Northwest Fla., Panhandle Business Briefs - March 2010
» Florida Communities Trust has been awarded $814,703 in Florida Forever funds to enable the city to buy the waterfront site of the old Apalachicola Boat Works and establish a boat-building facility. The restored site will provide access to boat repair, currently unavailable in the community, for commercial fishermen.
» Qwest Air Parts of Memphis, Tenn., which specializes in disassembling retired commercial airliners, has leased space at Bob Sikes Airport for a company expansion.
» The County Commission opted not to renew county administrator Bob McLaughlin's contract when his first year on the job ended in February. County traffic engineering manager Larry Newsom is filling the position pending completion of a three-month search for a permanent administrator.
FORT WALTON BEACH
» Jacobs Engineering Group of Pasadena, Calif., has acquired Tybrin Corp., a 1,500-person professional services firm based in Fort Walton Beach. Tybrin will be an operating segment of Jacobs Technology, a Jacobs Engineering subsidiary focusing on aerospace and defense. Tybrin supplies software, engineering, testing and other services to Department of Defense and other government clients. Jacobs Engineering provides technical professional services to industrial, commercial and government clients.
» Innisfree Development and Innisfree Hotels, Gulf Breeze, will develop and operate a 152-room hotel/resort on a 17-acre gulf-front parcel owned by Eglin Air Force Base. The $24-million project is part of the Air Force's competitive Enhanced Use Lease program.
» Offshore Inland Marine & Oilfield Services, based in Mobile, Ala., opened a center at Port of Pensacola for servicing oil and gas industry vessels working in the Gulf of Mexico. Staffing initially numbered 25 and is expected to grow, port director Clyde Mathis says.
» The Arts Council of Northwest Florida was shut down and an investigation launched by the state attorney's office after an audit by the Escambia County Clerk of Courts revealed the council's 2009 budget of $520,400 was running a $155,000 deficit. The council handled allocations for some 39 regional arts agencies, including the Pensacola Symphony and Pensacola Little Theatre. Arts patrons have proposed establishing a non-profit, all-volunteer group to manage arts funding.
» Baptist Health Care has acquired Cardiology Consultants, a healthcare provider with 25 physicians and a staff of 195. Cardiology Consultants will continue to treat patients at Baptist and Sacred Heart area hospitals and medical affiliates.
» The West Florida Public Library will start a $7.6-million renovation and expansion of the city's 28,000-sq.-ft. main library in June.
» The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University reclaimed the world record for the highest-field "resistive" magnet a type of electromagnet that uses electricity to generate high magnetic fields. The lab's 36-tesla magnet — an upgrade to the existing one — tops the previous 35-tesla record jointly held by the magnet lab and Grenoble High Magnetic Field Laboratory in France. It will be used mainly for physics and materials science research.
» FSU has added a scientific computing degree to undergraduate offerings — a first in Florida and one of two such degrees in the nation. Scientific computing, according to FSU, provides the tools necessary to solve complex problems using computers. Also new for the fall: A bachelor's degree in environmental science.
» FSU's College of Business is establishing a Bowden Foundation for Ethical Leadership in honor of legendary football coach Bobby Bowden, who retired this year. The foundation will fund and guide the Bowden Leadership Center, planned as a venue for Fortune 1,000 seminars for students, and The American Dream Team, designed to help low-income neighborhoods and at-risk children.