Software developer expands in Orange County

Filed in: Advanced Technology , Economic Development Projects , General News , Orange County

Solodev, a website and mobile app software developer, will create 25 high-wage tech jobs at its Orlando headquarters. The company plans to invest $315,000 on construction and equipment.

Governor Scott said, "The expansion of Solodev and addition of 25 new jobs is great news for Florida families. We have worked to cut taxes and invest in education, and since December 2010, Florida's private sector has created 679,000 jobs for families. It is clear that we are creating an opportunity economy that supports families, and we will keep working so that every Floridian who wants a job is able to find one."

Founded in 2006, Solodev is a full-service website and mobile app development company with its own enterprise website content management software. Solodev's future growth will allow it to expand its software portfolio with the creation of OCOA, a fully integrated online marketing technology solution that includes website and mobile app creation, CRM and marketing automation. The framework for OCOA is in place and preliminary work has begun. The new positions will pay approximately 50 percent more than the average salary in Orange County.

"What other companies are doing through acquisition, we are doing through organic growth," founder and CTO of Solodev, Shawn Moore said. "Large companies such as Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft and Adobe are buying other companies to add to their existing product lines and are facing the challenge of integrating completely different software platforms and methodologies. We are building some of those same technologies from the ground up and because we are more nimble, we will be able to rapidly supply solutions for today's business needs and adapt to changing demands in the future."

Solodev was honored as a 2013 Florida Company to Watch by GrowFL at the University of Central Florida, and Moore was named a 2013 CIO of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal. The company's steady growth has accelerated recently as evidenced by a doubling in size and revenue in the last year.

"We will continue to serve our great client base while we simultaneously develop software to revolutionize the way companies handle their marketing and sales efforts," said CEO of Solodev, Ray Gilley. "Orlando is home to a thriving community of talented computer programmers, web designers and digital strategists, and we are excited to provide opportunities for them on our team."

Florida is ranked third in the nation for high-tech establishments. In addition, the state's software and computer systems design and integration industry is one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 12,600 firms. Almost half of the more than 80,000 professionals who work in the field are employed by software development firms, with the rest working in related technology-intensive industries. Florida ranks second in the nation for tech job growth, and the Florida High Tech Corridor, has been named one of the top tech job hot spots in the United States.

Enterprise Florida President and CEO, Gray Swoope said, "Florida is a leader in the information technology industry and Solodev adds value to the extensive sector. Because of our top workforce, infrastructure and quality of life, companies like Solodev are choosing Florida for their business growth. I look forward to seeing the company's continued success in Orlando."

This project was made possible with the help of close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Orlando Economic Development Commission and Orange County.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, "With the exciting expansion of Solodev, we are continuing to see job growth in the STEM fields in our state. The creation of 25 high wage, technology jobs over the next three years represents another step forward in Florida's economic resurgence."

"Downtown Orlando is a great location for tech companies like Solodev," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, "With a talented labor force, business friendly environment and high quality of life, Downtown has become an ideal place for dynamic startups to make their home, find success and expand."

"We are pleased that Solodev continues to grow in Orlando," said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "Tech firms like Solodev are one of the reasons why Orlando has been named a 'most promising tech hub to watch' by"

November 25, 2014

Manufacturing Company Expands in Seminole County

Filed in: Manufacturing , Economic Development Projects , General News , Seminole County

Hernon to create 20 new jobs over the next two years

Hernon Manufacturing, a global manufacturer of adhesive sealants and dispensing equipment, will expand its local operations in the City of Sanford and create 20 new jobs over the next two years in addition to its already existing 40 jobs. They will also make an estimated $2 million capital investment into the region.

"It is with great joy that we make the announcement of the expansion of our headquarters in Sanford. The expansion will provide us with 160% additional space, needed to keep up with the increase in the demand of our adhesives, sealants and precision dispensing equipment and for the expected growth of years to come," said Hernon Manufacturing President Harry Arnon. "We are very thankful for the continued support provided to us by Mayor Triplett, Chairman Dallari, Bob Turk, Irma Stenman and their staff in helping us make this dream come true."

