inside florida's high tech corridor

January 2012










Florida's Innovation Solution
Our state must invest in what is required to stay competitive in a global economy. Sign the pledge at to show your support for the new campaign, FloridaIS, which calls for investment in the tools needed to create an innovation-based economy.

Did you know?

Businessweek teamed up with technology career website to track the cities with the biggest year-over-year growth in job listings, ranking Tampa in the No. 8 spot.  The Tampa Bay Technology Forum uncovered additional positive news for job seekers in 2012.

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.

January's Quote

One of my goals is to apply modeling and simulation principles to developing a virtual reality environment that helps Autistic children with their social skills."

Catherine Strayhorn, CEO of IVIR Inc., in this month's Faces of Technology.

UCF Nanotechnology Could Increase Efficiency of Pharmaceutical Trials

Led by University of Central Florida (UCF) associate professor Swadeshmukul Santra, a team of researchers have developed an electronic quantum dots (Qdots) probe that illuminates, showing the effectiveness of drug delivery systems.  This process allows researchers to determine whether targeted cells (such as with cancerous tumors) are actually receiving dosages of pharmaceutical treatments in the right quantity and location.

Once the drug has been delivered, the probe emits a reddish color visible under special lighting or via MRI because of its optical and magnetic components.  Researchers can capture images through a microscope multiple times without the possibility of losing optical or MRI signals.  The size of the tumor and number of cancer cells that illuminate can then be measured and compared with the original, untreated tumor.  

Qdots can be ideal for sustained and reliable imaging because of their luminescent properties that increase the accuracy and reduce the time needed to verify and test potentially cancer-fighting drugs.

For more information, visit

USF Seeks to Inspire Youth in STEM Education with NSF Grant Funds

Recognizing the need to integrate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fundamentals in early education, a University of South Florida (USF) research team will use a nearly $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to examine factors that potentially increase or inhibit the desire for students to pursue STEM careers.  

In addition to conducting interviews and focus groups, the research team will utilize data from the Florida Department of Education PK-20 Education Data Warehouse along with state employment data with ethnographic case studies conducted at Tampa Bay-area high schools, Hillsborough Community College, Polk State College, St. Petersburg College, the State College of Florida and local businesses that employ technicians.  This data will become part of an analysis to determine how the types of academic and demographic backgrounds affect students' decisions to pursue and foster their interest in STEM careers and education.

The goal of the study is to not only increase interest and awareness in STEM opportunities, but also to improve the education of engineering technicians and address racial and socioeconomic disparities in education and employment outcomes.

For more information, visit

UF Develops Innovative Solar Panel Manufacturing System

Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have created an innovative manufacturing technique for producing solar panels in an efficient, more cost-effective way.  Utilizing a prototype solar cell, researchers created a roll-to-roll printing technique, similar to that of a newspaper roll-to-roll printing process.

In the past, researchers and developers have been unable to produce photovoltaic sheets that can generate enough energy per square inch to become a viable option for integrating into common surfaces and products.  However, the UF research team has discovered a breakthrough threshold of 8 percent efficiency in laboratory prototype solar cells by using a specially treated zinc oxide polymer blend as the electron charge transporting material.  Differing materials layered on top of the blend work together synergistically to harvest the sun's energy with the highest efficiency.

Currently, the UF research team, "The SoRey Group," named after faculty members Franky So and John Reynolds (both former FHTCC Matching Grants Research Program researchers), will continue their partnership with Risų National Laboratory in Denmark through a grant from the Office of Naval Research.

For more information, visit


Life Sciences/Medical Technologies
Comprised of renowned educational institutions, top-notch research facilities and rapidly evolving companies, the life sciences and medical technologies sector continues to thrive in the Florida High Tech Corridor.  This diverse industry covers a range of specialties including bioscience, pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturing, many of which are driven by the Corridor universities and their nationally recognized research partners.

