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ReliaQuest initiative brings cybersecurity ed to high schools

ReliaQuest, a Tampa technology company that helps clients manage their IT security, is joining forces with 3DE, a Junior Achievement school model, in a partnership that will introduce high school students to cybersecurity. ReliaQuest's pilot program will roll out this month in Atlanta for more than 300 tenth-grade students across three local high schools, a news release said. ReliaQuest volunteers will educate students on cybersecurity and ReliaQuest's unique approach to fortifying enterprise security models. The company hopes to inspire students to pursue careers in the industry, said Brian Murphy, ReliaQuest CEO.

Museum of Fine Arts adds trustees

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg announced four new and returning members to its volunteer Board of Trustees: Maria Cantonis, Piers Davies, Dr. Robert Drapkin and Mark Mahaffey.  Incoming officers for MFA Board include Fred Razook, chairman; Dimity Carlson, vice-chairman; Craig Sher, treasurer; and Emily Elwyn, secretary. Retiring from the board are Glenn Mosby and Chloe Firebaugh. This brings the governing body of the museum to 25 members.

Soft market dampens Masonite sales

Masonite International reported net income of $24.2 million, or 96 cents a share, and net sales of $562.9 million for the second quarter of 2019. Sales were down 1 percent and net income was down 30 percent compared to the same quarter in 2018. Markets remain "softer than anticipated," Howard Heckes, president and CEO, said in a news release. Masonite (NYSE: DOOR), a Tampa-based door manufacturer, reduced its sales expectations for the rest of the year and now projects full-year 2019 net sales growth in the range of zero to two percent.

Visit Florida launches eco-friendly travel hub

Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, has added a new eco-friendly hub on its website. The hub features tips and resources for green, sustainable travel throughout the state, including information about environmentally friendly attractions, activities, dining, transportation, and lodging as well as how to practice voluntourism while in Florida. More eco-friendly travel will boost Florida’s economy, while keeping taxes low for Floridians, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news release.

Tech Data CEO named to ‘most influential’ list

Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater-based IT distributor and the largest company in the Tampa-St. Pete area, is one of 25 people on CRN's list of most influential technology executives of 2019. Hume, named Tech Data CEO just over a year ago, "has created a nimble distribution powerhouse by enhancing the regional go-to-market model for partners and making investments in cloud, analytics and IoT, security and next-generation services, according to CRN, a leading technology publication. Also on the list are CEOs from Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services, among others.

DAS Health buys Milwaukee health conglomerate

DAS Health, a Tampa health IT and management company, bought a Milwaukee-based healthcare solutions conglomerate, including WRT Specialties, Easy PC Solutions, EasyMed Billing, and Systech Solutions. The purchase price was not disclosed in a news release. It's the fifth acquisition for DAS Health in 12 months. DAS, headed by David Schlaifer, president and CEO, now actively serves nearly 1,500 clients, 3,000 clinicians and 15,000 total healthcare professionals nationwide.

St. Pete scientist named to Red Tide task force

Leanne Flewelling, a research administrator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg, is one of 11 experts named by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the recently re-organized Red Tide Task Force. The task force had been inactive and without funding until it was reorganized today at the direction of DeSantis. The task force will focus on the causes of Red Tide and will be supported by the commission's Center for Red Tide Research, which received $4.8 million in the budget, DeSantis said in a news release. Florida recently experienced one of its most severe red tide blooms on record.

Easter holiday benefits Publix’ bottom line

Publix Super Markets Inc. reported net earnings of $661.1 million, or 92 cents a share, on sales of $9.3 billion for the second quarter of 2019. Earnings were up 7.3 percent and sales were up 6.8 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. About 1.2 percent of the increase was due to the effect of the Easter holiday being in the second quarter in 2019 and in the first quarter in 2018, the Lakeland-based grocery chain said in a news release. Effective Aug. 1, Publix’s stock price droppd from $44.75 per share to $44.10 per share. The stock is not publicly traded and is made available only to current Publix employees and members of its board of directors.

Heritage Insurance sees Q2 profit drop

Heritage Insurance Holdings (NYSE: HRTG), a Clearwater-based property and casualty insurer, reported $721,000 in net income, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $122.8 million for the second quarter of 2019. Revenue was up 4 percent, but net income dropped 70 percent, compared to the same period a year ago. The drop in profit primarily reflected a higher net loss ratio stemming from higher catastrophe and non-catastrophe weather losses in the just-ended quarter, Heritage said in a news release.  

Tampa financial firm gets new owner

PCS Retirement LLC  has acquired Aspire Financial Services, a Tampa company that provides retirement solutions and serves advisors, plan sponsors and third party administrators. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release. The combined company has 300 employees and provides conflict-free recordkeeping services to 16,000 plans and 750,000 eligible participants representing more than $23 billion in assets under administration. Aspire senior leadership will join the PCS management team, led by Mark Klein, CEO of Philadelphia-based PCS.

The Mainframe partners with UKBlackTech

The Mainframe, a Tampa-based nonprofit focused on developing black technology talent, has partnered with UKBlackTech in the United Kingdom. The partnership will focus on developing collaborative programming, cross-market opportunities, and engaging with government entities, corporations and universities, a news release said. "Working together will provide us with valuable insights on black tech talent and, in turn, allows us to develop custom resources to better support them," James Faison, founder of the Mainframe, said in the release.

Potbelly plans 15 shops in Tampa

Potbelly Corp. (Nasdaq: PBPB), a Chicago-based sandwich shop concept, said it has signed a franchise agreement that will bring 15 stores to Tampa. The company said in a news release that it signed the deal with a multi-unit group that owns and operates multiple franchise units. The name of the group was not disclosed, but Potbelly said the group identified the company as an attractive growth opportunity as it sought to diversify its robust portfolio. Potbelly currently has one area location at Tampa International Airport.

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