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Invest in service workers, Richard Florida tells crowd in Orlando

Orlando Sentinel, By Paul Brinkmann

Cashiers, cleaners, servers and other workers in Florida’s gigantic service sector are a key to the state’s economic future, several experts said Wednesday at the annual forum of Florida Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Florida.

Diversifying the economy with industrial and tech jobs was also a major focus, and the chamber released statistics that said Central Florida is actually more diverse than other regions of the state, if you include Brevard County.

“Companies that invest in service workers, pay them more, get them involved in quality, see them as a source of customer engagement… have more productivity, higher profits,” said Richard Florida, author and urban studies theorist.

Florida was a keynote speaker at the Future of Florida Forum. He also took a swipe at the Republican presidential nominee, saying that creative entrepreneurs gravitate to “Places that are open to immigrants — sorry, Donald Trump.”

His speech followed comments from Mark Wilson, president of the Florida chamber, who said people might be surprised to hear that the Orlando area – including Brevard County and the Space Coast – have a more diverse economy than the rest of the state, because of the tech, space and defense-related jobs here. Wilson acknowledged that those stats probably would surprise many people who only think of Disney and tourism when they consider Orlando.

Richard Florida didn’t offer any concrete suggestions for how to invest in service workers, such as the national “Fight for 15″ wage effort that has raised minimum wage to $15 in some major cities.

But he said Florida and specifically Orlando are an epicenter of service jobs and could benefit from better treatment of service workers.

“It’s important that we upgrade the service economy if we want to build a fully sustainable economy,” he said. “There’s no better place to make the retail sector part of the creative economy.”

Randy Berridge, president of the High Tech Corridor that runs from Tampa to the Space Coast, said Richard Florida’s speech highlighted important issues.

“Disney especially is a major asset for us here. I’ve met with companies who said they are considering Orlando for expansion or relocation just because we have tens of thousands of people who have been trained by Disney,” Berridge said.

Berridge said he just wished Richard Florida had been given more time to talk.

For the full story, visit http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-future-florida-economy-20160928-story.html

Orlando’s Latest Theme Park Is a City for Wellness

New York Times, By Nick Madigan

In this most-visited city in the country, tens of millions of tourists spend their dollars every year in a swarm of theme parks that have made this area famous around the world. Now, Orlando is trying to show itself as a place far different than a land of fantasy.

An important part of Orlando’s emerging presence as a mature and innovative city is the 14-square-mile Lake Nona project, which is being built on land that only a decade ago was mostly pasture.

Once finished, the development, being built by Tavistock Development Company, will resemble a city in everything but name, with hospitals, hotels, office buildings, schools and colleges, recreational and sports training facilities, retail centers, entertainment spots and, ultimately, about 11,000 homes and more than 25,000 residents. More than 10 million square feet of construction has been completed at a cost of more than $3 billion.

“We didn’t want to pave over this project with a bunch of production housing — we wanted to do something greater,” James Zboril, president of the company, said over the summer in the project’s Laureate Park Village Center. Nearby, children splashed in a large pool and adults worked out in a state-of-the-art gym, facilities built for the residents.

Beyond the normal, profit-driven imperatives of brick-and-mortar projects, Lake Nona has an additional purpose — wellness — a notion that is intended to permeate virtually every aspect of the community, Mr. Zboril said.

The Lake Nona property was bought in 1996 by the British businessman Joseph C. Lewis, the founder of the Tavistock Group, the developer’s parent company. He later doubled the site’s size by buying adjacent parcels. If the entire 9,000-acre property — 40 percent of which will be left undeveloped — were laid over Manhattan, it would stretch from the financial district north to 66th Street and, in parts, as far west as Jersey City.

Two of Lake Nona’s top goals, the developer says, were to entice institutions and commercial entities to build on the site and to encourage their employees to live there, sparing them from commutes and providing daily conveniences within easy reach. Tavistock — using enticements like grants and free plots of land, and aided by state and local government incentives — set about persuading major medical and research institutions to move to the site as part of a life-sciences cluster.

Now known as Medical City, its 650 acres are host to Nemours Children’s Hospital; the University of Central Florida Medical Center; the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; the University of Florida Research and Academic Center; the GuideWell Innovation Center, a research, education and incubation hub; and a Veterans Affairs hospital, the first for the 400,000 veterans who live in the Orlando area.

For the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/realestate/commercial/orlandos-latest-theme-park-is-a-city-for-wellness.html?_r=0

Intersection: Simulation in Central Florida

WMFE, By Matthew Peddie

According to the National Center for Simulation, modeling, simulation, and training industries contribute nearly five billion dollars to Florida and directly employs more than 27,000 Floridians.

The second annual Florida Simulation Summit is this Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center.

Waymon Armstrong, founder and CEO of Engineering & Computer Simulations and Angela Alban, President and CEO of SIMETRI, Inc. join Intersection to talk about the latest in simulation.

For the full story, visit http://www.wmfe.org/intersection-simulation-in-central-florida/64312.

Local tech leaders dish on simulation, space travel, more

Orlando Business Journal, By Matthew Richardson

It was all things technology at the latest Orlando Business Journal event, and it didn’t disappoint.

During the panel discussion at OBJ’s Business of Technology luncheon held at Hilton Orlando on Aug. 11, local tech leaders filled guests in on the latest happenings in the growing industry, touching on topics such as smart sensors, commercial space launches, simulation training and virtual reality.

