February 8, 2023
ATS NE June 2022
UF grad Bryce Ballard created the Ice Cream Guard to help prevent freezer burn.

Photo: Doug Engle/USA Today Network

ATS NE June 2022

The $38-million Florida Aquatics Swimming &b Training complex has opened its 82,252 sq.-ft. facility in Ocala, which includes a 10-lane Olympic-size pool, video scoreboards, 1-and 3-meter diving boards and 2,000 spectator seats.

Photo: Doug Engle/USA Today Network

ATS NE June 2022
Carlton DeVooght, Flagler Health+ senior executive vice president/chief administrative officer and general counsel, will serve as the organization's interim leader after President and CEO Jason Barrett announced plans to seep down to pursue other professional opportunities.
ATS NE June 2022
Santa Fe College has opened its Blount Hall on the Gainesville campus. The 87,366-sq.-ft., three-story building includes classrooms, lab suites, business incubation spaces and student support services.

Northeast Florida Roundup

UF grad Bryce Ballard creates way to prevent freezer burn with Ice Cream Guard

“Once I started putting marketing videos out there, they sold out on Amazon pretty quickly" Ballard says.

Laura Hampton | 6/21/2022


Sweet Success

Last summer, Ocala native Bryce Ballard challenged himself to find a way to prevent freezer burn.

After several attempts, the UF graduate created the Ice Cream Guard, a thin layer of silicon with a honeycomb design that consumers can put on top of ice cream to create a seal. With the product, water refreezes on top of the guard instead of on the ice cream preventing freezer burn.

Since finishing the prototype, Ballard has obtained a provisional patent and manufactured 100 ice cream guards, so he could test market the product. After distributing them to friends and family, he placed the rest on Amazon.

“Once I started putting marketing videos out there, they sold out on Amazon pretty quickly,” Ballard says.

Encouraged, Ballard created a pre-order process through Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform, where he reached his goal of $2,500.

He is in the process of filing the utility patient, which prohibits others from making, using or selling the invention without authorization. Though the process costs thousands of dollars, Ballard is optimistic. He set out to create a product for home kitchens but has also received calls from restaurants.

“I’ve only been at this for a few months, but I feel encouraged that there might be a market for it,” he says.


  • The University of North Florida has received $700,000 from CSX for its Diversity in Business Program and for the Mark K. Wallace CSX Transportation & Logistics Endowed Scholarship.


  • In the last three years, the Partnership for Mental Health has invested $2.4 million in 49 local organizations that provide access to mental health services and promote mental health awareness. An initiative of the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and Baptist Health, the partnership issued 60 grants ranging from $1,200 to $160,000.
  • Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital are collaborating with Crisis Text Line to provide 24/7 mental health support to adults, teens and children. With the program, individuals who are facing mental health struggles connect to a crisis counselor by texting LIFE to 741741.


  • Key International, the development parent company of Embassy Suites, has purchased the Ocean Grove RV Resort in St. Augustine for $15.1 million. The 18-acre property, which has 208 RV spots, will continue to operate as a campground.


  • Four St. Augustine non-profits have received $2.9 million from the Florida Department of State African American Cultural and Historical Grants program. The money will be used for construction and restoration projects at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, Fort Mose Historic State Park, Zion Missionary Baptist Church and the St. Augustine Beach Hotel and Beachfront, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January.
  • Florida Blue has donated $1.4 million to LIFT Jax, a non-profit focused on eradicating generational poverty, and to Goodwill Industries of North Florida. The money will be used to create a neighborhood market in Jacksonville’s Eastside.


  • Trimark Properties has purchased the first six floors of the historic John F. Seagle Building in Gainesville. Trimark is exploring potential uses for the former Dixie Hotel/Hotel Kelley building, including some combination of retail, restaurant or residential spaces. Floors seven through 11 are privately owned condos.
  • The Marion County Commission has approved a large development on C.R. 318 at I-75, which will include five warehouses. The Sunny Oaks Regional Activity Center will include 427 acres of warehouse space, three acres for a fire station, five acres for a water treatment plant and 28 acres of commercial space.
  • A 5,530-sq.-ft., six-bedroom, 4½-bath Ocala home has sold for 74.6 ethereum, or $999,999, the first cryptocurrency home sale in Ocala.


  • Jacksonville-based RV retailer Travelcamp RV plans to expand throughout the Southeast with stores slated for Orange Park, Fort Pierce and Clermont in Florida as well as in Greenville, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C. The new stores are scheduled to open between April 2022 and early 2023.
  • Crumbl Cookies plans to open a third gourmet cookie bakery and ice cream shop in southwest Jacksonville.


  • Former Adecco executive Rich Thompson has launched Podium X, a technology platform for current and former student athletes. The LinkedIn-type service assists athletes in their job search by emphasizing the athletic resume and soft skills honed by participating in high-level athletics.


  • Breeze Airways now has non-stop flights to seven major cities from Jacksonville International Airport: Las Vegas; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; New Orleans; Providence, R.I.; Norfolk and Richmond, Va.
  • Elite Airways has added a weekly flight to Portland, Maine, from the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. The airline currently provides twice a week service to Newark, N.J., out of the airport.

Tags: Northeast, Feature

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