Archive for category Tampa

Florida’s tech sector turning virtual dreams into successful reality


The computer science department at the University of Central Florida in Orlando is losing Ph.D. candidates to West Coast tech titans like Google and Microsoft.

“Some of them bail out” before finishing their doctoral programs, says UCF computer science professor Charles Hughes. “They don’t make a lot of money as graduate students. … It feels good to be making money.”

But with the salaries being offered in Silicon Valley, can you blame them? Hughes doesn’t.

“Undergrads are getting $120,000; Ph.D.s are getting anywhere from $180,000 to $300,000, depending on what their skill sets are,” he said.

But those students might very well wind up back in the Sunshine State sooner than later. Florida tech firms like Plantation-based Magic Leap, Miami360VR, and Tampa’s HD Interactive are at the forefront of the virtual reality and augmented reality trends that are generating big headlines and even bigger investments.

Read more of my feature about Florida’s VR and AR tech scene in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine. Photo courtesy of HD Interactive. 

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If I Knew Then … Blaine Cardinale

IMG_3003Blaine Cardinale is the co-owner of Mosquito Joe of Tampa Bay. Mosquito Joe is a Virginia Beach, Va.-based pest control company with franchises across the United States. Mr. Cardinale – along with his wife, Kristin, and father, Randy – owns and operates Mosquito Joe of Tampa Bay, which has more than 1,000 customers and was the first Mosquito Joe franchise to offer health benefits to its employees. Mr. Cardinale is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and continues to serve in the Navy Reserve as a helicopter pilot.

Check out my interview with Mr. Cardinale in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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If I Knew Then … Matthew Ganzak

matt_ganzakMatthew Ganzak is the director of business development at Renew IV Wellness, a Tampa, Fla.-based modern wellness spa offering innovative and effective ways for clients to reach their optimum lifestyle. He’s also a marketing strategist and author of The Million Dollar Plan.

Check out my interview with Mr. Ganzak in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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If I Knew Then … Leon McIntosh

leon_mcintosh1Leon McIntosh is the co-founder, along with his wife, Roseanne, of Tampa Coffee Club. The couple started the company as a way to capitalize on and help promote the Tampa Bay area’s burgeoning craft coffee roasting scene. Mr. McIntosh, a serial entrepreneur, is also the founder of Swyft Interactive, a Tampa-based software development-and-design company.

And the coffee they select for their customers is really, really good. Trust me on this one.

Read my interview with Mr. McIntosh in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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If I Knew Then … Todd Hopkins

todd_resized_for_webTodd Hopkins is the founder and CEO of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services in Palm Harbor, Fla. Office Pride was founded in 1992 in Indiana and in 2012 moved its corporate headquarters to Palm Harbor, west of Tampa. It began franchising in 1996 and today has 123 locations in 23 states across the United States, including five in the Tampa Bay region. Mr. Hopkins is the author of several business books that deal with topics ranging from entrepreneurship to workplace culture and values.

Check out my interview with Mr. Hopkins in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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If I Knew Then … Matthew Garfinkle

matthew_garfinkleMatthew Garfinkle is the co-founder of The Hip Room, a Tampa, Fla., dance studio that opened in July 2016. Mr. Garfinkle, a dance instructor since 2006, initially launched the business in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2013 before moving it to Tampa, where he partnered with Rita Bauer, the studio’s other co-founder. The Hip Room offers instruction in styles of dance ranging from ballroom and ballet to hip-hop, as well as dance fitness classes.

Check out my interview with Mr. Garfinkle in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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If I Knew Then … Rob Povolny

rob-headshotRob Povolny is the founder of Eat Fresco Foods in Tampa, Fla. Mr. Povolny founded Eat Fresco in 2014 after spending more than a decade working for major global brands like Coca-Cola and Nestle. Eat Fresco produces ready-made, preservative-free meals – using high-quality ingredients – that can be found in Tampa Bay-area specialty grocery stores, neighborhood markets, and some Winn-Dixie supermarkets. The company is building a $1.5 million, 12,000-square-foot food production kitchen in eastern Hillsborough County set to open in January 2017.

Check out my interview with Mr. Povolny in Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine.

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