Pensacola, Florida
Monday July 22nd 2019

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The Buzz 12/21/17

IMS ExpertServices Lands Partner IMS ExpertServices has partnered with Trinity Hunt Partners, a private equity firm that teams with founder/owners of entrepreneurial companies to accelerate their success. Trinity Hunt Partners will help IMS ExpertServices advance its strategy through investments in expanded services and acquisitions. Terms of the transaction will not be disclosed. IMS ExpertServices has been self-funded since its launch.

“The Trinity Hunt partnership allows us to recapitalize the business and accelerate its current growth trajectory” said Bill Wein, who will remain as Chief Executive Officer and a shareholder of the firm. “We will maintain our headquarters in Pensacola, only now with significantly more horsepower to expand.”

IMS ExpertServices was founded in 1992 by Bill Wein, Ted Gorder, William Hueter, and Bill’s father, Mike.

“In seeking a partner, we were attracted to Trinity Hunt’s corporate culture and specific investment experience in the legal services industry” Wein said. “The resources of Trinity Hunt and their strategic approach will power our next phase of growth, expanding our reach and strengthening our delivery of the same best-in-class client and expert experience upon which IMS was founded.”

“We are excited to partner with Bill and Ted and the exceptional team they have built at IMS ExpertServices,” said Pete Stein, Managing Partner of Trinity Hunt. “We plan to build upon these core competencies and ensure that IMS ExpertServices continues to be the premier expert witness provider for top law firms in the U.S.”

Blount Deal Finally Done On Dec. 14, the Pensacola City Council approved the development and sales agreements for local developer ParsCo to build 30 townhomes on the former W.A. Blount Junior High School site in west Pensacola.

In June, the council approved the mayor’s office entering into negotiations with ParsCo. Those negotiations took longer than expected because the city wanted a portion of the development to be affordable for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement and other working-class families.

“I do want to say a lot of hard work has gone into this from a number of different people,” said City Administrator Eric Olson. “I think what they’re trying to do is seek the best compromise between how do you lift a neighborhood up and still provide some opportunity for housing that would be affordable to people who are around the median income.”

In 2011, Mayor Ashton Hayward had pushed the council to buy the property as part of his short-lived urban blight initiative. The Escambia County School District vacated the building in 1982. Frank McGinley purchased the building for $5,000 in 1996 but was unable to do anything with it.

Blount Redevelopment, LLC bought it from McGinley in 2004. When the city purchased the site, documents filed with the Clerk of Courts showed the limited-liability corporation owners as Donald Moore, John O’Neil and Dr. Sunil Gupta. Other than a town hall meeting in 2013, the mayor’s office did little with the property until last year when the mayor announced he wanted to sell it to a developer for workforce housing.

In a viewpoint published Oct. 6, 2016, the mayor wrote the city must devote resources to increasing its affordable housing inventory. He said, “We need to show our citizens, as well as companies looking to relocate to our area, that the City is invested in our workforce and that we are not willing to lose our most valuable resource – our people – to competing communities.”

The agreements approved last week are a step in that direction.

Job Openings The Escambia County Jail is accepting applications for Corrections Officer Trainees. No certification is necessary, but applicants must be willing to complete Corrections Basic Recruit School, which will be provided at no cost as outlined in the employment contract. During training, the position pays $13.75 per hour with an increase to $15.12 after successful completion of the training program and state certification.

The next course is tentatively slated to begin in February. Classroom hours take place at George Stone Technical Center and will vary depending on the course, which may include nights and weekends. On-the-job training will be 12 hour rotating shifts to include days, nights, weekends and holidays at the county jail located at 2935 N. L Street

The job offers a comprehensive benefit plan for employees who work 30 or more hours a week. Benefits include health, dental, life, vision, employee assistance program, flexible spending accounts for medical and childcare, long-term disability, legal services, vacations, deferred compensation, retirement and other voluntary insurance products.

Applicants should have a high school diploma or a GED, possess a valid driver’s license and be at least 20 years of age. Pre-employment screenings are required such as a drug test, Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test, computer voice stress analysis, background check and basic physical.

Apply online at myescambia.com/jobs by Thursday, Dec. 28. For more information about the training program, please contact Lt. Shawn Hankins at sphankins@myescambia.com.

No Love for Hatchery A recent telephone survey conducted in early December by The Political Matrix found that only 20.4 percent of the city of Pensacola’s most likely voters believe the fish hatchery should be placed at Bruce Beach.

Inweekly hired The Political Matrix to gauge if the voters’ attitude has changed as more information has become public. It appears voters have become even less enamored with the hatchery.

The Political Matrix conducted its study via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. The numbers used, landline and cellular, were supplied by the Escambia County Supervisor of Elections Office. Only households who voted at least three out of the last four elections were called.

Both black and white voters said they don’t want the fish hatchery at Bruce Beach by nearly the same percentage. Males were slightly more in favor of the hatchery (22.7 percent) than female voters (18.6 percent).

