Florida The Friendly

Florida has a skilled workforce ready to fill 21st century jobs. The state produces more than 28,000 STEM-oriented graduates each year and more than 100,000 Floridians work in the aerospace sector.


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Florida has a skilled workforce ready to fill 21st century jobs. The state produces more than 28,000 STEM-oriented graduates each year and more than 100,000 Floridians work in the aerospace sector.
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Florida The Friendly

Florida has a skilled workforce ready to fill 21st century jobs. The state produces more than 28,000 STEM-oriented graduates each year and more than 100,000 Floridians work in the aerospace sector.

Florida The Friendly

By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2018 Issue

Florida is the place where technology, creativity and exploration converge. Considering nearly 100,000 Floridians work in the aviation and aerospace industry statewide, and that Florida produces more than 28,000 STEM graduates each year, it’s no wonder that global aviation and aerospace companies continue to invest in the state. And with a business culture that fosters innovation and partnership, Florida consistently leads the nation in aviation and aerospace establishments.

Florida skilled workforce
(Photo: Greater Fort Lauderdale)

Well known for its aerospace and defense industry presence, Greater Pensacola has been driving economic growth across the Panhandle region for years. Recently, VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering (VT MAE) announced the establishment of a new hangar at the Pensacola International Airport which will add 400 new job opportunities for the Greater Pensacola community. Given its rich pool of highly trained engineering and aviation talent, Pensacola serves as an excellent base to support the MRO needs of the North America region.

Mr. Lim Serh Ghee, President of ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector, said, “We are happy to have United Parcel Service as our launch customer at the new facility, and we look forward to welcoming more customers and supporting them with the same high level of quality and on-schedule redeliveries.”

Pratt & Whitney, a leading global manufacturer of aircraft engines and auxiliary power units, will be expanding its site in Palm Beach County and creating 215 jobs and $100 million in capital investment. In addition to these new jobs, since 2012, Pratt & Whitney has created 300 jobs for Florida families and employs a total of more than 1,300 Floridians. David Carter, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Pratt & Whitney, said, “Pratt & Whitney is committed to expanding operations at our West Palm Beach facility and creating highly-skilled and good-paying jobs.” With deep roots in the county for more than 60 years, Pratt and Whitney has served as the foundation of Palm Beach County’s robust Aviation/Aerospace/ Engineering (AAE) cluster and significant contributor to the community. Palm Beach County is home to more than 1,300 AAE companies that employ approximately 17,000 residents.

With over 100 years of experience, GKN Aerospace is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the international aviation industry and employs approximately 17,000 people in more than 60 locations across three continents. GKN Aerospace recently opened its first location in Florida, expanding the company’s U.S. operations by establishing a new, world-class manufacturing facility in Bay County.

The new facility is located at the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre near Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. VentureCrossings is a Florida First Site—one of the region’s certified, project-ready industrial sites—offering numerous real estate options from pad-ready sites, to build-to-suit construction, to acres of developable land. With 40 people already hired, including the plant’s new general manager, GKN Aerospace is actively recruiting and training employees. More than 170 jobs will be created by 2020 at the $50 million facility.

Enterprise Florida (EFI) leadership previously met with GKN Aerospace officials during a trade mission to the 2016 Farnborough International Air Show in London, leading to the recent establishment of the new Panama City facility. Pursuing similar results at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, EFI leadership met with over 50 aviation and aerospace leading companies about what makes Florida a top business location. In addition to the business development meetings, EFI also led a delegation of 12 Florida-based aviation and aerospace businesses, partners and organizations to the show, housed under the Florida pavilion.

Florida skilled workforce
VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering recently announced it is establishing a new hanger at Pensacola International Airport, a project that will create 400 new jobs. (Photo: Enterprise Florida)

With a deep talent pool and natural geographic advantage, Florida is also home to a leading industry of 600+ maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, a major hub for flight training, and home to leading manufacturers of all types of aircraft and components. So when it comes to industry growth in Florida, the sky’s the limit.

FLORIDA’S SWEET SPOT: CAPE CORAL

Competing in today’s global market means selecting a thriving business region with all the right amenities—a positive environment for your business and your employees. If you’re considering a move or expansion to Florida, find out why Cape Coral is a rich, supportive business environment that enables companies to grow—and is a paradise for the workforce.

