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Serial entrepreneur sells St. Pete company to Largo tech firm

Margie Manning

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Mike Morris, founder, Ocean Optics and Spectrecology

Salvo Technologies, a technology-based holding company in Largo, has acquired Spectrecology LLC, a St. Petersburg distributor of spectrometers, imaging and sensing products owned by serial entrepreneur Mike Morris.

The deal was announced Feb. 2, the same day that Salvo closed on the purchase of an office building at 8060 Bryan Dairy Road. Pinellas County property records show Salvo paid $4 million for the property. The seller was BCH-1 Ltd., an entity associated with Harrod Properties in Tampa.

It’s unclear if the two transactions were related. A call to Salvo for comment was pending return.

Salvo Technologies, a privately owned company that launched in 2007, invests in and develops manufacturing companies serving the defense, security, medical, industrial and commercial markets. The acquisition of Spectrecology bolsters Salvo’s manufacturing base, adds complementary solutions for the educational and environmental markets, and allows Salvo to better serve its existing customer base, a news release said.

Prior to Spectrecology, Morris founded Ocean Optics, where he developed the world’s first miniature fiber optic spectrometer. The instrument, originally used to measure acidity in deep oceans, has since flown in space, landed on Mars, monitored crops, diagnosed cancer, taught students and helped researchers around the world, according to the company’s website.

“Spectrecology has a unique platform and deep customer knowledge base,” said Hugh Garvey, director of imaging and sensing at Salvo. “Mike Morris and his team have been in the spectroscopy field for decades. He invented the miniature spectrometer when he started Ocean Optics. To have someone on the team like that is super exciting to me. By leveraging his years of experience and his network of customers, Salvo is taking a gigantic leap forward in the space!”

Morris said it’s exciting to be connected to Salvo.

“The energy and excitement surrounding the team, along with its extremely fast growth trajectory, are reminiscent of Ocean Optics in the early years. In addition, having access to the company’s deep bench of photonics experts allows me to do what I love, which is to create exciting products that solve real-world problems,” Morris said.

In a video posted on YouTube last month, Morris talked about his career.

 

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