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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 7 years ago

Corporate Report: February 22

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A roundup of the top corporate news of the week.

Senior Home Care in-home monitoring program expanded
Clearwater's Senior Home Care Inc. is expanding its remote monitoring pilot program to include two new office locations in Florida — Naples and Fort Myers.

Telemonitoring services, which Senior Home Care launched in Gainesville in July, have quickly gained traction with referring physicians and patients. Targeted to high-risk patients with chronic conditions, the program combines regular remote health checks with clinic visits to improve patients' outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions. It also allows patients to be independent, while continuing to monitor their health.

Senior Home Care's in-home telemonitoring system uses a technology device, currently the Cardiocom's Commander FLEX, to remotely track a patient's vital signs, including pulse, blood pressure, weight and more. Data is transmitted to Senior Home Care, becoming part of the patient's electronic health record, which clinicians can monitor, review or act on as needed.

Senior Home Care also offers an online physician portal, called Provider Link, that lets physicians have 24/7 access to patient records, sign orders electronically, authorize referrals and document in-person meetings.

The company, known as Senior Home Care in Florida and Synergy Home Care in Louisiana, treats more than 50,000 seniors each year using more than 50 branch locations in the two states. It employs nearly 1,800 people.

Beer distributor transitioning trucks to compressed natural gas
Jupiter-based beer distributor J.J. Taylor Cos. Inc. has opened a private compressed natural gas fueling station in Tampa and is transitioning its distribution fleet to the fuel in what it says is an effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

The distributor has ordered 43 compressed natural gas tractors and plans to completely replace its Tampa-based fleet of 95 diesel tractors to compressed natural gas units within the next 36 months. The tractors, which the company says are cleaner, more environmentally friendly, cheaper and quieter than diesel, are scheduled to start going into service this month.

Plans for a second station and conversion of the company's 75-tractor fleet in Fort Myers are under way. J.J. Taylor has beer distribution operations in Tampa, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce and Minneapolis.

The vehicles will be used in daily delivery operations in the company's territories covering Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

J.J. Taylor Companies Inc. distributes a number of domestic, imported and craft beers, including, Miller, Coors, Heineken, Guinness, Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada and Cigar City.

Spectrio finishes purchase of Ohio's Hold It Systems/Ad On Hold
Spectrio, a Tampa-based provider of audio- and video-based marketing products, has completed the acquisition of Hold It Systems/Ad On Hold, a Lima, Ohio, messaging on-hold company. Affiliates of Main Street Capital Corp. and Deerpath Capital Management LP provided financing as part of their relationship with Spectrio.

Don Bruns, president of Hold It Systems/Ad On Hold, will be stepping back from some of his day-to-day operational duties, but will still remain involved in the company.

Pasco EDC awards startup loan to mobile window treatment, blinds firm
Pasco Economic Development Council Inc. has awarded its seventh microloan to Larry Vanderhoof to start Statewide Blinds.

Statewide Blinds is a mobile company that installs new window treatments and provides ultrasonic blind cleaning and repairs around Florida.

“The microloan has helped with the startup costs to launch the business,” Vanderhoof says in a press release. “I've purchased equipment, marketing materials and our mobile unit is ready to go.”

Vanderhoof worked in the hospitality industry for many years as a consultant traveling to resorts around the United States. He previously dealt with ultrasonic cleaning equipment and realized there weren't many companies using it in Florida.

Vanderhoof took that business idea coupled with his experience to the Pasco EDC, which offered him the loan a few months later.

“The majority of new jobs are created by small businesses,” John Hagen, president and CEO of Pasco EDC, says in a press release. “In Pasco County, we are trying hard to reach out to new businesses and entrepreneurs and help them achieve their economic goals. Through the microloan program, the Pasco Enterprise Network and our new business incubator in Dade City, business people can have three 'power tools' at their disposal.”

Entrepreneurs who need help obtaining non-traditional financing must have a company or startup headquartered in Pasco County or plan to locate in Pasco County. Borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators.

Statewide Blinds declined to comment on the amount of the microloan.

St. Pete-Clearwater International releases new logo and slogan
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport has announced a new logo and slogan: “Tampa Bay The Easy Way.” Airport officials say the new logo emphasizes the airport's identifier, PIE, and regional identity.

The airport's permanent three-letter identifier PIE was assigned to the airport based on its name in the '50s - Pinellas International. The airport's former logo first appeared in 1976. Merging PIE, St. Pete-Clearwater International and the Tampa Bay region was described as key to marketing the airport to travelers and airlines.

New entrance monuments at the east and west entrance to the airport featuring the new logo have also been unveiled. A local three-month marketing campaign will showcase the new brand, including billboards in high traffic areas, print ads and a public bus wrap.

The airport plans to release a new website designed to work with mobile users later this year.

Clearwater-based FKQ Advertising and Marketing created the logo, branding, media campaign and sign design.

Seafarer Exploration inks deal for third shipwreck site
Tampa-based Seafarer Exploration Corp. has finalized an agreement with Heartland Treasure Quest LLC (HTQ) for a third treasure site. HTQ has surveyed, explored and researched the site and historical archives for more than a decade. Seafarer will now start the application process for a salvage permit.
“We have gathered years of information from exploring and researching the archives,” Scott Herber, biologist for HTQ, says in a press release.

Kyle Kennedy, CEO of Seafarer, says the company is in the research stage for two other wreck sites.

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