My state of mind was not conducive to crawling into the cockpit of a light sport aircraft designed to reinvent personal aviation.
Fear of heights? Check. Bad experience on a small plane? Check. Seen a few too many episodes of Why Planes Crash on the Weather Channel? Check.
And while it's never approached the level requiring medication or hypnosis, I've never been a big fan of hurtling through the air trusting the physics of aircraft lift based on wing design....
Stuart-based Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida announced Friday it has acquired the parent company of GulfShore Bank in a deal valued at $54.8 million.
GulfShore's three branches, two in Tampa and one in St. Petersburg, will be absorbed into Seacoast Bank.
The move extends 90-year-old Seacoast's service area to Florida's west coast. It has 47 branches stretching from Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach north to the Daytona Beach area. Earlier this year, it acquired Floridian Financial Corp. and the BMO Harris Orlando banking franchise, bringing it to the center of the state....
ST. PETERSBURG — Duke Energy has named Harry Sideris, currently senior vice president of environmental health and safety, the utility's new state president in Florida effective Jan. 1.
Alex Glenn, 51, who has held the top Florida spot for the last four years, will move to the position of senior vice president of state and federal regulatory legal support at Duke national headquarters in Charlotte, N.C....
In a neighborhood diner, Rena Frazier pulls out a four-page letter, hand-written, front page and back, presented to her by a resident of state House District 59 who had been contacted by her campaign.
She didn't want to share details, saying it was personal, but Frazier summarized the letter this way:
"They feel like they don't matter," she said. State legislators "have forgotten about folks like her. That's what I want to address. The quality of life issues that are affecting everyday people. That's what we need to start focusing on, not criminalizing whether a man and a woman can live together when they're not married, not that we're providing tax incentives to sports franchises and corporations."...
TAMPA — A Naples medical device company commercializing a new design for a total shoulder replacement system and a Boca Raton company that develops real-time monitoring for public safety were the big winners in the 2016 VentureTech Showcase on Tuesday night.
Catalyst OrthoScience LLC earned the $100,000 top prize for its Catalyst Shoulder Replacement System, which is less invasive, preserves more bone and is faster than traditional surgery. EagleEye Intelligence picked up $50,000 for its communications platform that organizes information in emergencies with the use of drones. ...
10/27/16 Economic Development
TAMPA — The negative headlines coming out of the National Football League are symbolic of the times we live in, a top league executive said Wednesday night during a visit to the University of South Florida.
Players kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the national anthem. Domestic violence. Concussions that may affect players' future health. These are some of the issues Tod Leiweke now tackles after leaving a key executive position with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year for NFL headquarters in New York....
10/24/16 Economic Development
TAMPA — Once again, the University of South Florida ranks among the best schools in the nation when it comes to spreading research breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace.
USF ranked ninth nationally among U.S. universities for license and option agreements with companies that have contracted to further develop research into commercial products. The 133 agreements in the fiscal year that ended June 30 represent a record for the school, a 12 percent increase over the previous fiscal year at an institution dedicated to commercializing research....
10/21/16 Working Life
TAMPA — When Marissa Davis' husband was transferred from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to MacDill in Tampa in February 2015, she reached out on a military support Facebook page for advice on local jobs.
Julie McAdoo, a veteran who had always been active on the sites, offered some suggestions.
Then she and her husband, Kevin, who run an Office Pride commercial cleaning franchise in Tampa, hired Davis themselves....
10/21/16 Economic Development
Luring a company to establish or relocate a corporate headquarters in your hometown is the stuff economic development officials dream of. So there was quite the celebration Wednesday when Johnson & Johnson formally opened its new North America Global Services Center in the Hidden River Corporate Park off E Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75.
Gov. Rick Scott flew in, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gave his traditional effusive yet boastful rah-rah speech. ...
10/19/16 Economic Development
TAMPA — Lauding the city as "a magnet for well-educated millennials," executives from Johnson & Johnson were joined Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in formally opening the company's new North America Global Services Center, which will ultimately employ 500 people by 2020.
"J & J chose Tampa because of the quality of the people here — people with experience in business services. Smart, talented people. People with multilingual capabilities," Erin Champlin, the company's vice president of global services, told hundreds of employees and guests....
Incumbent Dennis Ross faces a challenge from Jim Lange, a political novice with little money or name recognition. Lange says the problem-solving skills he honed as a business consultant are what is needed to get Congress working again. It's been a quiet campaign, with Ross recovering from heart surgery to correct a birth defect. He trounced his Democratic opponent in 2014 and ran unopposed in 2012....
It's a lawyer-vs.-lawyer contest in this district, which spans the Brandon, Riverview and Valrico areas. Rena Frazier handily defeated fellow Democrat Naze Sahebzamani in the primary, while Ross Spano faced no Republican challenger. Spano narrowly won the district seat in 2012 by a 51-49 margin, but breezed to victory two years later with 58 percent of the vote. This swing district leans slightly Democratic....
10/14/16 Economic Development
ST. PETERSBURG — As a writer, actor, musician and songwriter, Matt Schwartz is innately familiar with the creative process.
"What is so interesting is that there have been three moments in my life where I've entered into a kind of flow zone where I forget that time is passing, and two hours later, I have a finished piece," the 30-year-old Palm Harbor resident said.
The first was in college, when he wrote a short play. The second was a piece of music composed on the piano. "And it happened with this project," Schwartz said. "It would be three in the morning, and I was in that flow state that artists covet."...
Amazon will hire 120,000 people for seasonal positions across its U.S. network of distribution centers, sorting centers and customer service sites this holiday season, the Seattle-based online retailer has announced.
The company said that last year, more than 14,000 seasonal positions transitioned into regular, full-time roles after the holidays, and it expects to increase that number this year. ...
10/05/16 Working Life
TAMPA — Moffitt Cancer Center has announced it is shutting down its day care center at the end of the year while it builds a new and bigger facility, putting the families of roughly 90 children in limbo as they seek alternate arrangements.
Moffitt's Child Development Center, on the University of South Florida campus, has been providing child care services for more than 20 years. A new center, to be built at the McKinley campus one mile south of USF, will open in 2018....