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St. Pete Clearwater airport marks passenger gains

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport said it just had the biggest month in its history. The airport reported 245,955 passengers in July 2019, up 5 percent overJuly 2018. Year to date, the airport's traffic is up 28 percent over 2018. Allegiant, which operates most of the flights out of the airport, is slated to offer two new non-stop destinations to State College, Pennsylvania and Traverse City, Michigan, beginning in October. 

Sales jump, net loss widens at Clearwater med tech company

Apyx Medical Corp. (Nasdaq: APYX), a Clearwater medical device and supply manufacturer, reported a net loss of $4.3 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $6.6 million for the second quarter of 2019. Revenue from continuing operations was up 78 percent year over year, but the net loss widened from $2.9 million in the second quarter of 2018.  Apyx now expects total revenue in the range of $26.5 million to $27.5 million for the full year of 2019, a news release said. The company said in a regulatory filing that it set aside $500,000 for defense costs in a class action lawsuit, although it believes the allegations are without merit.

Beach Community Bank opens first Tampa retail branch

Beach Community Bank has opened a retail branch office in Tampa, its first branch location outside of the northwest Florida region. The bank established a loan production office in Tampa one year ago, and the retail branch furthers the bank’s commitment to its growing central Florida client base, it said in a post on LinkedIn. Penny Hendricks heads the new retail branch, which  offers consumer banking and mortgage services. The new office is at 701 N. Franklin St. in downtown Tampa.

Raymond James launches electronic trading option

Raymond James is rolling out a new algorithmic trading platform for its more than 1,000 institutional equities clients. Algorithmic trading uses a computer program that follows a defined set of instructions  to place a trade. The trade, in theory, can generate profits at a speed and frequency that is impossible for a human trader, according to Investopedia. The new product, Raymond James Electronic Trading or RJET, contains a suite of 11 benchmarking and liquidity-seeking algorithms with additional algorithms to be added, the St. Petersburg-based company said.

Perkins restaurants close in Dunedin, Tampa

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery shuttered stores in Dunedin, Tampa and other locations nationwide, as the chain's corporate parent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Perkins & Marie Callender's LLC said it has  executed an asset purchase agreement for the sale of its Perkins’ business and is in discussions with investors and potential buyers regarding the Marie Callender’s restaurants. As part of the restructuring process, the company closed 10 Perkins and 19 Marie Callender’s underperforming locations. All remaining restaurants will be open and operating as usual, the company said in a statement.

ReliaQuest initiative brings cybersecurity ed to high schools

ReliaQuest, a Tampa technology company that helps clients manage their IT security, is joining forces with 3DE, a Junior Achievement school model, in a partnership that will introduce high school students to cybersecurity. ReliaQuest's pilot program will roll out this month in Atlanta for more than 300 tenth-grade students across three local high schools, a news release said. ReliaQuest volunteers will educate students on cybersecurity and ReliaQuest's unique approach to fortifying enterprise security models. The company hopes to inspire students to pursue careers in the industry, said Brian Murphy, ReliaQuest CEO.

Museum of Fine Arts adds trustees

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg announced four new and returning members to its volunteer Board of Trustees: Maria Cantonis, Piers Davies, Dr. Robert Drapkin and Mark Mahaffey.  Incoming officers for MFA Board include Fred Razook, chairman; Dimity Carlson, vice-chairman; Craig Sher, treasurer; and Emily Elwyn, secretary. Retiring from the board are Glenn Mosby and Chloe Firebaugh. This brings the governing body of the museum to 25 members.

Soft market dampens Masonite sales

Masonite International reported net income of $24.2 million, or 96 cents a share, and net sales of $562.9 million for the second quarter of 2019. Sales were down 1 percent and net income was down 30 percent compared to the same quarter in 2018. Markets remain "softer than anticipated," Howard Heckes, president and CEO, said in a news release. Masonite (NYSE: DOOR), a Tampa-based door manufacturer, reduced its sales expectations for the rest of the year and now projects full-year 2019 net sales growth in the range of zero to two percent.

Visit Florida launches eco-friendly travel hub

Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, has added a new eco-friendly hub on its website. The hub features tips and resources for green, sustainable travel throughout the state, including information about environmentally friendly attractions, activities, dining, transportation, and lodging as well as how to practice voluntourism while in Florida. More eco-friendly travel will boost Florida’s economy, while keeping taxes low for Floridians, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news release.

Tech Data CEO named to ‘most influential’ list

Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater-based IT distributor and the largest company in the Tampa-St. Pete area, is one of 25 people on CRN's list of most influential technology executives of 2019. Hume, named Tech Data CEO just over a year ago, "has created a nimble distribution powerhouse by enhancing the regional go-to-market model for partners and making investments in cloud, analytics and IoT, security and next-generation services, according to CRN, a leading technology publication. Also on the list are CEOs from Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services, among others.

DAS Health buys Milwaukee health conglomerate

DAS Health, a Tampa health IT and management company, bought a Milwaukee-based healthcare solutions conglomerate, including WRT Specialties, Easy PC Solutions, EasyMed Billing, and Systech Solutions. The purchase price was not disclosed in a news release. It's the fifth acquisition for DAS Health in 12 months. DAS, headed by David Schlaifer, president and CEO, now actively serves nearly 1,500 clients, 3,000 clinicians and 15,000 total healthcare professionals nationwide.

St. Pete scientist named to Red Tide task force

Leanne Flewelling, a research administrator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg, is one of 11 experts named by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the recently re-organized Red Tide Task Force. The task force had been inactive and without funding until it was reorganized today at the direction of DeSantis. The task force will focus on the causes of Red Tide and will be supported by the commission's Center for Red Tide Research, which received $4.8 million in the budget, DeSantis said in a news release. Florida recently experienced one of its most severe red tide blooms on record.

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