inside florida's high tech corridor

April 2011










Looking to grow your company to the next level?
The GrowFL program supports the growth of Florida businesses by providing a free suite of economic gardening support services, as well as unique access to market research and technology.

Do you need resources to Start, Expand, or Relocate your business?
Visit for a comprehensive list of Local, Statewide, and National resources available in 23 counties across the Florida High Tech Corridor.

April's Quote
"Semiconductor technology will continue to penetrate more aspects of our lives and will significantly improve our quality of life."

Abdul Lateef, President of Plasma-Therm, in this month's Faces of Technology.

USF Partners with Jackson Laboratory

Plans have been announced for a 120,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota that will be known as the Jackson Laboratory - Florida, which will also occupy laboratories and offices in the USF Health complex in Tampa. The laboratory, resulting from a partnership with the University of South Florida (USF), Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, hopes to develop genetics-based treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

The collaboration of many professionals in the field promises breakthrough discoveries, clinical medicine and educational outreach that will hopefully enrich the entire region. Due to the involvement of USF, the laboratory will be able to provide individualized care at low cost to the public, with the potential to generate more than 2,200 jobs and $600 million by 2030.

Pending public approval of funding in Sarasota County, construction could begin within a year.

For more information, visit

UF Researchers Zero In on Cause of Periodontal Disease in HIV/AIDS Patients

Research at the University of Florida may lead to further understanding of the HIV virus and the way it changes the chemical composition in the human body. Oral diseases have long been understood to progress rapidly and aggressively in patients with the HIV/AIDS disease, but until now, scientists have not understood why.

With a $330,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at the University of Florida have developed a hypothesis that the disease's suppression of the immune system changes the bacterial makeup of the mouth, causing sufferers to be more prone to developing periodontal diseases such as gingivitis. Oral diseases can often lead to poor health and a poor quality of life for individuals by hindering nutrition and decreasing the pleasure of eating and tasting food.

If they are correct, the genetic sequencing and bioresearch performed in the duration of this experiment could greatly affect the future of understanding the course and components of the HIV/AIDS disease.

For more information, visit

Miniature Lasers Developed at UCF Could Help Launch New Age of the Internet

While small, the new miniature lasik devices developed by researchers at the University of Central Florida could have a huge impact on the future of the Internet, through the ability to emit intense light at a single wavelength. Use of these lasers would make Internet and electronic devices faster and more reliable.

Because the lasers are so small and do not contain semiconductor materials, they have a high potential of being able to handle heavy loads, meaning that they have a greater chance to move massive amounts of information over great distances instantaneously. This would also affect the performance of precision devices such as GPS navigation.

The fail rate is still relatively high for these tiny lasers, but the future looks hopeful. UCF scientists believe that if successful, consumers can expect to find laser diodes embedded in almost any advanced electronic device in the future as long as the voltage can be efficiently optimized.

For more information, visit


Microelectronics and Nanotechnology
The Florida High Tech Corridor Council's Special Sugar, Nanoparticles Combine to Detect Cholera Toxinhistory is rooted in the microelectronic/nanotechnology industry. In fact, the Council was formed when UCF and USF helped retain jobs in that sector in 1996 when other venues were vying to win an AT&T microelectronics expansion project. Today the region fosters an environment of scientific advancement and discovery that helps make it a leader in the industry.

At UCF, research Detecting Cancer With Goldand developments regarding nanotechnology are thriving with the creation of nanoparticles that are able to detect the cholera toxin, a possible test for cancer using gold nanoparticles, and the latest: "frozen smoke."

Aerogel, more commonly known as "frozen smoke," is the lightest solid found on Earth and could be used to detect pollutants and toxic substances, improve robotic surgery techniques and store energy more efficiently. Because the research team uses tiny, multiwalled carbon nanotubes, the tiniest changes in pressure can be detected and recorded, making it possible to enhance robotics in the medical field.

