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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 8, 2016 6 years ago

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Beer business goes global; Homebuilder announces executive promotions; Insurance group appoints first woman to board; Wireless communications firm granted time; Modular home dealer builds sales; Wireless communications firm granted time
by: Steven Benna Staff Writer

TAMPA BAY
Beer business goes global

World of Beer will officially expand outside the United States for the first time with a new tavern in Shanghai, China.

Executives with the Tampa-based craft tavern concept, which features more than 550 craft and international beers, say they have sought to expand globally for a few years. “The new Shanghai tavern demonstrates how World of Beer's devotion to local craft beer and its tavern fare menu translates well across cultures,” World of Beer CEO Paul Avery says in a release.

The Shanghai location is expected to open by the end of the second quarter. Franchisee Cong Yin and his two partners plan to open at least three locations in Shanghai over the next three years.

Founded in 2007, World of Beer has since grown to 75 locations in 20 states. The company currently seeks potential franchisees for more expansion opportunities.

Homebuilder announces executive promotions
Taylor Morrison West Florida named two employees to executive level positions, a statement says.

Joe Fontana, formerly Tampa division president of Ryland Homes, has been named president of Taylor Morrison's Tampa division. He is responsible for all operational and financial goals of the company's Tampa market.

The company also promoted Cammie Longenecker to vice president of operations for the Southwest Florida Division. She has been with the firm for eight years, leading the West Florida team as vice president of sales and marketing for the past five years. In her new role, she will lead land resources, construction, sales and marketing and customer service.

SARASOTA-MANATEE
Insurance group appoints first woman to board

FCCI Insurance Group appointed Lisa Krouse, its executive vice president and chief human resources officer, to its board of directors.

She will retain her current position along with board duties, according to a statement.

Krouse is the first woman to be appointed to FCCI's board. She has been with the company since 2005 and has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance and human resources industries.

At FCCI, Krouse is a supporter of leadership and career development programs and health and wellness program.

Along with her role on the FCCI board, Krouse is chairwoman of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and on the boards of CareerSource Suncoast, Doctors Hospital and Habitat for Humanity.

Established in 1959, FCCI Insurance Groups has independent agents in 18 states. The group has nearly 19,000 policyholders.

Wireless communications firm granted time
Wireless communications provider xG Technology Inc. has been deemed eligible for an additional 180-day period to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rule covering minimum bid price requirement.

The 180-day period comes due Sept. 26, according to a statement. This is the second period the company has received. On Sept. 28, 2015, it was notified that its common stock no longer met the minimum $1 bid price per share listing requirement.

Nasdaq determined xG was eligible for the additional period “upon the company meeting the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other applicable requirements for initial listing,” according to the statement. xG has written its intent to solve the deficiency.

Sarasota-based xG Technology (symbol: XGTI; recent price: $.09) has more than 100 patent or patent-pending applications. The firm was founded in 2002.

CHARLOTTE-LEE-COLLIER
Modular home dealer builds sales
Custom manufactured home dealership LeeCorp Homes has been recognized as the largest dealer of Safety Harbor-based Jacobsen Homes for Florida in 2015.

LeeCorp, based in Estero and with a sales office in south Sarasota County, recorded 102 Jacobsen Homes sales last year, according to a release. The company cited research from Statistical Surveys for the data.

LeeCorp has placed manufactured/modular homes in Florida for more than 30 years in locations from the Keys to Sarasota County, the company says. That includes more than 100 manufactured home and RV communities in Southwest Florida. LeeCorp has placed stilt homes on Pine Island, both in Bokeelia and St. James City, in addition to Venice, Bonita Springs and Naples.

Bank creates advisory board
Seaside National Bank & Trust has appointed six members to its newly formed Naples/Fort Myers advisory board.
New board members include:

Edward Morton, managing director and principal of Wasmer Schroeder and Co. Morton is chairman of the board;

Steven Calabrese, managing partner and president of real estate firm CRM Cos;

Jimmy Dascani, CEO of Landmark Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Michael Frye, who opened RE/MAX Realty Group in Southwest Florida, the areas first RE/MAX franchise;

Alfie Oakes, principal owner of Oakes Farms, an agribusiness with growing, packing, shipping, seafood, food service and retail markets; and

Deborah Russell, principal in law firm Cummings and Lockwood's private client group.

Orlando-based Seaside operates 15 offices throughout Florida. The Naples board is the company's third regional board of directors.

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