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Corporate Report: November 9

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  • | 6:17 a.m. November 9, 2012
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Ker's hires former Hooters CEO, Beef's CFO
Largo-based restaurant chain Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill has added two new executives to its senior management team. WingHouse hired Rick Akam as chief operating officer and Jim Humboldt as chief financial officer. This is part of WingHouse's plans to build the brand's presence across Florida and throughout the U.S.

Akam spent nearly 20 years as president and CEO of Hooters of America and most recently served as senior vice president of Twin Peaks, a mountain-themed sports bar specializing in regional comfort food with a dozen locations through Texas. He also founded Akam & Associates LLC, a restaurant consulting firm and served as chief operating officer of First Watch Restaurants and Raving Brands.

Humboldt has more than 30 years of financial leadership in public, private and venture capital environments, including 15 years in chief financial officer roles. Prior to joining WingHouse, Humboldt was chief financial officer for the 215-unit Beef 'O' Brady's Family Sports Pub. He also held senior-level financial positions with FrankCrum Inc. and Kane Furniture Corp., as well as with Crabby Bill's Restaurants Inc. and General Mills Inc.

“Jim and Rick each have 30-year track records working with some of the most well-known restaurant brands in the industry and will play key roles in driving WingHouse's growth forward,” Crawford Ker, CEO and founder of Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill, says in a press release. WingHouse currently has 21 locations throughout Florida.

On-hold company Spectrio buys Chicago's Profit-Tell
Oldsmar-based Spectrio has purchased a similar on-hold message company, Chicago-based Profit-Tell International.

Affiliates of Main Street Capital Corp. and Deerpath Capital Management LP provided financing as part of their on-going relationship with Spectrio.

As part of the acquisition, Spectrio will incorporate Profit-Tell's franchise locations throughout the United States and the company's script development staff and studios. Profit-Tell creates and produces on-hold messaging, website audio tours, email campaigns and newsletters for a variety of clients and industries.

The companies say Profit-Tell's president David Hearld will be stepping back from some day-to-day operational duties, but will still remain involved in the company.

Spectrio reports annual revenues of $17 million and 72 employees. It is one of the top five providers in the telephone on-hold messaging industry.

Veteran Gulf Coast journalist launches publicity firm
Former Business Review Executive Editor Rod Thomson has started Sarasota-based The Thomson Group. The new public relations business will cover companies across the Gulf Coast.

Thomson says his 30 years of experience as an assignment editor and reporter is invaluable in crafting marketing plans for clients.

Along with the Business Review, Thomson was a reporter and columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for 14 years and has been published in the New York Times, St. Petersburg Times, People magazine, Florida Trend, National Review and others.

“With my experience, knowledge of the industry and contacts up and down the Gulf Coast, this is the perfect fit for me,” Thomson says.

In addition to publicity, Thomson offers editing services, newsletter writing and layout for companies and their clients, Web and video services, blog writing and editing and social media campaigns.

Ryland Homes area president heads Tampa builders association
Joe Fontana, division president of Ryland Homes in the Tampa Bay region, has been appointed president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association.

Fontana has been division president of Ryland Homes for five years and has more than 25 years of experience as an executive homebuilder.

Armstrong Forensic Engineers opens Salt Lake City Office
Tampa-based Armstrong Forensic Engineers opened a new office in Salt Lake City and hired forensic engineer Alan Asay. The firm has offices in Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

“The Salt Lake City office is exciting on two fronts: It is another milestone in our strategic plan for national coverage capability within eight hours of a client request, and we are pleased to have Alan Asay on board to serve clients in this region,” Daniel Melcher, director of engineering, says in a press release. “Alan brings a wealth of experience and unique insights to the discipline of accident-reconstruction services.”

Asay researched and developed a new forensic testing protocol in which cars are crashed using a moving barrier, called a Massive Moving Barrier. The company says the new testing method replicates damage, improves accuracy and provides additional perspective for analyzing an accident.

Armstrong Forensic Engineers is a national forensic services firm offering reconstruction services, scientific analysis and expert testimony related to traffic accidents and mechanical, biomechanical and electrical engineering failures. Rapid Response inspections are provided throughout the United States.

Tampa harbor pilot receives international business award
Capt. Carolyn Kurtz, Tampa's first female harbor pilot, was recognized with the International Business Person of the Year Award from the Tampa Bay Organization Women in International Trade.

Each year, the trade organization highlights the importance of global commerce to the Tampa Bay economy by honoring an individual whose business and professional life reflects a dedication to the expansion of international business.

“Over the last 26 years, her service as a maritime professional has been exceptional and we are proud of her outstanding service to the Ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee,” Capt. Stuart Lilly, president of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association, says in a press release. “Without harbor pilots, like Carolyn, who are committed to protecting Florida's investments in seaports, our state's 14 deepwater ports would be at risk and the public's assets would be in harm's way.”

Kurtz is the current secretary of the FHPA, representing the TBPA. Originally from New York, Kurtz graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1986. She immediately joined Maritime Overseas Corp. as third officer, obtained an unlimited master's license in 1993 and sailed until 1994. In 1995, she became the first woman to enter the training program to become a harbor pilot in Florida.

Kurtz has been recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts; and in 2010, received the “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” Award from the Jewish Museum of Florida. She is also a guest instructor at MITAGS and Maritime Pilots Institute.

Currently, there are nearly 100 harbor pilots serving Florida's 14 deepwater ports.

Edward White Hospital hires Hayes as CEO
St. Petersburg's Edward White Hospital has appointed Sharon Hayes as its CEO. She is relocating from Chippenham Medical Center, a 466-bed HCA facility in Richmond, Va., where she served for the past three years as the chief operating officer. She was promoted to that position from vice president of clinical affairs and chief nursing officer for CJW Medical Center, a 758-bed, two-campus system in Richmond, which includes Chippenham.

Hayes held a number of executive positions at Jack Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Palms West Hospital, Wellington Regional Medical Center and King Fahad Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

“Being a nurse first, it is an exciting venture to join a team that puts patient care, safety, and a focus on quality as a top priority,” Hayes says in a press release.

Edward White Hospital is a 162-bed acute care medical facility.


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