Tampa selected for export program

September 27, 2012 

TAMPA -- The Brookings Institution has selected the Tampa Bay region as part of the first cohort of metropolitan areas to participate in the Brookings Metropolitan Export Exchange.

The program was designed to mold strategies that increase the region's exports. Other metro areas selected include Charleston, SC; Chicago, Ill.; Columbus, OH; Des Moines, IA; Louisville-Lexington, Kenn.; San Diego, Calif.; and San Antonio, Tex.

Tampa Bay was the 32nd largest merchandise export region in the U.S. last year with $9.6 billion exported from the Tampa Bay -- an 18 percent increase from 2010, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

But although Tampa Bay makes up 25 percent of the state's economy, the area only represents 15.6 percent of Florida's merchandise exports, said John Schueler, executive director of corporate and economic development at the University of South Florida and chairman of the Tampa Bay Partnership's Regional Business Plan.

"That gap provides a real opportunity for growth for our region," Schueler said in a statement. "The selection by Brookings for the Metropolitan Export Exchange is testament not only to the economic opportunity but also to the strong collaborative group who demonstrated our region's commitment to developing and implementing a strategic export plan."

Eaton Corp. declares dividend of 38 cents

CLEVELAND -- Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp. declared a quarterly dividend Wednesday of $.38 per common share payable on Oct. 19.

The company has now paid dividends on its common shares every year since 1923.

Eaton Corp. is a diversified power management company providing energy-efficient solutions to manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. The company notched 2011 sales of $16 billion, with about 73,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries.

Women's Resource Center honored with award

SARASOTA -- The Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County was recently honored by the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce with a Spotlight Award in recognition for its outstanding community service.

Sarasota chamber to hold membership meeting

SARASOTA -- The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual salute to business with the 92nd Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon Oct. 22.

The 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts. Cost is $55 for members; $65 for nonmembers.

Shaun Merriman, CEO of Gateway Bank, will take

over as the new chair of the chamber's board of directors, An outstanding chamber member will be recognized with the Chair's Cup award.

IberiaBank recognized employees with luncheon

SARASOTA --IberiaBank thanked more than 75 employees within the Glasser /Shoenbaum Human Services Center recently for their work to help those in need. With the theme of "Lunch Is on Us: You Give to Others, and We Want to Give to You," the bank's management team provided a catered lunch for employees of some of Sarasota's most essential charitable organizations.

The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center is home to more than 17 non-profit health and human service agencies that help low income and at-risk adults, children and families.

County to help apartments, condos go smoke-free

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Health Department has received a grant from the Florida Department of Health to help apartments and condos create smoke-free policies.

The first five apartments or condos to implement smoke-free policies will be featured in a locally broadcast commercial. The grant also will allow the health department to provide free "smoke-free" signage, free marketing assistance, free technical assistance with policy and lease language, and access to free counseling and medicine for tenants who want to quit smoking.

For more information, contact the Manatee County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Program at 941-748-0747, ext. 1211.

USF Sarasota-Manatee earns partner of year award

SARASOTA -- The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee was honored with the John J. Cox Community Partner of the Year Award recently at the Economic Development Corp.'s annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota.

"USF Sarasota-Manatee is a key asset for nurturing and retaining talent in our community. This talent is vital as our region competes for high-impact jobs that will contribute to sustainable economic prosperity now and for future generations," said Jack Cox of Halfacre Construction.

Finalists included the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.

Winner of First Watch contest announced

BRADENTON -- First Watch restaurant chain received nearly 17,000 entries nationwide for its Facebook summer sweepstakes. The winner was Canyon Porter of Washington, D.C., who will receive complimentary breakfast, brunch or lunch for two once a week for a year at the First Watch in Rockville, Md.

"The response we received from our fans was overwhelming and went viral very quickly," said Chris Tomasso, chief marketing officer for First Watch. "Our 'likes' on Facebook more than quadrupled, and we are already welcoming many new fans into our restaurants as a result."

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