Southeast Florida Roundup
SA Company/Alpha Defense Gear donates 30,000 products during pandemic
Reason to Smile
Thomas DeSernia was studying to be a dentist when he conceived a gimbal cover to keep fishing rods from ripping up boats when a fish struck. The Boca Raton native left dentistry as the product and a T-shirt he designed took off through social media thanks to the efforts of his then-girlfriend, now wife, Jordana. His SA Company and Alpha Defense Gear based in Boca Raton sell fishing-and military-themed outdoor apparel and accessories, respectively. Maker of the neck gaiter Face Shield, SA has donated more than 30,000 products in South Florida since the pandemic began. It employs 200. His success in marketing led DeSernia, 30, to launch a marketing agency as well.
- Specialty vehicle maker Shyft Group is opening an assembly facility, employing 40, in Jupiter.
- Stronach Group, owner of the Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center west of Boynton Beach, plans to add four horse barns and expand stable capacity by 25% to 1,720 stables.
- The state Supreme Court sided with the Broward school district in capping liability for the Parkland mass shooting at $300,000. Families of victims had sought to apply the state liability limit to each plaintiff rather than the entire incident.
- The Martin County School District hired as its first appointed superintendent John Millay, former superintendent of Meade County schools in Kentucky. Previously, Martin voters elected the superintendent.
- Nova Southeastern University, which last year laid off 101 citing enrollment declines in business, education and law colleges, says it started the fall term with 2,001 new undergraduates, an increase of 11% from fall 2019 and the largest undergraduate cohort in its history.
- Indian River State College named its main campus in Fort Pierce for retired longtime President Edwin R. Massey.
- Stiles Residential Group opened Novo Las Olas, a 341- unit apartment project, and a Publix GreenWise Market, within its Main Las Olas, a 1.4-million-sq.-ft. development in Fort Lauderdale.
- Related Cos. topped off 360 Rosemary, a 300,000-sq.-ft. office building at the former CityPlace development in West Palm Beach.
- Port St. Lucie reached deals for development at the Tradition Center for Commerce with a local investor couple who plan a retail-medical building on three acres and with hotel developer DI Development for a 122-room hotel.
- HomeSafe, a non-profit that provides housing and services for victims of child abuse and domestic violence, broke ground on a residential campus in West Palm Beach.
- GlobalListings.com, a California-based online real estate listings platform, chose West Palm Beach for its East Coast regional sales and marketing office.
- Electric car maker Karma Automotive will open its fourth dealership on 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale, joining dealerships in Orlando, Naples and Palm Beach.
Longtime Seminole Tribe council member Max B. Osceola Jr., 70, died from complications stemming from COVID-19. Osceola represented the Hollywood Seminole Reservation from 1985 to 2010 on the five-member tribal council, an era that saw the tribe acquire the Hard Rock International brand and become a major player in the gambling industry. At the news conference announcing the Hard Rock purchase in 2006, he said, “Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets. Today, with the acquisition of the Hard Rock Cafes, we’re going to buy it back one hamburger at a time.” Born in Hollywood, Osceola grew up on the reservation there, graduated from McArthur High and played football for the University of Tampa before transferring to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, where his team won a national championship and later the University of Miami, from which he graduated.
- Hotel owners managing in the pandemic should avoid deep discounts and instead maintain pre-pandemic room rates, economize on staffing and expenses and make only a small percentage of rooms available for reservations, says Peter Ricci, director of FAU’s College of Business hospitality and tourism management program. “Once doors are opened to guests at lower rates, they will anticipate similar rates in the future,” Ricci says. Hotels should seek to stand out with amenities and service, whether free masks, hand sanitizer in rooms or lists of local restaurants using social distancing.
- Atlas Ocean Voyages, a new Fort Lauderdale-based cruise line sailing under the Portuguese flag, says it will be the first cruise brand to include emergency medical evacuation and return-to-home insurance for customers. The first cruise is scheduled for July.
- Indian River State College distributed nearly $4.8 million in federal Cares Act coronavirus relief money to 6,100 eligible students. It also established a “rapid credentialing” program to train workers for in-demand jobs.
Read more in Florida Trend's December issue.
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