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Tampa General recognized for innovation

Tampa General Hospital is among more than 40 U.S. hospitals and health systems recognized by Becker’s Healthcare for its innovation programs. The hospital's new tech-enabled center for patient care, unveiled last month, played a key role in the designation.  "The 1,007-bed nonprofit academic center is a leader in innovation with its CareComm Center, which controls day-to-day operations for Tampa General Hospital staff. Through artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, the CareComm Center is designed to improve the experience, operations and outcomes for patients, families and hospital staff,” Becker's wrote.  TGH was the only hospital in the Tampa Bay area, and one of only two in Florida, to be named to Becker’s nationwide list.

Firestone Grand Prix sets record

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was the most most-watched IndyCar season opener in NBC Sports history. The March race, the season-opened for IndyCar, attracted 500,000 viewers, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. The 2019 season was the first year of an exclusive media partnership between IndyCar and NBC Sports. The St. Petersburg City Council recently agreed to extend the race through 2024.

Clearwater man sentenced for “green sector” fraud

A federal judge in Tampa sentenced Richard Buffington  of Clearwater to 46 months in federal prison for committing wire fraud. The judge also ordered Buffington to forfeit more than $1.2 million traceable to the proceeds of the offense and to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud scheme. Buffington, who pleaded guilty in April, was accused of making false and fraudulent representations about Green Street Equities and "green sector" companies, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. About 28 investors bought unregistered, non-exempt securities and Buffington used the money raised for his personal benefit, the news release said.

KnowBe4 offers $10K scholarship

KnowBe4 and the Center for Cybsersecurity are launching a Women in Cybsersecurity scholarship. Women make up just 24 percent of the cybersecurity workforce, according to Clearwater-based (ISC)². The scholarship will offer $10,000 to be applied to tuition, fees and books for the recipient. A three-month paid internship with KnowBe4 will also be part of the program; the internship will take place May 19 – Aug. 7, 2020. KnowBe4, headquartered in Clearwater, is a cybersecurity training firm. More details on the scholarship are here.

Tampa insurance firm plans IPO

BRP Group Inc. is planning an initial public offering that could raise up to $100 million, according to a preliminary prospectus filed Sept. 23 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. BRP currently does business as Baldwin Risk Partners LLC, an independent insurance distribution firm based in Tampa. The company had revenue of $79.9 million in 2018 and net income of $2.7 million, before payments to noncontrolling interests. BRP plans to list its Class A stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol "BRP." Raymond James is one of several underwriters for the offering.   

Embarc, Water Street highlighted in Rise of the Rest playbook

Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion mixed-use neighborhood under construction in downtown Tampa, and Embarc Collective, a $10 million innovation hub, are among the locations featured in the new Rise of the Rest Ecosystem Playbook. "Water Street Tampa is representative of a bigger growth story occurring in Tampa Bay and helps to pull together many of these pieces into a cohesive development for a diverse mix of workers and residents," the publication said. Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution, visited Embarc during the Rise of the Rest tour in Tampa-St. Pete last spring.


Tampa tech company raises fresh capital

Hear Now Systems Inc., a startup technology company, raised $175,000 from two investors in an equity funding round earlier this month, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Hear Now Systems, which was founded in Massachusetts and recently moved to Tampa, has applied to become a member of Embarc Collective, the startup hub in downtown Tampa. Hear Now Systems sells a hardware device, the N.O.W. Tone Therapy System, which is a meditation aid designed to reduce stress and anxiety. 

WellCare sells two Medicaid plans

WellCare Health Plans Inc. said it will sell its Missouri and Nebraska Medicaid plans to Anthem Inc. WellCare (NYSE: WCG), a Tampa-based managed care provider, is divesting operations in the two states so it can be acquired by Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC). The WellCare employees who operate and manage the Missouri and Nebraska plans will become part of Anthem (NYSE: ANTM), according to a news release. Financial terms of the WellCare-Anthem deal were not disclosed. That deal is subject to regulatory approval as well as the closing of the Centene-WellCare transaction, slated for the first half of 2020. 

Leadership changes at St. Pete software firm

There's a change at the top at Community Brands. Jean-Paul Guilbault, who was CEO and had been with St. Petersburg software company since 2012, has left the organization, according to a news release. Ross Croley was named interim CEO. Croley was an original founder of Community Brands and has been executive chairman of the company for the past two years. He previously served as the CEO from the organization's inception in 1997 through July 2017. Community Brands also named Dave Wirta to the newly created role of chief operating officer. Wirta previously was president of Vology, a managed IT, security and cloud services provider in Clearwater. Community Brands provides cloud-based software and payment solutions to associations, nonprofits, K-12 schools and faith-based groups.

TIA ranks high on J.D. Power airport study

Tampa International Airport ranked No. 3 among large airports in North America, on the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. The study measured traveler satisfaction by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport accessibility; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail. Record passenger volumes have prompted expansion efforts at many airports, including TIA, and J.D. Power said the disruptions that come with construction were reflected in the scores. The overall customer satisfaction score this year for North American airports is 762, up one point from 2018. TIA's score was 822.

Private equity-owned Turtle Southeast buys Cheyenne Associates

Turtle Southeast Holdings in Largo acquired the assets of Cheyenne Associates Inc.  in Brooksville.  The investment will help Turtle take advantage of growth opportunities in the roadway infrastructure services and maintenance industry throughout Florida, a news release said. Financial terms were not disclosed. Cheyenne, which specializes in roadway maintenance and related work, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary alongside Turtle’s existing operating business, Turtle Southeast, an asphalt milling services provider. Turtle is a portfolio company of Canopy Capital Partners, a private equity firm  in Tampa. Valley National Bank and Assurance Mezzanine Fund supported the transaction and Dan Loiacono & Associates of Overland Park, Kansas acted as financial advisor to Cheyenne.

Tampa woman named to Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission

Julie Brown of Tampa was one of 11 people appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, created to ensure the statewide observance of the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020. Brown is a member of the Florida Public Service Commission. She previously was associate legal counsel of First American Financial Corp. (NYSE: FAF). DeSantis named Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez as chair of the commission.

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