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Highlights of Economic and Business Growth in the Tampa Bay Region

TAMPA BAY, Fla., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- News briefs concerning the economic and business growth in the Tampa Bay Region from the Tampa Bay Partnership:

Dental Supplier Announces Expansion of Tampa Bay Facility; 40 New Jobs Projected

DENTSPLY International recently announced that it will merge two of its orthodontic businesses: Glenroe, which has its manufacturing site and 144 employees in Manatee County, and Raintree, which is currently headquartered in New Orleans; and will relocate the merged division in Bradenton, Florida. The Glenroe and Raintree Divisions provide professional dental products to general dentists and orthodontists throughout the world. Initially, 15-20 new management level jobs in accounting, customer service, manufacturing, and sales/marketing will be created to support the relocation and facility expansion. Over time, it is expected another 15-20 manufacturing assignments will be needed to support production in the expanded operations. (Contact: Kerri Sebring, 717-849-7876,

Tampa Bay Biotechnology Company May Hold The Key To Treating Hepatitis C

Romark Laboratories, a Tampa-based biotechnology company, hopes to prove that a drug used to treat gastrointestinal illnesses in children and adults is effective against hepatitis C, the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. If ongoing clinical trials are successful, it could transform Romark's drug, Alinia, into a billion-dollar blockbuster. And it would be a breakthrough for the more than 4 million Americans with hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Romark is testing Alinia, in conjunction with the standard treatment, in 120 U.S. hepatitis C patients, half of whom have failed prior treatment. It expects to announce results of the trials by year-end. (Contact: Jean-Francois Rossignol, 813-282-8544,

Confucius Institute To Be Established at USF

The University of South Florida won a competitive bid to launch one of the newest Confucius Institutes, cultural centers that China has spread to universities globally. The Confucius Institute at USF is expected to help the educational and business communities in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida develop and promote closer ties with China, the world's fastest-growing economy. USF's campus is the only Florida location for the cultural center, branches of which have proliferated in 64 countries since 2004, including 40 in the United States. USF is running the Confucius Institute with its longtime partner, Nankai University in Tianjin, with which it has exchanged students and faculty for nearly 25 years. Two Nankai scholars will arrive at USF in February. A third will arrive in time for the fall semester, when the institute will begin a course on doing business in China. The Chinese government will award USF $100,000 annually for up to five years to teach introductory Chinese, contemporary political science and doing business in China. USF will match that with about $200,000 for the first year. (Contact: Ken Gullette, 813-974-4014,

Work Tools International Rolls Out Tampa Bay Expansion

Work Tools International, one of the world's largest manufacturers of specialty and decorative paint applicators, is utilizing a $3.2 million Industrial Revenue Bond (IRB) to finance an expansion in Pinellas Park, FL. The expansion includes construction of a 43,600-square-foot building, the purchase of new manufacturing equipment, and the addition of 10 new manufacturing jobs. "The IRB is opening new doors for us," explains Greg Kieler, Co-President of Work Tools International. "With it, we were able to end our days of leasing and purchase the land and building needed to expand our product line and increase our sales." With its IRB-funded expansion, the company plans to manufacture more of its WHIZZ line of paint rollers, brushes, handles and poles at its Pinellas Park location. Products will be distributed throughout the U.S. and to most countries in the Western Hemisphere. Visit to learn more. (Contact: Stacey Swank, 727-464-7332,

High-End Jet Service Lands In Tampa Bay

Corporate Eagle, which sells high-end jet time to companies, will set up shop at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport later this year. Corporate Eagle Cos., based in suburban Detroit, will build a $5-million-plus terminal with adjacent hangars to handle clients who own shares of aircraft in its fleet of 11 jets and turboprops. The company has 31 "members," mostly southeast Michigan corporations that fly executives around the country in the comfort and convenience of private aircraft. Corporate Eagle will start marketing to Tampa Bay-area companies this spring and base a plane here for clients who commit to buy an aircraft share when the terminal opens in the fall, he said. The company will start with about 10 employees, including mechanics performing maintenance in a second hangar. (Contact: Rick Nini, 248-461-9001,

City of St. Petersburg Set To Issue Request For Proposal for Tropicana Field Site

The City of St. Petersburg, Florida announced that it may issue a Request For Proposals for a 86-acre assembled site, located in downtown St. Petersburg, which could be available for phased development as early as 2009. The site is currently occupied by Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. However, the Rays have submitted a plan to the City to construct a new ballpark at an alternative site thereby making the Tropicana Field site available for development. It is anticipated that responses to the RFP will be due approximately 60 days after it is issued. The site is adjacent to I-175 and I-275, with multiple interstate access points, and is located approximately one mile west of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay waterfront. For complete details and contact information, please visit the Notice of Intent online at (Contact: Sophia Sorolis, 727-893-7787,

Tampa International Airport Ranks 2nd In On-Time Performance

Tampa International ranked second nationwide in on-time performance for arrivals and departures in November, U.S. Department of Transportation data showed. Tampa flights departed within 15 minutes of schedule -- the DOT's benchmark for on-time performance -- 88 percent of the time in November, while 86.2 percent of flights arrived on time. (Contact: Brenda Geoghagan, 813-870- 8707,

SOURCE Tampa Bay Partnership
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