The University of Central Florida is a growing hub for advancements in the field of life sciences and medical technologies.  The university's College of Medicine, located in the growing Medical City at Lake Nona, features the latest in lab and classroom technology which allows professors, students and researchers to collaborate and capitalize on the university's existing strengths in modeling and simulation, engineering, optics and photonics, chemistry, digital media and more.

Since 2008, the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory ( has partnered with the University of South Florida (USF) to advance real-world biotechnology research.  In 2011, Draper expanded its research space at USF, doubling its 10,000 square feet of lab and office space to accommodate additional research programs.  The lab's signature projects focus on tackling key health challenges both globally and at home, including malaria and post-traumatic stress disorder.  The partnership with USF has also helped pioneer new fields of medicine utilizing nanotechnology to develop drug delivery systems.  In addition to working with campus entities such as USF Health and the College of Engineering, Draper also has collaborated with Moffitt Cancer Center, the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa General Hospital and Progress Energy.

The Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubation Program at the University of Florida ( serves as a home to many growing life sciences companies.  By capitalizing on the university's wealth of research discoveries, incubator companies foster technology transfer and provide a financial boost to the Gainesville region and beyond.  Many graduate companies, such as Applied Genetic Technologies Corp., Xhale Inc. and Nanotherapeutics Inc., have gone on to great success in their commercial ventures.

With collaboration between today's top scientists and tomorrow's brightest minds, these and other organizations throughout the Florida High Tech Corridor are positioning the region as a thriving hub for advancements in the life sciences sector.


Catherine Strayhorn

Information Visualization and Innovative Research (IVIR) Inc. is a medical education company that takes medical education and makes the invisible visible . by depicting unseen internal organs and biological systems as computer generated simulations.  The primary focus is modeling and simulation for education and training in both military and civilian markets.

Choice of Field: I really enjoyed the math and science fields.  Medical simulation applies both aspects while allowing you to really "think outside the box" and be innovative when looking at new areas to expand technology.

First Job: Design Engineer at Morse Controls in Hudson, Ohio

The Future: Medical education will begin to push the technology envelope demanding better simulation tools that will allow for surgeons to practice prior to actual surgery.

Goal:  Develop a technology to replace live tissue training that provides a positive training experience to help improve health care.

"A-ha" Moment: Even though I am not a medical provider I can provide tools to improve our current health care system.

View Catherine's Faces of Technology video interview at


Rick Frazer and George Gordon, Farm to Flag

This month's Take a Bow recognizes two Corridor partners who are helping lead an initiative that uses technology in a new way to tackle public issues in our region:  Rick Frazer, president of the Workforce Development Board of Flagler/Volusia-Center for Business Excellence (CBE); and, George Gordon, chairman and CEO of Enporion and Florida High Tech Corridor Council member.

Together, Rick and George are driving the growth of "Farm to Flag," a project to provide locally grown foods to military bases, schools and other institutions in Flagler, Putnam and St. John's counties.  Along with Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland, Rick helped assembled a base of organizers to create the framework for a tri-county cooperative called First Coast Fresh that will operate the project.  George brings his company's software expertise to the fold by establishing new supply-chain management technology to increase distribution efficiency.

The project's overall goal is to create a sustainable model for supplying local organizations with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats from small- and medium-sized farms.  But the initiative isn't limited to only the three counties-Farm to Flag will serve military and public institution customers in 11 counties in Northeast Florida.  As well, with Enporion's technological advances to the IT infrastructure systems, the project hopes to create a distribution model that can be reproduced throughout the U.S. and potentially worldwide.

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council thanks Rick and George for their leadership of Farm to Flag.  Their dedication to the growth of this initiative will continue bringing prominence to the Corridor region.


Geary Havran, NDH Medical Inc.

Leaders from diverse industries serve on the Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) and provide their support in its mission to grow high tech industry.  This edition of Inside Florida's High Tech Corridor recognizes Council member Geary Havran for his ongoing efforts.

As founder and president of NDH Medical, Geary has provided his customers in the industry with custom tooling and fabrication of medical devices since 1995.  The company provides extrusion services for research and development trials as well as product development services and contract manufacturing.

