Eastern Florida officials hope the new name brings recognition.
Era Dawns for Eastern Florida State
Eastern Florida State College has arrived, officially replacing Brevard Community College.
According to school administrators, the new name will build on the excellence of BCC’s past and ask students and the community to “look to the east” for nationally recognized academic programs. Such programs include two new bachelor’s degrees in general business management and health care management, starting in August—the move that essentially transformed BCC into Eastern Florida State College. The college plans to offer another eight bachelor’s degrees in August 2014.
The hope is that Eastern Florida becomes a household name, letting students “know the college is dedicated to their individual needs and gaining the community’s support for its new direction,” said Eastern Florida President Dr. Jim Richey.
Eastern Florida joins 22 other institutions in the 28-member Florida College System that have changed names in recent years to reflect the addition of baccalaureate degrees and achieving state college status.
Quite a FEAT
Lake County’s Florida Energy and Aerospace Technology (FEAT) Park is primed for development, thanks to Duke Energy, which selected it as the first Site Readiness location in Florida.
Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program is designed to identify, evaluate, improve and increase awareness of prime industrial sites in the company’s service territory. Duke Energy later will service the park and its businesses with power.
FEAT Park was chosen after a comprehensive site inventory assessment of more than 60 sites and will be actively marketed to site selectors and corporate decision-makers. The 640-acre parcel, owned by the City of Leesburg, borders the interchange of Florida's Turnpike and County Road 470.
While Lake officials call the effort a win for the county, Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope views it as a victory for the state. “This program is a progressive effort toward making communities more competitive and attractive for new industry and jobs," says Swoope.
Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need Apply
The creativity and innovation that drive successful businesses are the cornerstones of the new Entrepreneurship Certificate Program at Polk State College in Winter Haven.
The four-class, 12-credit online program is intended for people with an entrepreneurial mindset, including small business owners or people creating startups. Also, it’s designed for anyone who wants to think “outside the box,” according to Program Coordinator LaTrice Moore, professor of business administration.
Students learn to assess the fundamental skills necessary to start and operate their own businesses, collaborate with others to identify business opportunities, join entrepreneurial ventures or work in an entrepreneurial capacity for an established company. They’ll gain the skills to interpret financial data and make informed decisions about operating performance, understand legal and regulatory issues, recommend appropriate marketing strategies, apply leadership skills to build relationships in the workplace and develop a comprehensive business plan. With a few exceptions, all of the content is completed online.
Upon completion, students have the option to proceed with an associate degree in business administration and/or a bachelor’s degree in supervision and management. In addition, the program addresses the first goal of Florida’s Job Creation Plan developed by the Department of Economic Opportunity: increase Florida’s global competitiveness as a destination for business, capital, talent, innovation and entrepreneurship.
A Good TRADE for Manufacturing
Despite being home to approximately 14,500 manufacturers that employ almost 329,000 people, Florida has thousands of manufacturing jobs that remain unfilled because employers cannot find people with the necessary skills.
That reality is about to change. As part of a four-year, $15 million grant from the Department of Labor last September, the Florida TRADE (Transforming Resources for Accelerated Degrees and Employment) Advanced Manufacturing Consortium is now taking shape. Ultimately, the result will be 2,600 newly skilled workers—trained, employed and eligible for advancement.
The consortium is combining the resources of 12 state and community colleges throughout Florida to create a cohesive training system, spearheaded by Grant Director Gary W. Graham at St. Petersburg College.
The Florida TRADE program targets unemployed workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition, along with students, veterans and employees looking to upgrade their current skills or learn new ones. The accelerated training can be completed in three to six months, depending on the program. Consortium members have partnered with major manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola and Florida Power & Light, in addition to workforce boards and manufacturing associations. Many of these partners have agreed to provide internships for students, with the goal of hiring those who perform well.
Students in the program not only develop skills to achieve nationally recognized industry certifications, but they also can earn free college credits toward an associate degree.
Healthy Respect for Florida Hospital
Florida Hospital has been recognized as one of the best U.S. hospitals for 2013-14 by U.S. News & World Report, in addition to being named No. 1 in the state.
The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in its 24th year, recognize hospitals that “excel in treating the most challenging patients.” This year, the hospital was recognized nationally in eight specialties: Cardiology and Heart Surgery, No. 32; Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 28; Gastroenterology and G.I. Surgery, No. 47; Gynecology, No. 10; Nephrology, No. 31; Neurology and Neurosurgery, No. 38; Pulmonology, No. 34; and Urology, No. 36. Florida Hospital was categorized as “high-performing” in Cancer; Ear, Nose & Throat; Geriatrics; and Orthopedics.
