Southwest Florida Roundup
Cloud nine: Tampa Bay IT firm scores big with NASA contract
A Tampa Bay IT company hopes to score big with a new NASA contract.
In April, NASA awarded contracts to 148 companies to sell up to $20 billion in IT products and services to federal agencies over the next decade. Among the winners is Oldsmar-based Vology, which has been approved to compete for the government's business on everything from networking equipment and security tools to videoconferencing systems and data storage.
A specialist in cloud-based computing, Vology had sales last year of $168 million, ranking 205 on Florida Trend's list of the state's top private companies.
President John O'Shea recently spoke with Trend about how Vology plans to make the most of NASA's new Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement contract.
» What is Vology's point of difference?
"We are experts in networking and virtualization technologies. This is something that the government was asking for to help them evolve from traditional IT infrastructures into cloud-based virtual infrastructures. Also, another thing that differentiates us is we have some really strong partnerships with key technology manufacturers whose products are on this contract."
» What did it take to win the contract?
"We had a contract capture team with seven permanent members and maybe five people who were on a temporary basis. All told, it was about 5,000 hours of work."
» How much do you expect to sell under the contract during its 10-year lifespan?
"Vology is investing heavily in operational support for the contract and expects the full value to exceed $200 million when fully ramped up."
» You employ about 250. Are you hiring?
"We'll probably add in the near term at least five new people to directly support the contract. Beyond that, we'll scale as we grow our revenues."
» What makes an employee a good cultural fit?
"We have four core values that define us as an organization. The first one is simplify everything. The second one is think positive. The third one is be transparent. And the fourth one is grow."
Punta Gorda Airport
In 2007, the Punta Gorda Airport built a small terminal to attract scheduled airline service. A year later, Allegiant Air designated Punta Gorda a "focus city" and began offering non-stop flights to Greenville, S.C., and Knoxville, Tenn. Today, the low-cost carrier flies to 24 U.S. destinations from Punta Gorda, and the airport has embarked on an $8.2-million expansion. By next spring, the airport's terminal will triple in size to about 56,000 square feet. "Our growth in 2014 relative to 2013 was 89%," says Gary Quill, director of the Charlotte County Airport Authority. "We've now passed Tallahassee and Daytona Beach for passenger traffic."
CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Marine Aquarium abandoned a plan to build a larger, $68-million facility downtown. It will instead expand its current facility on Island Estates, a predominantly residential island in the Intracoastal Waterway.
DUNEDIN — Achieva Credit Union is buying Calusa Bank, which has $165 million in assets and four branches in Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
FORT MYERS — Lee Memorial Health System will establish the Shipley Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery Innovation, Education and Research after a $2.5-million donation from Sanibel Island resident Richard Shipley.
MARCO ISLAND — The Marriott Beach Resort began a $250-million expansion and renovation expected to be finished in 2017. The beachfront property will convert to a luxury-tier, JW Marriott-branded resort.
NAPLES — The Ave Maria School of Law will buy its north Naples campus and launch a $3.2-million capital campaign after an anonymous $1-million donation. The law school has rented space from Ave Maria University for the past six years.
RUSKIN — Amazon plans to expand the capacity of its 1.1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center and hire hundreds of additional workers.
SARASOTA — The Florida State University College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Hospital will create an internal medicine residency program in Sarasota. The program is expected to admit its first residents in 2017 and eventually produce up to 10 internal medicine doctors a year.
ST. PETERSBURG — The city council authorized contract negotiations with the designers of a new facility called Pier Park to replace the downtown waterfront's 42-year-old pier and its inverted pyramid. Scheduled to open in 2018, the new pier will feature floating docks and a "coastal thicket" with trees and shrubs. » Credit union service organization PSCU closed a call center at its Carillon Parkway headquarters, eliminating 53 jobs. PSCU is consolidating operations at its other call centers in Arizona and Michigan. » Local developer ARC Group plans a downtown shopping center with a 32,000-sq.-ft. grocery store near Tropicana Field. The grocer was not named.
TAMPA — Moffitt Cancer Center opened a patient lounge designed for adolescents and young adults. » Businessman John Sykes reached a deal to sell the retail assets of his financial brokerage firm, JHS Capital Advisors, to Minneapolis-based Ameriprise Financial for an undisclosed price. Sykes, also the founder of call center management company Sykes Enterprises, launched JHS five years ago. » Office supplies retailer Staples will close a Tampa warehouse by late October, affecting 47 workers. » The Hillsborough County School Board unanimously voted to hire Jeff Eakins, a former elementary teacher and principal, as superintendent. Eakins had been acting superintendent since the board fired Mary Ellen Elia, who was named New York's state education commissioner in May. » Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics plans to open a carrier services division in Tampa and add up to 200 jobs.
VENICE — The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a replacement for former CEO Teri Hansen, who left in June to lead the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.
» John Aylward joined St. Petersburg-based multi-channel retailer HSN as chief marketing officer and executive vice president. He had been senior vice president of marketing for shoe chain DSW.
» Charles Dannewitz replaced retired Jeffery Howells as CFO of Clearwater-based Tech Data. Dannewitz had been senior vice president and CFO of the Americas. Joe Trepani succeeds Dannewitz, and Jeff Taylor was promoted to senior vice president and corporate controller.
» Pasco Economic Development Council CEO John Hagen is retiring after a 30-plus-year career spanning several states.
» Joni James, a former editor at the Tampa Bay Times, became CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.