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Business Observer Friday, May 20, 2016 2 years ago

Corporate report

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Tampa firm continues hiring surge; CEOs rank Florida among best states for business; Officials offer firm more than $1 million; Architecture firm adds trio; Former Tampa executive takes Naples post; Business leaders elected to Hall of Fame
by: Steven Benna Staff Writer

TAMPA BAY
Tampa firm continues hiring surge

IT security firm ReliaQuest plans to increase the payroll in its corporate headquarters in Tampa by 50% by the end of the year.

ReliaQuest will create 55 new security engineer positions during the expansion period, according to a statement from Gov. Rick Scott. ReliaQuest has been on a fast growth track for more than a year. In early 2015 the cyber security company had 60 employees. Now it has 110.

As the company grows in size, its revenues have followed. Brian Murphy, the firm's CEO, projects 2016 revenue growth of 120%. Revenues increased 115% in 2015 over 2014.

Accommodating that growth and maintaining company culture remains Murphy's biggest challenge. “It's easy to praise people when you have 10 employees,” he told the Business Observer in a previous interview. “It's hard when you get over 100.”

CEOs rank Florida among best states for business
For the 12th straight year, CEOs ranked Florida the second best state for business, according to a study by Chief Executive magazine.

Chief Executive asked 513 CEOs to rank states by the friendliness of its tax and regulatory regime, workforce quality and living environment, the study says. This is the 12th year the survey has been conducted, and Texas and Florida have taken the top two spots every year. North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana round out this year's top five.

“Florida steadily edges up in the qualitative measures,” the study says. “The Sunshine State added 1 million private-sector jobs over the last five years, cut taxes 50 times and got rid of 4,200 burdensome regulations.”

To gain its No. 2 ranking, Florida performed in the top half in each of the three categories. It ranked seventh nationally in taxation and regulation, ninth in living environment and 23rd in workforce quality. Regionally, it was in the top six in each of those categories.

SARASOTA-MANATEE
Officials offer firm more than $1 million

State and local officials potentially committed more than $1 million in incentives to a company considering Sarasota for a new headquarters.

The business is a national roofing company, according to Sarasota County documents, and county commissioners are scheduled to vote on the incentives package May 25. The company could receive $1.3 million split between $1.08 million from the state's Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund and a local match of 20% paid over an eight-year period. The incentives fall under the code name Project Mulligan.

In return for the funds, the business behind Project Mulligan has committed to creating 180 full-time jobs with an average annual wage of at least $58,757, documents show. The company is eligible for $4,000 per new job from the QTI program.

Earlier this year Sarasota County officials committed up to $208,800 to a pair of companies also considering relocating their headquarters to Sarasota. Those companies would create a combined 48 jobs.

Architecture firm adds trio
Sarasota-based Fawley | Bryant Architects added three new employees, a statement says, including one senior-level manager.

Cristina Meyer joins the firm with more than 25 years' experience, including running her own architecture business in Fort Myers. Meyer will lead the design team on a new nine-story condominium project in Sarasota.

Kathleen Gonzalez joins Fawley | Bryant as an interior designer, according to the statement. She will have a role in multiple hospitality projects throughout the region.

And Juan Ocana comes to the company to work as a building information modeling (BIM) technician. Since joining Fawley | Bryant, he has used his 10-plus years of experience in computer-aided drafting and design to create the region's first BIM user group, where professionals in architecture, engineering and construction discuss software.

CHARLOTTE-LEE-COLLIER
Former Tampa executive takes Naples post

Dr. Gregory Preston, formerly chief medical officer for Integral Health Care in Tampa, has taken a new executive job in Naples.

Preston was named medical director of the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, a statement says. He will assist the network's chief medical officers in referral processes and outcomes, among other tasks.

Founded in 1977, the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida provides primary health and dental care to patients from Immokalee to Naples to Marco Island. It serves more than 41,000 patients throughout its 20 facilities.

Business leaders elected to Hall of Fame
Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida elected a pair of business leaders into the 2016 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County.

The two selectees are Gary Aubuchon, president of Aubuchon Team of Companies, and Steve Marino, president and CEO of Home-Tech Consolidated Inc., a statement says.

Aubuchon, who specializes in semi-custom and custom homebuilding, grew his one-employee, home-based real estate business into a company with more than 150 employees. He also served six years as a Florida State Representative.

Marino moved to Southwest Florida from Cleveland to start an in-home air conditioning and appliance service business. The 35-year-old company now has 130 employees.

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