According to its editors, U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who require a high level of care whether they face particularly difficult surgeries, challenging conditions or increased risks due to other health problems or age. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, the adequacy of nurse staffing levels and similar metrics largely determined the rankings in most specialties.
The specialty rankings and data were produced for U.S. News by RTI International, a research organization based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Using the same information, U.S. News produced the state and metro rankings.
Also at Florida Hospital, in an event that literally moved walls, the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute installed the latest invention in non-invasive brain surgery to treat conditions that previously were considered inaccessible or inoperable. Elekta’s Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ will reduce treatment time, increase precision and treat multiple brain lesions in a single treatment session. At 25 tons, the machine’s installation required the outer wall of the Cancer Institute to be temporarily removed with the help of multiple cranes and a team of several dozen workers.
Full Steam Ahead
Expect even more activity at Port of Tampa.
Edison Chouest Offshore, parent company of Tampa Ship LLC, has announced major plans to expand its fleet and enlarge some of its facilities. Tampa Ship LLC is one of four U.S. shipyards that will construct a portion of 40 new state-of-the-art offshore service and support vessels. The other construction sites include North American Shipbuilding (Larose, La.), LaShip (Houma, La.), Gulf Ship (Gulfport, Miss.) and at its Brazilian shipyard, Navship.
Tampa Ship is the oldest and largest shipbuilding and repair operation at the Port of Tampa.
The Port of Tampa is the largest economic engine in west-central Florida, supporting about 80,000 jobs and generating $15.1 billion in annual economic impact. According to the port’s recently completed economic study, shipbuilding and repair there equates to 3,119 jobs; $151.9 million in wages and salaries; and $174.7 million in overall economic impact annually.
The lobbying efforts of Friends of Poinciana Hospital have resulted in the new $65 million, 100,000-square-foot Poinciana Medical Center. Poinciana residents now don’t have to drive 40 to 45 minutes to hospitals in Kissimmee, Celebration or Polk County. The two-story HCA hospital has 24 medical-surgical beds, a six-bed intensive-care unit, an 11,000-square-foot emergency department and a helicopter pad. In a recent media interview, Poinciana CEO Joana Conley said, “I have heard about the community’s need for health-care services since I’ve been here.” She considers herself the first employee, a total that will soon grow to about 200. “This is kind of a cornerstone” for Poinciana’s economic development, said Osceola County Commissioner Brandon Arrington. More on HCA West Florida: The number of hospitals under its wing has now reached 19 by virtue of recent acquisitions: Memorial Hospital in South Tampa, Town & Country Hospital and Palms of Pasadena Hospital. HCA Healthcare now operates 42 hospitals statewide.
Intelligent Decisions Inc., a global IT systems integrator headquartered in Ashburn, Va., is opening a new office in Orlando. The facility will house the company’s entire R&D, concept development, design, production and manufacturing capabilities for its simulation training products. Neighboring the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, the 32,000-square- foot office building at Central Florida Research Park sits in the heart of the region’s simulation and training community. Intelligent Decisions has had a presence in the Orlando area since 2010, including 30 employees. There are plans to add 25 new Orlando positions by the end of 2013.
Saint Leo University’s Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in sport business is recognized among the top online programs globally by the London-based Sport Business International. This year, the publication chose to segregate online programs in its rankings, rather than combining rankings of online and traditional classroom programs, which still dominate the educational preference in Europe. This resulted in a small but elite group of online master’s degree programs in the field. Saint Leo’s main campus is located approximately 30 miles north of Tampa. Saint Leo has also been named one of the best colleges in the nation to work for in a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Less than a third of the 300 institutions evaluated achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with Saint Leo included among the large universities (10,000 or more students).
Lehigh Valley Health Network and Boca Raton Hospital’s Lynn Cancer Institute have joined the recently launched Moffitt Oncology Network. Lehigh Valley, based in Allentown, Pa., is the first member of the network outside Florida. As members, Lehigh Valley and Lynn gain access to Moffitt’s experts and best practices, which include multidisciplinary cancer care, peer review, clinical pathways, quality assurance standards and clinical research. The Moffitt Oncology Network extends Moffitt’s knowledge and expertise to physicians and providers, with the goal of offering the best personalized cancer care. Also, Moffitt Cancer Center has been designated a Statutory Teaching Hospital by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The designation is bestowed upon hospitals with 100 or more full-time equivalent resident physicians that are affiliated with an accredited medical school, and provide at least seven graduate medical education programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the Council on Postdoctoral Training of the American Osteopathic Association.
While women traditionally undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer go through a lengthy process receiving radiation five days a week for nearly two months, MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando is participating in a clinical trial that could shorten that treatment by one-third. MD Anderson – Orlando is the only hospital in Florida offering this clinical trial, which is available to breast cancer patients who have undergone lumpectomies. Patients in the study will either receive four weeks of radiation or the conventional six weeks. The four-week course will deliver the equivalent amount of radiation over the shortened period but will reduce the number of treatments by a third. Past studies indicate giving more frequent radiation treatments may be as safe and effective as the standard six-week treatment, without increasing the risk of side effects.
