Monday, September 23, 2019
Join us in Water Works Park for an Argentinian Orchestra Concert this Thursday!
Boozy Ice cream shop Aubi & Ramsa is now open in Downtown Tampa
Can’t choose between winding down with booze or ice cream? Now you don’t have to.
Miami-based 21-and-up ice cream shop Aubi & Ramsa is laying down roots in Tampa Bay and has opened its latest location at 442 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. Before fall is out, the shop will also have a location within Seminole Hard Rock Tampa at 5223 Orient Rd.
Aubi & Ramsa Ice Cream Co.‘s mission is to expand the enjoyment of wine and spirits beyond their liquid state.
The best part? Your kid can’t have a bite.
Some handcrafted flavors by Aubi & Ramsa include The Highland Truffle made with 12-year aged Macallan Scotch Whisky, The Tangerine Mimosa which is a champagne sorbet and a rum sorbet called The Dirty Mojito; each coming in at 5% alcohol content.
You can grab your favorite by the pint for around $20 depending on the flavor, or between $7-$9 for 3.7-ounce scoop. Please watch how much you pound before hopping on a scoot.
Hours for Aubi & Ramsa are Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Photo by ThatsSoTampa.com
USF Medical School Key Catalyst in Downtown Tampa Transformation
Water Street Tampa is designed to reshape a portion of downtown Tampa to take advantage of its long underappreciated waterfront.
In coming months and years, the redevelopment project will evolve into a free-flowing, walkable town center with more than 9 million square feet of residences, retail, office, hotels, convention space, and the nation’s first certified wellness district.
That newly created environment promises to become a national model for what life can be in a vibrant re-envisioned urban place for people to live, work, play, and stay. Eventually, more than 23,000 residents, workers, and visitors are expected to interact daily within the 50-acre site.
Key to defining success for Water Street is the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute at the intersection of Channelside Drive and South Meridian Avenue.
The 13-story prism-style glass-wrapped structure lies immediately across the street from Sparkman Wharf, a relatively new gathering spot created in Water Street Tampa for outdoor recreation, live music, and foodie indulgences.
The USF medical college and heart institute will be a major force in attracting jobs in biomedical research and technology. USF officials anticipate new companies, startups, and research dollars coming to USF will pump hundreds of millions into the Tampa Bay Area’s economy.
“I really want to see the economic development of Tampa Bay to grow and grow and grow,” says retired USF President Judy Genshaft. “It’s very vital to the industry I’m in – higher education.”
Genshaft recently spoke to about 100 people at the inaugural Local Leaders Luncheon at the Tampa River Center, sponsored by the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
Planning for the USF facility began nearly five years ago, says Genshaft, as soon as Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners unveiled the $3.5 billion mixed-use development plan in the Channel District.
“That’s when we saw things popping downtown,” Genshaft says, adding that Vinik donated the land to propel the relocation of USF’s medical college from the main campus on Fowler Avenue in North Tampa to Water Street Tampa.
“We’re part of a vibrant downtown. We’re all over this plan,” says Genshaft. “The vitality of downtown is just as important to the vitality of the university. We’re tied together.”
Construction is nearing completion in time for a January 2020 opening, and a welcome to an incoming class of 182 graduate students from prestigious colleges and universities across the nation, including USF. The university’s medical college in total has about 1,800 students, faculty, and researchers.
USF received nearly 6,000 applications, but only 4 percent made the cut in an intensively competitive process, says Charles Lockwood, senior VP of USF Health and dean of Morsani College of Medicine.
Incoming students scored in the 95th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, and earned grade point averages of 3.76. They represent diverse backgrounds and avocations, including a Marine and a few musicians.
“It’s pretty amazing,” says Lockwood. “They are coming from top-notch schools. Many have multiple publications by the time they graduate.”
About 20 heart health researchers, with National Institutes of Health grants, will join USF’s faculty by summer 2020. Over time, the research program will have 31 researchers.
Their research will focus on issues such as cardiac and vascular diseases, how the heart fails, and the genetics and metabolism of a failing heart.
Public-private partnerships catapult change
Students, faculty, and staff will be moving into a state-of-the-art building, with flexible learning spaces, group study areas, and an innovative learning lab that promotes interactive training.
A partnership with Microsoft will give USF students, faculty, and researchers access to innovative software and Microsoft expertise.
“It’s just a spectacular physical facility,” says Lockwood. “It is designed for the next 30 years of medical education.”
Architectural firm HOK is the building designer; Skanska is the designer-builder.
“Every square inch has been designed jointly between HOK and our design team,” says Lockwood. “Form follows function.”
Form and function take on special importance in a field where medical knowledge will double every 73 days by 2020. Some would say it could double every 25 days, Lockwood says.
“It’s not just in medicine, but in medicine, it’s more acute,” he says.
With knowledge expanding at lightning-quick speeds, Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the future not only as a source of information but an electronic partner in making on-the-spot diagnoses and searching for medical solutions amid overwhelming amounts of data.
“That’s exactly where we’re headed with all this,” Lockwood says.
When Lockwood graduated from medical school in 1981, medical knowledge doubled over 20 years. Lectures were a major part of a student’s curriculum.
