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Stockholders approve WellCare-Centene deal

Shareholders for both WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) and Centene (NYSE: CNC) overwhelming approved Centene's $17 billion purchase of Tampa-based WellCare in separate meetings Monday. The companies are working through the 26-state insurance approval process needed to complete the deal and are working with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has requested more information and materials, a news release said.

TrackFive rebrands, grows in St. Pete

A Lancaster, Pennsylvania tech company that opened an office in St. Petersburg last summer has a new name. Track5Media LLC dropped "Media" from its name and now is TrackFive. The company builds online job boards and recruitment software for niche industries. The St. Petersburg office is its second location and currently has  25 employees, more than half of them women, a news release said. 

Johns Hopkins All Children’s study raises obesity concerns

Researchers hope a new study from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will help pediatricians address the growing obesity epidemic. The study showed that pediatricians and parents may be neglecting healthy-weight kids when it comes to counseling for weight management. Recent health campaigns may have helped providers prioritize the identification and counseling of overweight children, but the data suggested that  providers may be neglecting the role of healthy lifestyle behavior counseling in healthy-weight children as well as obese children, according to an abstract of the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity.

PSTA offers free rides on all routes to celebrate Pride

Arrive to Pride in style. PSTA is offering free rides on all buses and routes on Saturday in honor of Pride. As the largest Pride Festival in the state of Florida, and the second largest in Southeast, St. Pete Pride brings over 250,000 people to town. Avoid the parking disasters, surge pricing Ubers, and ride the bus for free. 

Tampa-St. Pete ranks No. 1 in STEM job demand

The Tampa-St. Pete area remained first among the metro areas in Florida in job demand in May with 60,032 openings, according to a statement from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The metro area also continues to rank first in the state in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 19,726 openings in May 2019.   Local employers added 27,500 new private-sector jobs in the last year and the unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from a year ago.

Rays, Centerplate settle dispute

The Tampa Bay Rays have settled a dispute with Centerplate Inc., a longtime stadium concessionaire, according to Law360. The Rays filed suit against Centerplate, their former concessions vendor, for breach of contract in 2017, WTSP reported. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed before U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. in Tampa signed an order dismissing the case with prejudice on Wednesday.

Largo businesses get new owners

Compass Self Storage has acquired a self-storage center  at 12700 Walsingham Rd. in Largo. Compass, a member of the Amsdell family of companies, plans upgrades to the property to bring the latest technology offering to customers, including smart locks and high-definition video. Separately, Jiffy Lube franchisee South Bay Lube acquired a four-bay store at 9420 Ulmerton Rd. The location is currently open and operating under Jiffy Lube Multicare, with renovations continuing to take place in the coming weeks.

Burdick, Sjouwerman make Glassdoor’s list of top CEOs

Ken Burdick, CEO of WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) in Tampa, and Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4 in Clearwater, are among the winners of Glassdoor’s Employees Choice Awards. The awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback. Burdick ranked No. 92 among 100 CEOs from large companies, with a 91 percent approval rating. Sjouwerman had a 98 percent approval rating, and was No. 8 among 50 CEOs from small and medium-sized businesses.

AmeriLife completes $395 million refinancing

AmeriLife, a Clearwater firm that develops, markets and distributes insurance products, has new credit facilities providing up to $395 million. The refinancing was over-subscribed, a news release said. That allowed AmeriLife to raise additional capital that will be used to fund future acquisitions and pay a special dividend to equity holders. It also attracted a broader group of blue-chip lenders to the firm and reduced the cost of capital, the company said. J.C. Flowers & Co., a private investment firm, has been the majority owner of AmeriLife since 2015.

Spectrio buys Media Distribution Solutions

Spectrio, an in-store marketing firm based in Oldsmar, has acquired Media Distribution Solutions in Plano, Texas. Small and mid-sized businesses use MDS’ on-demand custom video to distribute their content online, on social media, on television and through other digital distribution channels. With the acquisition, these companies can leverage Spectrio’s in-store digital platform to deliver their content inside their location, a news release said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ybor City proponent joins board of cannabis company

Major Gen. USAF (Retired) David Scott has joined the board of directors of United Cannabis Corp. (OTCBB: CNAB). Scott has served as a member of the company’s advisory board since 2017 and said in a news release that he’s observed how the company’s cannabis and hemp-derived products help people with pain and sleep disorders. Scott lives in Tampa, where he operates three small businesses and promotes community development within the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District. 

United Way taps local leader for national role

United Way Worldwide has appointed Suzanne McCormick as the organization’s incoming U.S. president. She will assume her new role on July 31, a news release said. McCormick  currently serves as president and CEO of United Way Suncoast, which serves Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties. In her new role, McCormick will be responsible for building the modern United Way and leading the continued digital transformation through the organization’s enterprise technology platform adoption.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

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