"We are extremely excited with Hernon's decision to expand its manufacturing facility here in Sanford," said Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. "Retention and Expansion is a priority of our economic development program."

"Retaining and growing existing businesses is a critical element in our ongoing efforts to stimulate our local economy," said Seminole County Chairman Bob Dallari. "Seminole County is committed to assisting Hernon and all of our local companies."

"Business goes where it's invited and stays where it's well cared for," said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "We are pleased Hernon decided to stay and continue to grow their operations here in Orlando."

The City of Sanford, Seminole County, CareerSource Florida, Seminole State College and the Orlando Economic Development Commission have been important partners in this successful expansion.

HERNON Manufacturing has been committed to delivering world class adhesive, sealant, and impregnation solutions along with precision dispensing systems for nearly four decades. A long-time member of Central Florida's industrial manufacturing community, Hernon offers strong brands and technologies, all made in the United States, for a diverse range of industries including: Energy/Power Generation, Medical, Electronics, Electrical, LED, Automotive, Appliances, Sporting Goods, Ammunition, Communications, Aerospace, Aviation, High Tech Audio, Defense, Fire Suppression, Transportation, and Marine. HERNON Manufacturing is proud to be an ISO-9001 and ITAR registered company whose products meet or exceed Mil-Specs.

Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies locate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. For more information, visit


November 20, 2014

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Locates North American Headquarters in Orlando Region

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , General News , Headquarters , Seminole County

MHPS.jpgMitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc. announced plans to add 100 new jobs over the next five years with the establishment of its North American headquarters in Lake Mary.

Governor Scott said, "We worked hard to win this new headquarters for Florida, and while Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems could have chosen any other state in the nation they picked Florida because of our growing opportunity economy that will create jobs for generations to come. The establishment of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems' North American headquarters, and creation of 100 new jobs over the next five years is great news for Orlando families."

Last February, two multinational industrial companies, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, merged their fossil power generation business, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc. As a result, the company is locating its new North American headquarters in Lake Mary. The new facility will add significant space to accommodate the recent merger and expansion. The new headquarters location will provide overall management of the strategic and tactical direction of the company's activities in the western hemisphere.

IMG_0031.JPGMitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems President & CEO David Walsh said, "Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems provides the most efficient electric energy producing equipment and services to major power producers and their millions of electricity customers throughout the Western Hemisphere. This new world-class headquarters facility is essential to meeting our growth initiatives. As we move into 2015 and 2016, we will add positions in management, engineering, sales & marketing, and necessary administrative functions to support our operations, subsidiaries and customers throughout the Americas."

The new offices at 400 Colonial Center Parkway in Lake Mary will also accommodate MHPSA's new shared administrative services activity. Walsh said, "This is a significant commitment that confirms our intent to make Florida the newly formed MHPSA's headquarters home, providing good jobs in Florida. Our business is high-tech, and requires a highly skilled workforce with advanced education, experience and technical aptitude. The quality of life in the Orlando area, the pro-business Florida environment, the highly developed Orlando transportation hub, and the high quality of the regional talent base, are key reasons why we are affirming our commitment to locate here, and call Florida home."

"Seminole County is proud to be the home of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems. The decision to establish their corporate headquarters here is further evidence that our community is a great place for growth," said Commissioner Bob Dallari, Seminole County.

"Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems' decision to expand operations in Seminole County validates our business friendly environment, and our commitment to job creation. We are excited to have them here and look forward to a successful partnership," said Commissioner Brenda Carey, Seminole County.