The University of Florida has also been busy at work in developing new microtechnology products in the form of a three square millimeter motion sensor. While it isn't the smallest sensor ever created, the microchip sensor is the only one of its size that requires only a small amount of power and can be manufactured using standard techniques and equipment. The chip could eventually help popularize micro sensors as standard equipment in personal electronics, medical devices and other applications. A tiny sensor with such capabilities could even potentially save lives by monitoring heart rate and blood pressure on a daily basis.

Whether in the medical community or for other applications, it is clear from the brilliant minds of the region's research scientists, the Florida High Tech Corridor is still a front runner in the field of nanotechnology and microelectronics.


Abdul Lateef
CEO, Plasma-Therm

With more Plasma-Therm's Abdul Lateefthan 35 years experience focusing on customer support, innovation, reliability and low cost of ownership, Plasma-Therm in St. Petersburg is a leading provider of advanced plasma processing equipment to specialty compound semiconductor markets.

Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; MS in Material
Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; MBA, University of Florida

Best read: "Execution" by Bossidy and Charan

The Future: Semiconductor technology will continue to penetrate more aspects of our lives and will significantly improve our quality of life. It will become a thing of the past to be surprised when you reach for the milk carton and find it empty. Your refrigerator will know exactly what is running low and place an order to the store that automatically delivers it. Health monitoring will be done online in a non-intrusive manner in which the patient does not have to put his life on hold to go to the doctor's office for diagnostic tests. Tests will be integrated into our routine daily activities and results automatically sent to your doctor. Rather than spot checks for health, the concept of continuous monitoring will become real.

Advice: Do not let life's unexpected events set you back.

View name's Faces of Technology video interview at


Rick Wassel, Florida Hospital
This month's TakeRick Wassel, Florida Hospital a Bow recognizes a health care executive who has turned into a dedicated volunteer in service to FHTCC initiatives. For his support of the techPATH program, we recognize Sherrick (Rick) Wassel, executive director with Florida Hospital.

Rick also serves as the system administrator for Florida Hospital's Nicholson Center for Surgical Advancement,which is fast becoming a world-class education destination for health care professionals who wish to advance their medical practices and improve patient outcomes. With Rick's help, techPATH programs and signature teacher workshops called 'techCAMPs' have featured special presentations and even hands-on demonstrations with new medical technology like the da Vinci Robot suites. Florida Hospital has served as the backdrop for the techPATH annual meeting of teachers and educational administrators and as a special site tour for the Tri-IT program, which introduces high school girls to careers in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Rick is even working with the team as an advisor to plan a new Medical/Robotics techCAMP for students in the fall.

We recognize Rick for committing the time and energy to share his knowledge of new tools in robotic surgery with teachers who are eager to learn. We hope that some of their excitement is passed to their students and will truly get to the heart of our mission - to inspire students to pursue an education and career in high tech industries.


Our Florida High Tech Corridor Council members provide guidance, support and timely partnership opportunities in their roles as industry leaders and corporate executives of major high tech companies. This month's "Faces of the Council" spotlights a member who contributes his time and expertise as a retired executive: Emeritus Member George Mezo.

George previously served as a senior director for Oracle Corporation, a worldwide information technology company that since 1995 has grown from 40 Orlando employees to more than 1,000, with additional offices in Tampa. In George's many years of service to the Council, he has supported the efforts of our IT and workforce committees by helping to identify the certification and training needed to produce a skilled workforce. George was a driving force in helping the team establish an IT certificate program with community and state colleges.

Even as a retired, emeritus member of the Council, George regularly provides guidance and recommendations as part of the committee to approve projects submitted to the Matching Grants Research Program.

We recognize and thank George Mezo for his years of service as a Florida High Tech Corridor Council member and look forward to working with him for many years to come.


NASA and Florida Tech to Host Space Studies Program 2012
Florida's post graduate students and professionals looking to NASAexplore the final frontier will find their wishes granted as the Kennedy Space Center will be hosting a 2012 session of the International Space University Program in a partnership with the Florida Institute of Technology.

