Southeast Florida Roundup
Ava Parker leads by collaboration
Ava Parker takes over at Palm Beach State.
Palm Beach State College's new president, Ava Parker, 52, takes office this month, succeeding Dennis Gallon, who retired after 18 years. Parker, an attorney, led the building of Florida Polytechnic University as its COO and executive vice president. She's a past chair of the Board of Governors, the state body that oversees the public universities. She earned her law and journalism degrees from the University of Florida. Palm Beach State, the seventh-largest in the state college system, has four campuses and 48,000 students from 165 countries.
» On taking the helm at Palm Beach State: "I think that it's a fascinating opportunity. The diversity of Palm Beach County and the diversity of Palm Beach State College really mirrors in a lot of ways the diversity we have in the state of Florida."
» Return on investment: "I'm not afraid of the trend that we have in higher education in performance funding and focusing on return on investment."
» Technology: "I am really interested in doing what I can to have the most advanced technology we can have available to us."
» Leadership style: "I have a very collaborative leadership style. I believe in making every attempt to build consensus. I'm committed to listening. I can't expect you to follow me as a new leader unless I listen to you."
Doris Italian Market & Bakery
In 1982, the Alfano family in south Florida bought a mom and pop deli in Hollywood that had been around since 1947. The family has grown the deli into a specialty supermarket chain, Doris Italian Market & Bakery, that in November is opening its sixth location — a store in North Palm Beach that will add 100 employees to the chain's current 300. The North Palm store will be the chain's largest at 22,000 square feet. (The national median supermarket size is 46,500 square feet.) In a departure from the chain's other stores, the North Palm store will have a wine dispenser so that customers can sample before they buy and will offer fresh pizza. It also will have two bocce ball courts outside. The Broward and Palm Beach chain — named for one of the original founders of the 1947 deli — has just over $30 million in annual sales.
BOCA RATON — San Francisco-based mobile tech startup Everyware moved its Florida operation to the incubator at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University. » IBM invested an unspecified sum in electronic medical records company Modernizing Medicine to accelerate the adoption of IBM's Watson cognitive computing by the health care industry. The fundraising round for Modernizing Medicine totaled $20 million. IBM has invested $100 million in various companies to further Watson innovations since January 2014, when it launched its IBM Watson Group. » Giles Capital Group and Rosemurgy Properties created Park Partners Residential, a multi-family real estate owner, developer and property manager. Park Partners is the developer of University Park, a student housing project in Boca. » Boca-based cell tower operator Vertical Bridge Holdings paid $143 million to acquire Wellington-based CiG Wireless, a wireless tower owner and operator, and more than 200 tower sites.
DANIA BEACH — OrthoSensor raised $19 million in a private placement participated in by Bridger Healthcare and Tullis Growth Fund to commercialize Ortho- Sensor's Verasense, an instrument that helps surgeons properly place replacement knees.
DEERFIELD BEACH — Industrial adhesives manufacturer Syntac Coated Products will expand its office and plant and add 20 jobs.
JUNO BEACH — Florida Power & Light launched its new "Power Delivery Diagnostic Center," which uses advanced smart grid technology and the awareness it brings of the utility grid's performance to manage the electric system.
NORTH PALM BEACH — Technomarine Group acquired boutique yacht brokerage Freedom Marine Group. Freedom founder Dennis Close becomes president of Technomarine Yachts, the group's new yacht sales and charter division and also becomes managing partner of the group.
PLANTATION — The old Fashion Mall was sold in a bankruptcy court auction for $37 million to Boca Raton-based Encore Housing Opportunity Fund, which plans to redevelop it as a mixed-use residential, office, retail project. Encore cofounder Art Falcone also is involved in the Miami WorldCenter project.
STUART — Seacoast Banking, parent company of Seacoast National Bank, is acquiring for $16.2 million West Palm Beach-based Grand Bankshares, parent of Grand Bank & Trust of Florida, doubling Seacoast's position in Palm Beach County. The acquisition adds $208 million in assets and three branches. Grand President and CEO J. Russell greene becomes Seacoast executive vice president and Palm Beach County market executive.
VERO BEACH — Indian River Schools hired deputy St. Lucie Schools Superintendent Mark Rendell as its new superintendent, replacing retiring superintendent Fran Adams. » Indian River County commissioners decided to sue the federal Transportation Department to stop its approval of $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds for private passenger rail service All Aboard Florida.
WEST PALM BEACH — Private, not-for-profit Keiser University attained its long-term goal of operating a traditional residential campus by taking over private, non-profit Northwood University's West Palm Beach campus and reflagging it as a Keiser campus, Keiser's 18th Florida campus. Current Northwood undergrads can become Keiser students. Northwood, meanwhile, will expand offerings at its Midland, Mich., campus.
» Sunrise-based Brightstar Credit Union appointed Michael Tomko president and CEO, replacing interim CEO Colin Battle. Tomko formerly was senior vice president of operations at Community First Credit Union in Jacksonville.
» Fort Lauderdale tech services company Skillstorm named CFO and CPA Paul Moura president. Moura will oversee national operations as the company expands.
» PNC Bank appointed Gail Horvath senior vice president and managing director of PNC Wealth Management for its Florida east region, succeeding retiring Mark Stevens.