In addition to his support of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Geary promotes high tech economic growth by bringing together industry leaders as a founding member and chairman of the Florida Medical Manufacturers' Consortium (FMMC).  FMMC is an industry forum dedicated to advancing the interests of Florida's medical manufacturers.  As chairman, Geary administers interactive forums, academic and mentoring programs, and works with economic development agencies to further enhance growth in the medical device industry.

Through his dedication to the medical manufacturing industry and the Florida Medical Manufacturers' Consortium, Geary is an example of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council's strong base of high tech leaders.  We thank him for his efforts to promote high tech industry throughout our Corridor region.


Tampa Bay Tech Companies Looking to Fill More Than 700 Jobs in 2012
Following a recent Businessweek article listing the top 10 cities with the biggest growth in tech jobs, ranking Tampa at number eight on the list, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) surveyed more than 100 companies in the city to get a better idea of the technology job outlook and challenges for 2012.

The survey results showed 85 percent of respondents are currently hiring and will continue to do so through 2012.  Many of the positions identified ranged from IT services, engineers and architects to sales and marketing.

"TBTF is dedicated to assisting the technology industry and, to a greater extent, the region's economy by helping to connect the industry with the needed resources to find, educate and develop the talent they need," said Heather Kenyon, TBTF president and CEO.  

Through TBTF's Career Center, employers and job seekers can search for candidates and open positions.  Members have full access to the Career Center and non-members may access some features.

For more information, visit

Florida Economic Gardening Institute at UCF Partners with Seminole County to Cultivate Job Growth
Qualified businesses throughout Seminole County will now have the opportunity to take advantage of targeted support services as the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at UCF expands its resources to Seminole County.  As part of a joint effort to stimulate job growth within Central Florida, the Institute will serve more second-stage businesses in Seminole thanks to the county's $50,000 contribution to the initiative.

In order to qualify for the program, a business wishing to participate must provide products and/or services within and beyond its current location to regional, national or international markets.  The extended program will work with second-stage business CEOs by providing support and specialized services, including:  business strategy, market research, competitive analysis, Web/social media strategy and search engine optimization, along with providing the opportunity to participate in CEO Roundtables.

For more information, visit

UCF CREOL Celebrates 25 Years of Excellence in Optics and Photonics
This year's CREOL Industrial Affiliates Day (CREOL@25) symposium will celebrate the success of the College of Optics & Photonics since its inception 25 years ago, founded as the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers.  The two-day event starting March 15 features Nobel Laureates Jan Hall and Nicolaas Bloembergen as plenary speakers and technical presentation sessions on several of the current CREOL research areas with industry and CREOL speakers.

Symposium attendees will hear from industry experts, throughout both event days, on topics including high power lasers, ultrafast optics, fiber optics and semiconductor photonics. Thursday's program will end with an awards banquet dinner for all attendees.  The final day of the program, guests are invited to tour UCF's CREOL facilities and labs, view graduate student research projects and attend an industry exhibition featuring leading company experts and technologies.  Friday's session will conclude with a program reception and networking opportunity.

For more information, visit


Valencia College Awarded Inaugural Aspen Prize
Recognized for success in student learning and ability to maintain an increase in graduation and employment rates, Valencia College was recently named the top community college in the nation.  Citing critical measures such as degree completion and transfer, equity and employment, and earnings after graduation, The Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank, awarded Valencia with the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence along with $600,000 in prize money.

Tampa Bay Innovation Center Announces 2011 Chairman's Awards
Tampa Bay Innovation Center (formerly STAR TEC), an innovation and entrepreneurship center for technology businesses, announced the recipients of its 2011 Chairman's Awards.  In recognition of their efforts to support and manage the numerous projects that accelerate entrepreneurial success in the region, TBIC honored:  John Drinkard, Office Space Brokers LLC; Mike Eitler, Group125; Shri Goyal, Pragati Patch; Kelley Rexroad, KRex Consulting; and,  Leisa Mohler-Erickson, Advantage Performance Group.  For hosting monthly TECH Talk programs and providing continued support of the Innovation Center's efforts, Microsoft Corporation took home the Outstanding Support Award.