Cape Coral’s large geographic size—120 square miles—makes it naturally suited to have the flexibility for attracting large- and mid-sized businesses in joining the 9,000 small businesses already thriving here. And, this well-rounded commercial base continues to grow. Last year, 1,609 new businesses applied for licenses in Cape Coral and another 766 have already applied through May of this year.

“The reason we have loved doing business in Cape Coral is because of the support from the community and other local businesses owners. I can contact the chamber, economic development team or the City of Cape Coral with questions and have them answered within a few hours,” says Dusty Shelton, chief financial officer of the computer consulting company, It’s IT. “For such a large city, we really have a small hometown feel.”

The Cape Coral metropolitan statistical area is one of the nation’s job growth leaders—a waterfront metropolitan area located in Lee County on Florida’s Southwest coast. Lee County has a population of roughly 750,000 people, with more than 1.3 million annual visitors who spend $1.2 billion. The local year-round population spiked more than 14 percent from 2012 to 2016 and is expected to continue to increase at the same rate through 2020.

Florida skilled workforce
Ecological Laboratories, a biotechnology company, is well into its sixth expansion in Cape Coral. This environmentally friendly firm is home to a growing team of microbiologists and chemists working to further advance cost-effective, sustainable solutions in two key areas: cleaning up polluted water and improving crop productivity. (Photo: Cape Coral)

In fact, the Cape Coral metropolitan area consistently ranks among the fastest-growing in the nation, based on Moody’s Analytics research—presently among the top 10. In May, U.S. News & World Report ranked Lee County second nationwide on its list of “The Best 25 Places People Are Moving to in 2018.”

Population growth fuels every market and sector. Canada-based Keltour Controls Inc., a global control panel manufacturer and system integrator, opened its U.S. manufacturing operations in Cape Coral in February 2017 and already has expanded into a larger space. The 50-year-old company mass produces and creates custom components for a wide range of businesses that use automation. “There’s a high demand for control panels in this area of Florida,” says David Jakob, a company co-owner. “We did some analysis of the electrical businesses and markets and it showed good growth opportunities.”

A Standout Community

Cape Coral stands apart from all other communities in the region. Cape Coral is projected to be one of the largest future growth areas in the county because there is plenty of space to develop. Although it’s the third largest city geographically in the state, Cape Coral is only 50 percent built out. This means there are wide-open opportunities for finding a prime location for your business, along with demographics suiting your goods and services.

The Cape’s population, estimated at more than 190,000, is expected to reach 400,000 at buildout. The robust size of the current population ensures a large available workforce and plenty of consumers.

“The beautiful thing about being a manufacturer in Cape Coral is there’s a huge pool of potential employees who live in the Cape,” says S4J Manufacturing Services CEO Doug Gyure. One of the nation’s top manufacturers of Luer lock connectors, S4J Manufacturing relocated to Cape Coral in 1999 after New Jersey doubled its state income tax. (And that’s another significant factor for anyone focused on the bottom line: Florida doesn’t have a state income tax.)

What makes Cape Coral unique? In addition to 266 days of sunshine each year, it is home to more than 400 miles of canals—more than any other city worldwide—and these waters serve as a gateway to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Unparalleled amenities are a boon to homeowners who can enjoy daily sunsets and business owners in several sectors: services, technology, retail and manufacturing. The quality of life for business owners and their employees simply can’t be beat. Add to that a competitive cost of living and business-friendly environment, and the secret is out about why Cape Coral continues to draw national attention.

Ecological Laboratories is on the forefront of national trends in sustainability: cleaning up environmental damage, improving water and soil quality and increasing traditional and hydroponic agricultural yields—without chemical toxins. Responding to growing demands, Ecological Labs recently undertook the sixth expansion of the Cape Coral research, manufacturing and distribution facility it opened in 1998.

For two decades, Cape Coral has proven to be an ideal location because of the city’s quality of life that draws new employees and growth opportunities. “We live where people vacation. That makes it easy to sell people on coming here,” says Matthew Richter, inventory control coordinator. “We also have space to grow here—many places don’t have the land available to grow.”

