April 23, 2024
ATS NW Aug 2021
The DARPA project aims to anticipate how special forces will react in high-stress situations.

Photo: Rey Ramon/U.S. Army

ATS NW Aug 2021
Trulieve is buying Harvest Health in a $2.1-billion deal.

Photo: Mark Henle/USA Today Network

Northwest Florida Roundup

The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition has been awarded a research grant from DARPA

| 7/30/2021


Science and Soldiers

The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition has been awarded a research grant from DARPA to develop technology that will enhance the performance of elite soldiers.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is responsible for developing emerging technologies for use by the U.S. military.

The goal of the Peerless Operator Biological Aptitude project is to understand and ultimately anticipate how specialized military personnel will perform in various high-stress combat situations over time.

The study is led by Dr. Tim Broderick, IHMC’s chief science officer, a surgeon and biomedical engineer. Prior to joining Pensacola-based IHMC in 2019, Broderick was a project manager for DARPA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Broderick says the project team is developing training models that will employ “machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict and maintain the performance of special forces operators.”


  • Tallahassee-based Trulieve, the largest marijuana dispensing company in Florida, is buying Arizona-based Harvest Health in a $2.1-billion deal. Harvest Health is a major marijuana producer in Arizona. Once concluded, the merger will create the largest marijuana company in the U.S. and give Trulieve 126 dispensaries in 11 states. The company also will have 22 cultivation and production facilities with a capacity of 3.1 million square feet in several states, including Arizona, where recreational use of marijuana for adults was recently legalized. Trulieve currently has 79 dispensaries and more than half of the medical cannabis market in Florida.


  • Greg Britton is the new CEO of the Florida Small Business Development Center, a branch of the University of West Florida and the state’s principal provider of small-business assistance. Britton is a senior manufacturing executive with more than 25 years of experience in aviation, medical, oil and gas, and high-tech commercial production manufacturing.


  • Construction has begun on a $30-million health center in central Bay County. Developed by PanCare of Florida, the project is expected to serve several thousand uninsured Northwest Florida residents, says PanCare spokeswoman Ashley Kelley. "It means that people will have access to affordable specialty care and be able to go beyond their primary care services," Kelley says. The medical complex will offer gynecology and mammography services, a pharmacy and a laboratory. Other services will include gastroenterology, cardiology, radiology and ophthalmology. The campus will also serve as a special needs shelter in emergencies.


  • Construction is underway on a new home for Gulf Cable/WETC in Santa Rosa Industrial Park. The 160,000-sq.- ft. manufacturing facility will allow the company to significantly expand. Headquartered in Milton, Gulf Cable manufactures products that serve the solar and wind, electric utility, oil and gas and petrochemical industries. The company employs more than 300.


  • The St. Joe Community Foundation has approved more than $1 million in public education grants in 2021, including $309,208 for the Bay Education Foundation for the purchase of equipment for Bay High School’s allied health care program, which is designed to give students the opportunity to explore careers in the health care industry while earning field certifications.


  • The first phase of a 350-unit luxury apartment complex in Beulah is complete. The Inspire Apartments development is near the sprawling 361-acre Navy Federal Credit Union campus. The second and third phases of the $60-million development will include townhouses, garden-style homes and retail space.


  • The city has begun laying the groundwork for a second terminal building at Pensacola International Airport. The airport has daily flights to 30 U.S. cities and is the largest civilian airport along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Jacksonville.
  • Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport’s airline service growth and passenger capacity have increased 58% over 2019 totals, the fourth-largest percentage growth in the U.S.
  • Southwest Airlines is now flying from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport with direct flights to Nashville, Chicago, Dallas and Baltimore.


Frederick Humphries

Former Florida A&M University President Frederick S. Humphries died of natural causes on June 24. He was 85.

Under his 16-year leadership, FAMU was named College of the Year by Time/Princeton Review in 1997.

Humphries graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in chemistry from FAMU in 1957 before earning a master’s and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the first African-American to earn a doctorate in chemistry.

Before taking the helm at FAMU, Humphries had been president of Tennessee State University in Nashville.


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