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ReliaQuest opens its first office in India

Tampa-based cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest, which recently reached unicorn status, has opened a location in Pune, India. Located in the state of Maharashtra, the office will employ 50 people, according to a news release. “2021 was an incredible year of growth and milestones for ReliaQuest, and we are continuing that momentum into 2022 — beginning with this new office location in India,” ReliaQuest CFO Greg Farrell said in the release. “Pune is known as a major IT hub with an exceptional talent pool, which makes it a perfect location for our first expansion into the country. ReliaQuest is uniquely positioned for major growth this year, and we are incredibly excited to welcome new team members in India as an impactful part of that growth.” The news follows ReliaQuest's decision to locate its corporate headquarters building in Water Street Tampa and open a new office near Salt Lake City.

St. Pete-Clearwater airport’s passenger activity in December reaches new record

This December, the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport saw over 200,000 passengers arriving and departing at the airport--setting a new record for the passenger activity in the month of December. The number of passengers the airport saw this December surpassed the previous December by 67%. It also surpassed the pre-pandemic activity in December 2019 by 2%. The airport recently added two new airlines-- Swoop and Sun Country Airlines. Today, the airport has 65 non-stop destinations, which is the largest amount of non-stop connections in its history. 

Squaremouth is named a winner of innovation award

St. Petersburg-based travel insurance insurtech company Squaremouth has been named a winner of the 2022 BIG Innovation Awards. The company was recognized for how it responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Business Intelligence Group named 13 executives, 56 companies and 81 products as leaders and winners of the 2022 BIG Innovation Awards. During the pandemic, Squaremouth built new internal systems and developed customer-facing website improvements to help customers quickly identify the lowest-priced policies with Covid-19 benefits. The company’s proactive response following the initial Europe travel ban resulted in $2.6 million in savings for affected customers, according to the company. Squaremouth said it also offers the largest portfolio of products with Covid coverage of any travel insurance aggregator. 

Covid postpones ‘Jersey Boys’ at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Performances by a touring company of the award-winning musical Jersey Boys have been canceled today and Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The Clearwater venue said that members of the cast had tested positive for Covid-19, and that the shows would be rescheduled when feasible.

County seeks construction licensing board member

Pinellas County is now accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. Applications are due by 3 p.m. on Feb. 4. The licensing board consists of 15 members representing various trades, building officials, a fire official and two consumer representatives. The county seeks a beach community governmental building official from the City of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Redington Beach, North Redington Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Treasure Island or St. Pete Beach. The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners will review all applications and announce its selection at an upcoming meeting. Applications can be found here.

St. Pete’s Flying Boat Brewing sells production facility to Tampa brewer

St. Petersburg’s Flying Boat Brewing announced Monday it is selling its production facility at 1776 11th Ave. N. to Tampa’s King State Brewing. The facility will now be known as Brutalist Brewing. While King State owns the site, Flying Boat will continue brewing from the location as a contract brewer, and five of its beers will remain on tap. Flying Boat said the move offers the company the opportunity to pursue multiple satellite locations across the Tampa Bay region.

Surf park to be built in Tampa Bay

A massive surf park dubbed Peak Surf Park is slated to be built in Tampa Bay. The park will recreate ocean-like waves to give experienced and aspiring surfers an opportunity to catch some waves. The exact site in Tampa Bay was not disclosed, but its website states Peak Surf Park will also feature a 1/2-mile long beach with cabanas and bars. The adventure park will also have an area for concerts and recreational areas for skateboarding and more. The latest information on the park can be found on its website. 

Former Holocaust Museum CEO joins Creative Pinellas

Elizabeth Gelman, former CEO of the Florida Holocaust Museum, has joined Creative Pinellas as the arts support organization's Interim Gallery Director. “As we cautiously find our way out of isolation, what a joy to be asked to oversee the gallery for the next few months," Gelman said in a prepared statement, "to help create and drive the strategic vision of an arts venue that has the potential to become an essential regional player for artists, residents, and tourists alike.”

Yankees hire MLB’s first female manager to lead Tampa affiliate

The New York Yankees are promoting Rachel Balkovec to serve as the new manager for the Low-A Tampa Tarpons, making Balkovec the first woman to ever manage a minor league team. Balkovec became the first female to ever coach in the minor leagues when the Yankees made her a hitting instructor in 2019. Balkovec played NCAA D1 softball for the University of New Mexico and broke through with the MLB as an intern for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. She also had brief stints with the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros. Balkovec takes over for David Adams, who managed the Tampa Tarpons last season.

Crunch Fitness opens gym in St. Petersburg

The Crunch Fitness franchise has officially opened a massive gym in the Northeast Park Shopping Center. The gym, called Crunch St. Petersburg, is a 40,280-square-foot facility that occupies a former Stein Mart box space. Brandon-based CR Fitness Holdings LLC operates the gym at 218 37th Ave. N. in the Northeast Park Shopping Center. The gym has $1 million worth of fitness equipment including equipment for a group fitness studio, a hot yoga studio, a cycling studio and body imaging equipment.  

St. Pete museums to offer Covid vaccinations Jan. 16

Five St. Petersburg museums will offer free Covid-19 vaccinations Sunday, Jan. 16 from 12 to 4 p.m. Participating in "Museums For Immunity" are the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum, the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the Florida Holocaust Museum and the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. Participants will be eligible to receive their first or second Covid immunization, or their booster – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and adult and pediatric Pfizer vaccines will be available, long with flu vaccines for children and adults. Museum admission is not required. Check each venue's website for additional details; advance registration is recommended.

Bucs blast Panthers, set franchise record for wins

Tampa Bay overcame a week of turmoil resulting from the Antonio Brown situation and a slow start to Sunday’s game against Carolina before ultimately blowing out the Panthers, 41-17. After going down 7-0 at home in the first quarter, the Bucs reeled off 17 straight points en route to their 13th win of the season, a new franchise record. The Bucs were led by quarterback Tom Brady who racked up 326 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski stepped up for a depleted offense missing several starters due to injuries and Brown’s release, finishing with seven receptions for 137 yards. A 24 point fourth quarter sealed the decisive victory for Tampa Bay, who now await the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs at Raymond James Stadium.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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