Lake County Archives

Where we've been

Filed in: City of Orlando , Defense , Events , General News , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Seminole County , Simulation

Whether it's in D.C., New Orleans or here at home, the EDC is always on the mission to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for the Metro Orlando region. Here is a sampling of where we've been the last few weeks.

wftv-sm.jpgRick Weddle, President and CEO, flew to Washington, D.C. with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Tom Baptiste, Executive Director of the National Center of Simulation, to meet with Representative John Mica and Central Florida's legislative delegation. The duo were there to represent Team Orlando, the group of military commands based in Orlando, and to discuss the effect of sequestration and the potential impact of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) cuts that could happen in 2015. They stressed the importance of Orlando's strong defense industry and its unique collaborative environment. Both then appeared on WFTV's "Central Florida Spotlight" program talking about the effects of sequestration. Click here to view the episode.

Holly Wiedman, Executive Vice President of Business Development, spent time in New Orleans, La., for the Site Selectors Guild Conference, the largest gathering of site consultants (who advise businesses on new location decisions) in the world.

Back home in Metro Orlando, the EDC:

  • Attended City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's (left) annual "State of the City" address on the heels of the mayor's 10 year anniversary as mayor of Orlando.
  • Attended the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce's annual State of Seminole County hosted in partnership with the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners. The event highlighted Seminole County's past achievements, present successes and future opportunities and plans.
  • Attended GrayRobinson's Community Leader Forum featuring Lake County Chairman Leslie Campione.
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  • Helped wish Bill McDermott (right with Commissioner Carlton Henley), former Seminole County Director of Economic Development, a happy retirement. The EDC was there to help thank Bill for his more than 10 years of service to Seminole County.
  • Hosted the Leadership Class of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the EDC works with the local and national media to promote Metro Orlando as a business destination.
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  • Attended the welcoming celebration for the new Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Nolan (left).

March 12, 2013

Governor Scott Highlights Economic Growth: Metro Orlando area unemployment rate is the lowest in four years

Filed in: Trends , City of Orlando , General News , Jobs , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Rankings , Seminole County , Workforce

TALLAHASSEE-- Governor Rick Scott highlighted that the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area's (MSA) unemployment rate continued declining to 7.6 percent in December 2012, a 2.0 percentage point decrease from the year ago rate and the lowest rate since November 2008. The area also ranked second among all 22 metro areas in nonagricultural job creation during the same time period. Since December 2010, the metro area's unemployment rate has declined 3.3 percentage points from 10.9 percent.

Governor Rick Scott said, "We're seeing continued economic growth in communities throughout the state, highlighted by an improving housing market and a decline in unemployment. I'm committed to recruiting new businesses to Florida and providing our state's skilled and talented workforce with more opportunities to find employment, provide for their families and pursue the American dream."

Senator David Simmons, Chair of the Seminole County Delegation, said, "It is clear that Florida is continuing to move in the right direction. Governor Scott has kept true to his promise of creating jobs and opportunities for Florida's families."

Metro Orlando EDC President & CEO Rick Weddle said, "We are extremely proud of the success our region has had in creating opportunities for our residents and businesses, and we are appreciative of the support from Governor Scott and our state partners. We have the lowest unemployment rate in four years, are experiencing significant job growth and our housing market is continuing to rebound. We look forward to continuing this positive momentum and identifying more ways that we can grow and diversify our region."

The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA gained a total of 18,900 nonagricultural jobs over the year, leading all metro areas in job gains in leisure and hospitality (+7,500) and trade, transportation and utilities (+4,500). These data are not seasonally adjusted. The Orlando metro area experienced over the year gains in construction (+800 jobs), the fourth month Orlando showed job gains in construction following 68 consecutive months of losses.

Housing starts in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA increased by 46.7 percent in November 2012 (the latest available data) compared to a year ago, while over the month, housing starts were down by 22.2 percent.

Over the past year, Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties have all seen significant decreases in their unemployment rates. Osceola County led the way with a 2.4 percentage point decline, going from 11.0 percent to 8.6 percent. Lake County was second with a 2.3 percentage point drop, from 10.4 percent to 8.1 percent. Orange County's rate dropped 2.0 percentage points from 9.5 percent to 7.5 percent and Seminole County's rate went from 8.8 percent to 7.0 percent, a 1.8 percentage point drop.

