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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Apr. 9, 2004 14 years ago

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

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This week's items: Highwall Technologies' Sentinel has been certified as interoperable with Computer Associates International Inc.'s Wireless Option Two local businesspeople discussing environmentally-friendly homebuilding

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

Startup goes national

So how does a technology startup take a product nationally very quickly? It can spend loads of money or it can follow the example of Sarasota's Highwall Technologies and form a strategic partnership with the world's largest security management software company.

Highwall Sentinel, a hardware device that detects unauthorized wireless devices, has been certified as interoperable with Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter NSM Wireless Network Management Option. In other words, the hardware is compatible with the software giant's wireless network.

Jason Broom, vice president of marketing for Highwall Technologies, says Sentinel adds an extra level of security to wired networks, giving network management software the ability to detect unauthorized wireless devices. Previous security software couldn't do that.

The two companies have formed a relationship: Computer Associates will make Sentinel available at all of its Tier One Solution Centers. In addition, Computer Associates' sales force of about 5,000 will provide its clients network-security vulnerability assessments using the Highwall hardware. That means Highwall, a year old company, has those same 5,000 salespeople selling its product.

Company officials give Joy Randels, Highwall's vice president of Global Sales and a former Computer Associates employee, credit for helping the startup navigate the complex approval process at the software giant.

Highwall, one of the first to use a single high-range appliance to monitor an entire building for wireless devices, is one of the first new companies created by Startup Florida, a Sarasota-based venture capital company. Startup Florida's Rich Swier is Highwall's CEO.

Green goes mainstream

Two local businesspeople have agreed to discuss environmentally friendly homebuilding at the Florida Green Building Coalition Inc.'s GreenTrends 2004 Conference & Trade Show from May 3-5 at Florida Atlantic University Campus, Jupiter.

Susan Scott, of Sarasota County Government, will discuss "The process of Greening Sarasota County," and Bob Sisum, director of builder programs for SMR Communities will speak on "Developing Green at Lakewood Ranch." The theme of the conference is "Green Building Enters the Mainstream."

According to Sisum, most of his presentation will focus on the rollout that is starting this month of Lakewood Ranch's green communities, located east of Lorraine Road. "We have already had a kick-off meeting for the five builders in (The Villages of) Greenbrook," Sisum says of Lakewood Ranch's planned first green-built community. "They plan to have the models complete there by November. Later we will start shifting (green development) further down south in the country club area. This means energy-savings for the buyers without a significant increase in costs. We are taking to the builders about what available items will be standard, and what other increased-savings items should offered as (add-on) options. "

Lakewood Ranch is certified as a green development. The five homebuilders committed to developing in Greenbrook include: Bruce Williams Homes, Homes By Towne, Kimball Hill Homes, Lee Wetherington Homes Inc. and Morrison Homes.

Magazine pacts disputed

Gov. Jeb Bush's top internal investigator says state purchasing officials erred when they gave no-bid contracts to Florida Trend magazine.

Derry Harper, Florida's chief inspector general, concluded in a recent report that the departments of state and education failed to gather enough documentation to support their award of sole-source contracts to the St. Petersburg business publication.

From 1999 to 2003, Florida Trend was paid more than $3.5 million to print and distribute an assortment of cultural and educational periodicals promoting state universities and other government-funded organizations. Many were inserts in the magazine.

Saul Stone, a Pinellas magazine consultant, had complained to Harper's office that Florida Trend executives used "personal associations" with state officials, such as former Secretary of State Katherine Harris, to win the government business. Harper says that allegation is unsubstantiated.

The inspector general did find support for another Stone accusation that Florida Trend misrepresented in its contract proposals just who reads the magazine.

Florida Trend had claimed nearly 200,000 of its readers were business owners, entrepreneurs, executives or professionals. Florida Trend President Andrew P. Corty, who is also an executive of the affiliated St. Petersburg Times, told state investigators that the 200,000 figure was "a leap of faith."

Magazine executives arrived at that number by making some assumptions based on earlier readership surveys of how many subscribers passed along each issue to nonsubscribers, Corty said.

As for another claim, that one in three Florida Trend readers is a millionaire, Harper's investigative team reported that they could neither prove nor refute the magazine's assertion.

Corty told the Times after Harper's report became public he took "great exception" to the IG's opinion that Florida Trend had failed to present an accurate demographic portrait of its readership.

ETC. ...

The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce has released its nominees for the 2004 Rookie Small Business Person of the Year (in business three years or less as of Jan. 2004): Dr. Andrea Brand of "Dr. Brand at Your Door," a family physician; Joseph Carrino and Mark Hopkins of The Bayou Steakhouse, a full service steakhouse; Susan Robinson of Key Concierge, a property management service for residences; Liz Yerkes L.M.T., a massage therapist who treats sport injuries; and Susan Young of I've Been Framed by Susan Young!, a picture framing company.

Nominees for the Chamber's 2004 Small Business Person of the Year award are Julie Whiteman of Embroidery Express, an embroidery company; John Cannon of John Cannon Homes, Inc., a luxury home builder; Jack Ovadia of The Beanz Man, which sells and services espresso/cappuccino machines and gourmet beans; Darrell Turner of Turner Tree and Landscaping; Beth Callans of Beth Callans Management, a property management company; Beverley Nowell of Sarasota Brides; Jimmy Seaton of Longboat Limousine/Suncoast Sedans/Liquid Limousine; Ginny Whelan of Wonderful Weddings Worldwide, a wedding coordinator; Bob Parrish of Bob Parrish CPA; Dr. Gy Yatros of Island Dental Spa; Mary Beth and James Bos of MBT Group Inc. Coaching Vision, a motivational/consulting company; Herb Dolan of Electrical Service and Maintenance; Andy Fox, The Fox Advertising Agency; Chuck Neubauer, Neubauer's Gulfcoast Photography; Ken Levanti, Sarasota Trophy & Awards Inc.; Pat Martin, Pampered Moves; Paddy Dugan, Tile Art LTD., a designer of hand painted artwork in the tile; and Kimberly Ibasfalean of Captain Kim's Boat Rides and Charters.

Winners will be announced during the Chamber's Annual Small Business Week Awards Breakfast on May 6 at 7:30 a.m. at the Longboat Key Hilton, 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive

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