As part of the largest construction plan in its history, Gulf Power is replacing an existing transmission line with a more powerful strand along a 25-mile stretch from Laguna Beach to Santa Rosa Beach. The construction includes relocating more than 20 osprey nests to platforms the utility built atop 60-foot wooden poles nearby. “Ospreys have built nests on our poles across our territory. This project protects them and their nests,” says Jeff Rogers, corporate communications manager.
David Linders is president of Absolute Consulting in Navarre. He has been with the company, which offers consulting services for the energy sector, for 11 years working in consulting and business development. Former president Richard Linton continues to serve as chairman. >> Gov. Rick Scott appointed Florida Hospital Association State Advocacy Director Ellen Anderson to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, which works to improve the selfsufficiency and quality of life for children and youth in Florida. Anderson joined FHA in 2012 after serving as a legislative aide to Sen. Nan Rich.
DESTIN — Destin Commons has leased 75% of its new space as it adds 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, bringing 25 new businesses to the shopping center. H&M and Uncle Buck’s anchor smaller stores, including Sunglass World, Tervis Tumblers and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Technology company Bit-Wizards is expanding in Okaloosa County over the next few years, expecting to add 20 jobs in software development, account management and advertising. The company received $255,000 from the Industry Recruitment, Retention & Expansion Fund Grant Program administered by the University of West Florida.
FRANKLIN/GULF/LIBERTY/WAKULLA COUNTIES — The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Gov. Rick Scott’s request for an economic injury declaration seeking loans for small businesses affected by the collapse of the Florida Panhandle’s commercial oyster industry. The deadline to apply for loans is July 31.
NORTHWEST — St. Joe Co. Sold more than two-thirds of its northwest Florida landholdings — approximately 380,000 acres of its non-strategic timberland and rural land — to AgReserves, a Utah company, for $565 million.
PANAMA CITY — FedEx Ground opened a 60,000-sq.-ft. distribution center at the Port Panama City Intermodal Park. The facility has about 70 workers. >> The Economic Development Alliance of Bay County was awarded a $500,000 grant and is bringing ultra-highspeed data network LambdaRail to Naval Support Activity Panama City. Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart Health System laid off 58 employees — about 3% of its staff — citing the impact of the new health care law.
PENSACOLA — CTS America won a $30-million software contract with the state of Florida. The 10-year renewable contract with the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides the agencies with proprietary software for dispatching troopers and state officers. The company won a similar 10-year contract with the state in 2003.
William J. Clancey, senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, won the 2014 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award, given by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce received a $200,000 grant from the Florida Defense Support Task Force to help establish a research center For cyber-warfare training. The task force is an arm of Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency.
University Town Plaza completed the first phase of its extensive redevelopment since Indiana-based Simon Property Group purchased the vacant University Mall.
PERRY — The city received $355,000 from the Water Management District for the construction of a downtown lake in the newly developed Rosehead Park as part of the city’s downtown revitalization plan. The project also included a 2,500-seat amphitheater, farmers market, pavilion, splash pad, dog park and walking trails.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY — Goldring Gulf Distributing purchased a 34-acre parcel in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park in Milton, expecting to employ more than 200. The company will be fully operational within the next 12 to 18 months. >> WJ Sapp and Son has won the design and build contract for a rail spur that will run into the Santa Rosa Industrial Park and serve both Gulf Cable and Gulf Distributing.
The rail spur is being funded through an $800,000 Economic Development Transportation Fund grant awarded by Enterprise Florida.
TALLAHASSEE — American Banker magazine listed Capital City Bank among its inaugural ranking of Best Banks to Work For, coming in at No. 9 among participants with assets up to $3 billion.
Pensacola International Airport has partnered with Southwest Airlines to offer connections to 69 destinations. In 2011, Southwest bought AirTran, which had 47 one-stop options for Pensacola air travelers.