October 29, 2014

EDC CEO Represents Orlando at Science Parks Annual Meeting in Qatar

Filed in: General News

RW_HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.JPGThis week, Orlando EDC President and CEO Rick Weddle represented Orlando's Lake Nona Medical City at the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) 31st Annual Conference held in Doha, Qatar. More than 600 delegates from 45 countries participated in the event held at Qatar Science and Technology Park and focused on exploring new models of support for the next generation of technology start-ups and entrepreneurs.

As the President of IASP, Weddle opened the conference along with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser from Qatar. Weddle met with keynote speaker Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, held several press conferences and moderated many sessions before turning over the reins of IASP to Jean-François Balducchi, managing director of Atlanpole and Atlanpole Biotherapies in France.

Weddle was the first American to serve as President of IASP. Before becoming President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Weddle managed the Research Triangle Park Foundation in North Carolina.


About IASP
IASP is the worldwide network of science parks and areas of innovation, founded in 1984. With over 400 members in 73 countries, IASP connects professionals managing science, technology and research parks (STPs) and other areas of innovation from across the globe, and provides services that drive growth and effectiveness for members.

IASP members enhance the competitiveness of companies and entrepreneurs in their cities and regions, and contribute to global economic development through innovation, entrepreneurship, and the transfer of knowledge and technology.

IASP is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and a founding member of the World Alliance for Innovation (WAINOVA). For further information about IASP, please visit

About the Orlando Economic Development Commission
The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the Orlando region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. For more information, visit

October 23, 2014

Osceola Sensor Facility Breaks Ground

Filed in: Manufacturing , Economic Development Projects , Osceola County

FAMRC.jpgOfficials from Osceola County, UCF, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and the EDC broke ground on the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (FAMRC), the 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing research facility set to open in 2016.

During remarks, UCF President Dr. Hitt mentioned that UCF is competing for $200 million in federal and private funds to house a national Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signaled the White House's support of investment in this area and the belief that photonics will be a cornerstone in manufacturing's future.

October 21, 2014

Regional innovators celebrated at Schwartz Tech Awards

Filed in: Events , General News


More than 500 people gathered in downtown Orlando Tuesday evening for the 24th-annual Schwartz Tech Awards hosted by the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) in partnership with the Orlando Tech Association and Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

The awards celebration, named after the late William C. Schwartz, an innovator within the field of optics and photonics, recognized companies and individuals for bright ideas, creative solutions, pioneering research and support for Orlando's booming technology industry.

This year, with a new format, the event provided a unique networking opportunity for business leaders and emerging tech leaders and was held as part of the inaugural Orlando Tech Week.

"With technology as our second-largest industry, the EDC has worked hard this past year to include more representation from the region's tech community on our board, and we have pursued strategic initiatives in digital media; modeling, simulation and training; and advanced manufacturing," said Rick Weddle, President & CEO of the Orlando EDC. "The tech industry in Orlando employs nearly 50,000 people with a $14 billion economic impact to the region."

Congratulations to all of this year's Schwartz Tech Awards winners:

Orange County Regional Innovator: Productivity Apex, Inc.

Seminole County Regional Innovator: CareSpotter

Lake County Regional Innovator: Electron Machine Corporation

Osceola County Regional Innovator: Photon-X

City of Orlando Regional Innovator: SPLYT

Florida High Tech Corridor Innovator: FAZ Technology

Academic Researcher of the Year: Dr. Sudipta Seal, University of Central Florida

Industry Researcher of the Year: Dr. Steven Smith, Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes

Diversity in Tech Award: Carlos Carbonell, Echo Interaction Group

Tech Investor of the Year: Allen Kupetz, venVelo

Tech Community Champion: Dr. Thomas O'Neal, University of Central Florida

View the full list of nominees on the Schwartz Tech Awards website.

