at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd.

During a short ceremony, DFAC's executive director, George Ann Bissett, thanked everyone who made the undertaking possible, including Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers and City Manager Rob DiSpirito, private donors, DFAC board members and all of the construction crew.

The $3.5 million project was designed by Collman and Karsky Architects of Tampa and constructed by J. Kokolakis Contracting of Tarpon Springs.

"It's exciting to see this project moving forward," said Catherine Bergmann, DFAC's adult education director. "This will mean so much for the adult students in the Gladys Douglas School for the Arts, and all of our visitors."

The "topping out" included the enclosure of the second floor, though interior completion of that level will await additional funding, said Ken Hannon, DFAC's associate executive director.

The construction, made possible by a state matching grant and funding from the city, will add a new gallery and four studio/classrooms as well as house a newly renovated Gallery Gift Shop and Palm Cafe.

• • •

AmeriLife, a national annuity, life and health insurance marketing group based in Clearwater, has named Janet L. Sipes its new chief administrative officer.

An insurance authority with 19 years of management experience with Aviva USA, which specializes in annuities and life insurance, Sipes will work closely with AmeriLife president/CFO Gary Jenkins on driving organizational initiatives and projects, including the implementation of corporate strategic goals.

"Janet's vast experience in both marketing and operations — and her consummate familiarity with annuities — makes her uniquely suited to join AmeriLife's executive team," Jenkins said.

Sipes, educated at Kentucky's Pikeville Methodist College and Emporia State University in Kansas, began her career in banking before joining Aviva as a marketing director with its American Investors Life (AmVestors Financial Group) in 1994.

She was named senior vice president of sales and distribution for Aviva in 2006 and served as Aviva's vice president of relationship annuities IMO from 2008 until joining AmeriLife this month.

• • •

Susan Rolston, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas Inc., has announced her retirement, effective June 27.

Before joining the agency in 2001, Rolston worked 16 years for Pinellas County Schools.

Under Rolston's leadership, all areas of the agency have experienced substantial growth. The number of children served by the agency has increased from 400 in 2001 to 1,433 in 2013 and there has been a significant expansion of both the budget and donor base.

"Being recognized locally and nationally as an evidence-based social service nonprofit that provides high-quality mentoring to children is extremely rewarding," Rolston said. "Reaching that level of achievement in the midst of diversifying revenue sources was a satisfying, yet aggressive challenge."

She leaves the agency with a scholarship endowment in place for graduating Littles and expects to stay involved with local programs and activities that will give children in need the opportunity for a better life.

"On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to genuinely thank Susan for her leadership at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Susan's legacy will continue to further the agency under the steadfast direction of the strong team established during her years of service," said Dave Fox, president of Big Brothers Big Sisters' board of directors. He is senior vice president of manufacturing and advertiser content at Valpak.

In a retirement announcement to her staff members, Rolston wrote, "I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the board members and executive staff by working together to enrich the lives of children who need us the most."

Mail business news to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email [email protected]

 
Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18