Orange County also had the second-highest online job demand in Florida in December 2012 and ranked fourth in demand for STEM-related occupations in the state. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and these jobs are considered high wage and high skill.

Also in December, Workforce Central Florida along with the state's other 23 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 42,000 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a One-Stop Career Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 12,372 previously received Reemployment Assistance. In 2012, more than 426,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with nearly 111,173 former claimants finding employment.

Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.0 percent for the month of December - down 0.1 percentage point from last month and the lowest since November 2008. The December 2012 rate was 1.9 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 9.9 percent. Since December 2010, the state's unemployment rate has dropped 3.1 percentage points.

To view the December 2012 monthly employment data, visit:

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state's economic, workforce and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit

January 20, 2013

Innovative Companies Selected for EDC's Schwartz Awards

Filed in: Manufacturing , Aviation , Biotech / Life science , City of Orlando , Defense , Digital Media , Events , General News , Lake County , Manufacturing , Optics and photonics , Orange County , Seminole County

Each year, the EDC recognizes local companies who have had a significant impact on the region and in their respective fields for innovative practices, products and/or ideas with the William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Award.

schwartz.jpgNamed in honor of the late William C. Schwartz, an avid community leader in Orlando, business pioneer and innovator within the field of optics and photonics, the annual awards program honors recipients from each of the three counties served by the EDC - Orange, Seminole and Lake counties - and from the City of Orlando. In addition, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council presents an award for innovation.

The recipients of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission's 2012 William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Awards will be honored Thursday, September 6 at SeaWorld Ports of Call during a luncheon, click here to register.

This year's winners include:

Florida Hospital - City of Orlando
Florida Hospital, headquartered in the City of Orlando, has continually worked to improve patient care and advance health care technologies in our community for over 100 years. Their Nicholson Center trains tens of thousands of physicians worldwide and leads the way in developing, incubating and accelerating next generation clinical knowledge, technology and treatments for the global community. Florida Hospital is also home to one of the world's most technologically advanced operating rooms. Located at Florida Hospital's Neuroscience Institute, the "InnovatOR" suite is helping physicians improve patient care and assisting in surgical innovations. In addition, Florida Hospital recently partnered with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to bring the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI) to life.

Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. - Seminole County
A long-time member of Central Florida's industrial manufacturing community, Sanford-based Hernon Manufacturing developed a new ammunition water-proofing method and a clean and continuous method to dispense sealants to bullets. These technologies are affordable and efficient for Hernon's Department of Defense clients to help keep warfighters and law enforcement agents safe in the line of duty. Recent adopters of Hernon's technologies are the U.S. Navy Seals, other U.S. Special Forces and SWAT teams across the country, and the U.S. Army and NATO are currently evaluating them for all their ammunition manufacturing.

Lightpath Technologies - Orange County
Central Florida Research Park-based Lightpath Technologies pioneered the development of precision glass molded chalcogenide lens, which has a significant cost advantage to previous technologies while providing higher quality optics and superior performance. The glass molded lenses can be used in numerous infrared optics applications such as thermal imaging, security and surveillance, target tracking and identification and automotive vision enhancement. They are an industrial affiliate of the University of Central Florida and an active member of the Florida Photonics Cluster.

Skybolt Aeromotive Corporation - Lake County
Serving the racing and aerospace industries, Skybolt's stainless steel and "Skytanium" panel fasteners are among the top-rated conversion parts in the market. With three trademarks and two patents for their innovations, Skybolt's products are currently being used by industries where "weight is everything". Their Skytanium alloy has the strength of steel but with 50-55 percent of the weight. Organizations such as NASCAR are using these fasteners to reduce their cars' weight while aerospace companies such as Boeing and Airbus are utilizing this technology to lower their fuel costs.

EA SPORTS - Florida High Tech Corridor Council
EA SPORTS is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with award-winning interactive technology, global video game competitions, breakthrough digital experiences and top-selling video game franchises including Madden NFL football and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf. Its EA-Tiburon studio in Metro Orlando has fostered the development of Central Florida's high tech and digital media industry thanks to partnerships that created the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and the new EA SPORTS Innovation Lab.

