FSU Keeps Growing

Notable business news in the Capital Corridor


FSU Keeps Growing

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State University’s new 47,000-square-foot Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, slated for completion in fall 2009, will feature a large auditorium, banquet hall, classrooms, an executive boardroom, computer labs, food preparation facilities and administrative offices.

FSU recently opened its $72 million Chemical Sciences Laboratory, which will house 250 researchers and be used to expand research programs in molecular sciences. The university will also be the site of the new Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion, a collaborative effort with three other Florida universities to create companies in the aerospace industry.

Homeowners and Homes

  • Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink enlisted Florida’s attorneys to provide legal assistance to Floridians facing home foreclosure. The Florida Bar launched a toll-free hotline and coordinated a statewide pro bono campaign, providing attorneys to help homeowners negotiate with their lenders. Lawyers interested in volunteering should visit the Bar’s pro bono Web site at floridaprobono.org.
  • Tallahassee-based Homes & Land, a network of real estate advertising magazines, was recently ranked as the Top Home-based Franchise in the Real Estate Advertising category by Entrepreneur magazine. Homes & Land, celebrating its 35th year, has 340 franchises in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Hospital Corporation of America and Capital Regional Medical Center are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a new two-bedroom, one-bath home for Beverly King of Tallahassee.

Moving Up

  • Two area tomato growers have been appointed to the Florida Farmers Inc. board of directors. Billy Don Grant of Quincy Tomato Co. and Gadsden Tomato Co., and William Maxwell, president of the Gadsden Tomato Growers Associations, have joined the FFI which represents Florida winter-vegetable farmers.
  • The St. Joe Company, one of Northwest Florida’s largest private companies, has announced the selection of Hugh M. Durden as chairman of its board of directors. He replaces Peter S. Rummell.
  • Robert E. Parr has been named senior vice president of sales and marketing of Fringe Benefits Management Company (FBMC), one of the nation’s leading employee benefits solutions providers.
  • Charlie Lee has been named managing director of the GVA Advantis Tallahassee office, overseeing the real estate firm’s sales, leasing and new development efforts.
  • Jeremy Susac has been appointed director of the newly constituted Governor’s Energy Office and will be in charge of the state’s policy and programs on alternative energy and climate change.
  • Mainline Information Systems of Tallahassee has signed an agreement in principle to acquire Cornerstone Systems of Irvine, Calif. Both provide technical support for IBM mainframe computer systems.

Local Honors

  • The Tallahassee Regional Airport received the “Aviation Project of the Year” award from the Florida Department of Transportation for its Air Cargo Complex, which includes a new FedEx building.
  • Inc. Magazine has ranked Tallahassee’s DVS Group dba iCLEAN Cleaning Solutions as 104 on its annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the country with three-year sales growth of 1,886.3 percent. Founded in 2000, the company is completely owned and operated by military veterans. It ranks No. 1 in the Top 50 Businesses in the Tallahassee region.
  • RB Oppenheim Associates, which recently celebrated its 23rd anniversary, received a first-place Golden Image Award and a special Judges Award for work (in partnership with Walt Disney World and Salter-Mitchell) on a re-branding and awareness campaign for the International Rhino Foundation. The company also won awards for public relations programs for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and the Association of Independent Healthcare Providers.
  • The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce was recently recognized as one of the state’s best by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals.

Expansions and Reductions

  • SPI Restaurant Equipment and Supplies LLC of Panacea, the largest new and used restaurant equipment dealer in North Florida, is expanding its lines to include a complete selection of hotel and resort wares. The company has added sales representatives to broaden its service area to include South Georgia and Gulf, Bay and Walton counties in Florida.
  • The recent reductions in newspaper staffs around the state include the capital city press corps which, in turn, means less news coverage for state business. Capital press bureaus recently have been trimmed by The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and The Tampa Tribune. State Senator Nan Rich, of Sunrise, expressed concern and said that reporting from the capital is going to be “coverage by press release.