November 2013 economic news, notes and commentary from the Central Florida region.
Tavistock Group and Florida Blue
Tavistock Group and Florida Blue are developing the Florida Blue Innovation Center at Lake Nona Medical City, featuring the Florida Blue Collaborative Imagination Center. The 92,000- square-foot, three-story building will feature both a wet lab and office space. Tavistock anticipates groundbreaking for the Florida Blue Innovation Center by Q2 2014, with a grand opening in 2015. Plans call for the center to be the “embodiment of the future of health care.” Florida Blue will serve as the building’s anchor tenant with its Collaborative Imagination Center. Other tenants include a 15,000square-foot life sciences incubator to be managed by the University of Central Florida UCF in partnership with the University of Florida UF.
South Lake Hospital
In what qualifies as putting your mouth where the money is, South Lake Hospital in Clermont is no longer hiring tobacco users. In 2007, South Lake instituted a policy banning employees from smoking while on duty. Now, it won’t hire tobacco users at all. According to data from The Centers for Disease Control, U.S. hospitals collect an estimated $96 billion annually because of tobacco use. In addition, tobacco use is attributable to $97 billion in lost productivity. The policy affects all parts of South Lake’s campus, including the National Training Center and its new Fitness Center, called Live Well.
Lockheed Martin Corp.
Just before the government shutdown, the region’s defense contractors scored big, according to media reports. The military awarded deals worth more than $500 million in the week leading up to the shutdown, which also was the end of the federal government’s fiscal year. Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Central Florida operations obtained the most contracts. Bethesda, Md.- based Lockheed is the state’s largest contractor and its biggest Florida operations are located in Orlando.
Seminole State College
Seminole State College of Florida and Basic Health Care College of Fredericia-Vejle-Horsens in Denmark have established a five-year partnership, the first agreement between Seminole State and an international college or university. The two colleges have agreed to develop faculty and staff exchanges, as well as share educational materials. The move is part of Seminole State’s renewed international effort as the college builds its Center for Global Engagement. The center, created in 2012, promotes service learning, study abroad and internationalization efforts. Also: Seminole State’s academic affairs leadership has identified new degrees or programs in high demand areas along with possible partners to help transform its Altamonte Springs Campus into a regional center for education and job opportunities. The plan identifies academic programs and partnerships in five high-demand areas: health care; modeling and simulation; education; business; and hospitality.
Florida Polytechnic University
In October, Florida Polytechnic University—the state’s 12th university— has completed its first month of official recruitment for its inaugural class, and those efforts are already exceeding expectations. The Florida Poly admissions team received more than 2,000 inquiries and more than 400 applications. They expect to receive a total of 2,500 applications before August 2014 when the inaugural class begins. Florida Poly’s curriculum focuses exclusively on applied research in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Florida Poly will accept a total of 500 freshmen, transfer and graduate students for its fall 2014 entering class.
Full Sail University
Full Sail University in Winter Park was named by StudentAdvisor.com as one of the 2013 Top 100 Social Media Colleges in the United States, earning No. 7. The ranking tracks more than 100,000 data points to compare federally recognized colleges in the United States in terms of their mastery of public social media methods, tools and platforms. Each school is reviewed on how effectively they engage with their audiences using popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, as well as incorporating new platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Full Sail, which has moved up from No. 19 since the rankings were last published in 2011, was recognized for its innovative approach across various social media platforms in sharing news, elevating engagement and utilizing robust content creation.
Florida Hospital has appointed Dr. Steven R. Smith as chief scientific officer of Florida Hospital Research Services. In this new role, Smith will organize and streamline clinical and translational research across the eight Florida Hospital campuses in Central Florida. The appointment is viewed by the hospital as a commitment to building upon existing research activities and developing a defined research agenda for Florida Hospital. Smith will be responsible for leading the Florida Hospital research enterprise and external scientific and academic relations. He has more than 20 years of experience as a physician/scientist. For the past four years, he has led the development of the Florida Hospital – Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes as scientific director, a role he will continue. Now working alongside Smith in his new role is Robert Deininger, who was appointed vice president for research operations.