With operations in Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland and Melbourne, among other locales, ODC Construction has tripled revenue in less than two years and will construct approximately 3,000 homes in Florida this year. Now, Florida’s largest shell construction contractor has its sight set northward, with the opening of a Columbia, S.C., office. According to officials, the company continues to add capacity as homebuilders dramatically ramp up their production levels and home prices rise steadily.
Winter Park's newest boutique hotel, The Alfond Inn, has a distinct link to education. Owned by Rollins College, the 112-room hotel was built with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Net operating income from the inn will endow The Alfond Scholars program, the college’s premier scholarship fund. Income will be directed to the fund for the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50 million, whichever comes later. In other Rollins news, Peter McAlindon has been named its first-ever Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He brings 20 years of successful entrepreneurial venture creation to the program and will also serve as a full-time instructor of entrepreneurship.
George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, has been named among the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” in 2013 by Successful Meetings magazine. Aguel is the only convention and visitor bureau president named to the annual list. Aguel joined Visit Orlando as president and CEO earlier this year, with more than 35 years’ experience in sales and marketing. Most recently, he was senior vice president of Global Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants at The Walt Disney Co., where he led worldwide management for the company’s strategic corporate alliance agreements. Aguel also served as senior vice president of sales and services for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Developing nations that invest in building robust information communications technology, such as Internet and broadband, will see an increase in their GDP and improvement in the national economy and quality of life for its citizens, according to researchers from Stetson University. Kate MacFarlane, an MBA student at Stetson, presented a research paper at The Finance, Global Management, Economics & Information Technology Research Conference in New York on “Information Communication Technology and Gross Domestic Product of Communities and Nations.” MacFarlane’s research is expected to be published in the Journal of American Academy of Business in September. Shahram Amiri, professor and chair of the Department of Decision and Information Sciences at Stetson and co-author of the study, has previously completed extensive studies on the impact of information and telecommunication technology in communities and developing nations. His research provided the foundation for MacFarlane’s case study and subsequent findings. In other news from Stetson, Georgios Bakamitsos has been named associate dean of graduate business studies for its School of Business Administration. In addition to teaching, Bakamitsos will manage all graduate business programs, including the Professional MBA on the DeLand and Celebration campuses; Executive MBA at the Celebration campus; JD/MBA at Stetson’s Gulfport campus; and Master of Accountancy, Master of Accountancy Online and Pharma/MBA joint degree program with the University of Florida. He will also assist in designing global initiatives and partnerships.
Turner Construction’s “School of Construction Management,” in partnership with Orange County Business Development and the Central/North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, celebrated a recent class of 67 graduates from 47 companies, who took advantage of free classes that taught women-owned, minority and smaller disadvantaged companies “how to manage their fledgling firms and win work in the highly competitive building industry.” Course topics ranged from LEED/green buildings, financial management and new codes to working with local and state institutions.
DuvaSawko, a leading medical information technology and software development company, is expanding its national headquarters in Ormond Beach, with an initial capital investment of more than $1.5 million. The company currently employs 133 people and will create 68 new jobs over three years. It also has formed Edge Physicians Inc., an affiliate medical software company, which will allow further growth in the region. The new facility will provide additional office space to conduct medical billing and software development. According to officials, DuvaSawko selected Ormond Beach because it offered an excellent site for building expansion, as well as an expedited city permitting process and recruitment and training support. DuvaSawko is renovating a vacant 30,000-square-foot building located along South U.S. Highway 1 and will move later this year. Partner organizations in the recruitment of the company included the City of Ormond Beach Department of Economic Development, the Volusia County Department of Economic Development and Enterprise Florida.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a Global Entry enrollment center at Tampa International Airport, making international travel to and from Tampa more convenient than ever. Global Entry is a voluntary trusted traveler program that uses automated kiosks to expedite the CBP clearance process for pre-approved, low-risk international travelers entering the U.S. Global Entry members are also eligible to participate in other CBP trusted-traveler programs and TSA Precheck. Global Entry operates at 34 U.S. airports and 10 pre-clearance locations that collectively serve 97 percent of international travelers arriving in the U.S. Tampa is the fifth location in Florida, joining Miami International, Orlando International, Orlando-Sanford International and Fort Lauderdale International airports.
