Tampa P & C insurance leader named to Utek board

Aug 3, 2009

Changes continue on the Utek Corp. board of directors, but the latest business executive to join has a strong local connection.

Mark S. Berset, the chief executive officer of Comegys Insurance, has joined the board of the Ybor City intellectual property licensing and innovation services company during a time when Utek is in the middle of changing its business model.

Utek is still consulting and transferring technology, but instead of exchanging this for equity positions it is now working for cash.

Comegys Insurance is a family-owned agency that is recognized as one of the largest independent insurance agents in the country, according to a Utek filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Berset is a member of the Northstar Bank Holding Co. board of directors and chief executive officer of the Strategic Agency Network of Tampa Bay, the largest aggregator of property and casualty insurance premiums in the state.

Berset is the immediate past president of the Bayfront Hospital Foundation in St. Petersburg and continues to serve as a member of the foundation’s board.

Utek’s founder, Clifford Gross, left the board during the company’s annual meeting in June and was replaced by current company president Douglas Schaedler. Another outgoing board member, Arthur Chapnik, died July 8.

Keith A. Witter, a member of the Utek board since 2003, was named its chairman July 21, succeeding Gross.

Utek (AMEX: UTK) posted a first quarter loss of $2.1 million, or 45 cents a share, on revenue of $2.8 million, compared to a loss the year before of $1.6 million on revenue of $3.7 million. Utek is expected to announce second quarter results Aug. 10.

Utek shares were trading at $4.90 as of 9:30 Monday morning, down 3 percent from its Friday close of $5.07. Shares have traded between $3.20 and $11.05 over the past year.