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Jeff Harrington, Times Business Editor

Jeff Harrington

Jeff Harrington, Business Editor of the Tampa Bay Times and tampabay.com, has been an editor and reporter at the Times since 1998.

A native Ohioan, Jeff graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a dual major in American Studies and French. He worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago, Toledo Blade and Cincinnati Enquirer before winding his way down Interstate 75 to the Tampa Bay area.

He has received numerous awards for business and metro writing, including recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Associated Press, among others. He was a past finalist and a winner of a Gerald Loeb award honoring the best business writing in the country and his work has been included in the Best Business Stories of the Year series.

Phone: (727) 893-8242

Email: harrington@tampabay.com

Twitter: @JeffMHarrington

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  1. Defense tech security firm to hire more than 50 amid opening new St. Petersburg 'incubator'

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting (VATC), a Tampa-based defense security firm plans to hire more than 50 additional employees amid opening a new "tech incubator" in downtown St. Petersburg.

    VATC, which already employs more than 200 people in Tampa and in satellite offices around the world, is basing the incubator in the newly renovated First Central Tower, the former Florida Federal headquarters....

    Shands Pickett, vice president of Applied Research for VATC, will head the company's new tech incubator in St. Petersburg.
  2. Tampa apartment manager Robbins Property grows to $2B portfolio through merger

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa-based apartment management firm Robbins Property Associates has completed a merger with multifamily investor Electra America of North Palm Beach to create a company with a $2 billion real estate portfolio.

    The new company, called Robbins Electra, owns and operates a combined 20,000 apartment units in 66 properties in Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland....

    Joseph Lubeck and Steven Robbins, co-CEOs of Robbins Electra
[Company photo]
  3. Buying a small business becomes a bigger business

    Business

    The buying and selling of small businesses is heating up, reaching levels not seen since before the Great Recession struck.

    Nationally, 2,090 small businesses changed hands in the third quarter, the highest number since BizBuySell started tracking such data in 2007.

    The Tampa Bay area accounted for 72 of those closed transactions, with a median sales price of $150,000, according to BizBuySell, an online marketplace which facilitates sales of small businesses. ...

    A record number of small businesses changed hands in the third quarter, according to a new analysis.
[

istockphoto.com]
  4. Survey: Florida's business climate ranks 11th among states

    Business

    Corporate site seekers who scour the country for the best places to locate or expand businesses think of Florida as a top 10 state.

    But the state does not measure up in economic competitiveness in other areas, according to Site Selection magazine's annual ranking of states with the top business climates.

    Florida ranked ninth among site selectors themselves — based on their personal experience of establishing or expanding facilities here. ...

    Site selectors have a sweet spot for Georgia, saying it has the best business climate in the country for the fourth straight year. Its southern neighbor, Florida, came in 11th. [Georgia Peach Council]
  5. Pasco attorney Constantine Kalogianis facing nine felony counts connected to foreclosure fraud

    Real Estate

    First, Constantine "Chuck" Kalogianis was facing potential disbarment. Now, the well-known Pasco County attorney and onetime congressional candidate is battling criminal charges for allegedly doctoring foreclosure documents.

    Kalogianis, 53, was arrested over the weekend on nine felony counts: eight of them related to forgery and one count for a scheme to defraud.

    State Attorney Bernie McCabe charged that Kalogianis had engaged in a "systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud" multiple lenders between November of 2013 and March 16 of this year. ...

    Constantine Kalogianis was arrested Saturday on forgery and fraud charges. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  6. Clinton or Trump? Small business owners in Florida are anxious to find out

    Business

    What's the biggest challenge facing Florida small business owners?

    Health care costs, rising interest rates and hiring concerns all loom large.

    But nothing tops their anxiety over where the local economy is headed and the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    About 27 percent of business owners surveyed by TD Bank said the national election and ushering in a new presidential administration will be their biggest operational challenge over the next 12 months. An identical percentage cited local/regional economic uncertainty as their No. 1 issue. ...

    More than half of Florida small business owners cited anxiety over the next presidential administration and economic uncertainty as their top concerns heading into next year, a new survey shows.
[Associated Press file photo]
  7. Consumer confidence dips in Florida in last reading before election

    Business

    Heading into the elections — and the gradual ramp-up of the holiday spending season — consumer confidence among Floridians has taken a dip.

    Consumer sentiment fell 1.5 points in October to a reading of 90, according to the monthly University of Florida survey released Friday.

    The reading, the last one before the presidential election, is 1.5 points lower than the current year's average, said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research....

    Florida consumer confidence tumbled in large part because Floridians are more reluctant to buy a big-ticket item like a boat or car. 
[File photo courtest of Tampa Bay Expos]
  8. Raymond James posts record profits, revenues on close of fiscal year

    Banking

    Stock in Raymond James Financial jumped nearly 5 percent Thursday after the St. Petersburg-based brokerage and financial services firm reported closing its fiscal year with record profits and revenues.