With a mission to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for the Orlando region, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership serving Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando. The Orlando EDC's vision is to champion a more prosperous and diverse economy, and since 1977 has successfully assisted thousands of companies locate or expand in Orlando. This has resulted in more than 180,100 jobs announced, $9.8 billion in capital investment and over 80.4 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

October 2, 2014

Orlando EDC announces new board members for 2014-15

Filed in: General News , Idea People

AEDO-headshot-lineup.jpgThe Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) announced its 2014-15 officers and Board of Directors during its annual meeting Thursday.

Thomas K. Sittema, CEO of CNL Financial Group, will serve as the Orlando EDC's new Chair; David Fuller, President, CEO and Chairman of SunTrust Bank's Central Florida division is Vice Chair; and Robert Utsey, Senior Vice President at Skanska USA Building, Inc., will serve as Secretary/Treasurer. Scott Faris, CEO of AeroSonix, Inc., is the Orlando EDC's Past Chair.

Sittema thanked Faris for his leadership during the past year as he took the gavel during Thursday's annual Orlando EDC Board Meeting. He encouraged new and current board members to be ambassadors for the region and stay actively engaged with the EDC's efforts. "At the end of the day, we're about jobs," he said. "We're about creating quality jobs and an environment that gives us opportunities to share wealth with the region."

In the coming year, the Orlando EDC will launch its new regional business branding campaign with the support of its community and business partners to increase nationwide consideration of Orlando as a business location and highlight the region's assets "on-the-road" with Business Development missions to key markets across the United States. The Orlando EDC will also work with education, industry and government partners to help secure funding for the new Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County and replenish the state's funding for the Film and Entertainment incentive program, while also showcasing the critical economic development impact of Orlando's modeling, simulation and defense industry.

Along with announcing new officers, the Orlando EDC also selected new Board of Directors members, including Paul Baker, Vice President External Relations, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; Phil Braun, Vice President and General Counsel, Central Florida Health Alliance; William Bucher, Executive Vice President and CEO, Axium-Healthcare Pharmacy; Jeffrey Douglass, CEO, Cybis Communications; Erik Genrich, Vice President and General Manager Central Florida, CenturyLink; David Hubbard, Campus President, Keiser University; Coco Johnston, Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Jeffrey Q. Jonasen, Shareholder/Attorney, Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.; Giorgina Pinedo-Rolon, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando; Wanda Riley, Operations Director, Cushman Wakefield; Nancy Schwalb, President Schwalb Public Relations; and Mary W. Trier, President and CEO, Capital Communications & Consulting.

For a list of EDC Board members, click here. All terms begin Oct. 1.

With a mission to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for the Orlando region, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership serving Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando. The Orlando EDC's vision is to champion a more prosperous and diverse economy, and since 1977 has successfully assisted thousands of companies locate or expand in Orlando. This has resulted in more than 176,750 jobs announced, $9.5 billion in capital investment and over 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

September 30, 2014

Orlando EDC joins elite top 1 percent of EDOs nationwide

Filed in: General News , Why Orlando?

AEDO-accreditation-wPlayButton_web.jpgThe Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is the nation's latest economic development organization to be accredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Of the 4,400 economic development organizations in North America, the Orlando EDC joins the top 1 percent of economic development organizations that are accredited by IEDC as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO).

"The Orlando EDC and its team led by Rick Weddle display the professionalism, commitment and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor," said IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle.

The AEDO program is a comprehensive peer review process that measures economic development organizations against the highest standards in the profession. The program involves two phases - documentation review and an on-site visit. Each phase is designed to evaluate information about the structure, organization, funding, programs and staff of the organization.

"The Orlando EDC is proud to be recognized by IEDC and for the opportunity to highlight its work in the Orlando region recruiting higher-wage jobs and mission-critical strategic jobs initiatives for our community," said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando EDC, and the first Chairman of the Board of IEDC in 2002. "As we're working to become the nation's preeminent economic development organization, we are honored by the IEDC's accreditation."

Earning the AEDO accreditation tells the community and business prospects that the Orlando EDC has attained a measure of excellence assuring that their trust is well-placed and their business is in good hands.