Due to its rapid growth, the Cape Coral Economic Development Office (EDO) team is recruiting select business sectors to create a rich and diverse business environment. By combining federal, state, county and city incentives, they assist enterprises committed to working with them on this critical financial investment.

Cape Coral target industries are medical/healthcare, professional/back office, tech/biotech light manufacturing and corporate headquarters. Savvy business owners want to be in Cape Coral. Contact the EDO at (239) 574-0444, [email protected] or visit www.capecoral.net/edo/ today to find out how they can help you find your place in the sun.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY: WHERE BUSINESS AND PLEASURE MEET

Indian River County—Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere—strikes a perfect balance between business and pleasure. It offers a market that meets all your business needs, yet provides you, your family and your employees an unparalleled quality of life: a small town ambiance with a cosmopolitan flair. It’s a place where your work and lifestyle are compatible in a stimulating and productive environment.

Located an hour north of West Palm Beach and 90 miles southeast of Orlando, Indian River County is within three hours of 90 percent of Florida’s population—that’s 18 million potential customers—with easy access to markets and far from urban sprawl, traffic and congestion. The area is rich in history and natural resources, including wildlife reserves and scenic lakes, with the benefits of climate for which the Sunshine State is famous. It also is the center of the world-famous Indian River Citrus District.

Surrounded by miles of pristine beaches, ranches and citrus groves, Indian River County’s superb quality of life has attracted innovative businesses and talented professionals from around the country and around the world. Offshore, the waters of the Gulf Stream ensure year-round mild temperatures, warm in winter and breezy in summer so you can golf and boat 365 days a year. Twenty-three miles of golden beaches, azure waters of the Indian and Sebastian Rivers and lush farm and woodlands blend to characterize this beautiful area “where the tropics begin.”

Indian River County’s allure as a light industrial site is best demonstrated by the fact that many companies have chosen this location because of the positive vacation experience of their C-level executives. Companies are attracted to the county because of its relatively low land and labor costs, the absence of a state income tax and competitive property tax rates. Tax abatements and the Local Jobs Grant program encourage eligible new and existing firms to add new jobs for local residents.

Advanced industries from aviation and emerging technology firms to specialty healthcare all benefit from a low cost of doing business; a large, well-trained workforce; and some of the lowest taxes in the nation. With convenient access to highways, rail and ports, along with large tracts of buildable land, many transportation and distribution companies have chosen to locate in the county.

Indian River County has two general aviation airports, Vero Beach and Sebastian, and is located minutes from Melbourne International Airport. Vero Beach Regional Airport now offers non-stop flights to Newark.

Indian River County offers many cultural and entertainment venues comparable to communities much larger in size. Art galleries and studios, professional and community theatres, the highly regarded 33-piece Atlantic Classical Orchestra and the state’s only teaching museum have all put Indian River County on Florida’s cultural map.

Vero Beach, the county seat, has long been a popular resort area, attracting thousands to the array of recreational and entertainment pursuits it offers. Sebastian, in the northern part of the county, is home to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge—the first of its kind in the U.S. The city also offers one of the most spectacular skydiving venues in the world, and is ideal for surfing, with several major competitions held annually.

An available and trainable workforce of approximately 638,000 within an hour’s drive time makes Indian River County a highly desirable location. Indian River State College (IRSC) is nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum and close working relationship with the business community, filling the training needs of industry, and preparing the next generation of workers.

An efficient infrastructure system was the reason cited by CVS/Pharmacy to locate its 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Indian River County. This central location along I-95, plus the cooperation of local government and private sector leadership, made Indian River County the best site geographically and economically. The primary north-south transportation route through Indian River County is I-95. State Road 60 is the main east-west arterial between Vero Beach and the Tampa Bay area on Florida’s west coast, with Florida’s Turnpike just 29 miles to the west.

A paradise for surfing, fishing, golfing, boating, shopping, dining, bird-watching, kayaking and long walks on the beach, Indian River County has it all—a location central to the success of your business while enjoying a relaxed lifestyle. For more information, visit www.indianrivered.com, or call the Indian River Chamber of Commerce at (772) 567-3491.

FP&L: HIGHLIGHTING AND HELPING BUSINESSES IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

To appeal to businesses expanding in Florida to get ahead and stay ahead, Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Office of Economic Development continues to highlight investments in electric company improvements and refine programs that are needed to keep up with the Sunshine State’s growth.

