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USF wins ACE award

The University of South Florida received the 2019 American Council on Education/Fidelity Investments award for institutional transformation. The award is a recognition of USF’s commitment to student success. It includes a $10,000 prize.

New CEO at Bloomin’ Brands

Bloomin’ Brands (Nasdaq: BLMN), the parent company of Outback Steakhouse and other restaurant chains, announced leadership changes. David Deno, chief financial and acounting officer, was promoted to chief executive officer. Deno succeeds Liz Smith as CEO. Smith was named executive chairman of the board. Christopher Myer, group vice president for financial planning, was promoted to CFO.

Walmart workers get cash bonuses

Walmart workers in Florida got a share of about $16.3 million in bonuses in their paychecks Thursday. Nationally, the company handed out $207 million in cash bonuses to more than 912,000 associates. The bonuses are part of an incentive plan to reward workers at stores that meet sales and service goals, a news release said.

Planned downtown project advances

The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday approved a term sheet for a proposed mixed-use project that includes public parking at 1st Avenue North and 5th Street downtown. “We think the location … is an ideal location to build a city within a city,” developer Dustin DeNunzio of DeNunzio Group told the council. Approving the term sheet allows negotiations to move forward.

Proof Network buys Drync

Proof Network Ventures Inc., a Tampa software firm serving the beverage alcohol industry, has acquired Drync, a private-label mobile app and ecommerce solution for beverage alcohol retailers. The purchase price was not disclosed in a report from WineBusiness.com. The company plans to merge the Drync platform with that of Tipsi, an earlier acquisition.

WrestleMania expected to pump millions into local economy

Raymond James Stadium will host WrestleMania on April 5, 2020, with a week of events and community outreach leading up to that date. Over the past 12 years, WrestleMania has generated more than $1.2 billion in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event, a news release said. 

Westshore Grand recapitalized

PCCP LLC provided a $53.5 million senior loan to recapitalize The Westshore Grand, one of the larger hotels in Tampa. The borrower is a joint venture between Crescent Real Estate and affiliates of the Arden Group and will use the loan to repay existing debt, according to REBusiness Online.

Tech Data posts double-digit sales gain

Tech Data Corp. (Nasdaq: TECD) had $37.2 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended Jan. 30, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Net income for FY 2019 was up 192 percent, to $340.6 million, and earning per share were $8.89. The Clearwater-based IT distributor is the largest company by revenue in Florida.

Catalina partners with digital products firm

Catalina selected GlobalLogic for a partnership designed to speed up the development of delivery of Catalina’s product pipeline, a news release said. GlobalLogic is a digital products engineering firm headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices around the world.  The team at GlobalLogic will complement existing talent, not replace it, a spokesman said.

St. Pete fintech named best place to work

American Banker named OZK Labs, a St. Petersburg-based division of Bank OZK, one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Financial Technology. OZK Labs is led by Marcio deOliveira and has 31 developers, engineers and technology professionals who develop next-generation banking tools.

St. Pete wireless company pays back wages

Fast Frontier LLC, based in St. Petersburg and operating as Cricket Wireless, paid $41,677 in back wages to 111 employees for violating minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The back wages went to workers at 54 locations in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Tampa hardware firm buys manufacturer

NWI Enterprises, a Tampa-based supplier of specialty hardware, has acquired RailFx. Financial terms were not disclosed. RailFx, headquartered in Tacoma, Wash., manufactures branded specialty aluminum railing systems. The railings incorporate a cable railing infill that's made by Nationwide Industries, a subsidiary of NWI. 

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