August 17, 2012

Lake County's tie to the 2012 Olympic Games

Filed in: Biotech / Life science , General News , Lake County

The 2012 Olympic Games kicked-off in London Friday, July 27. During the games, twelve professional track and field athletes with connections to Lake County will compete, including three Team USA members -- Tyson Gay, Kellie Wells and Justin Gatlin. The athletes all trained for the Olympics right here in Clermont at the National Training Center, part of South Lake Hospital, in partnership with Orlando Health.

OlympicsSince opening in 2001, thousands of athletes have trained at the National Training Center with world-renowned coaches to maximize their potential and give them a competitive edge through sports science testing at the Human Performance Lab.

Students in the health and wellness program at nearby Lake-Sumter Community College find the National Training Center to be a "living lab". And when you factor in the plans that Lake County has for the upcoming "Wellness Way" initiative, you have a combination that is making Central Florida's growing health and wellness industry tops.

And this is only part of the story. The health and wellness industry also includes:

  • Research underway at Lake Nona Medical City -- particularly on diabetes, obesity and heart disease

  • Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's Translational Research Institute (TRI) for Metabolism and Diabetes working to bring faster results from research (bench) to patients (bedside)

  • Orlando Health's M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute

July 30, 2012

Increased Collaboration the Key to Economic Recovery

Filed in: Events , General News , Lake County

Lake County's Office of Economic Development and Tourism hosted their first-ever Economic Development Summit at the Mission Inn Resort & Club located in Howey-in-the-Hills on Monday, November 14. Attended by over 250 business and community leaders, the day-long event featured nationally renowned speakers who presented best practices in workforce development, economic development, site selection and strategic planning.

While much of the day focused on the economic realities facing the region, nation and world right now, Scott Blakenship, director of Lake County's Office of Economic Development, emphasized that increased collaboration and partnership is the key to successful economic recovery.

Dr. Charles Mojock, president of Lake-Sumter Community College and EDC board member, served as the master of ceremonies for the event designed to lead Lake County into a successful 2012. Speakers included: EDC President and CEO Rick Weddle; Jay A. Garner, Garner Economics, LLC; Debra Lyons, ACT; Sean Snaith, Ph.D., University of Central Florida; Ed Morrison, Center for Regional Development at Purdue University; and B. Thomas Mancuso, SIOR, Batavia Industrial Center and real estate professional.

November 18, 2011

One of the Largest Solar Farms in the U.S. Coming to Lake County

Filed in: Trends , Clean Tech / Green , Economic Development Projects , General News , Innovative Companies , Lake County

BlueChip Energy, LLC a fully-integrated solar energy provider for utility, commercial, and residential applications, recently received approval for rezoning of the 201 acres of land it purchased for the development of a 40 megawatt solar farm in Lake County. This facility will be the largest privately owned solar farm in the State of Florida and one of the largest in the United States.

The EDC facilitated a meeting with Blue Chip and Lake County to take advantage of their fast-track permitting. Dimitri Nikitin, president of BlueChip Energy said, "We were pleased with Lake County's fast-track permitting process. Lake County was diligent, thorough, and their review was comprehensive. We were able to move through their rezoning process in a couple of months as compared to a year as I have seen in other areas."

Power generated from the solar plant will displace over 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and generate an estimated 64 million kilowatt hours per year - enough to fulfill the average annual electricity needs for approximately 8,000 typical Florida homes. The power produced will be sold to Progress Energy Florida under a Power Purchase Agreement.

July 21, 2011

Company Growth Plans Spell JOBS for Central Florida

Filed in: City of Orlando , Economic Development Projects , General News , Jobs , Lake County , Orange County , Projects , Seminole County

To attract, retain and grow jobs for Metro Orlando. That is the mission of the Metro Orlando EDC; and it is what our community is most concerned about in today's economy. So we are pleased to share news of companies throughout our region who have announced plans to expand and add jobs. Your EDC has worked with each of these companies, and though the economic impact won't be realized immediately - companies provide anticipated job creation and other impact numbers over three to five years - their plans bring welcome signs of optimism.

In Seminole County, software company plans to add 75 new jobs at their Winter Springs facility over the next three years. Working with the EDC and Seminole State College, the company, which provides online distribution software to the hospitality industry in 92 countries, has qualified for a QRT training grant to assist with their expansion plans. And, Longwood-based Calvert Manufacturing has announced plans to expand their existing facility and create 18 new jobs over the next three years. Calvert, which is a leading heavy equipment manufacturer that has served the U.S. plywood industry since 1946, specializes in new and rebuilt "green-end" equipment.