The nine-week course is designed to develop an interdisciplinary skill set among future leaders in the world space community. While geared toward student development, the program offers a valuable opportunity for professionals in the field to hone their skills and network with other experts as well as share their extensive knowledge with those hoping to enter the field.

The curriculum provides classes that cater to many interests and skill sets reflecting the diverse aspects of space development.

For more information, visit

Avera Motors Announces New Name as Rivian Automotive
After much anticipation, the ultra-efficient automotive company, Rockledge-based Avera Motors, Rivian Automotivehas changed its name to "Rivian Motors" to better reflect the company's standards.

"We selected a powerful, timeless name that illustrates who we are as a company, how we blend with the natural environment and what we seek to do within the industry," says R.J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian Automotive. "The team developed the name internally and I am quite pleased with the energy and creativity that went into the process - it is a great example of our strong company culture."

Paying homage in part to the Indian River Lagoon and its intense biological diversity, the company feels that the name (a blend of "River" and "Indian") will greater emphasize the value placed on remaining a "green" and environmentally friendly company. The new company website can be found at

For more information, visit

TBTF Hosts BizTech, Warms Up for coolTECH
Last month, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the Tampa Bay Business Journal hosted the inaugural Tampa Bay Technology ForumBizTech Innovation Summit, attended by more than 400 regional technology professionals. The event featured 40 exhibitors and culminated in an awards program honoring winners in categories from "Best Collaboration Between a Technology Firm and Client" to "Innovation of the Year."

Up next for TBTF is the annual coolTECH 2011, the premier showcase of new technologies and cutting-edge innovations in the region. TBTF is currently seeking organizations with technologies in areas such as alternative energy, biotech, green tech, mobile, Web and more to exhibit at the event. Those interested in exhibiting at coolTECH are encouraged to apply before April 8 as space is limited.

For more information, visit

Professional Science Masters Programs Seek Industry Input and Partnerships
Universities in Florida are responding to industry needs for professionals with training in science as well as the fundamentals of business, project management, team building and communication skills. Often referred to as the "MBAs for the Sciences," Professional Science Masters Programsthese Professional Science Masters Programs (PSM) provide the technical depth and leadership skills needed in Florida's knowledge-based economy. The programs combine a curriculum designed by faculty and employers as well as a professional internship experience. The Florida statewide initiative is developing 28 PSM programs at universities throughout the state to promote workforce and economic development, by more closely aligning education and careers. You can offer your support for this initiative by providing input for better matching the curriculum to the needs of industry, offering internships to PSM students, or endorsing the program.

For more information on this initiative and the locations of the PSM programs, visit

One Week into the Job and.
After barely settling into his new position as president and CEO of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Rick Weddle seven days later shared his take on job creation and high tech cluster development alongside Florida High Tech Corridor Council President Randy Berridge during a special broadcast interview on a program produced by WKMG in Orlando called "FlashPoint." WKMG news anchor, Lauren Rowe interviewed Weddle on his perspective on Florida's innovation economy compared to other high tech clusters including North Carolina, where Weddle previously led the Research Triangle Foundation. The half-hour program aired this past month and is posted online at


GrowFL Earns National Certification in Economic Gardening
GrowFL, the statewide economic gardening program dedicated to the development of second stage companies, has achieved official certification in economic gardening thanks to the specialized support it provides to growing second-stage companies throughout the state.

GrowFLGrowFL received its certification from the National Center for Economic Gardening which is affiliated with the Edward Lowe Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship. The first program in the country to be certified, GrowFL has also been named the host organization for this year's National Economic Gardening Conference (, to be held May 19 and 20 in Orlando. For additional information about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, please contact Lynn Aitken at

Workforce Central Florida Offers Scholarships to Graduating Seniors
Graduating students Workforce Central Floridafrom Central Florida high schools planning to specialize in science, technology, engineering, math, education or health care are eligible to apply for a scholarship from Workforce Central Florida, which will award up to 50 students with $2,500 each. This is the ninth year that Workforce Central Florida has supported higher education in STEM fields, and has generously donated more than 110 scholarships totaling $395,000.

