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New jobs for the same old airport screeners?

Who's not good enough for that new corps of federal screeners at the nation's airports?

Michelle Hood of Tampa, for one. She holds a bachelor's degree from Kent State with a major in aviation science and worked 13 years at US Airways before the airline eliminated her job as a maintenance supervisor last year.

Then there's Jim Steinberg, a foot surgeon who retired to Tampa. And Jack Tunstill, a former engineer for Florida Power and current flight instructor at St. Petersburg's Albert Whitted Airport.

Transportation Security Administration officials wouldn't tell any of them why they were rejected.

Many people were disqualified in the initial screening because they said they were not available to work nights or weekends or because they do not meet the educational requirements, TSA spokeswoman Heather Rosenker said.

There have been growing pains as the administration sprints to have federal screeners in place by Nov. 19, she said, but overall, the process is going well. "We've found a number of very qualified individuals in the Tampa area, and we continue to look for more," Rosenker said.

The three local applicants said they all agreed to work nights and weekends. They also met the minimum requirements of being a U.S. citizen and having a high school diploma, equivalency degree or at least a year in security work or airport screening or as an X-ray technician.

The hitch, they think, is another possible requirement listed on their rejection letters: specialized experience in identifying dangerous or deadly objects in baggage or cargo or on passengers.

In other words, the skills supposedly held by the same low-wage, low-skilled people who have worked for contractors as airport screeners.

"I've looked at hundreds of X-rays," said Steinberg. "I've just never seen a bomb or a gun in one. Wouldn't you be more comfortable with somebody like me than (a current screener) who just put on a new hat?"


More of Pinellas

County's manufacturers

are plugging in

Most Pinellas County manufacturers still aren't on the Web, but they're getting there.

Forty-seven percent have their own Web sites, up from 32 percent two years ago, and 57 percent have an e-mail address. That's according to the latest manufacturers' survey by Pinellas County Economic Development.

Even if they don't have an Internet presence yet, the responses show businesses are becoming Web savvy. Ninety percent said they use the Internet in some fashion. The most popular applications are e-mail and research, with more than a third engaged in genuine e-commerce.

Thirty-five percent said they use the Internet to sell their products, and 39 percent use it to buy goods and services from other companies.


Craven Bamboozle _

gone, then back _

is gone again

Local car dealers couldn't drive their cartoon nemesis Craven Bamboozle out of town, but he left anyway.

"It just died the dot-com death," said co-creator Cosby Swanson III of Tampa, who took down the Web site this spring. "We had it up for the viewing and interest of people who might be willing to incorporate it into their own Web sites."

That lack of interest on the Web didn't match the cartoon's stormy history with local dealers. The fictional Bamboozle first appeared in the mid-1990s in newspaper ads for Swanson Chrysler Plymouth, a family-owned dealership that was a pioneer in no-haggle pricing.

The pot-bellied character played the role of an underhanded car salesman, satirizing dealers and their sales practices and angering competitors. When the Swanson family sold the dealership, the cartoon went away. It came back two years ago on the Web.

The Web site offered consumer advice, a "bull detector" so car shoppers could calculate whether they were getting a good deal and links to other car information sites.

"I recommend (car shoppers) start with," Swanson said. "There's still no Web site out there that did what we did, which was factor in all of the dealer costs in trying to determine the bottom line."

But Swanson says we may not have seen the last of Craven. Cartoonist and co-creator Mark Dubowski is considering resurrecting it as a consumer strip that goes beyond car shopping.


Jay Garner bounces high on the rebound

Call it the remaking of Jay Garner.

As devotees of local business organizations may recall, Garner was unceremoniously ousted last year as president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce after just seven months in the post.

The problem: His aggressive efforts to build up the group's moribund membership created more enemies than allies.

Now it appears that aggressiveness is paying off. After a stint as an Atlanta consultant, Garner in April was named to an executive-level post at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce: executive vice president and chief economic development officer.

He also is serving a high-profile post as co-chairman of the International Economic Development Council. Garner's job was to help spearhead creation of the council, formed last year by the merger of the American Economic Development Council and the Council for Urban Economic Development.

In September, the former Tampa booster will speak to his economic development peers across the country as one of the featured speakers at the council's annual conference in Oakland, Calif.

Garner should feel at ease. He'll share the podium with another politico who is known for his controversial flair: Oakland mayor and former California governor Jerry Brown.


"Team Florida' invades London

This week, "Team Florida" will descend upon London with all the trappings of a royal court. Led by Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, the retinue of 115 Floridians will be visiting the Farnborough International Air Show, hobnobbing with British business groups and enjoying the hospitality of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, William Farish.

While team members are out hustling deals, the governor will be meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair and sitting down for an interview with the Financial Times. Also on the schedule: A Bush speech to U.K. companies on "Florida: Gateway to the Americas."

Among the delegates, who paid their own way to join the trip but get to bask in Bush's reflected glory for free, are executives from the Kennedy Space Center and aviation-related businesses, airports, resorts, real estate agents, universities and several chambers of commerce.

Tossed into the mix is Darren Shields, a 32-year-old entrepreneur who recently became the third tenant in Tampa's TechVillage incubator. Founder of Workflow Mobility Inc., Shields said ties to the Florida trade mission helped him fill his appointment book for the weeklong trip.

"I've received overwhelming interest," said Shields, whose software company is working on its first sale. "The organizers have helped substantially in matching me with people who are appropriate. Otherwise, it's easy to get lumped into the group."

Shields promises an update on whether the United Kingdom talks turn into contracts.