Florida’s economic growth stands out like that four-star, blue-chip athletic recruit that every college program wants come signing day.

As evidence of the state’s business growth prowess, Moody’s Investors Service recently upgraded the state of Florida to its highest rating, documenting “sustained” improvement in the state’s economy and a “proven track record of rebounding from severe weather events.”

So, with an optimistic statewide financial output, FPL’s Office of Economic Development along with its statewide and local economic development partners are compelled to leverage and enhance their business recruitment resources to ensure the benefits of growing business in Florida.

FPL, the third-largest electric company in the United States, provides commercial and large industrial business customer rates that are 41 percent below the national average. FPL has improved service reliability by more than 30 percent over the past seven years. In fact, FPL was named the winner of the 2017 ReliabilityOne™ Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast U.S. for the fourth consecutive year by PA Consulting Group, demonstrating its continued efforts to improve reliability.

“Florida is consistently ranked as a top ‘business-friendly’ state,” said Crystal Stiles, director, FPL’s Office of Economic Development. “But we know that claiming to be business friendly is not enough to move Florida to the top of the list as a preferred location to grow or relocate your business. FPL’s Office of Economic Development is here to directly support businesses with personal, white-glove service along with a host of tools and resources.”

One of the first opportunities for Florida-bound businesses to engage with FPL’s Office of Economic Development is through the newly redesigned PoweringFlorida.com website. This site provides vital data to businesses to help them make decisions about relocating or expanding their presence in Florida.

PoweringFlorida.com has advanced tools to aid business decisions and highlight Florida’s business advantages in contrast to other locations. The site also provides information for data centers and promotes Florida as a destination for business growth, showcasing FPL’s incentive rates and energy efficiency programs. Some of the features available on the site include:

  • Explore Florida tool: You can now easily explore more than 10,000 sites and buildings in every city, county or region of Florida, do comparisons, gather city, community or regional demographic trends and discover data centers and layers of fiber.
  • Community Profiles: With Community Profiles, you get a quick snapshot of a location of choice—city, county or region—in an engaging infographic-rich format, featuring datasets available to download. Community Profiles clearly illustrates demographics, educational attainment, labor force, industry and local businesses, consumer spending patterns and more.

Smarter, reliable electric service

And if your business chooses to locate within FPL’s service territory, you’ll see first-hand the benefits of FPL’s investments in a smarter, more reliable grid that is top in the nation.

FPL delivered its best-ever service reliability in 2017, continuing to rank highest among all major energy companies in Florida. The average amount of time that an FPL customer experienced an outage was less than ever before, thanks in part to the investments FPL has made to the energy grid since 2006. The company also achieved best-ever performance for the average number of momentaries or flickers experienced by each customer.

“We continue to build a stronger and smarter energy grid to provide our customers with reliable service year-round, while keeping our typical residential bills among the lowest in the nation,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Our ongoing investments in strengthening the grid and using advanced smart grid technology continue to help us deliver electricity our customers can count on in good weather and bad.”

This year, the company has initiated a pilot program that is part of the hardening of the energy grid that FPL has undertaken since 2006. The pilot program focuses on less expensive ways to underground even more neighborhood power lines to further enhance the reliability of service to customers and enhance the resiliency of the energy grid. Historically, FPL has seen that, on average, customers served by underground main power lines tend to have fewer outages compared to overhead main power lines. About 40 percent of FPL’s 68,000 miles of distribution power lines are underground.

Charging up with solar

When your parent company, NextEra Energy, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, every reference to the expansion of solar power generation carries more clout when engaging with businesses seeking clean, sustainable energy sources to grow.

FPL has been studying and operating solar in Florida for more than three decades. In 1984, FPL commissioned its first universal solar installation, a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic facility in Miami that helped the company’s employees gain experience with the then-emerging technology. Over the years, FPL has continued to test and operate a wide variety of solar technologies. In 2016, FPL became the first company to build solar cost-effectively in Florida, leveraging its purchasing power and sites with key advantages to complete three 74.5-megawatt solar power plants projected to produce millions of dollars in net savings for FPL customers.