Here’s a response from each panelist about which niche areas they believe Central Florida will excel in:

Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council: The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center comes to mind first. I challenge anyone to share with us one county in Florida that has put up more than $180 million for one project, and along with that county, the state of Florida put in about $15 million with $5 million recurring, the University of Central Florida contributed over $10 million, $2 million came from the grant that was announced earlier this week, and our corridor is in for $6 million — the largest funding that we’ve ever provided. The top niche in our region and our state would be ICAMR and what will take place there.

For the full story, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2016/08/11/local-tech-leaders-dish-on-simulation-space-travel.html.

Dept. of Commerce Invests $22M in Advanced Manufacturing Center

Powder & Bulk Solids

The US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is contributing a $2.2 million grant to the Osceola [FL] County Board of County Commissioners to assist in the construction of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, the agency announced Tuesday.

“The growth of the US manufacturing sector is strongly tied to our ability to innovate,” said US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a statement. “The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center will advance the commercialization of smart sensors technology and the next generation of other emerging technologies.”

The Osceola County Board of County Commissioners is working with the University of Central Florida and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council to establish the facility, where state-of-the-art research and incubation for startups will aid in the development of new smart sensors.

The center announced a partnership with Belgian nanotechnology research company Imec last month, according to a Orlando Sentinel report.

“This [grant] reflects the growing confidence in the project that we have been working to build at the federal level,” Chester Kennedy, head of the research center, told the Sentinel.

For the full story, visit http://www.powderbulksolids.com/news/Dept-of-Commerce-Invests-22-M-in-Advanced-Manufacturing-Center-08-09-2016.

A vibrant tech scene is thriving in the shadow of the Mouse’s ears

Worth, By Helen Anne Travis

Twenty-five years ago, downtown Orlando, Fla.’s Church Street Station was hopping. Locals and visitors—mostly visitors—came to watch “Red Hot Mama” Ruth Crews perform at Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Jazz Emporium, sip coffee and cocktails under the chandeliers of the Orchid Garden ballroom, and listen to country newcomers Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson at the Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House. The complex was one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state—until it wasn’t. The theme parks wanted in on Church Street Station’s eat/shop/play success, so they built their own entertainment districts—think Downtown Disney, which opened in 2001. For Church Street Station, the impact was devastating. In 2003, Lou Pearlman, then famous for birthing the Backstreet Boys and ’NSync, bought the mostly vacant complex with big plans to revive it. Plans changed when he was later busted for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in an elaborate Ponzi scheme and fled to Bali. And then came the recession. For years the once-bustling Church Street Exchange, the Station’s former shopping emporium, sat empty.

That was then. Today, the Exchange is buzzing with new life. The reason? A booming tech community. Attracted by a well-educated workforce and lifestyle advantages, entrepreneurs are creating a vibrant hub that is perhaps the best evidence that Orlando is about more than just theme parks. In 2014, a nonprofit coworking space called Canvs was created on the Exchange’s first floor, where more than 100 tech-related businesses and startups work on everything from video email to online doctor reviews.

For the full story, visit http://www.worth.com/destinations-2016-orlando/.

Growing an Entrepreneurial Economy

i4 Business, by Eric Wright

“The Diffusion Process” or “The Technology Adoption Cycle,” though often sighted today was originally developed in the late 1950’s to track the purchase pattern of hybrid seed corn by farmers. It describes a sociological model explaining the adoption of any new or innovative idea and particularly technology, from PC’s, to smart phones, to apps like Uber or even electric cars, by people around the world.

When it comes to understanding what entrepreneurialism and the impact of growing startup businesses means to a region and its economy, three of Florida’s Innovators and Early Adopters are GrowFL’s and UCF Business Incubation Program’s (UCFBIP) Dr. Tom O’Neal, Randy Berridge of The Florida High Tech Corridor and CEO Nexus’ Steve Quello.

Over the last seventeen years O’Neal has become one of the chief architects and advocates of an economic development model based on growing entrepreneurial enterprises, a vital leg of economic development stool that also includes retention and recruitment. Perhaps O’Neal has reached the tipping point in convincing influencers and funders that this is the best bang for the buck. It is certainly being echoed by a growing chorus of thought leaders who realize an entrepreneurial renaissance is the best bet and bargain for our economic future.

In addition, O’Neal is passionate about teaching researchers and engineers to think beyond their brilliant idea, to what does the market want. “We had one guy who had a sensor that could stand up to 10,000C, but he hadn’t talked to any potential customers about what they needed,” he said. “He discovered only a handful of customers in the world had that demand. In fact, customers only needed up to 700C. He was working on the last year of his doctorate and what he had been focusing on didn’t address market needs. But he did discover his sensor was an order of magnitude cheaper to make; they were certainly interested in that.”

For the full story, visit http://www.i4biz.com/money-finance/growing-an-entrepreneurial-economy/

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Media Contacts:

If you are seeking information about The Corridor or the initiatives of the Council, please contact:

Vianka McConville
Curley & Pynn Public Relations
(407) 423-8006

We would be happy to put you in contact with industry experts who can speak to a variety of technology topics in their area of expertise. For a preview of the leaders who can share their experience in growing tech-based businesses in the Corridor, explore the videos of our Faces of Technology.