File this under “Turning lemons into lemonade”—given problematic rush hours. Orlando-based Tele-Traffic collects, organizes and utilizes local traffic data for sale to radio and TV broadcasters and for use in smartphone applications. The constantly changing information is received from many sources, including Florida Department of Transportation cameras; 911; 511 and scanners plus police, fire and ambulance emergency services. Tele-Traffic service is endorsed by the Florida Safety Council as a “Safe App,” since it is just audio and no pinching or sliding on your phone is required to get the traffic report. Unlike other traffic apps, Tele-Traffic data is collected and verified at an operations center and not from drivers. In June, the service was used by Central Florida drivers almost 300,000 times per day. A Tampa office will be opened by the end of September.
Dolphin Tale 2, sequel to the popular 2011 film, is about to make a big economic splash in Tampa Bay. The movie will begin filming this fall at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, reuniting the original cast of Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. The first film, with 55 production days, added $17 million in revenues to the state, including paychecks totaling slightly more than $7.5 million for nearly 1,300 Floridians working as crew members, actors and extras. As a result, attendance at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium quadrupled to about 750,000 annual visitors last year. A study from the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg College of Business estimates the two films will have a $2 billion economic impact on the area for the next five years.
As a buying incentive, homebuilder Del Webb and SolarCity, a provider of clean energy, are going solar. They are including a pre-installed 2-kilowatt solar system at homes in Del Webb Orlando and Del Webb Stone Creek in Ocala. Both are active adult communities. The system is designed to save homebuyers more than $300 on their electricity bills annually. Every standard 2 kw system at a Del Webb home in Florida is equivalent to reducing more than 95,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions over the lifetime of the agreement, according to company officials. They cite the total impact of each standard 2 kw solar system at Del Webb homes in Florida over the next 20 years would equate to planting more than 2,080 trees or eliminating the use of more than 1,795 common BBQ propane cylinders.
Count agriculture as an industry helping the economy make strides toward recovery. According to a new study from the University of Florida, the farming, mining, forestry, other natural resources and related food industries contributed $104 billion to the state's economy in 2011, or 14.2 percent of the state's gross domestic product. This latest study from the Food and Resource Economics Department in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida shows the impact of these industries on the state's economy, and how it's grown since the 2008 recession, when economic activity dipped about 20 percent.
In case you missed it, John Walsh has been named CEO of Port Canaveral, following the departure of former CEO Stan Payne. Walsh was hired in February 2011 as deputy executive director of infrastructure. During the past two years, he has directed planning, engineering, design, construction and development of more than $300 million in planned capital projects. He has more than 32 years of construction, design-build and real estate development experience, previously owning general construction and development firms.
Talk about a strong quarter of activity. AxoGen in Alachua County reported revenues of $2.86 million in the second quarter of the year, an increase of 42 percent from the same period last year. The company, which makes peripheral nerve repair products from human-donated tissue, was spurred by the fact that two key products received regulatory approval in Europe and Canada. The company provides off-the-shelf treatment options for patients with peripheral nerve injuries.
Local officials across Florida have created a coalition that is launching a statewide initiative to enhance local government collaboration and efficiency, as well as educate Floridians on the important work of front-line public servants. The goal of the Florida Local Government Coalition is to make sure officials in one community know how to implement good ideas that work in other communities, in order to “provide the best public service at the lowest possible cost.” The coalition will launch a statewide campaign to strengthen cooperation and raise awareness of the good works done by city and county public servants to enhance their communities. Local government associations have largely operated independent of one another—for example, police chiefs have a statewide association but don’t typically deal with the comparable association of city clerks. To open the lines of communication, Florida’s 28 leading local government associations formed the coalition to “amplify their collective voice and strengthen their advocacy for the indispensible services they provide.”
In the annual Top 100 rankings recently released by Community College Week magazine, Keiser University placed 11th in the nation and fifth in Florida in associate degrees awarded. In addition, Keiser University ranked first statewide in associate degrees conferred in the following career fields: Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Criminal Justice; Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences; Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies; and Security and Protective Services. With six locations across the Super Region, Keiser University’s annual economic impact on the state is approximately $3 billion.
In a decision that Gov. Rick Scott called “great news for Florida families,” Bristol-Myers Squibb plans to locate a North America Capability Center and create 579 life sciences jobs in Tampa. The 70,000-square-foot facility will be located in Hillsborough County and open in January 2014 with approximately 250 employees. The company will add more than 325 additional jobs supporting scientific and technical activities at the site by 2017. Around the world, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s medicines help millions of patients in their fight against such diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, psychiatric disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.
Things are looking up for those seeking venture capital, according to the most recent MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Florida joined the nation’s top 10 for venture-capital activity during second-quarter 2013. Florida ranked eighth in dollars invested, a marked improvement over its 29th rank in the first quarter. Leading the surge, the report cited, was activity in Metro Orlando. Venture firms invested a collective $32.2 million in five Central Florida companies, equal to more than 20 percent of Florida’s dollar total.