Today, lectures are less important. Simulations and interactive experiences are changing traditional methods.
“Our goal is to teach students how to curate information and make sure it’s accurate,” says Lockwood. “You can’t do that in a lecture.”
The new medical school is deepening the partnerships with nearby Tampa General Hospital, USF’s primary teaching hospital, and USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), which opened in 2012.
It’s creating a synergy that is “our secret sauce,” says Lockwood.
CAMLS is one of the top five simulation centers in the world, he says.
Tampa General recently inked a 25-year lease for three floors in the USF medical facility. The hospital will open a ground floor urgent care center and imaging center with Tower Radiology and USF Health. In addition, an executive wellness program will be available on the 12th floor. Space on the ninth floor will be held for future uses.
With a $10 million award from the Taneja Family Foundation, the new building also will be home to the USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy.
Collaboration drives innovation
USF and Tampa General recently announced plans to create a joint Academic Medical Center.
Lockwood says USF’s goals and purpose align with clinical activities at Tampa General, which specializes in heart health treatment and transplants.
As an anchor for Water Street Tampa, students, faculty, and researchers will have access to the benefits of a walkable, urban neighborhood, which is designed to attract and retain talent in Tampa, according to a written statement from James Nozar, chief executive officer of SPP.
“SPP is committed to supporting the city’s continued economic expansion by creating a new hub to STEM, healthcare, and creative industries so the students at USF want to stay here and thrive,” his statement says.
As far back as 2014, Lockwood says USF realized many of USF’s students were living closer to downtown than the main campus.
“They kind of voted with their feet,” he says. However, he expects more to populate the area as USF relocates downtown and Water Street Tampa grows.
“It’s fun to watch all the new things, all the innovations going on,” says Genshaft who oversaw an ambitious program during her tenure to boost USF into the national rankings among colleges and universities.
The university in the past year leaped 14 spots to #44 among the top 50 public universities in the nation for 2020, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
USF also received recognition in 2018 from the Florida Board of Governors as a “preeminent” research university, joining the University of Florida and Florida State University with that distinction. The honor also comes with special annual funding through the state budget.
Lockwood noted that USF College of Medicine now ranks #52 in the nation, an improvement from five years ago when the college ranked #80.
Relocating USF’s medical college downtown allows for more opportunities for improvement and expansions at the main campus while building on USF’s reputation for excellence with a strong downtown presence, Genshaft says.
“I see this as instrumental,” she says. “Wherever you do your residency is usually where you end up staying. It’s really important that we provide the pipeline, so we have the best people staying here and wonderful, wonderful docs(physicians).”
A Startup Aims to Train Doctors with Virtual Reality, Moves HQ to Tampa Heights
Erik Maltais may be the CEO of a startup, but he hates the notion that startups are automatically “disruptive.”
Despite the job title, Maltais doesn’t fit the mold of a tech entrepreneur. He dropped out of school as a teenager and served in Iraq in the Marine Corps. But his unconventional path led him here, to Tampa, to launch Immertec, a virtual reality company aimed at training more doctors on surgical procedures.
“I hate ‘disrupt,’” he says. “I see what we’re doing as ‘enabling.’”
The company is moving its headquarters into the Beck building, adjacent to the trendy Armature Works complex along Tampa’s Riverfront just north of downtown. It’s also closing in on a round of investor funding, piloting its technology with Johnson & Johnson, and is financially backed by people like Steve Case, the founder of AOL.
The company creates software for physicians and medical device companies, and connects them through virtual reality. Instead of traveling to spend days inside an operating room observing a new surgical technique or learning how to use a new device, the software allows surgeons to watch others perform live while wearing virtual reality headsets from anywhere in the world. In some ways, it’s better than the real thing, Maltais said.
Because of the sterile environment of an operating room, the view of what’s happening on a patient may be limited for physicians who are observing and not actually participating. With the headsets, a camera is placed at eye level in front of the performing surgeon, giving others a clear, 360-degree view of what’s going on during the procedure.
“We can simulate surgery to the point of confidence, to give doctors that same feel,” Maltais, 36, said. “We thought it was unacceptable that people are dying because it takes so long to train physicians, from billing hiccups to getting new devices approved by the FDA.”
But Maltais, who has no background in health care, didn’t wake up one day with a plan to develop a virtual training tool for doctors.
When he was 14, he dreamed up his first business idea after realizing there were no ice cream trucks operating in his New Hampshire neighborhood. Since he was too young to drive or rent a vehicle, he enlisted the help of his 18-year-old neighbor. They leased trucks from a company in Massachusetts. Eventually they were making $5,000 a day hawking ice cream cones, Maltais said.
That first taste of making money is what lead him to drop out of school, despite his mom’s protests.
“My mom was single, raising four kids. She had three jobs to support us,” he said.
Maltais backpacked through Europe until he ran out of money, and didn’t finish high school until he was 20.
“I went back full-time in the day, all through summer and at night to get my diploma,” he said. “The hardest thing I’ve ever done is finish high school.”
He enlisted in the Marines, and spent a year deployed in Iraq. After five years in the military, he ended up in Florida.
