Photo:PINC Sarasota move to the Sarasota Opera House last year.
Southwest Florida Roundup
A Sarasota version of TED talks inspires ideas
In 1996, Dutch book publisher Nelleke van Lindonk got a phone call from her husband, Peter, who was in Monterey, Calif., attending one of the TED (technology, entertainment, design) conferences that a non-profit group stages worldwide as a forum for innovative ideas. “ ‘Wow, this is amazing,’ ” she recalls him telling her.
“He met so many people who had nothing to do with his own job,” she says. “He really got inspired by it.”
At a TED conference two years later, the van Lindonks suggested to TED founder Richard Wurman that he create a Dutch version of the event.
Wurman basically told them to do it themselves. And in 1999, the van Lindonks launched PINC — People, Ideas, Nature and Creativity — as an annual, daylong conference in Zeist, Holland, mimicking the TED format with a series of presentations by speakers from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.
The van Lindonks, meanwhile, had been winter visitors to Sarasota since the 1980s. Four years ago, they began talking about expanding PINC to Sarasota. Peter van Lindonk died shortly afterward, but Nelleke and son Olivier, a professional sports agent at IMG in Bradenton — along with Olivier’s wife, Karen Fay, and local entrepreneur Anand Pallegar — continued the discussion.
In late 2014, PINC made its American debut with a sold-out event at the Florida Studio Theatre in downtown Sarasota. Last December, it moved to the larger Sarasota Opera House and doubled its audience size to about 470. The event featured 16 international speakers, who talked for up to 20 minutes each about their life’s work and passions — from neuropsychology to classical music to the mating rituals of cicadas.
“Normally, you might go to a dental or legal conference and only meet people in your particular field,” says Fay, director of PINC Sarasota. “It’s when you interact with different people that you begin to think about things in a different way.”
At the third annual conference in December, PINC’s speaker lineup will include an “explanation designer,” “artographer” and professor of animal science.
Innovation Forecasting Needs
During a 40-plus-year career as an engineer and urban planner in southwest Florida, Paul Van Buskirk created a mathematical model to predict demand for new homes, shopping centers and government facilities. Using a formula developed by 19 thcentury Belgian mathematician Pierre-Francois Verhulst, the forecasting model takes into account economic fluctuations, population growth, demographic trends and other factors to help clients decide where new developments should go — and when.
In 2015, Van Buskirk teamed with another engineer, David Farmer, to form Metro Forecasting Models in Bonita Springs, aiming to expand nationwide. They employ an economist, software designer, two research assistants and two Geographic Information System (GIS) contractors. The firm currently is working on a customized forecasting model for the city of Auburn, Ala., which will use the data to determine future local needs for such things as schools, parks and fire stations.
FORT MYERS — Activist investor Barington Capital Group withdrew its proxy fight for two nominees to the board of directors of women’s clothing retailer Chico’s. Page Field, a business and general aviation airport, received $13.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for runway improvements. Florida South Western State College introduced a certificate in audio technology to prepare students for careers in the music and entertainment industry.
LAKELAND — Publix Super Markets bought 10 Martin’s Food Markets in Virginia and will convert them to Publix stores, continuing its expansion along the East Coast.
NAPLES — Beasley Broadcast Group bought Greater Media of Braintree, Mass., for $240 million, adding 21 radio stations in seven markets.
PUNTA GORDA — Frontier Airlines will launch air service at Punta Gorda Airport for the first time, offering nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J., later this month.
SARASOTA — State and local officials pledged $450,000 in incentives to persuade a company identified as a supplier of “rare-earth valuables” to make Sarasota its headquarters. The company would bring 75 full-time jobs with an average wage of at least $58,757 a year.
ST. PETERSBURG — Two years after reopening under new ownership, Sundial, an 85,357-sq.- ft. Entertainment and shopping complex downtown, is for sale. In 2011, developer Bill Edwards bought the center, then named BayWalk, for $5.2 million and renovated it.
TAMPA — Sagitec Solutions, a software firm based in St. Paul, Minn., is expanding to Tampa, where it plans to create 60 jobs within two years. BeniComp Insurance, a supplemental group health insurance company, moved its headquarters to downtown Tampa from Fort Wayne, Ind. Nine members of the firm’s executive team will relocate. The USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute launched a mobile research unit to bring clinical drug trials in Alzheimer’s disease to senior communities throughout Florida. The Memory Research Suite includes a patient examination room, two testing rooms and a phlebotomy area. Tampa officials sought proposals for a mixeduse development at a city-owned parking lot downtown, describing it as an opportunity to transform “essentially the most prominent undeveloped parcel” in Tampa’s urban core.
» Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland hired Terry Parker as provost. Parker previously was provost and executive vice president at the Colorado School of Mines, an engineering institution focused on applied research.
» Former Greenberg Traurig shareholder Murray Silverstein joined Greenspoon Marder as managing shareholder of its Tampa office.
» Lee Memorial Health System promoted Scott Nygaard to chief medical officer.
» Tom Dorety plans to retire as president and CEO of Suncoast Credit Union in Tampa by the end of this year.