Fast forward to today. The energy company is leading one of the largest solar expansions ever in the southeastern U.S. By 2023, FPL will generate more energy from solar than from coal and oil combined with more than 10 million solar panels installed at 34 sites across the state and FPL’s service territory.

FPL expects to build all of this proposed new universal solar capacity cost-effectively—meaning that these investments will result in net savings for FPL customers. The eight new solar plants coming online in 2018 are projected to deliver net lifetime savings of more than $100 million for FPL customers.

The company’s solar expansion plays a significant role in its forward-looking strategy of making smart investments that generate affordable, clean energy for customers. These advancements continue to improve FPL’s carbon emissions profile, which already is approximately 30 percent cleaner than the U.S. industry average.

To explore Florida and the benefits of working with FPL’s Office of Economic Development team, visit PoweringFlorida.com.

QRT GRANT: 25 YEARS OF HELPING BUSINESSES GROW

Finding talented applicants to fill new, high-skill jobs can be challenging. Budgets are tight and training is expensive. If you run or help lead a business in Florida, there are grants and partnerships available to help your company grow and compete. This year, CareerSource Florida is celebrating a quarter century of helping businesses increase productivity and profitability with well-trained new hires through the Quick Response Training (QRT) grant program. The program helps businesses implement flexible and customized training for new, full-time, permanent employees.

Thriving Businesses and Employees. Over the past 25 years, the Quick Response Training grant program has given nearly 140,000 workers the opportunity to receive customized, skills-based curriculum development and training. The benefits are tangible. On average, trainees received a nearly 43 percent increase in wages over the 12 months following training. That increase in spending power has lasting impacts on employees, businesses and communities across the state.

Evolving to keep pace with industry needs and ensure that thousands of newly hired employees have access to leading-edge instruction and technology, this business-driven grant has become an important contributor to Florida’s economic growth.

Consider:

  • The QRT grant program has supported more than 600 businesses through nearly $160 million in grants since 1993.
  • In a statewide competitiveness study, economic developers across the state cited QRT as the No. 1 grant with the largest impact on their ability to win multi-state competitive projects.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation have recognized the success of the QRT grant program over the past several years in their annual rankings.

These grants are available to new or expanding Florida businesses in qualified, targeted industries, including Manufacturing, Information Technology, Financial/Professional Services and more.

One of the unique features of the Quick Response Training grant program is that it provides flexibility in the types of training and training providers. The training can be provided by one of Florida’s public or private educational institutions, a private training company, a private instructor, a company employee who has the subject matter expertise or a combination of training providers. The training can be technical skills training such as computer software training, can include occupational skills training designed to meet the special requirements of a business or industry or can be in strategies to improve the efficiency of business operations.

How a Growing FL Company Uses QRT. “A well-trained workforce is one of the most important things to us as a company,” says Ted Rubin, co-founder and president of ActivEngage. “The Quick Response Training grant has allowed us to more significantly invest in our personnel.”

ActivEngage, a Maitland-based company, provides live chat services for the automotive industry that inspire conversations and build lasting relationships between businesses and customers worldwide. Training received through a Quick Response Training grant has allowed them to implement new and ongoing training for employees to uphold their mission of providing world-class customer service.

“We are handling conversations on behalf of other companies, and we want to make sure that the standard of communication, our methodology and the way we communicate are handled in a very specific way that’s familiar for the consumer,” said Rubin. “It would be impossible for us to be able to accomplish that, with so many people, if we didn’t have ongoing, diligent training.”

Available Funding and Award Details.

More important information about the Quick Response Training grant program:

  • Companies can qualify for up to $500,000 per grant/per company.
  • Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until available funding has been awarded.
  • Priority will be given to businesses applying for the first time.

Find out how CareerSource Florida can help your business grow and compete. To learn more about the Quick Response Training grant program, visit careersourceflorida.com/qrt.

FIND YOUR COMPANY’S PLACE IN THE SUN IN GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE

With its miles of sandy beaches and year-round temperate climate, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County is internationally known as South Florida’s sun and fun capital. Now, thanks to its business-friendly government, easy access to major international markets, excellent infrastructure and a diverse, well-educated labor pool, the community has earned a reputation as one of the world’s best business climates. More than 200 corporations have set up headquarters in Broward County, including AutoNation, Citrix, Ecolab Latin America, Emerson Latin America, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Microsoft Latin America, Spirit Airlines and Ultimate Software.