Maltais studied accounting and economics at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He settled in the Tampa Bay area after Googling areas that rebounded the fastest from the last economic recession. He bought property here, and soon was itching to find his next business opportunity.
He bought a 1965 double-decker bus in California with the goal of driving it back to Tampa, renovating it, and launching a party bus business. But he ran out money.
Next, he flew to China to meet with manufacturers, and launched an e-commerce company that sold barbecue accessories. He got the idea from looking at product reviews people left on websites like Amazon.
“I’m not the barbecue customer. But people would write reviews that said, ‘I love this spatula, but I wish it was longer.’ So then I’d go to the manufacturers and make one that was longer,” he said.
It wasn’t long before he started collecting a seven-figure salary.
It was the barbecue business that led him to meet Jon Clagg. The two co-founded Immertec in 2016, thanks to Clagg’s background in software and telecommunications. They discovered an opportunity to use the technology to bring physicians together.
Maltais admits that running a startup isn’t easy in Tampa. He and Clagg traveled to Silicon Valley to look for investors and were surprised by the interest they received. Those investors wanted them to move the business to California, but something about Tampa made Maltais want to stay.
“We knew we were going to have to make a return on any money we accepted. And the cost to do business is much higher in a place like San Francisco,” he said. “The offers we got gave us about nine months of runway. Instead we raised about $500,000 in Tampa, which got us two years to get going.”
What makes Immertec stand out is how fast the software is. Physicians are live-streaming surgeries, and the lag or delay is less than 200 milliseconds, Maltais said. Johnson & Johnson, a global developer of medical devices, is piloting the program as a training tool for doctors who use their devices.
Shannon Bailey was working for the Navy in Orlando when she first heard of Immertec. A trained human factors scientist, she has always been fascinated with immersive training and simulation. She read an article about Immertec and reached out to Maltais directly. Now she works in human factors science for the company.
“I make sure the technology isn’t confusing to use,” Bailey said. “We also want to do research from a more scientific perspective, like applying for grants and publishing our results in peer-reviewed journals. We really want to move our product forward, but also the field of virtual reality.”
Right now, the company is targeting medical device training, but sees the opportunity to expand in a variety of ways, from the military to education.
Jeff Roy spent 15 years working in medical device sales, and knew the medical community well in Tampa Bay.
“I knew that coordinating these trips to train how to use new medical devices was taking surgeons out of their private practices, out of the operating room and away from their families,” he said. “And I saw an immediate fix to that in Immertec.”
Roy was hired earlier this year as the director of business development and has been helping the company make inroads with the industry.
“In the first presentation, the immediate reaction (from doctors) was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Roy said. “They light up pretty quickly.”
“A Tampa startup aims to train doctors with virtual reality” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
Your Downtown Calendar
The following is just a sample of upcoming events in Downtown Tampa. Visit the Downtown Tampa Events Calendar for a more comprehensive list!
Friday, September 27, 4pm to 10pm
Downtown Tampa and Ybor City
When the sun goes down, the streets of Tampa and Ybor will light up with music, laughter, art, friends and FREE fun. This evening of special offerings and programs by cultural venues, restaurants, and more takes place on the fourth Friday of every month! For more information, go to Fourth Friday.
Living History Saturdays
Saturday, September 28, Noon to 3pm
Tampa Bay History Center
Each month, a living historian will tell stories, show artifacts and give a short presentation on a different Florida-related theme. This week’s program is called “A Pirate’s Life: Tales from Florida Waters”. Both male and female pirates lived normal lives. They ate, drank and entertained themselves at sea. Rob and Anne Jacob will describe the real life of pirates during piracy’s “golden age.” This event is free with admission. For more information, go to Living History Saturdays.
This Week at Amalie Arena
Phil Collins – Thursday, September 26, begins 8pm
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers (Preseason) – Saturday, September 28, begins 7pm
Taking the Stage at the Straz Center
Meteor Shower by Steve Martin – Through Sunday, September 29
Spymonkey’s Hysteria – Through Sunday, November 3
The Florida Orchestra – Opening Night – Friday, September 27, begins 8pm
Performing Arts College Fair – Sunday, September 29, Noon to 3pm
On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) – Through Thursday, September 26
An Evening with Salman Rushdie – Wednesday, September 25, begins 7:30pm
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019) – Friday, September 27 to Wednesday, October 2
SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque – Saturday, September 28, begins 9pm
Sing-Along Mary Poppins (1964) – Sunday, September 29, 3pm to 5:30pm
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Monday Morning Memo –Monday Morning Memo is a weekly update of “insider downtown information” regarding developments, transportation, special opportunities and other useful information to help you make the most of downtown. Subscribe to receive this weekly newsletter.
- Join us in Water Works Park for an Argentinian Orchestra Concert this Thursday!
- Boozy Ice cream shop Aubi & Ramsa is now open in Downtown Tampa
- USF Medical School Key Catalyst in Downtown Tampa Transformation
- A Startup Aims to Train Doctors with Virtual Reality, Moves HQ to Tampa Heights
- Downtown Calendar
- Connect With Us!