Photo:Ed Mansouri demonstrates WeatherSTEM to a gropu of students.
Northwest Florida Roundup
Numbers game: Profile of educational software company UCompass
An entrepreneur's teaching tool: Big data.
Over the past 15 years, Ed Mansouri has built Ucompass, based in Tallahassee, into one of the nation's leading providers of educational software.
Ucompass' main product is Educator, which allows students, teachers and administrators to access their online courses via tablets and smart phones. Mansouri says more than 2 million students have used Educator.
Mansouri, 42, says he was working as a teacher in the late 1990s when he began looking for "a way to make my life as a teacher easier, not thinking it would be an entrepreneurial endeavor. I thought why not just go ahead and start an educational software company."
The success of Educator has led Mansouri into a new software endeavor called WeatherSTEM. A compact, portable weather station, WeatherSTEM collects and distributes atmospheric and agricultural data through social media to K-12 public schools, as well as to colleges and universities.
Mansouri is convinced programs such as WeatherSTEM will help prepare students for data-driven jobs.
"We believe weather is a very good metonym for introducing students to big data," says Mansouri. "We feel very good about what the future holds in store for those students getting these early experiences with big data," he says.
Robert Vice of Ameris Bank has been named market president for the bank's Blountstown operation.
Vice also serves as market president for Ameris Bank's Tallahassee branch.
BAY COUNTY - The Bay County Planning Commission has approved a land-use change that will allow up to 6,000 homes and 1. 7 million square feet of commercial space to be developed on 2,076 acres in the Southport area.
DESTIN - The Henderson, a 171- room, Gulf-front hotel, is set to open next summer, according to developer Salamander Beach & Spa Resort. > Triumph Gulf Coast held its first organizational meeting in late August in Destin. The five-member panel, led by former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense, will oversee the distribution of $1.5 billion to eight Panhandle counties most affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Construction of an air-traffic control tower at Destin Executive Airport is under way.
NAVARRE - The Holley-Navarre Water System has reduced its water and sewer tap fees for new businesses that locate along U. S. 98 and State Road 87 corridors. The fee reductions will be 50% for businesses with at least 30 employees and 25% for those with fewer than 30.
PANAMA CITY BEACH - Mimosa Capital Partners has begun construction in Panama City Beach on a 23-story, 250- unit condo tower called Calypso. The $65-million project, the third tower in the development, is the first new condo tower to be built in eight years in Panama City Beach and is to be completed in early 2017.
PENSACOLA - The University of West Florida's Office of Economic Development and Engagement is accepting applications for $5 million in job-creation incentives. The funds were allocated by the Florida Legislature in 2011 to foster economic recovery in areas hit hardest by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
WALTON COUNTY - Sacred Heart Health System has begun building a $30-million expansion of its Miramar Beach location.