Florida skilled workforce
The BKV Tech Center is a 2,400-acre award-winning general aviation airport and technology center that offers affordability, accessibility and availability. (Photo: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance)

Florida is the only state in the eastern U.S. with no personal income tax, a competitive tax structure and a relatively low cost of living among major metropolitan areas. Broward County sits at the heart of the South Florida metropolitan statistical area—population six million and growing. The area, comprised of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, is widely recognized as an engine for the country’s future economic growth.

Executives for both national and international companies report that they appreciate Broward’s convenient access to global markets, skilled multicultural workforce and deep ties to Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

With nearly two million residents, Broward County has a vibrant population (median age 40), comparatively affordable housing (median property value of $242,400, according to Zillow), a rapidly expanding transit system and an array of advanced educational opportunities. Greater Fort Lauderdale currently boasts an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, among the lowest in the nation, and has seen a year-over-year private-sector job growth of 10,200.

Infrastructure for Growth

Greater Fort Lauderdale has spent years building the foundation necessary to keep the business community on a path to continued growth.

Brightline, America’s first new private rail service in more than a century, now runs multiple daily commuter lines between Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach, opening up the South Florida corridor to greater opportunities for talent recruitment and business collaboration.

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which has an annual economic impact of $13.2 billion, has seen double-digit international growth for more than three years. FLL is in the midst of a $333 million expansion project that includes a new international concourse. Major international airports in West Palm Beach and Miami are less than an hour’s drive away.

Port Everglades—the shipping industry’s gateway to Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia—recently initiated its largest expansion project to date. The $437.5-million improvement effort will add new berths for larger cargo ships and install crane rail infrastructure to accommodate new Super Post-Panamax ships.

Fostering a Cluster Economy

Operating within strong industry clusters near like-minded organizations is an important catalyst for the growth of companies. Broward County actively supports the growth of key business sectors. To cite just a few:

  • Aviation: As home to 50,000 aviation workers and 10 airports, South Florida is a natural setting for aviation and aerospace companies. From maintenance and repair to training and manufacturing, the region has become a hotbed for the industry—and an economic engine that supports more than 135,000 jobs annually. Since its launch in 2012, JetSmarter—dubbed “the Uber of the sky”—has secured more than $105 million in funding. From its operations in Hollywood, FL, Heico Corp., currently valued at $6.5 billion, serves a global clientele ranging from major commercial airlines to military agencies.
  • Life Sciences: South Florida is home to 1,500 bioscience institutions, drawn by a diverse, multilingual research workforce and easy access to Europe and the Americas. The industry employs more than 26,000 people and generates $4 billion in revenue each year. Following its merger with California-based NantCell, Miramar’s Altor Bioscience Corp. announced the company would continue to be based in South Florida. SHL Group’s manufacturing and R&D division, SHL Pharma, expanded its Deerfield Beach facility. Other pharma and life science manufacturing companies with a presence in Greater Fort Lauderdale include Allergan, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Trividia Health and Unipharma, Ltd.
  • Technology: For decades, South Florida has been quietly building a multifaceted technology cluster covering everything from cloud/ mobile companies such as Ultimate Software and Citrix to a full range of cybersecurity services. As its tech footprint expands, the region supports nearly 3,700 jobs in custom computer programming and more than 3,100 positions in software publishing.

The region is fast becoming a preferred destination for startups, with 139 companies on the Inc. 5000 list based in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area. A subculture of business incubators and mentoring services as well as investment and venture capital groups nurture the growth of early-stage companies such as Chewy.com, the e-commerce pet supply company that was recently acquired by PetSmart for a reported $3 billion, and Magic Leap, a mixed-reality startup valued at more than $4.5 billion.

Producing the Next Generation of Talent in South Florida

With more than 35 colleges and universities graduating thousands of potential employees every year, South Florida provides a pipeline for companies to scout the next generation of skilled workers in a variety of fields. Knowledge-based businesses as dissimilar as aviation, technology, life sciences and manufacturing benefit from the region’s ample labor pool.

Customized and incumbent-worker training programs, career-building programs starting as early as middle school and recruitment campaigns targeting millennials unite educators and business leaders in keeping the pipeline flowing.

