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Corporate Report: North and Co. merges with accounting firm

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  • | 5:33 p.m. January 28, 2010
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Sarasota-based accounting firm North and Co. has merged with Hill, Barth & King, a larger firm based in Boardman (near Youngstown), Ohio.

North and Co., run by Bill North Sr. and his son, Bill North Jr., has four certified public accountants on staff and about 12 employees. Hill, Barth & King has more than 280 employees in 11 offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, including in Fort Myers and Naples.

Bill North Sr. says he sought the right merger partner for a few years, just as the industry started going through a consolidation period. He reached out to executives at HB&K last year.

“It's awfully hard to compete with some of the bigger guys,” says North. “Now, with more resources, we should be able to improve and expand what we do.”
Bill North Sr. says he will remain with the company, which will drop the North and Co. name. His son is now a partner of Hill, Barth & King, which was founded in 1949.

Former Colonial Bank CEO promoted to CNLBank president
Lynne Wines has been promoted to president and chief operating officer of Orlando-based CNLBank, and will oversee operations of the 16 offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, South Florida, and Naples/Southwest Florida.

Wines, who was most recently CEO of its South Florida division, joined CNLBank in January of 2008 from Colonial Bank N.A. where she was president and CEO of commercial banking for South Florida. Previously, she was CEO of Union Bank in Fort Lauderdale, developing it into a $1 billion bank before it was acquired by Colonial Bank.

C. Michael Collins, president and CEO of CNLBancshares Inc., said in a press release, “With Lynne's leadership, we will remain focused on operating a safe, sound, and strong financial institution that is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.”
CNLBank's assets have grown from $100 million in 2001 to over $1.65 billion.

Richter joins WellCare Health as chief litigation counsel
John C. Richter has joined Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc. as vice president and chief litigation counsel. Richter formerly served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and as acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Prior to those positions, Richter was an assistant U.S. attorney in Georgia and Oklahoma, where he investigated and prosecuted white-collar and public corruption cases. He also served previously as an assistant district attorney in Georgia. Before entering public service, Richter practiced privately at King & Spalding LLP.

“WellCare is poised to provide positive leadership in a rapidly changing health care environment,” Richter said in a press release, adding, “It has proven its ability to navigate substantial challenges and emerge from them stronger.”

WellCare Health Plans provides managed care services exclusively for government-sponsored health care programs, focusing on Medicaid and Medicare.

Inuvo using $4.2 million to improve, expand ad platform
Clearwater-based advertising company Inuvo Inc. plans to use $4.2 million raised through an over-subscribed stock offering to incorporate specialized decision-science technology into its affiliate and search marketing platforms.

Unlike many other affiliate networks, the Inuvo Platform, which launched in beta last August, allows advertisers to manage their publisher relationships directly.
“We plan to use the new funds to continue to build and enhance the Platform,” Richard K. Howe, Inuvo CEO and president, said in a press release. He believes this is “a time when more marketing dollars are sure to be directed towards online performance-based advertising options.”

Also, Charles Morgan, a prominent investor in the company who also worked with Howe at Acxiom, is now a new member of Inuvo's board of directors.
Currently an investor in Bridgehampton Arbitrage LLC and an equity owner of Bridgehampton Capital Management LLC, Morgan served as Acxiom's chairman and CEO from 1975 through 2008, during which it increased its annual revenues from $1 million to $1.3 billion.

Roper Industries senior notes to pay cash interest to holders
Roper Industries Inc. in Sarasota says it will pay contingent cash interest of about 81 cents per senior subordinated convertible note from Jan. 16 to July 15 at an annual rate of 0.25% of the average market price of the notes for the five trading days ending July 13.

Contingent interest, due in 2034, will not be payable to any notes converted prior to July 15.

Roper Industries provides engineered products and solutions for several niche markets, including water, energy and research/medical applications.

Sarasota Memorial addsEvoLucia LED lighting
Sarasota-based Sunovia Energy Technologies Inc. has installed its EvoLucia-brand LED lighting fixtures at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota.

The facility, Florida's second-largest public hospital, replaced 250-watt metal halide cobra head lights in its parking lot with 75-watt EvoLucia-brand LED cobra head lights, reducing electricity by 67%. It also installed 24-watt EvoLucia UTL-1 utility spotlights on the grounds to improve visibility at night, resulting in approximately 90% reduction in energy use.

The new EvoLucia LED lights are maintenance-free and should not require replacing for at least 12 years.

“The new LED lamps are more cost-efficient,” and “they will improve the security of our campus by providing improved visibility at night,” Sarasota Memorial public safety director Mickey Watson said in a press release.

UTEK Corp., partner on content, services
UTEK Corp., a Tampa-based intellectual-property licensing and innovation services company, will provide licensing and analytics services to's 50,000-plus registered users in a partnership with the Web site.

The action will also increase traffic to UTEK's online platforms and visibility for clients listing patents on those sites.

“Through this partnership we will syndicate licensing data from our online platforms direct to the growing community, and millions of new visitors will now be exposed to our unique content,” Doug Schaedler, CEO of UTEK Corp. said in a press release.

UTEK will assume an advisory role on the board of directors plus have a right of first refusal to acquire the company during the next six months. is a source for patent data and analytic tools plus a community platform on generating business opportunities such as the licensing and sale of intellectual property. It features 450 million searchable indexed patent pages available in 15 languages.

Brown & Brown Inc. issuing quarterly dividend
The board of directors of Daytona Beach- and Tampa-based Brown & Brown Inc. declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 7.75 cents per share payable on Feb. 17 to shareholders of record on Feb. 3.

Brown & Brown Inc. offers insurance and reinsurance products and services, as well as risk management, third-party administration, managed health care and Medicare set-aside services and programs.

NOISE awarded Web contract for VISIT Milwaukee
NOISE Inter.Active, the web development and marketing division of Sanibel marketing firm NOISE, will provide Web brand design, development and search engine optimization services for VISIT Milwaukee.

A social media marketing campaign has already begun, created and executed by the social media division of NOISE, Vwallah!

NOISE will also work to integrate other marketing materials to increase Internet traffic and tourism to Milwaukee.

Kforce Names IR president as head of corporate development
Michael Blackman has been appointed chief corporate development officer for the Tampa professional staffing firm Kforce Inc. Blackman has served as senior vice president of investor relations since 2000, and has been with the firm since 1992.

Kforce operates 62 offices in 41 markets in North America and two in the Philippines.

Goldman & Loughlin entering Bradenton market
The immigration-only law firm Goldman and Loughlin, already with offices in Orlando and Naples, has expanded to Bradenton.

Air & Energy adds electrical services
Holmes Beach-based Air & Energy, founded in 1983, has expanded its services from HVAC and plumbing to also cover electrical services.

“Electrical was a natural fit,” says co-owner Trudy Moon, “because it allows us to service our customer's total home mechanical needs.”


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