Winners & Losers 6/29/17
University of West Florida
Three years after the university was ranked near the bottom, the Florida Board of Governors announced that the University of West Florida ranked in the top three of the top-performing public universities in the state and would receive more than $20 million in new funding for the 2017-18 academic year. UWF earned 82 points out of 100 on the Board’s performance-based funding model results from the 2015-16 academic year, earning a top spot in the rankings alongside the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. In 2014, UWF was ranked No. 11, receiving 21 points out of the then-50-point scale.
CO:LAB business Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, Inc. (IRIS) successfully closed a round of Series B financing. The round was led by Ballast Point Ventures, a later-stage venture capital firm that invests in healthcare and technology industries. Funds raised will support the IRIS’s development the next generation of products that detect eye disease and improve the monitoring and care of patients in diabetic populations. CO:LAB, a program of FloridaWest EDA, supported by Pensacola State College, is Pensacola’s business incubator and growth accelerator.
Council on Aging of West Florida
Meals on Wheels America gave the non-profit a $2,500 grant to provide food, supplies and care for area clients with pets. An estimated 70 clients and 130 pets will be served through this grant, for a total of 4,060 pounds of distributed pet food.
For nearly four years, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has told the citizens who live west of Pensacola City Hall that he was going to fix their stormwater problems. Unfortunately, the long trek to dry land has been filled with delays, contaminated ground water, dump trucks and diesel pumps running 24/7, flooded yards, collapsed sections of sidewalk, and, most recently, raw human waste flowing in the streets—most of it within blocks of city hall. The mayor promises they will love the project once it’s completed in July, maybe August or September. But has the suffering been worth it?
Visit Florida’s Racing Team
The state’s tourism marketing agency is pulling the plug on its appeal to racing fans. The agency gave 30-day cancellation notice on June 2 to the team racing the “Visit Florida car.” The $2.875 million contract is tied to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season that concludes in October with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Ga. Other Visit Florida marketing contracts, such as $11.6 million sponsorship of a cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and a $1 million contract with rapper Pitbull, also drew criticism from state lawmakers, who voted to cut Visit Florida’s budget by two-thirds.
Port of Pensacola
Port of Pensacola needed the price of gasoline to rebound this summer to revive its revenue forecasts and attract more offshore maintenance business. Unfortunately, gas prices opened the summer travel season averaging the lowest price in 12 years.