Add to this a warm, welcoming business environment, convenient location and relatively low cost of living, and there’s no mystery why Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County consistently ranks high among companies considering relocation.

HERNANDO COUNTY: AFFORDABILITY, ACCESSIBILITY AND AVAILABILITY

Hernando County, located on the west coast of Florida in the highly-regarded Tampa Bay Region, offers the perfect blend of opportunity for business relocation, expansion and lifestyle.  Availability, affordability, accessibility and community, that’s what it’s all about.

The Brooksville – Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center provides an abundance of opportunity just 40 minutes north of Tampa International Airport, and features a 7,000-foot runway, an air traffic control tower, airside parcels and CSX rail access sites with sidings in place. The Technology Center is a premier business location and the epicenter of economic development in Hernando County. The BKV Tech Center is a 2,400-acre, master planned facility with features that include available buildings, 1,000+ acres of land for development, sites with direct airside access and a Duke Energy Site Ready 285-acre parcel with infrastructure in place. With access to more than 300,000 workers within a 30-minute drive time, a technical high school and adult education center just across the street, you can see why it is home to successful businesses such as Accuform Signs, Barrette Outdoor Living, Micro-Matic USA, e-Telequote Insurance and Premio Foods to name just a few.

On the east side of the county, just one mile from Interstate 75 and 40 miles from the Florida Turnpike, are several hundred acres ready for development. Situated on either side of a 1.5M-square-foot Wal-Mart Distribution Center, these two sites are prime for manufacturing or logistics.

Accessibility is key to your business and with five major highways crisscrossing Hernando County, shipping and receiving is a breeze. North-south routes include Interstate 75, U.S. 19, the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41.

The latter two run adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center, providing a two-stop light connection to Tampa Airport. I-75 is east of Brooksville and connects via the major east-west artery, State Road 50.

A business-friendly community, Hernando County is committed to growing industry. Creative and flexible business incentives are available for job creation, workforce development and construction costs. These incentives, combined with its Rapid Response Permitting and State of Florida incentives, make Hernando County the ideal place for business.

Your future workforce needs are a top priority. Hernando’s relationship with the local school system and post-secondary institutions help to influence curriculum and workforce training programs to suit your specific business needs. Partnerships with Pasco-Hernando State College, St. Leo University, University of South Florida, University of Florida and others, along with a robust technical high school and adult education institutions like SunTech and AMSKills (a European based apprenticeship program), ensures access to any business expertise you may require as well as a pool of well-trained and motivated employees.

“All work and no play makes …” for an impossibility in Hernando County. Recreational activities are so abundant and varied, it is no wonder it is known as Florida’s Adventure Coast. Your employees and business associates will melt at the picture-perfect sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, where the Hernando County coast will lure them to some of the best fishing, scalloping and shallow-water boating in west central Florida. Inland, they will enjoy playing on championship golf courses and kayaking on a matrix of rivers. You may enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on some of Florida’s top-rated trails that meander through forests and nature preserves. For the more adventurous, spend the day in the trees and zipline at Tree-Umph! Adventure Course or Croom Recreation Area and ride your motorcycle/ATV at this world-class compound.

The metro markets of Tampa and Orlando are only a short drive away and residents in Hernando County have access to a wide range of professional sports venues, concert halls, cultural and fine arts and some of the top-ranked beaches in the United States. Residents here enjoy big-city conveniences while living in an active suburban community where the cost of living consistently ranks the lowest of Tampa Bay’s seven county region.

With a reputation as the most affordable county in the Tampa Bay Region and lifestyle choices from beaches to country clubs to ranches to historic homes, Hernando County has something for everyone. These assets, combined with its business-friendly government, available land and abundant and well-trained workforce, make Hernando County a natural choice for business relocation and expansion.

To learn more about doing business in Hernando County, contact Valerie Pianta at (352) 540-6400, [email protected] or visit www.hernandobusiness.com.