The four council members that appear to be in favor of the fish hatchery at Bruce Beach have only between 20-28 percent of the voters in their districts agreeing with their decision:  District 3 – Andy Terhaar 23.9 percent, District 4 – Larry Johnson 28.1 percent, District 5 – Gerald Wingate 23.9 percent, District 7 – Jewel Cannada-Wynn 20.0 percent.

AT&T Grant for Schools Students at Escambia High and Brown Barge Middle will benefit from a statewide investment by AT&T this year, one that seeks to increase understanding of how classroom curriculum translates into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.

AT&T has once again has partnered with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in school districts across Florida.   Real-world application of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 47 separate projects to be organized and funded through CFEF member local education foundations, including the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation.

“We know that industries engaged in STEM disciplines will create a majority of high-value, high-wage jobs and within ten years, almost nine out of ten new jobs will require education beyond a high school degree,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President.

At Brown Barge Middle, AT&T’s grant for Robot Programming of Manufacturing Assembly will fund the purchase of two robotic arms with wrists and software that students will use to learn coding techniques. Teachers Heath Parr and Richard Hunter will teach basic and advanced coding skills to students while IHMC staff will provide advice to teachers, student training and career guidance.

Escambia High’s Matthew MacGregor is using the grant money provided by AT&T to purchase equipment that will be used for DNA Analysis of Lionfish Prey, a project which is intended to help curb the lionfish population by examining and dissecting their guts to identify prey. Escambia High is collaborating with UWF’s Department of Environmental Protection, University of Florida SeaGrant, Escambia County Marine Resources and local dive shops on the project.

Steak Cook-Off Raises $29,500 Seville Rotary’s Seventh Ever Arrogant Steak Cook-Off was held in October and raised $29,500 for Manna Food Pantries, Capstone Adaptive Learning Center, ECARE, Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Home Society, First Tee of NWFL and Autism Pensacola.

“This is Seville Rotary’s signature event and has become one of the most talked about cook-off events in the Pensacola area. We want to thank our partners who make it happen: Winn Dixie, Henry Chiropractic, Goldring Gulf, and Seville Quarter,” said Michael Brinkley, Seville Rotary’s
President.

“It feels great to give back to our local community in such a fun way. We have raised over $50,000 in the past two years and we know that it is positively impacting our community through these wonderful organizations, and that’s what it’s all about.”

During the event, 26 four-person teams treated over 1,000 attendees to their mouthwatering steak creations with 900 New York Strip steaks courtesy of Winn Dixie. The teams were judged based on voting by both the attendees and the special guest judges, Collier Merrill, Candy Cullerton, and Winn Dixie executives.

The winners were: First Place-The Most Arrogant Steak Champion: EggFest, Second Place-Almost Arrogant: Cantonment Rotary Club and Third Place-Kinda Arrogant: Brothers in BBQ – IFF Local 707. Fairhope Sunset Rotary Club won the People’s Choice and Best Rotary Club awards.

Hatchery Shenanigans Councilwoman Sherri Myers continues to bedevil Mayor Ashton Hayward. Last week, the mayor placed a couple items on the council agenda to help bolster his case in the lawsuit regarding the fish hatchery at Bruce Beach. He got Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn to co-sponsor the items.

Myers objected to City Attorney Lysia Bowling.  In November, she and Councilman Brian Spencer wanted to discuss the fish hatchery that Mayor Ashton Hayward wants built on Bruce Beach but the items were pulled after Bowling said it would not be appropriate to discuss them because of the lawsuit. Myers asked Bowling why the different rules for the mayor.

“We were led to believe that it would not be appropriate to discuss our agenda items due to a lawsuit filed against the city,” wrote Myers in an email. “Then low and behold, the mayor and a council member collaborated to place on the agenda, with the blessings I assume of the city attorney, an item that would declare the lease is “clarified” that construction on the Bruce Beach property has commenced.”

Myers later spoke with Bowling and told Inweekly that the city attorney had not changed her opinion. Before the agenda review on Dec. 11, Mayor Hayward pulled the items off the agenda.

New Employer On Friday, Dec. 8, FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance celebrated that VetFed Resources, Inc. has opened a new location in Pensacola, creating 20 new jobs. Commissioner Lumon May, PEDC board member Dave Hoxeng and FloridaWest board member Karen Sindel spoke at the event.

The 20 new jobs and two retained jobs, with above average wages, and the $95,000 initial capital investment put into this existing office property will have positive impact on our economy.

“We are very honored that VetFed has chosen Pensacola to open their new facility,” said Scott Luth, FloridaWest CEO. “It is proof of the partnerships between FloridaWest, Escambia County, the City of Pensacola and the State of Florida supporting a positive business climate to attract and grow business, especially those that serve our great military community. “

VetFed’s Pensacola office will be responsible for the day-to-day operations in support of a federal contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical disability examinations.

“VetFed is proud to have been awarded the Medical Disability Exam contract,” said VetFed CEO Al Giambone, “We are committed to helping the Department of Veterans Affairs fulfill its mission to expedite veteran disability claims and improve the disability examination experience. Along with its partner, VetFed plays a key role in providing our nation’s veterans the efficient, high quality disability evaluation process they deserve.”