Northwest Florida Roundup
Diatech's new sensor can detect when an insulin pump isn't working properly
A Tallahassee-based biotechnology company, DiaTech Diabetic Technologies, which makes a fluid pressure sensor for insulin pumps, recently won a first-place grant of $15,000 during TechGrant Pitch competition at Innovation Park.
Launched in 2005, the TechGrant competition has awarded nearly $500,000 to 26 startups based in the Tallahassee area and parts of Northwest Florida.
DiaTech’s thumb-drive-sized sensor detects leaks and blockages in pumps and alerts diabetic patients via an audio or Bluetooth connection. A malfunctioning insulin pump can be life threatening to a diabetic, says DiaTech CEO John Wilcox, a Type 1 diabetic and insulin pump user.
In addition to the TechGrant funds, Wilcox says the company is seeking additional grants totaling some $50,000 to further the development and marketing of the device.
Wilcox, 22 and a recent graduate of FAMUFSU School of Engineering, is partnering with three co-founders, Chief Product Officer Luis E. Blanco, Chief Operations Officer Nicholas Cooper and Chief Technology Officer John Clark Gray.
Wahoos’ Newest Investors
NFL Hall of Famer and Pensacola native Derrick Brooks (left) and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson have become minority investors in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball team. The Wahoos, whose majority owner is Pensacola developer Quint Studer, announced the partnership in late May. “I hope to bring that same energy and effort here as part of this group,” Brooks says. “We’ve done some things in the past, and I’ve been behind the scenes. But now, with today’s announcement, I have to come out from behind the veil and be more a part of this on the front end.”
Business Briefs for Northwest Florida
Apalachicola city commissioners are cracking down on property owners offering short-term rentals of less than a month in neighborhoods where zoning prohibits such activity. City officials estimate between 60 and 75 short-term vacation rental units are being marketed through online sites, such as VRBO. Up to a third of the units may be in violation of neighborhood zoning.
- The Walton County Commission has given Sandestin Investments fi - nal approval to build a 250-room full-service hotel adjacent to the Baytowne Conference Center at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The proposed $100-million hotel is the first new development in Sandestin in more than four years. Construction is expected to start in August and be completed by April 2020.
- Gadsden County commissioners have approved Hoover Treated Wood Products’ plans to open a plant on a 65-acre site near Havana that would apply fire retardant to finished wood products. The company anticipates hiring between 15 and 25 employees.
- Permits issued in 2018 for commercial and residential projects are up 67% through May over 2017 totals. Leon County’s Growth Management Department reports new residential building permits in 2018 have exceeded 1,000, compared to less than 600 for the same period in 2017.
- The Milton City Council has approved a zoning change that allows freestanding bars and taverns in downtown Milton. The new ordinance, however, restricts bars and taverns to an area along U.S. 90 that bisects the downtown core.
- Air Temp of Mexico recently announced it will open its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Bay County. Headquartered in Merida, Yucatan, Air Temp executives say they anticipate hiring some 50 workers at an average annual salary of $42,000. The company supplies auto parts to manufacturers worldwide.
PANAMA CITY BEACH
- St. Joe Co. and Key International, a Miami real estate development company, have forged a joint venture to develop a full-service resort hotel of up to 250 rooms. The project, to be built on six acres of St. Joe property near Pier Park, is in its conceptual stages. St. Joe CEO Jorge Gonzalez says a groundbreaking is anticipated in early 2019.
- Vestcor Senior Living, a 118-unit development, broke ground in May. The $20-million, three-story facility is part of a larger plan that includes 900 homes, 300 apartments, an office complex, school and neighborhood center.
- Municode has acquired Texas-based AgendaPal, the fourth acquisition for the Tallahassee company in four years. Tallahassee-based Municode develops websites and digital services for local governments, servicing more than 4,500 clients throughout the U.S.
- St. Joe Co. is partnering with Margaritaville Holdings and Minto Communities USA to develop Latitude Margaritaville, a planned adult community, with a projected opening in 2020. The project will be located on St. Joe land in Bay County near Panama City Beach and the 30A corridor.
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