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Pasco School Superintendent tests positive for COVID-19

Pasco County School Superintended Kurt Browning notified Pasco County School employees Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19. He is now in isolation at home. Browning, who said he is only experiencing mild symptoms, did spend some time in his office recently. However, he was informed that his interactions didn't amount to close contact, and will not require self-isolation or testing for people who came into contact with him.

Where Florida stands in new ranking of best states for business

Chief Executive magazine, a business publication, ranked Florida No. 2 on its 2020 list of Best & Worst States for Business. Florida was second only to Texas on the list, which is available here. The magazine cited Florida's strong economy, fast-growing metropolitan areas and corporate expansions, including the move of S.S. White Technologies from New Jersey to Pinellas County. It highlighted Enterprise Florida's Export Concierge Service, a program that provides an array of services to support export opportunities for Florida-based businesses.

St. Pete financial firm names interim CEO

1347 Property Insurance Holdings Inc. has appointed Larry Swets Jr. as interim chief executive officer effective immediately. Swets is a member of the 1347 Property Insurance board Member and a former board chairman. 1347 Property Insurance (Nassdaq: PIH) sold its homeowners insurance operations and relocated its corporate headquarters and principal executive offices from Tampa to St. Petersburg in December. The company now is focused on  insurance, asset management, and real estate, and Swets will be responsible for leading the company throughout the formation, launch, and initial execution of these strategies, a news release said. The company plans to change its name to Fundamental Global Financial Corporation, provided shareholders at the 2020 annual meeting approve the change.

Tampa tech staffing company acquired

NSC Technologies has acquired Anistar Technologies Inc. in Tampa. Details of the transaction were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Anistar is a national staffing company that sources highly skilled, hard-to-find professionals in the low-voltage and technology infrastructure sector. NSC Technologies, based in Portsmith, Virginia, is a staffing firm servicing the global marine, energy, commercial and industrial marketplace. NSC Technologies is a portfolio company of White Wolf Capital LLC, a private investment firm in Miami. LCG Capital Advisors in Tampa served as exclusive financial advisors to Anistar.

Pinellas adds 200+ COVID-19 cases for third day in a row

Pinellas County had an increase of 285 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The total case count in Pinellas as of Saturday morning was 3,438 cases, compared to 3,153 total cases reported on Friday. Saturday was the third consecutive day of case count increases topping 200. There were 1,821 test results reported on Friday for Florida residents and 14.5 percent of them were positive, the highest "positivity" rate since the Florida Department of Health began reporting county statistics in early March. The test results do not include non-Florida residents in Pinellas County. There have been 114 deaths in Pinellas County since the COVID-19 outbreak began, including one new death reported on Saturday.

Wells Fargo: Florida turns corner on job losses

The Florida economy has turned a corner, according to a report from Wells Fargo Securities. More businesses have begun to re-open following efforts to contain COVID-19, and during May, private employers rehired some of the workers who were temporarily laid off or furloughed in March and April, the report said. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 182,900 jobs during the month, with private payrolls adding 185,700 jobs and rising 2.7 percent. However, the monthly gain falls well short of recouping the nearly 1.2 million jobs lost in the prior two months, Wells Fargo said, and said the road to recovery is likely to be long. The recent significant uptick in new cases could undermine consumer confidence and lead to tighter business restrictions, the report said.

Dynasty launches second advisor team

For the second time this week, Dynasty Financial Partners in St. Petersburg has launched a new financial firm. The new company, Interchange Capital Partners, is an independent wealth management firm headquartered in Pittsburgh. It is led by Ahmie Baum, who is founder and CEO. Baum and his team previously managed $400 million in client assets at UBS. Cyndeo Wealth Partners in St. Petersburg, which launched earlier this week, also is made up of advisors who previously were at UBS. Both companies will use Dynasty as their platform services provider. Dynasty provides wealth management and technology platforms for independent financial advisor firms.

USF St. Pete professor: alcohol consumption higher during COVID-19

More alcohol was consumed during the COVID-19 quarantine than before the lockdown, according to research by USF St. Petersburg psychology professor Lindsey Rodriguez. Results from Rodriguez's survey, which included responses from 754 people across the country, indicated that psychological distress caused by the pandemic is related to increased alcohol consumption. While both men and women increased their drinking frequency, women also reporting consuming more drinks per instance than before the pandemic. Rodriguez also found that people with children at home drank more during the lockdown than their child-free peers.

Florida unemployment claims drop for second week

Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Florida declined for the second consecutive week. There were 86,298 first-time claims filed in the week ended June 13, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It was the first week since mid-March, when the financial impacts of COVID-19 began to be felt, that initial unemployment claims in Florida were below 100,000. Nationally, there were about 1.5 million first-time unemployment claims in the week ending June 13, and the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.1 percent for the week ending June 6, the Department of Labor said.  

Catalyst adds series panel to home page

You can now check in on the Catalyst's latest content series via a new panel on the StPeteCatalyst.com home page.  The current collection includes our TBBCA partner video series, Vintage St Pete, Inside the Boardroom and The Work Around.  A full series section is in development and will be launching in the coming months.  

Museum of Fine Arts sets re-opening date

The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg will re-open to members Saturday, Sept. 12, Executive Director Kristen A. Shepherd has announced. Shepherd, who has been vocal about her desire to see local COVID-19 numbers falling before the museum re-opens, said the next three months will be spent deep cleaning, sanitizing, and "renovating and reinstalling our collection galleries as planned, ahead of schedule." Re-opening for the general public has not been announced.

The Penny Hoarder partners with Moonlighting

The Penny Hoarder, a national personal finance website headquartered in St. Petersburg, has a new strategic partnership with Moonlighting, an Allen, Virginia-based platform that helps independent workers find jobs and manage their businesses. Under the partnership, Moonlighting will provide The Penny Hoarder’s financial literacy and personal finance articles to Moonlighting’s audience, while Moonlighting will deliver work-from-home job opportunities to The Penny Hoarder’s work-from-home job board. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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