Sanford-Burnham Scientist Receives Research Grant from Novo Nordisk
Layton Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of drug discovery at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's Florida campus, has been awarded a Novo Nordisk Diabetes Innovation Award, valued at $477,500 over two years.  The grant will further his research into a novel protein with the potential to improve the understanding of diabetes and further the development of new treatments. The Novo Nordisk Diabetes Innovation Award Program was launched in 2011 to help scientists substantiate and translate early research efforts into new protein based treatment options for diabetes and obesity.

FARO Technologies Product Named by Popular Science Magazine as "Best of What's New"
Based on its small size, robust functionality, ease-of-use and accuracy, FARO Technologies' FARO Focus 3-D has been recognized as the "Best of What's New" for 2011 by Popular Science magazine. This compact laser scanner can scan a radius of up to 394 feet and store the details of a room with detailed precision in less than five minutes.

FHTCC President Elected to SACS Commission on Colleges
Congratulations to Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, who was recently elected to serve on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as part of its Florida delegation.  Berridge will join the 77-member board that oversees accreditation processes for institutions throughout 11 southern states.


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

Presented by: Tampa Bay Innovation Center
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Microsoft Headquarters, 5426 Bay Center Drive, Suite 700, Tampa
For event information, visit

Techbyte Luncheon
Presented by: Suncoast Technology Forum
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
For event information, visit

SPIE Photonics West 2012
Presented by: SPIE
Saturday-Thursday, January 21-26, 2012
The Moscone Center, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA
For event information, visit

Florida Educational Technology Conference
Presented by: 1105 Media Inc.
Monday-Thursday, January 23-26, 2012
Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando
For event information, visit

2012 Florida Venture Capital Conference
Presented by: Florida Venture Forum
Tuesday-Thursday, January 31-February 2, 2012
Naples Grande, 475 Seagate Drive, Naples
For event information, visit

Moffitt Cancer Center's 6th Annual Business of Biotech Conference
Presented by: Moffitt Cancer Center
Monday, February 6, 2012
Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 USF Magnolia Drive, Tampa
For event information, visit

National Academy of Inventors® Conference
Presented by: The University of South Florida
Thursday-Friday, February 16-17, 2012
University of South Florida, Tampa
For event information, visit

2012 BizTech Innovation Summit (Awards & Expo)
Presented by: Tampa Bay Business Journal and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin Street, Tampa
For event information, visit

2012 Information Fluency Conference
Presented by: The University of Central Florida
Wednesday-Friday, March 14-16, 2012
University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando
For event information, visit

Presented by: UCF College of Optics and Photonics
Thursday-Friday, March 15-16, 2012
University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando
For event information, visit


Startup Culture Starts To Set Down Roots in Tampa Bay Business Community
Tampa Bay Times
By Robert Trigaux

One of Tampa Bay's most transforming business trends in years is emerging amid this difficult economy. It can be described in two words.  Entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For the full article, visit

Robots May Soon Be Part of Our Lives
The Gainesville Sun
By Nathan Crabbe

The University of Florida's robotics fair Wednesday gave a glimpse of how robots might be used from the battlefield to the backyard.

The fair showcased a robot car developed for a Defense Department-sponsored competition and robot submarines that have won international awards. There also were robots that are able to mow lawns, bring a barbecue and cooler for tailgating and ensure heavy sleepers are awoken from their slumber.

For the full article, visit

SAIC Lands Big Training-Sim Deal from Army
Orlando Sentinel
By Richard Burnett

The Army's Orlando-based training-simulation agency has awarded Science Applications International Corp. a contract potentially worth $222 million to develop advanced software for Army training simulators, the military said Wednesday.

Terms of the five-year contract - one of the Army agency's largest of the year - indicate that SAIC's Orlando unit will produce software designed to boost the capabilities of a computerized system that links Army weapons-training simulators in an "inter-operable" network.

For the full article, visit



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