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PNC survey: Florida business leaders divided on tariffs

Small and mid-size business leaders in Florida are divided on the impact of increased U.S. tariffs on goods from other countries, a new survey from The PNC Financial Services Group found.  Nearly half of those surveyed,  or 48, are in support of tariffs on goods from other countries, even if other countries retaliate with increased tariffs on U.S. goods and services, the survey said.  That's up sharply from 24 percent in fall 2018. Thirty-two percent are against increased tariffs and 19 percent are uncertain. The vast majority of respondents, 88 percent, have made no changes to their business in response to tariffs, the survey said.

St. Pete man sentenced in securities fraud case

A federal judge in Massachusetts has sentenced St. Petersburg resident Gregory M. Bercowy to 17 months in prison, after he pled guilty to securities fraud. The judge also ordered Bercowy to pay $3.3 million in restitution and serve one year of supervised release, a Nov. 12 news release said. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier charged Bercowy with manipulating the stock price of Aureus Inc., a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada. A federal judge in Tampa ordered Bercowy to pay a civil penalty of $507,513, and permanently barred him from participating in an offering of a penny stock.

Bank of Tampa expands to Pasco

The Bank of Tampa has opened a loan production office in New Port Richey. It's the bank's first presence in Pasco County. The new office is led by Angie Gardner, vice president, commercial relationship manager, and a veteran Pasco County banker, most recently with SunTrust. The Bank of Tampa is the largest community bank in the Tampa-St. Pete area, with total assets of $1.8 billion and 12 full-service banking offices, in addition to a loan production office in Plant City.

Apyx doubles revenue in Q3

Apyx Medical Corp. (Nasdaq: APYX), a Clearwater medical device firm, posted $7.6 million in revenue from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2019, up 106 percent over Q3 2018. The company’s net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $4.3 million, or 13 cents a share. The company, formerly named Bovie Medical, revamped its operations after selling its legacy electrosurgical business in 2018.  Apyx expects total revenue in the range of $27.4 million to $27.9 million and a net loss in the range of $20.3 million to $19.8 million for the full year of fiscal 2019, a news release said. Apyx had the best performing stock among Tampa-St. Pete area public companies in 2018 and the stock price has risen about 12 percent since the first of the year.

Cushman & Wakefield expands valuation team in Tampa

Real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) expanded its valuation and advisory platform with the addition of a 10-person team from Beshears & Associates, a boutique valuation firm  in Tampa. The new team will focus on a wide variety of property types, primarily in Florida and the southeast, a news release said. The team is led by David Beshears, who joins as executive director. Other team members are: Michael Green,  Chris Larkin and John Sabatini, all senior directors; Rachel Weideman and Robert Tyson, both directors; Jordan Menke and Catherine Butler, who are associate directors; Jack Tait, an associate; and Rita Martino, administrative assistant.

Florida Funders invests $917K in Bridge

Bridge, a Tampa technology company with an ecommerce beverage alcohol store, received $917,000 from Florida Funders, a  venture capital fund and crowd-funding platform. The Florida Funders Impact Fund provided $500,000 in capital, and the rest came from the organization's accredited investor network, a news release said. Tom Wallace, managing partners of Florida Funders, said Bridge is the first company the fund has seen that brings critical consumer data to wholesalers, suppliers and retailers to offer them insights needed to better manage their products, inventory, and sales force. Just a few months after launch, Bridge, formerly known as Proof Network Ventures, is generating monthly recurring revenue, according to the news release.

Tampa Bay Tech partners with Think Big for Kids

Employees at companies that are members of Tampa Bay Tech will have an opportunity to serve as mentors to children in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, through a new partnership with Think Big for Kids, a Tampa nonprofit founded by entrepreneur Tony DiBenedetto.  The partnership, announced Nov. 8 at Tampa Bay Tech's poweredUP awards show, allows tech professionals to guide and enable kids to take part in educational, skills development and career planning, and to help them become employed after high school. The goal is to eliminate the cycle of poverty in the area. Think Big For Kids will also offer a matching program, up to $50,000, to all Tampa Bay Tech member companies who donate to their programs and initiatives. Tampa Bay Tech is one of the oldest and largest technology councils in the nation.  

Paradise Advertising’s Barbara Karasek honored

Barbara Karasek, CEO of Paradise Advertising, a full-service agency headquartered in downtown St. Petersburg, was honored as one of 30 executives to receive 2019 Cynopsis Digital "IT List" Award recognition.  Karasek was honored for the development of Paradise Data Depot, an analytics platform launched in 2018.  Other honorees of the Cynopsis Digital "IT List" include BET, Comedy Central, Digitas, Disney, Hulu, NASCAR, NBC, and Publicis, among others.  

MarineMax expands borrowing power

MarineMax expanded its financing facility to borrow up to $440 million from the previous limit of $400 million. The additional borrowing capacity reflects recent acquisitions and looks toward the future, Michael McLamb, chief financial officer, said in a news release. Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance is agent for the financing facility, which includes M&T Bank, Bank of the West and BB&T. MarineMax (NYSE: HZO), a Clearwater-based recreational boat and yacht retailer, said borrowings under the facility are secured primarily by inventory and the company's real estate is not pledged.

USF wins top APLU award

 University of South Florida was the top winner of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' 2019 Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research & Engagement. The award, presented during the APLU’s annual meeting in San Diego, distinguishes USF’s global leadership in international education, research and engagement, a news release said. The award focuses on four areas of excellence: inclusivity, internationalization of research and engagement, leadership and pervasiveness, and assessment.

BayCare revenue, income up

BayCare Health System reported a 6.5 percent increase in operating revenue and a 0.4 percent increase in operating income through the first nine months of 2019, compared to the same period a year ago. The Clearwater-based nonprofit parent of 15 hospitals and other healthcare facilities reported total operating revenue of $3.272 billion and operating income of $252.2 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30. BayCare’s operating margin for the nine-month period was 7.7 percent, down 6.1 percent from a year earlier. Non-operating income, which includes investment income, jumped 178 percent to $500.65 million, and pushed the total surplus to $752.8 million for the nine-month period.

Olympus Property buys Icon Harbour Island

Olympus Property in Fort Worth, Texas has acquired Icon Harbour Island, a Class-AA luxury high rise in Tampa. Effective immediately, the asset will be renamed Olympus Harbour Island, a news release said. The purchase price was not disclosed. The transaction was brokered by Patrick Dufour of NKF Multifamily. Olympus also owns Canopy at Citrus Park in Tampa.

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