During the on-site visit in August, IEDC representatives met with EDC Chair Scott Faris, CEO of AeroSonix, Inc.; incoming Vice Chair David Fuller, Chairman, President and CEO of SunTrust Bank's Central Florida division; incoming Secretary/Treasurer Robert Utsey, Senior Vice President of Skanska USA Building; Orlando EDC Past Chair Lars Houmann, President and CEO of Florida Hospital; along with Orlando EDC Board members Orlando Evora, Co-managing Shareholder of GreenbergTraurig; Harold Mills, CEO of ZeroChaos; Mike Poteshman, Executive Vice President and CFO of Tupperware Brands Corp.; and Rasesh Thakkar, Senior Managing Director of Tavistock Group.

IEDC representatives also met with the EDC's Regional Economic Developers (RED) Team, a committee of the region's economic development professionals from the member counties/communities, higher education institutions, utility companies and workforce development organizations to learn more about how the EDC partners with the community. Additionally, they met with leaders from the newly created International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research and Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development organization.

Maintenance of the AEDO status is required every three years and is accomplished through documentation submission and/or on-site visits by a team of the AEDO subcommittee.

With a mission to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for the Orlando region, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership serving Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando. The Orlando EDC's vision is to champion a more prosperous and diverse economy, and since 1977 has successfully assisted thousands of companies locate or expand in Orlando. This has resulted in more than 176,750 jobs announced, $9.5 billion in capital investment and over 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.

The International Economic Development Council is the largest membership association serving economic and community development professionals in the world. With over 4,400 members nationwide and abroad, IEDC offers the economic development profession one source for information and professional development, one voice for the profession and one force for advocacy.

You can watch IEDC's full message to the Orlando EDC about its accreditation here.

September 25, 2014

Site Selection magazine spotlights Orlando

Filed in: Entrepreneur , General News , Idea People , Why Orlando? , Workforce

Orlando2012Skyline_SteveVaughn_web.jpgOrlando is on a roll. In fact, Michael Kruklinkski, Head of Region Americas for Siemens Real Estate, likes what the city has to offer.

In the article "Downtown Ain't Want It Used to Be" in September's issue of Site Selection magazine, Siemens said that they "felt we could find great internal and external resources, Spanish speakers, and good corporate connectivity to Central and South America."

When deciding earlier this year to move headquarters from Athens, Ohio, the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) narrowed its choices to four, from more than 30 cities. The filters proved to be tough: the new city had to be in the top 30 as measured by passenger count at an airport that was located within 30 miles; the cost of living index needed to be less than 120; the city had to project an entrepreneurial image; and it needed to have a strong ability to host events. Ultimately, Orlando won out.

With the changing landscape of the downtown scene, business decision makers say their key target becomes attracting and retaining millennials. Data compiled by Wendell Cox found a correlation of population growth between ages 20-29 and southeastern U.S. cities ranking at the top of the list. Rounding out the top 20 included Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Nashville.

Read the full article here.

September 25, 2014

'Game Changer:' UCF to pursue downtown Orlando campus


ucf_89268439_Small-548x365.jpgThe University of Central Florida will move forward with plans for an expanded downtown campus to enhance educational opportunities and stimulate downtown Orlando, UCF President John C. Hitt announced Tuesday.

Hitt described UCF's plans as a "game changer" for downtown. Valencia College will be a partner in the expansion, and approximately 10,000 students from the two schools could study downtown.

"Today, through another bold collaboration, we explore a vision for UCF in Orlando that could energize downtown and redefine its future," Hitt told a crowd of community and business leaders Tuesday at a downtown breakfast.

Read more about the downtown campus expansion plans on UCF's website.

September 24, 2014

About the
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The PR team at the Orlando EDC is your source for business news in Orlando, providing you with story ideas about trends, people and companies; statistical information and background; offering expert sources; and connecting you with community leaders.

Media Contact: Laureen Martinez
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