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION…AND FLORIDA’S HOLLYWOOD HAS IT

Ideally located on South Florida’s Atlantic coast, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is a popular destination for tourism and business alike. With convenient access by air, sea, road and rail, Hollywood is the perfect location to compete in the global marketplace.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, one of three international airports in the area, offers nonstop

service to more than 140 U.S. cities and flights to Canada, Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and Europe. As a recognized leader in international trade and tourism, Hollywood is the primary home to Port Everglades, a powerhouse port ranked among the top cruise ports in the world and one of the most active containerized cargo ports in the U.S., producing more than $28 billion annually in economic activity. Hollywood is a city focused on the future where businesses discover a welcoming climate from the Platinum Permitting customer service program to the award-winning Blue Wave Beach.

Hollywood’s “business first” attitude is one of the reasons more than $200 million in development was completed last year alone, including more than 50,000 sf of retail, restaurant, commercial and entertainment space, with more on the way.

Hollywood-based Quantum Marine Engineering, an industry leader in stabilization technology for the yachting industry, recently opened its new 31,000-square-foot, four-story LEED certified corporate headquarters in

Hollywood’s Port 95 Commerce Park. The $6.2 million environmentally conscientious headquarters is located directly opposite Quantum’s manufacturing facility, where it has grown to be the world’s largest manufacturer of the Zero-Speed Stabilization System for super yachts. To date, the company has more than 1,000 systems in service and approximately 175 systems in active production.

Sintavia, a global leader in metal additive manufacturing, recently broke ground on a new 55,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility, also in the Port 95 Commerce Park. The $32 million investment in facilities and equipment will quadruple Sintavia’s production capacity and create a state-of-the-art corporate headquarters supporting more than 135 new high-skilled jobs in Hollywood.

Hollywood is investing in its future with more than $100 million in public improvements along its oceanfront, including a complete renovation of the historic Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, sparking a renaissance of new development that is putting Hollywood on the map. Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa, Costa Hollywood Beach Resort and Hyde Resort & Residences are just a few of the destination resorts that are drawing visitors to the city.

A new look is also taking shape in the historic Downtown Hollywood District, led by the $160 million, 25-story Hollywood Circle mixed-used development. The Circ Hotel and Circ Residences recently opened to welcome guests to a 104-room boutique hotel and 397 luxury rental apartments. The property also includes a brand new supermarket, Olivia Restaurant featuring traditional Italian fare, a coffee house and rooftop pool bar and lounge. Several additional mixed-use, commercial and residential projects are slated to break ground within the next several months.

Hollywood is primed for smart growth with new zoning in place to allow revitalization along key commercial corridors and within the Downtown Activity Center. More than $200 million in roadway and infrastructure improvements are bringing additional private development in the form of residential, office and commercial projects along a key transportation corridor in the western section of Hollywood. The city also is committed to helping businesses succeed and grow through a streamlined development review process for high-impact and target industries relocating or expanding in Hollywood. The city’s designation as a Platinum City for permitting by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance ensures businesses have a first-rate experience when it comes to locating in Florida’s Hollywood.

The economic boom continues within Hollywood’s diverse neighborhoods where you can find everything from affordable starter homes to luxury waterfront living. Over the past five years, Hollywood property owners have seen their values increase by 58 percent. Property values in Hollywood are outpacing other South Florida communities and are ahead of the county average, which is reflective of the positive, sustainable growth underway throughout the city. Within Hollywood’s walkable, tree-lined neighborhoods, residents find easy access to beautiful parks, scenic bike paths and recreational amenities. Take a sea turtle excursion, hit the links or pickleball courts, kayak through native mangroves or lounge in the aqua blue waters of the Atlantic. Hollywood is an eco-friendly paradise rich in recreational options for all ages and abilities.

Hollywood has been called a “city of the future” for best representing what America will look like in 2025. Historic Downtown Hollywood is where you will find music festivals, concerts and world-recognized cultural offerings such as the Hollywood Hot Glass interactive art studio and the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood. Artists’ studios and independent work spaces have opened their doors creating a welcoming, creative community. The impressive Downtown Hollywood Mural Project is a must-see stop in South Florida for any art enthusiast. The project features more than 25 vibrant, outdoor, large-scale murals that decorate Downtown Hollywood and enrich the community. Hollywood’s cultural diversity also is represented in the wide array of religious congregations and businesses, including restaurants that offer international cuisine and feature music and cultural arts from around the globe. It’s all about location and Hollywood has it. See Life, See Opportunities in Florida’s Hollywood.

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