Highlights of Economic and Business Growth in the Tampa Bay Region

Nov 29, 2006, 00:00 ET from Tampa Bay Partnership

    TAMPA BAY, Fla., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- News briefs concerning the
 economic and business growth in the Tampa Bay Region from the Tampa Bay
     USF To Create Biomedical Center of Excellence
     The University of South Florida was awarded $8 million by state
 officials to create the Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular
 Identification and Targeted Therapeutics. The state award will be combined
 with $39 million from the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida High
 Tech Corridor Council, and USF for a total investment of $47 million to
 create a center that will develop technologies to respond to and treat
 biological threats and then translate these technologies info commercial
 products which will benefit the environment and public health. Also
 involved is Biovest International, a Worchester, MA, biotech company that
 hopes to cooperate on research and development efforts with the new USF
 center. USF projects that the return on investment to the region includes
 creation of 400 new biotechnology jobs, $84 million in direct wages and an
 estimated economic impact of over $188 million. (Contact: Lara Wade, USF,
 813 974 9060, lwade@admin.usf.edu.)
     Progressive Insurance To Add 300 Workers At Tampa Bay Call Center
     The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies announced plans to add 300
 jobs at its call center in Riverview. The auto insurance giant said it is
 filling 80 positions now, and plans to hire an additional 220 employees
 during the next year. Recruiting manager Lynley Williams said the company
 decided to expand in the Tampa Bay area because the four-building campus is
 already established, has the infrastructure, and has room to accommodate
 additional workers. The Riverview call center is the company's
 second-largest call center and home to nearly half of Progressive's more
 than 4,000 Florida employees. (Contact: Kathy Bell, 440-395-0898,
     Tampa Bay labor market is hot, hot, hot
     According to a new five-year survey of employment trends conducted by
 Bizjournals, Florida is home to five of the 10 hottest labor markets in
 America. The Sarasota-Bradenton market is ranked fourth in the entire
 country, with a five-year growth rate of 26.8 percent. The number one hot
 labor market in the country is Cape Coral-Fort Myers, with 32.5 percent
 growth over five years. Other Florida cities in the top ten: Orlando
 (ranked 5th), Lakeland (7th), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (10th). For more
 information about the communities of Tampa Bay, visit www.TampaBay.org.
 (Contact: Jennifer Taylor, Tampa Bay Partnership, 813-872-2809,
     New World Headquarters for Quadrant Software
     Quadrant Software, an international software company specializing in
 Paperless Process Management solutions, recently moved into a 10,000 square
 foot, $2 million facility in Telecom Park, which will serve as a permanent
 home for their World Headquarters. Quadrant Software's CEO and Co-Founder
 Gary Langton said, "Moving our World Headquarters to Tampa was a great
 decision. Not only are we planning to triple the number of employees we
 currently have, but Tampa serves as a great gateway to Latin America - a
 market we hope to penetrate in the future." The international technology
 company announced the relocation of its World Headquarters from Taunton,
 Massachusetts to the Tampa Bay area last summer after receiving tax
 incentives under Florida's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI)
 program. Since their arrival, the company has already created 14 high
 paying jobs, and donated over 150 volunteer hours to local nonprofits. The
 company expects to add 26 additionally jobs in the next three years.
 (Contact: Sandra Ordonez, 813-963-2300 ext. 324,
     Publix Ranked Among "World's Most Respected Companies"
     Publix Super Markets Inc., headquartered in Lakeland, FL, was recently
 ranked among "The World's Most Respected Companies" - ranking at #102. The
 Reputation Institute, a New York consulting firm, surveyed 30,000 people
 around the world and ranked 600 of the largest companies worldwide in the
 Global RepTrak(TM) Pulse survey. Companies were rated by consumers in their
 home country and the ranking was a measure of corporate reputation
 calculated by averaging perceptions of trust, esteem, admiration, and good
 feeling obtained from a representative sample of local respondents who were
 familiar with the company. Publix, whose slogan is "Where shopping is a
 pleasure," recently reported a strong third quarter 2006 with profits up
 26.3 percent, while sales rose 7.2 percent in the same period. Publix's
 $252.9 million profit for the quarter was up from $200.3 million a year
 ago. (Contact: Maria Brous, Publix, 863-688-1188 ext. 55339,
     Tampa Bay Technology Forum's Selects Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year
     Serial entrepreneur Kurt Long, founder and CEO of security software and
 solutions provider EpicTide (www.epictide.com), was chosen as
 Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum's
 Industry Achievement Awards Gala, an annual celebration of excellence and
 leadership of technology companies and individuals in the Bay area. Over
 400 TBTF members and guests attended the 3rd Annual event. Jimmy Wales,
 founder of Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com), was presented with TBTF's
 inaugural Visionary Achievement Award for the extraordinary success and
 influence of his online, peer authored and produced encyclopedia. (Contact:
 Michelle Bauer, TBTF, 727-510-2524, mbauer@sextantmarketing.com.)
     Economic Development Corporation to Lead Sarasota Film Industry
     The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC) will lead
 efforts to expand the film industry's presence and investment in the
 community through a new Film and Entertainment Office that will be managed
 by the EDC. A national search is under way for a film commissioner. "We are
 excited about the prospects of fostering growth among Sarasota County's own
 film-related companies, as well as encouraging production companies to
 select our community as a location for motion picture and other film,
 television, or video production," said Kathy Baylis, EDC president. The new
 office will receive startup funds from Sarasota County Government.
 (Contact: Kathy Baylis, 941-309-1200, ext. 200,
     Earlier detection, targeted cancer therapy focus of nanotechnology
 collaboration between Moffitt, USF
     By 2020 it is projected there will be 16.5 million new cancer cases,
 3.8 million in the United States, according to the World Health
 Organization. With such a global concern, researchers and the medical
 society are turning to the littlest details, sweating the smallest stuff
 and finding exceptional potential with nanotechnology. H. Lee Moffitt
 Cancer Center & Research Institute, the University of South Florida College
 of Medicine and the USF Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center
 (NNRC) have been collaborating for several years to develop and apply
 nanotechnology to treating cancer. On December 8, the collaboration will
 host the region's first conference on nanotechnology advances in disease
 detection and therapy. Open to the public, this conference will feature
 local and national experts in the field, including Dr. Robert Blumenthal
 from the National Cancer Institute and Nanobiosym, Inc. Founder, Dr. Anita
 Goel. The program will begin at 8 a.m. at the Vincent A. Stabile Research
 building at Moffitt. (Contact Stephanie Medley, 813-974-8570,
     Florida High Tech Corridor Celebrates 10th Anniversary
     In a short 10 years, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council has become
 a national model for high tech economic development. This year the program
 passed the $150 million mark in research funding - used for 715 research
 projects between more than 250 companies and the three universities that
 make up the Florida High Tech Corridor -- University of South Florida,
 University of Central Florida and University of Florida. Find collaboration
 and connections at www.floridahightech.com. (Contact: Randy Berridge,
 407-562- 1282, randy.berridge@floridahightech.com.)
     Downtown Residential Growth
     Downtown Tampa continues to witness investment in residential
 development with more than $750 million in construction over the past 18
 months resulting in an additional 1,823 units recently completed or under
 construction. It is projected that downtown Tampa will quadruple its
 current residential population of 600 by the end of 2008 to 2,400
 residents. Drawing residents to downtown is a growth in cultural
 attractions with three new museums planned, along with development of a new
 Riverwalk on the waterfront and addition of a new K-8 urban campus public
 school for downtown workers. (Contact: Paul Ayres, 813-221-3686,

SOURCE Tampa Bay Partnership