In Lake County, Visions@Work has announced plans to add 97 new jobs within three years. This Clermont-based company links e-business with information systems for healthcare organizations. Their new product launch of "Prefer" allows doctors, hospitals and medical labs to more efficiently manage the medical referral process. They have recently opened a second office in Downtown Orlando and entered into a partnership with NIIT Technologies to headquarter their worldwide Health Information Technology operations in Central Florida.

In Orange County, Utah-headquartered Innovative Medical Device Solutions (IMDS) has announced plans to establish their "co-innovation headquarters" in the Central Florida Research Park. The company, which was originally referred to the Metro Orlando EDC through a member of our bioOrlando Council, chose this region based on its growing life sciences cluster, world class airport and quality of life. IMDS, which specializes in medical device development and manufacturing, indicates that they will bring 35 jobs, mostly in engineering and production, to Central Florida within three years.

With the help of fast-track permitting from the City of Orlando, nutraceutical sales company Xymogen, based in Central Florida since 1991, will expand their business and build a 72,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Kingspointe Parkway near John Young and the Turnpike. This fast growing company, which has experienced over 22 percent growth annually, has also announced plans to add 58 new jobs within three years. The company is developer of the patented XYMOGEN® line of professional formulas, which are distributed exclusively to licensed healthcare providers.

October 21, 2010

Lake County Company Enlisted to Vacuum Oil from Gulf

Filed in: Clean Tech / Green , Lake County

Almost immediately after receiving the call last month from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for clean-up equipment, Okahumpka, Florida-based Vac-Tron, the world's largest portable industrial vacuum equipment manufacturer, sent a fleet of equipment to the Gulf Coast region. Now the company is gearing up to increase production of specially-outfitted oil spill cleanup equipment - including a product called "Beach Vac"- to be deployed immediately for the extensive effort in the Gulf and beyond.

"The industrial vacuum is a safe, simple and cost-effective method of cleaning oil from the surface of the water as well as tar balls that wash ashore," said Don Buckner, CEO of Vac-Tron. "Using a skimmer held above the surface, the Vac-Tron equipment rapidly collects oil into a tank which can then be transported to a processing facility."

The Lake County-headquartered company's products are distributed in all 50 states through 40 plus national dealers and 120 dealer outlets. Equipment is available for dozens of wet and dry industrial, private and municipal uses including physical location of underground utility lines; industrial cleanup, man-hole, lateral and storm drain clean-out; and natural disaster cleanup.

To view video of this local company's efforts in the oil spill cleanup, click here.

June 21, 2010

Visions@Work For Lake County

Filed in: Biotech / Life science , Lake County

Doctor's offices throughout Lake County will be the testing ground for a new online physician referral service that could one day soon set the standard for patient referrals and monitoring. Visions@Work - a Clermont-based company that develops custom software - has a new product called Preffer, which they have offered free for one year to physicians throughout the county. The Preffer software has also been given to Lake-Sumter Community College for use in LSCC's new pilot training program for Electronic Health Records Support Technician.

Believe it or not, paper referrals are still the norm among doctors, a reality that can make tracking of patient care difficult once they are referred to a specialist. Visions@Work's online referral service eliminates manual system inefficiencies by allowing physicians to electronically manage referrals.

With one in six workers employed in the healthcare industry, Lake County rivals other major metros known for medical services. That makes this Central Florida community an optimal testing ground for a medical advancement which could ultimately lead to cost savings, improved patient satisfaction and stronger provider relationships throughout the healthcare industry, both here and worldwide.

This unique partnership was the brainchild of the EDC's Lake County Economic Development Advisory Council. The Council's Health and Wellness sub-committee identified the need to assist our healthcare community with electronic health record requirements and training that were legislated in 2004, and the Council's marketing and workforce sub-committees helped them connect to Visions@Work.

According to Dr. Chuck Mojock, President of LSCC and Chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Council: "The project, which is funded through WORKFORCE CENTRAL FLORIDA's New & Emerging Industries Program, is a perfect example of creating partnerships that are win-win-win. Everyone benefits from the collaboration."

