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Tech Data adds two directors

Tech Data, a Clearwater-based IT distributor, has added two independent directors to its board of directors. The new directors join Tech Data CEO Rich Hume and four representatives from Apollo Global Management Inc., the private equity firm that bought Tech Data earlier this year. The new directors are Nayaki Nayyar, executive vice president and chief product officer at Ivanti, an IT software company headquartered in Utah, and Tod Nielsen, most recently the president and CEO of FinancialForce, a cloud-based applications company headquartered in San Francisco. Apollo representatives on the Tech Data board are Matthew Nord, co-lead partner, Private Equity; Robert Kalsow-Ramos, partner, Private Equity; Aaron Miller, partner and head of Apollo Consulting; and Ryan Weaver, principal, Private Equity. Tech Data is one of the largest companies headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, with $37 billion in revenue in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, 2020, just before it was acquired.

St. Pete-Clearwater airport finishes runway project

The St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport will open its primary runway on Friday, Dec. 18. The runway has been closed since July as part of a rehabilitation project.  During the closure, all flight operations were shifted to a secondary runway and noise abatement procedures were temporarily suspended. "We recognize these altered flight patterns impacted residential communities while the airport completed these safety improvements. Noise abatement procedures will resume with the reopening of the primary runway. We appreciate the community’s understanding during this critical phase of the project," PIE said in a statement. The $24 million project included asphalt pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction and was essential for safe operations at the airport, due to weathering and cracking over time, the airport said previously.

Crown Auto buys Chattanooga dealership

Crown Automotive Group, headquartered in St. Petersburg, is buying Kelly Subaru, a dealership in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Crown is buying the dealership from Tim Kelly, a candidate for mayor in Chattanooga, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Financial terms were not disclosed. Crown, a regional chain of 21 automobile dealerships in Florida, Ohio and Tennessee, tries to expand in growing markets where people like to live, Jim Myers, Crown president, told the newspaper. Kelly Subaru will be Crown's first Subaru dealership.

Veteran Raymond James exec will step down at end of 2020

Jeff Julian, executive vice president-finance at Raymond James Financial, has notified the St. Petersburg-based financial services firm that he will retire as an executive officer of the company and from membership on its executive committee, effective Dec. 31. Julian, who has worked at Raymond James since 1983, stepped down as chief financial officer on Jan. 1, 2020 and Paul Shoukry was named CFO. Julian will continue to serve on the board of Raymond James Bank and on several bank and corporate committees for a period of time, Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) said in a Dec. 15 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

PSTA bus driver tests positive for Covid-19

A PSTA bus driver tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, bringing the total number of PSTA employees who have tested positive for the virus to 41. The driver last reported to work to work Wednesday, Dec. 9 and in the 14 days prior to that time, drove Route 7 on Dec. 7 - 9 and CAT Nov. 30 - Dec. 4. The driver is currently under treatment. PSTA does not believe any passengers came in contact with the driver, who remained socially distant from all passengers. PSTA requires riders to wear protective face coverings while riding, and to use transit for essential travel only.

Pinellas leaders address insurance, disaster aid after Tropical Storm Eta

More than a month after Tropical Storm Eta moved through the area, the impact lingers. People who live along the Pinellas County beaches, in low-lying areas and in mobile home parks face issues with insurance, uninhabitable homes and questions about disaster assistance.  To address those concerns, county officials will hold an online conversation from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15. Pinellas County sustainability, emergency management and floodplain management leaders will be joined by representatives from local municipalities to talk about flooding risks, disaster assistance, insurance policies and protecting a home in the wake of a flood. Questions will be addressed throughout the event. Registration is required before the webinar. Register at 

Castor reappointed to lead House climate crisis committee

Rep. Kathy Castor will remain as the head of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in the next session of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reappointed Castor, a Tampa Democrat, to the top committee role for the 117th Congress, which will convene on Jan. 3. Castor has led the committee for the past two years. In June, the panel unveiled a climate crisis action plan. In the upcoming congressional session, the committee will work with Pelosi and the Biden-Harris administration to turn the plan into a reality, Castor said in a statement.

Largo Medical Center earns top marks from national watchdog organization

Largo Medical Center was awarded an 'A' in the fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety grade, a national distinction recognizing the hospital's achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer care. The Leapfrog Group, an independent  watchdog organization committed to health care quality, assigns letter grades to all general hospitals across the country and updates the grades every six months. Developed under the guidance of a national panel of experts, the organization uses up to 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals. The methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public. 

Pinellas County reports 365 new cases of Covid-19 plus four deaths

The Florida Department of Health reported another 365 cases of Covid-19 Monday and four new deaths, bringing the county’s total to 955 since the start of the pandemic. As of Monday, the county now has 38,118 positive cases and a rolling two-week positivity rate of 6.76 percent, with a 7.28 percent positivity rate reported Sunday. Statewide, more than 1.13 million cases of the virus have been diagnosed since March, along with 20,003 deaths. The St. Pete Catalyst has a daily update on total cases by ZIP code, which you can find here.

Pinellas County launches disaster risk survey

Pinellas County wants to determine how vulnerable the community is to a major disaster, one that could cause massive-scale reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure. The county has launched a disaster recovery survey for residents and business owners; click here to access it. The survey is a part of the county’s post-disaster redevelopment planning efforts,  supported by a recent $75,000 resilience planning grant awarded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The grant also is being used to evaluate the county’s Comprehensive Plan’s Coastal Management Element to identify policies that help address flood. 

Pinellas County adds 500+ Covid cases for second consecutive day

More than 1,000 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Pinellas County in the past two days. The Florida Department of Health reported 536 new cases in Pinellas on Friday, one day after the health department reported 543 new cases in Pinellas. Through the end of day Friday, there's been a cumulative total of 36,962 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Pinellas County since the state began reporting on the pandemic in March. A total of 943 deaths in Pinellas have been attributed to the virus since March, including one new death reported on Friday. The positivity rate, or percent of Covid-19 tests with a positive result, was 7.4 percent on Thursday, the last day for which results are available, and have averaged 6.65 percent over the past two weeks. As of noon Saturday, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said 198 people were hospitalized in Pinellas County with a primary diagnosis of Covid-19. Just over 31 percent of the hospital beds and 19 percent of the adult intensive care beds in the county remain available.

St. Pete City Council OKs two real estate projects

The St. Petersburg City Council agreed to amend a development agreement, allowing a skilled nursing facility to be larger than originally planned. The Council on Thursday voted to allow American House St. Petersburg to add 15,000 square feet to the project at 9th Avenue and 66th Street North, to accommodate greater separation and isolation standards to treat patients with Covid-19. The city's Community Planning and Preservation Commission voted for the change last month, as the St. Pete Catalyst previously reported. Read more about it here. Separately, the City Council voted to  add the former Glenoak Elementary School as a local historic landmark to the St. Petersburg Register of Historic Places. The building, at 1900 12th St. S., is being turned into affordable apartments for veterans. Read an earlier report in the Catalyst about the project here

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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