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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.

M2Gen names new CEO

M2Gen, a health informatics solutions company in Tampa, named Helge Bastian  as president and CEO. Bastian succeeds M2Gen Executive Chair Dr. William S. Dalton, who has served as interim CEO since September 2018. Bastian joins M2Gen from Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he led the sample preparation and synthetic biology businesses as vice president and general manager since 2014. Bastian has "a proven track record of building profitable and sustainable businesses in the life sciences and healthcare sectors," Dalton said in a news release. M2Gen was spun out by Moffitt Cancer Center and received a $75 million investment from Hearst in 2017 to accelerate the discovery of cancer therapies and improve care for patients nationwide.

FEMA reimburses Tampa for hurricane expense

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the city of Tampa $4.4 million for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Irma.  The funds will reimburse the city for the cost of overtime worked by police, firefighters, and other city employees to prepare for the storm’s arrival, assist with the evacuation of residents, clear debris from roadways, and enforce a curfew, FEMA said. Contractors also provided services during the period between Sept. 4 and Oct. 18, 2017. The reimbursement is the largest of seven awards totaling $17.5 million for communities throughout Florida, according to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's office. 

Tampa Bay Tech exec wins business award

Daniel James Scott, chief operating officer and executive director of Tampa Bay Tech, won a Silver Stevie Award in the Executive of the Year-Non-Profit or Government Organizations category in the International Business Awards. Scott's contributions to the community were highlighted by the international panel of judges, a news release said. A full list of organizations he's involved with included Tampa Bay Tech, RNG Tampa Bay, the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research and FWD.US’ Coalition for the American Dream. More than 4,000 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. The awards will be presented in Vienna, Austria on Oct. 19.

Tampa airport will demolish garage

The old Red Side Rental Car Garage at Tampa International Airport will be demolished next week. The demolition, at 2 a.m. on Aug. 20, will complete a months-long process to remove the structure. To ensure a safe implosion, the airport will close to all guests, tenants and employees between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 20. All inbound traffic will be blocked and any unauthorized individuals on site during this time may be trespassed. The demolition of the old rental car garage is part of phase 2 of the airport's master plan.

St. Pete Catalyst hosts two panels for Working Women State Conference

Tonya Elmore, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, and Margie Manning, finance editor at the St. Pete Catalyst, will moderate two panels hosted by the Catalyst at the Working Women State Conference 2019. The two-day business leadership and entrepreneur's conference is scheduled Sept. 5-Sept. 6 at the Bryan Glazer JCC in Tampa. On Sept. 5, Manning will moderate "Marketing through Media - How to Earn Free Exposure." Panelists are Missy Hurley, co-founder and principal of B2 Communication; Ebony Vaz, founder and chief strategist of Above Promotions; and Kelly Wilson; founder, CEO and publisher of Edge Business Magazine. Elmore's panel, on Sept. 6, focuses on funding options to grow a business. Panelists are Eve Barett, Tonya Donati, managing partner of Mother Kombucha;  Eve Barrett, founder and CEO of Expedite Legal; and Shuchi  Vyas, founder and CEO of Guestbox.  Register for the conference here. St. Pete Catalyst readers can use discount code CATALYST2019.

Spark St Pete to launch at 1 Million Cups

The St Petersburg Group will launch the advertising and communications network Spark St Pete at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday 8/14 at 9 a.m.  The network, anchored by the St Pete Catalyst, will provide distributed communication channels throughout the community. 

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.

Email us: spark@stpetecatalyst.com

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