November 3, 2009

Innovative Companies Recognized

Filed in: Biotech / Life science , Events , General News , Innovative Companies , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Seminole County

Eight companies in Metro Orlando were honored by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) with the 2009 William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Award on September 17, 2009.

The annual award program recognizes innovative companies who have had a significant impact on the region and in their respective fields for innovative practices, products and/or ideas.

The program is named in honor of the late William C. Schwartz, an avid community leader, business pioneer and innovator within the field of optics and photonics.

"Cultivating innovative thinking helps drive the economy and is critical to the long term economic growth of the region," said Ray Gilley, president and CEO of the EDC. "We are proud to remember [William C. Schwartz] and his great spirit though this awards program."

Recipients come from each of the four counties served by the EDC - Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties - and from the City of Orlando. In addition, awards were also presented to judges award winners and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council's Award for Innovation.

One of the top passenger airports in the world noticed a security issue when bags that had been on the claim device began making their way back into the "secure" area of the airport. Lake County based G & T Conveyor surveyed the situation and created a solution called the "secure claim device". It utilizes a merging system designed to eliminate the security issue, plus adds energy conservation and quicker customer turnaround.

A prime example of the type of company included in City of Orlando's vision of a Creative Village is 360Ed, an educational software development company that has leveraged Orlando's unique position in digital media, training, simulation and virtual education through developing a high school level full-credit videogame course in American History.

Orange County based Smart City Telecom partnered with Florida Hospital to provide hospital specific content on televisions in patient rooms, the first of its kind. This customization of television is believed to be a competitive advantage to better educate patients and help improve patient satisfaction.

In Seminole County, the City of Oviedo implemented a water conservation effort known as the H2Oviedo Water Conservation Incentive. The program is the first of its kind in Central Florida and it offers incentives in the form of rebates to residents for retrofitting existing landscaping, wasteful water-use devices and high water-use irrigation systems with more efficient ones. It is a win-win environmental initiative for the community where residents learn new ways to save water and money while becoming stewards for their community.

Over ten years ago, INViSiON Industries created the world's first overhead video system with a built-in monitor for vehicle entertainment and set the standard for all others who are now involved with rear seat entertainment. As the demand for these entertainment systems increases, it should come as no surprise that INViSiON recently announced they plan to expand their corporate headquarters by adding 100 employees in Osceola County.

Judges' awards

Children's Home Society of Florida received an award for their annual Florida Innovation Symposium. This one day conference made possible through the donation of Siemens' Spaceship Earth Conference Center at Walt Disney World's EPCOT. Several partnerships between organizations have been the result of the annual gathering, including collaborations between Children's Home Society, Orange County Domestic Violence Program and Harbor House that lead to a more coordinated focus on child and family advocacy programs.

AT & T was recognized for their generous donation to the Parramore Kidz Zone project. With their donation, the Parramore Kidz Zone was able to enhance computer accessibility for schoolchildren at "homework rooms" throughout the community. In addition, the program was able to expand the access of children to attend the University of Central Florida "CREATE U" program, giving students access to learn how to create digital videos about their lives.

Florida High Tech Corridor Council Award for Innovation

Lockheed Martin was recognized for serving as an innovation leader with a history of stimulating technology growth in our region. Lockheed Martin is one of the largest partners in the Council's Matching Grants Research Program. Over the program's 13-year history, Lockheed Martin has funded more than $5 million in matched research dollars, on 73 projects with 37 faculty members at two of our three Corridor universities, UCF and UF.

Medical Markers

This year, as part of the EDC's award ceremony, bioOrlando - an EDC led initiative aimed at stimulating the life science and biotechnology industry in Metro Orlando - announced the inaugural class of 'medical marker' recipients. This program is designed to build awareness of the growing presence of biotech and life science companies in Metro Orlando with a physical marker designation.

The inaugural recipients include:

Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, The Tavistock Group, Florida Blood Centers, VaxDesign, Curascript, Triad Isotopes, Virtual Reality Medical Center, Emergency Medicine & Learning Resource Center, Cord:Use, National Training Center, Health Central, .decimal and South Lake Hospital.

