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Tampa XFL team now has a name and a logo

Professional football league XFL has announced names and logos for the eight teams that will begin play next year. In Tampa, the team's name is the Vipers, and the logo is a stylized green and yellow capital V. (See names and logos for all eight teams here.) Josh Bullock, former vice president of corporate partnerships at the Tampa Bay Rays, was hired earlier this year as president of the Tampa Bay Vipers. 

CareerSource Pinellas CEO gets county commission backing

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with negotiations for a new contract with Jennifer Brackney, CEO of CareerSource Pinellas. Brackney stepped in last year to head the workforce development agency after former CEO Ed Peachey was fired. The CareerSource Pinellas board of directors earlier this month recommended Brackney continue in the job. It’s now up to the CareerSource Pinellas board to proceed with contract negotiations, and submit a new contract for Pinellas commissioners’ approval no later than Oct. 31.

Cross-Bay Ferry contract advances

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners approved a two-year funding plan for the Cross-Bay Ferry service between downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa. The vote came two weeks after a presentation by Mayor Rick Kriseman, who said ridership grew during the just-ended second season of service compared to the pilot year. Pinellas commissioners voted four-to-two to continue funding the ferry, with commissioners Dave Eggers and Kathleen Peters voting no. There was no discussion before the vote. The St. Petersburg City Council unanimously approved the deal last week, with votes expected today in the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and tomorrow in the Tampa City Council. Each local government is being asked to contribute $286,063 over two years.

USF, St. Petersburg College programs get Duke Energy grants

Duke Energy awarded more than $715,000 in grants to support 18 projects in Florida. The grants, from the Duke Energy Foundation, support workforce education and training programs. One of the grant recipients is St. Petersburg College Foundation's engineering in energy program, which addresses the growing shortage of energy industry workers in Tampa-St. Pete. Two summer programs at University of South Florida Foundation also got grant funding. Those programs advance learning in engineering, science and the environment, a news release said.

Digital summit planned for Clearwater

Information Services Group will host the ISG Digital Business Summit at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort next month.  The summit will explore how digital disruption is impacting technology infrastructure, business operating models and organization strategies. The Clearwater event, on Sept. 23-Sept. 24, follows earlier summits in London and in Sydney, according to a news release from ISG (Nasdaq: III), a global technology research and advisory firm.

Largo philanthropists donate $10M to USF School of Pharmacy

The University of South Florida received a $10 million gift from the Taneja Family Foundation to name the USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy. The donation, made through the USF Foundation, is the largest philanthropic gift to a pharmacy school in Florida, USF said in a news release. As result of the gift, the Taneja College of Pharmacy will move into the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute facility under construction in downtown Tampa.  The building is scheduled to open in late 2019, with pharmacy students tentatively expected to start classes there in fall of 2021. Jugal and Manju Taneja and their family own Belcher Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmacy company in Largo, and last year were the major financial donors behind a  $256 million surgical and patient tower at Florida Hospital Tampa.

Unemployment drops in Tampa-St. Pete

The unemployment rate in July in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area was 3.4 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from one year ago, and down 0.1 percentage point from June. The area added 31,200 new private-sector jobs in the last year, a news release from Gov. Ron DeSantis' office said. The industries with the highest growth over the year in the area were education and health services with 7,300 new jobs and professional and business services with 6,700 new jobs. There were 57,835 job openings in the area in July, making the Tampa area first among the state metro areas in job demand.

Raymond James plans $750M stock buyback

The board of directors of Raymond James Financial has authorized the repurchase of up to $750 million of company stock. The authorization, approved Aug. 15, replaces the previous stock buyback announced in March. The repurchases may be made from time to time at prices that the company deems appropriate and subject to market conditions, and there's no fixed expiration date on the buyback. Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) is a financial services company headquartered in St. Petersburg.

Jabil plans 3D center of excellence in Albuquerque

Jabil plans to invest nearly $42 million in new technology and equipment in a center of excellence for 3D printing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project will add about 120 jobs over five years, a news release said. There are currently more than 360 full-time employees on site, in addition to a temporary workforce of approximately 70 associates. Jabil (NYSE: JBL), a manufacturing solutions provider and the largest company headquartered in St. Petersburg, has focused on 3D printing for a variety of products, including parts for the race car driven by the Renault F1 team. The company is in line for $1 million in state and local funding to help with eligible expenses associated with the project.

Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council joins DemandStar network

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has joined the DemandStar network, an online network that connects government procurement officers with local and national suppliers. "Through the DemandStar network, these procurement departments will be able to use e-bidding to save money and fulfill diversity goals by reaching small, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses in their immediate community," Ben Vaught, CEO of DemandStar, said in a news release. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is an association of local governments and gubernatorial representatives who coordinate planning for the community's future.

Seacoast Bank on Fortune list

Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida (Nasdaq: SBCF) is one of four Florida companies on Fortune’s new list of 100 fastest-growing companies. The Fortune list ranks the world’s top three-year performers in revenues, profits and stock returns, and unlike the Inc. 5000, the Fortune list focuses on publicly traded companies. Seacoast, based in Stuart, Florida and with four branches in the Tampa-St. Pete area, is No. 83 on the Fortune list. Other Florida companies on the list are NV5 Global (Nasdaq: NVEE), an engineering and construction firm in Hollywood; Willis Lease Finance (Nasdaq: WLFC), a trucking company in Coconut Creek; and PGT Innovations (NYSE: PGTI), a North Venice-based door and window manufacturer.

Clarion Partners buys St. Pete apartments

Clarion Partners, a New York-based real estate investment management firm, bought West Port Colony, a 324-unit apartment community in at 190 112th Ave. N. in the Brighton Bay neighborhood. The property sold for $54.5 million, or $168,360 per unit, MultiHousing News reported. AEW Capital Management Co. was the seller of the 30-year-old property. The sale was facilitated by JBM Institutional Multifamily Advisors. West Port Colony has 15 two- and three-story buildings and  a blend of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments averaging 801 square feet.

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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