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DeSantis renames road in Pinellas County in honor of fallen officer

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1716 on Friday, which renames Tampa Bay area roads the names of fallen officers.  In Pinellas County, County Road 611 between Keystone Road and Forelock Road will now be “Deputy Michael J. Magli Memorial Road." Magli lost his life on Feb. 17, 2021, while attempting to stop a drunk driver who had been leading authorities on a high-speed chase. Magli was the first Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy ever to be killed in the line of duty, according to the governor's office. The bill also designates State Road 60 between Interstate 75 and Phillip Lee Boulevard in Hillsborough County as “Sergeant Brian LaVigne Road,” and Interstate 275 between East Sligh Avenue and East Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Hillsborough County as “Officer Jesse Madsen Memorial Highway.” DeSantis was joined at the commemoration by the families of the fallen officers.

Tampa airport gains new connection to New Hampshire

Tampa International Airport will have a new connection to New Hampshire through Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE). The South Florida-based airline carrier announced four new routes from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to cities in Florida. Flights to TPA will begin on Nov. 18. and will be avialble three times weekly. TPA does have another connection to New Hampshire through Southwest Airlines.

HUGE news: Car salesman Billy Fuccillo dies at age 64

Billy Fuccillo, the garrulous New York car salesman who brought his “It’s gonna be HUGE!” catchphrase to Tampa Bay, has died at age 64. Syracuse, N.Y.-based Fuccillo Automotive Group owned and operated several auto dealerships in Florida, including one in Wesley Chapel that Fuccillo himself, along with sidekick Caroline Renfro, promoted heavily in TV and radio advertisements, with Fuccillo often bellowing seemingly ad-libbed lines. The Times Union newspaper in Albany, N.Y., reported that Fuccillo’s health had been in decline for some time, but did not specify a cause of death.

Sykes Enterprises to be acquired by Miami firm

Tampa-based Sykes Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: SYKE), a provider of customer experience management services with more than 61,000 employees worldwide, agreed to be acquired by Miami-based Sitel Group in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $2.2 billion. With $1.71 billion in gross revenue in 2020, Sykes is one of the Tampa Bay region’s largest publicly traded companies. Privately held Sitel Group, also a large provider of customer experience products and solutions, has agreed to pay $54 per share — 31.2 percent more than Sykes’ closing stock price on Thursday. Sykes President and CEO Chuck Sykes, in a news release, called the deal “a major milestone in our 40-plus year operating history.” He added, “In Sitel Group, I am confident that we have a valuable partner with a solid heritage of deep industry knowledge and experience, solid industry reputation, a shared vision and a people-first culture to better serve customers.” The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year, at which time Sykes Enterprises will become a privately owned company.

KnowBe4’s Sjouwerman makes ‘top CEO’ list

Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, has won a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award honoring the Top CEOs in 2021.  The annual award highlights top leaders that employees love working for in countries throughout North America and parts of Europe. Sjouwerman ranked No. 70 on the list of 100 CEOs and was the only CEO of a company headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area on the list. Ratings are based on anonymous and voluntary reviews shared by KnowBe4 employees on Glassdoor over the past year. KnowBe4 (Nasdaq: KNBE) is a Clearwater-based cybersecurity training company. See the full list here.

TiE Tampa Bay elects Richard Heruska as new president

Richard (Rich) Heruska has been named the new President-elect of TiE Tampa Bay, and will start July 1. A past program director at Tampa Bay Wave, Heruska has been a board member of the entrepreneureal organization for the past two years, and one of the driving forces behind the successful TYE program.

Police department seeks re-accreditation from state agency

The St. Petersburg Police Department next month will go through an on-site assessment as part of the re-accreditation process with the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Inc., known as CFA. According to a news release, a team from CFA will arrive on July 27 and conduct an evaluation, over two days, of all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services. As part of the re-accreditation process, CFA assessors seek comments from members of the department and the general public. To submit a comment, call 727-893-4900 on July 27 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Written comments can be sent to CFA at P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida 32302, or emailed to flaccreditation@fdle.state.fl.us. Comments, the release stated, must address the department’s ability to comply with CFA Core Competency Standards.

Bayfront Health joins the Fort De Soto Trilogy team

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg has been named Official Medical Team for the Fort De Soto Trilogy, a series of events for triathletes taking place at Fort De Soto park June 26, Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, including a swim race, a bike race and a 5K run. Physicians and athletic trainers with Bayfront Health St. Petersburg will be providing on-site medical support to the athletes. For more on the Fort DeSoto Trilogy, click here

Airline Swoop adds connections between St. Pete and Canada

Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier, unveiled plans on Wednesday to add three new U.S. destinations to its network, including non-stop flights to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. The airline announced a new service for St. Pete, San Diego and Orlando/Sanford beginning this winter. St. Pete-Clearwater will have a connection to Hamilton, Ontario and Toronto. The Toronto flights start on Nov. 5  and will be available three times a week. Flights from Hamilton start Nov. 9 and will be available twice weekly. Swoop, which is a subsidiary of the WestJet Group, uses its fleet of nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft for its commercial services.

Mental health care provider appoints new senior vice president

St. Petersburg-based Ascellus (formerly known as IMCS Group), a provider of mental and behavioral health services for injured workers, has hired Jim Harvey as senior vice president of national account management and strategy. According to a press release, Harvey brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in health technology to the role. He previously worked at Memphis, Tenn.-based Sedgwick, where he served as vice president of managed care client services. “Jim has that rare talent for developing relationships, deeply listening and then inspiring genius collaborations that create win-win outcomes," Ascellus CEO Lori Daugherty stated in the release. "We're excited to team with Jim on introducing our solution-oriented Ascellus Connect platform to our industry partners."

St. Pete’s Neptune Flood hits milestone

Neptune Flood, a St. Petersburg-based insurtech company focused on flood insurance, has surpassed $20 billion in total insured property value. The milestone was achieved in less than four years in operation, Trevor Burgess, CEO, said in a news release. The company has more than 70,000 clients and 6,000 active insurance agents. It offers residential, commercial and residential condominium building flood insurance products as an alternative to those from the federal National Flood Insurance Program.

Credit union executive honored with marketing award

GTE Financial Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mandy Zurbrick has won a bronze “Stevie” award in the Marketing Executive of the Year category at the 19th annual American Business Awards. The Stevie Awards, which derive their name from the Greek word for “crowned,” will be presented virtually on June 30. The 2021 American Business Awards, according to a press release, received more than 3,800 nominations from for-profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes. Zurbrick, the release stated, has led a rebranding initiative at GTE Financial in addition to handling the Tampa-based credit union’s email marketing program; publications, advertising and social media strategy; layouts and design; market research and analysis; brand positioning and awareness; product development; member communication; and new market planning.

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