September 17, 2009

Incubators Are Hatching

Filed in: Trends , Entrepreneur , Innovative Companies , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Seminole County

Attraction, retention, creation. Those "big three" strategies in economic development are all equally important to growing and diversifying an economy.

Here in Metro Orlando, the creation component of this three-pronged approach most often begins when an entrepreneur with a good idea finds his or her way to the University of Central Florida's Business Incubation Network. Since its founding in 1999, this UCF program, which was named best in the nation in 2004, has helped more than 100 emerging companies (including nearly 70 current clients) create over $500 million in annual revenue and more than 1,600 new jobs.

And more is on the way. Last week, UCF, the City of St. Cloud and Osceola County broke ground on its Business, Technology and Research Center, which will be located at Stevens Plantation in St. Cloud. Upon opening in early 2010, the new 14,000 square feet facility will be the 8th in the University's Incubator Network. In a reflection of true partnership, Osceola County has committed $675,000 in funding to the Incubator over a five year period, and the county's economic development team will work closely with UCF in marketing this great new resource.

The UCF Business Incubator - Lake County/Leesburg is another recent addition to the network. This facility, whose newest client is Green Solar Solutions, focuses on supporting growth of companies in three of Lake County's targeted industry sectors: clean tech, agritech, and life sciences. Along with mentoring and management counseling, incubator clients are provided with office furniture, equipment, and other resources to help get them off on the right foot. The Small Business Development Center and Florida High Tech Corridor Council are also partners in this Lake County-based program.

The network is growing in Seminole County as well. Already home to a facility in Winter Springs, UCF announced plans to open the UCF/Sanford Business Incubator at 110 West First Street. The 4,000-square-foot space will be located in the center of Sanford's historic district. Like the others, this program will focus on emerging business enterprises that exhibit potential for growth and development. The Sanford facility is slated to open in September 2009.

According to Tom O'Neal, executive director of the Incubator network: "Our job is to help businesses create jobs. Business incubation is an efficient strategy to help improve the local economy, and the benefits are long-lasting."

The Metro Orlando EDC works closely with O'Neal and each of his facility directors to support growing companies throughout the incubation period and beyond. Our shared goal is ensuring the right environment and resources necessary to help companies build and stand on their own, eventually resulting in thousands of new jobs for citizens throughout Metro Orlando.

August 19, 2009

Local Film Named Best in Florida

Filed in: Film , General News , Lake County , Osceola County

This Man's Life, which filmed on locations including the historic Amtrak Station in downtown Orlando and the Inland Lakes Railways Station in Mount Dora, has been named BEST FLORIDA FILM at the 2009 Rhode Island International Film Festival. The production company behind the film, Stars North™, is based in Celebration, making this company another Central Florida success story.

Directed by Todd Thompson, the film stars Michael Rooker, Bill Cobbs and Betsy Brantley. It follows the story of a man traveling home to claim his father's inheritance when he meets a stranger who seems to know everything about his life. Smithy Sipes co-produced the film with Thompson, who also penned the screenplay with the help of co-writer Peter Raymundo.

The EDC's Film & Entertainment Commission worked with filmmakers throughout production, assisting with site location and permitting.

August 10, 2009

Orlando Tops the Charts

Filed in: Trends , Entrepreneur , General News , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Rankings , Seminole County

Orlando has received a plethora of accolades lately. From a "top place to start a business" to "where the jobs are" to "best place to live" and beyond. Here are a few of the rankings Orlando has received:

Entrepreneur magazine named Orlando as one of the "top ten places to start a business."

Money magazine ranks Lake County, FL #8 on their newest list of "where the jobs are," a compilation of the 25 counties that have experienced the most job growth over the last eight years.

The cities of Lake Mary and Oviedo are named among Money magazine's "Top 100 Best Places to Live" in the magazine's list of America's best small towns.

Forbes names Orlando a "best city for technology jobs", noting: "Where is the tech-sector growth? It's in less-celebrated areas of the country...By region, the fastest gainers turned out to be places like Orlando, Fla."

Florida ranks fourth in the nation in terms of high-tech employment, with 20,000 doctoral scientists and engineers and more than 276,000 high-tech workers, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center.