For more information about scholarship criteria, visit

MegaWatt Ventures Announces Finalists to Compete for $100,000 Grand Prize
MegaWatt Ventures, the University of Central Florida's (UCF) annual clean energy business competition, has selected 10 teams to compete for its $100,000 grand prize. The teams have each won $10,000 at this stage of the competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Each of the teams will have access to business workshops and will work with a professional mentor in order to hone their green technology-based business plans.

MegaWatt VenturesThe Florida High Tech Corridor-based finalists include OrgSolar (Melbourne), RedOx Fuel Cells (Gainesville), Mud Power (St. Petersburg), Mesdi Systems (Orlando), SenNova Inc. (Orlando), I-Red LLC (Edgewater), Bladeworks (Melbourne) and NCAA Battery Corporation (Winter Park). The 10 finalists will compete at the MegaWatt Ventures' showcase event, which will be held at UCF's Florida Solar Energy Center September 8 and 9.

Annual UF Event Showcases Innovative Florida Companies
The University of Florida (UF) is hosting its annual Technology Showcase, "A Celebration of Innovation," April 19 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center. The event will showcase 14 technology startups and include presentations by successful alumni entrepreneurs. The event will highlight a variety of high tech companies in industries including life sciences, medical devices and information technology. UF President Dr. J. Bernard Machen and Vice President for Research Dr. Winifred Phillips will also discuss the university's research and commercialization milestones and initiatives. For more information and to register, visit

Calendar of Events

The following events are taking place across the Corridor's 23-county region or in the surrounding area:

A Celebration of Innovation Showcase
Presented by: University of Florida Office of Technology Transfer
Tuesday, April 19 from 11:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hilton UF Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th Street, Gainesville
For event information, visit

Osceola Entrepreneur Summit
Presented by: Workforce Central Florida and Congressman Bill Posey
Wednesday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to Noon
Workforce Central Florida, 1392 East Vine Street, Kissimmee
For event information, contact Pam Gillespie at (321) 632-1776.

Super Regional Leadership Conference
Presented by: Central Florida Partnership
Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 700 South Florida Avenue, Tampa
For event information, visit

2011 Florida Medical Device Symposium
Presented by: Florida Manufacturers' Consortium Inc.
Monday and Tuesday, May 2 and 3
Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, 950 Lake Carillon Drive, St. Petersburg
For event information, visit

Shaping a Secure Future: Homeland Security Forum
Presented by: Valencia Community College
Monday, May 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Valencia Community College, West Campus, Special Events Center, Building 8, 1800 South Kirkman Road, Orlando
For even information, visit

coolTECH Showcase
Presented by: TBTF and MOSI
Friday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa
For event information, visit Exhibitor application deadline is April 8.


NASA's Humanoid Robot Unveiled on Space Station
The Associated Press

For the first time ever, a humanoid robot has made it into space from the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. While it may take awhile for the robot to have full function after an extensive testing period in space, it is currently working well and shows much potential to assist astronauts in the future.

For the full article, click here or visit

Central Florida Companies on Display at Wireless Trade Show
Orlando Sentinel
By Sarah Lundy

The CTIA Wireless Association's international trade show is among the most watched events in the wireless world. For three days this week ending Thursday, hundreds of companies converged on the Orange County Convention Center to show off the latest technology in the fast-moving wireless world.

For the full article, click here or visit

UF's Impact on Florida was $8.76 Billion in 2009-10, Study Finds
Gainesville Sun
By Nathan Crabbe

As University of Florida officials have argued against state funding cuts in recent years, they have touted the university's economic contributions to the state.

For the full article, click here or visit



May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013


December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012


December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011



View More Click to view older editions