    Raymond James reported net revenues of $1.46 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, up 9 percent from a year ago and up 7 percent from the latest quarter. Net income for the period rose to $171.7 million, or $1.19 per share, a 33 percent surge from a year earlier. ...

    Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and net income on Wednesday. [Times file] 
  9. iQor closing St. Petersburg tech repair facility, cutting 76 jobs

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Less than two years after moving its international headquarters to downtown St. Petersburg, tech call center and repair company iQor US is shrinking its operation here.

    The company plans to close its Telmar Network repair facility at 9700 18th St. N, idling 76 workers, according to a WARN layoff notice filed with the state this week.

    The layoffs are expected to occur between Dec. 16 and the shutdown of the facility on Feb. 28. Sandra Gobbo, iQor vice president of human resources, wrote state officials and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman with a breakdown of affected job classifications, many of them directly involved with equipment repair. ...

    Hartmut Liebel is iQor’s CEO. The company’s headquarters relocated to St. Petersburg.
  10. Florida adds 23,000 jobs in September while unemployment rate is unchanged

    Business

    Florida can't move the needle to lower its unemployment rate, which remained stuck at 4.7 percent in September for the fifth straight month.

    But that's not entirely a bad thing.

    In fact, the jobs report released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity shows the state continues to make headway in its agonizingly long jobs recovery:

    • Florida added a healthy 23,000 jobs over the month, third-best in the country behind Texas and California and down slightly from 24,500 in August. ...

    Gov. Rick Scott noted the addition of 17,900 private-sector jobs during a ribbon-cutting at Uniform Advantage in Fort Lauderdale.
  11. How do this year's presidential debate catch phrases compare to those from elections past?

    Business

    Donald Trump talks about returning to a time when America was great — a superpower that didn't worry about Mexico or China stealing its jobs. Hillary Clinton yearns for those years of economic prosperity when her husband was in the White House and, at least early on, there was a semblance of bipartisanship.

    The high degree of base insults and accusations flying during the first two presidential debates may have put some voters in a throwback mood as well. As we head into the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, here's a look back at how the vernacular has changed compared to those presidential (and vice presidential) showdowns of yester-election year:...

    Yes, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have delivered some memorable lines during the debates so far, but there is a history of good zingers and moments over the last several decades. (Doug Mills/The New York Times) XNYT141
  12. Brandon-based Platinum Bank is bought for $83.9M

    Banking

    Platinum Bank of Brandon, one of the largest community banks based in Tampa Bay, is being bought by CenterState Banks Inc. of Winter Haven for $83.9 million in cash and stock.

    The deal announced Tuesday morning will create the third-largest community bank in Tampa Bay.

    CenterState said the acquisition complements its existing footprint with five out of seven Platinum branches within 1.25 miles of existing CenterState locations....

    Platinum Bank CEO Jerry Kyle said he is excited about the merger.
  13. Here's why gas prices in Florida have risen since Hurricane Matthew

    Energy

    Call it the Hurricane Matthew effect.

    Until the market showed signs of stabilizing on Sunday, gas prices had risen 16 consecutive days in Florida for a total jump of 11 cents, in large part due to supply chains disrupted by the storm, AAA reported. That's in sharp contrast to elsewhere in much of the country where gas prices have been heading down the past couple weeks.

    Price-tracker GasBuddy.com reported a similar trend: Average retail gas prices in Tampa have risen 8.2 cents per gallon over the past week, averaging $2.19 a gallon on Sunday based on GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,260 gas outlets in Tampa. ...

    Long lines for gas started the day at a Costco store in Altamonte Springs two weeks ago as central Floridians prepared for the anticipated strike of Hurricane Matthew. A gas supply shortage contributed to a price spike the last two weeks. [Orlando Sentinel via AP]
  14. Tampa Bay neighborhood ravaged by the housing crash makes its way back; but could it happen again?

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — During the boom years of the early 2000s, the dream of home ownership lured hundreds of buyers to a new community called Kings Lake.

    For less than $135,000, they could get a two-story house with four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. They could get mortgages with little or nothing down. No worry — prices were quickly heading up, doubling in a couple of years.

    Until the market crashed....

    Kings Lake Neighborhood Association President Josh Folckemer and his son Jonah, 11, outside their lakefront home. "Being on an HOA (board) is a thankless job that is oftentimes a very large source of contention," Folckemer said. "All we're trying to do is maintain property values.'' [LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]
  15. New communities are springing up in south Hillsborough as older ones still recover from the crash

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — As the first houses started going up in the Kings Lake community 15 years ago, there wasn't much else in Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River.

    No Amazon distribution center. No St. Joseph's Hospital. No Publix within 10 miles.

    Now there's all that and more, including a huge master-planned community, Waterset, directly across Big Bend Road from Kings Lake....

    Gail Sisouphone, who rents a home in Kings Lake, said traffic has gotten worse as a new housing community, Waterset, emerges across Big Bend Road. [LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]