Orlando is a "hotspot for young professionals" to live and work in the U.S. according to Next Generation Consulting. Since 1998, Next Generation Consulting has studied the relocation patterns of 20-40 year olds. Young professionals increasingly look for quality of life factors when deciding where to live. Next Generation Consulting ranked the cities based on a combined index of opportunities for earning, learning, vitality, around town, after hours, cost of lifestyle and social capital.

For more Metro Orlando rankings, click here.

July 22, 2009

Innovation Orlando - Call for Nominations

Filed in: General News , Innovative Companies , Lake County , Orange County , Osceola County , Seminole County

Successful innovation is a driving force behind expanding and diversifying our economy. Every day in Metro Orlando, innovative local companies are putting imagination to work - pioneering new products, solving problems creatively, partnering in previously untried ways. Those are the success stories that our annual Innovation Awards program is designed to uncover and celebrate. We need your help in identifying these companies and their innovations.

The EDC is now seeking nominations for our 2009 William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Awards, which will honor one innovative company from each county in the region - Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola - as well as the City of Orlando. Awards will be announced at a luncheon on Thursday, September 17th at the Sheraton Orlando North in Maitland.

Click here for more information and to download the nomination form. Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m. on July 31st.

July 6, 2009

Movie filmed in Metro Orlando premieres

Filed in: Economic Development Projects , Film , Lake County

Away We Go, a feature film shot on location in Metro Orlando, premiered in theaters this past weekend. The movie, which filmed primarily at a home on Lake Harris in Leesburg, stars two popular actors, Maya Rudolph of Saturday Night Live and John Krasinski of The Office. It was directed by Sam Mendes, who received the Best Director Academy Award for American Beauty.

Originally dubbed "Farlanders," the story follows a thirty-something couple on a journey to find the best place to raise their child. The EDC's Film & Entertainment Commission worked closely with film producers on site selection, permitting and vendor identification. The movie was shot over two days, employing 120 local crew members, two local actors and six extras.

June 22, 2009

Learn more about green initiatives

Filed in: Clean Tech / Green , General News , Lake County

Interested in learning more about the impact of green initiatives on our lives and our economy?

The Magic of Landscapes conference, to be held on Friday, June 26th in South Lake County, will focus on how quality landscapes and other quality of life factors help our region differentiate itself as we compete worldwide for business investment and corporate locations.

For example, did you know:

  • Trees and grass maintenance can increase the sense of safety in neighborhoods.
  • Quality landscapes can reduce temperatures, remove air pollutants and improve water quality.
  • Green space has proven to promote emotional and physical healing and to have a positive impact on children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
  • A federal congressional committee recommended environmental immersion as the number one strategy for improving U.S. schools.
  • Students taking standardize tests score higher when they have a view of green space.

To learn more or to register, click here.

June 8, 2009

Solar powered innovation

Filed in: Clean Tech / Green , Innovative Companies , Lake County

rubestation.jpgTechnology and research advances are being made every day in Metro Orlando. And the "clean tech" industry is a bright spot for innovation.

RubeLab, a Lake County think tank specialized in advancing environmentally-friendly innovations and solutions, has built a solar-powered recharge station for electric cars and golf carts in downtown Eustis.

The charging station - dubbed RubeStation - accommodates three slots for small electric cars and features a pedestrian bench and shelter. There is 200 square feet of photovoltaic array of panels that produce approximately 3,000 watts of energy from the sun.

Building Lake County's clean tech industry is a key objective of the county's recently adopted strategic economic development plan.

June 4, 2009

Former Olympian making a difference in health and well-being of others

Filed in: Biotech / Life science , Idea People , Lake County , Research and Development

Two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2000) prove softball is very, very good to Dot Richardson. Singled out as a star with the first U.S. hit and the first softball homerun in Olympic history, she was an NBC commentator at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, delivering play-by-play as her former U.S. Women's Softball Team won its third consecutive gold medal.

However, as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Richardson has a more enduring and direct impact on the lives of other American and international athletes of all sports. That includes Central Florida residents who want to improve fitness and athletic prowess. As medical director of the National Training Center (NTC), part of a 300-acre sports, health and education campus in Clermont, Fla., west of Orlando, Richardson establishes the vision and goals for this nonprofit branch of South Lake Hospital. Her focus is on state-of-the-art facilities,
sports science, performance programs and research in adolescent obesity, activity levels and shoulder injuries.

Read more

October 2, 2008

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