FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Northwest FL - Business Briefs - February 2011

Education Center for UWF College of Business
Rendering of UWF's College of Business Education Center

Business Expansion


» The University of West Florida will kick off construction in March on an Education Center for its College of Business, providing additional high-tech instructional space, offices for student organizations and gathering places for its 1,800 business majors. A multistory glass atrium and a 24/7 student lobby are among features of the $16.8-million, 36,000-sq.-ft., three-story building, slated for completion in August 2012. An exterior courtyard contiguous to existing college buildings was finished last fall.


» Accounting firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram’s regional office has moved with its staff of 50 accountants from Destin to Miramar Beach.


» The Studer Group has received a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for 2010, one of seven given nationwide. The award is the country’s highest honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.


» Sallie Mae, once a leading Bay County employer, has laid off the last 100 of the 700 employees who once worked here for the lender.


» Gulf Power Co. residential customers are seeing a 2.8% decrease on their electric bills as of January. The drop in fuel charge is Gulf’s first decrease since 2002, made possible by lower fuel costs.


» Vision Airlines, based in Suwanee, Ga., has launched twice-weekly non-stop flights connecting Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Miami and Niagara Falls, N.Y., giving Okaloosa its first direct flights to Miami.


» Silver Bullet Technology has a new customer in Washington, D.C.: IRS Software Management has selected Silver Bullet’s Ranger for its workstations. Ranger is a universal check scanner interface that allows software applications to work easily with multiple types of check-scanning hardware. "You couldn’t have a better resume customer," says Silver Bullet national account executive Jamille Ellingson.

» A new city charter, putting in power Pensacola’s first "strong mayor," developer Ashton Hayward, took effect in January.


» Gamboa Brothers of West Grove, Pa., has purchased Quincy Farms, a mushroom farm that was Gadsden County’s largest private employer until it closed two years ago. Gamboa is projecting to hire 200 to 300 employees within the first year, 500 within two years.


» The county has put its first public transportation system on the road — two 18-passenger buses traveling 23 miles, mainly along U.S. 90. The system is a one-year pilot program.