Economy Slam Dunk
Basketball or no basketball this winter, there's still magic at downtown Orlando’s year-old Amway Center.
By virtue of success as a strategic partnership between government and business, the arena—home to the NBA's Orlando Magic—received an Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council and a Merit Award from the International Downtown Association. The awards program annually recognizes the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and most influential leaders. The program honors organizations and individuals in 28 categories for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities.
The city of Orlando also received an Excellence in Economic Development honor for its Pathways for Parramore initiative, which focuses on revitalization of downtown Orlando’s Parramore Heritage community in five key areas: housing, public safety, business development, children and education, and quality of life.
In gaining the recognition for economic development, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer cited a “unique spirit of public-private cooperation” that set the stage for “unprecedented development.” And he promises more of the same.
Time (Warner) for Expansion
Look for Time Warner in Hillsborough County, and if you're seeking a job, inquire within.
TW Business Services, a unit of Time Warner, will locate a shared services in the county and hire up to 500 people (with an average $57,200 salary). The company will begin hiring human resources and information technology employees in 2012.
With an expected opening of late 2012, the company plans to spend $5 million on new facilities. At press time, a site wasn't yet determined, although Tampa, Temple Terrace and unincorporated Hillsborough County were reportedly under consideration. The planned facility will eliminate duplication of services across the company's various divisions, making its operations more efficient and cost-effective. In return for locating in Hillsborough, the company will receive about $3 million in state and local tax incentives.
Time Warner—operator of the world's largest movie and television studio, along with the largest magazine publisher, Time Inc., and several cable networks—considered 59 locations for this project; finalist locations were in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and New York. Tampa is already home to a Time Warner company, Time Customer Service Inc., a subscription fulfillment operation for Time magazine.
At a time when research funding is hard to come by, a University of Central Florida and University of Florida partnership has landed almost $5.5 million in highly competitive National Institutes of Health grants for hemophilia research.
The first grant, worth $3.6 million over five years, is aimed at determining whether a green technique pioneered at UCF will help improve treatment of hemophilia A. The second grant, worth $2 million for four years, will fund similar research on hemophilia B. The grants were awarded to UCF and UF, which applied for funding jointly thanks to a long-time collaboration between scientists at the two institutions. Duke University also is a partner in the research on hemophilia A.
Hemophilia is an incurable bleeding condition that affects about 400,000 adults and children worldwide. Treating it is challenging and dangerous because many patients suffer fatal allergic reactions to the protein that doctors use to facilitate blood clotting. The scientists are working on a way to make patients resistant to any deadly allergic reactions caused by the protein. Treatments with the protein are also expensive, with average annual treatments costing in the $60,000 to $150,000 range for one patient, according to the National Hemophilia Foundation.
Rx for Growth
Florida Hospital, founded more than 100 years ago and already the flagship of the Adventist Health System, continues to broaden its footprint.
Most recently, University Community Health changed its name and joined Florida Hospital Zephyrhills and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel to form the new Florida Hospital Tampa Bay Division. Over the next five years, the division will invest approximately $500 million in Tampa Bay to complete clinical and facility enhancements across the system. The investments will include opening a new emergency department at Florida Hospital Tampa (formerly University Community Health), becoming a comprehensive stroke center at Florida Hospital Tampa and Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, and opening a new hospital and fitness center in Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. The opening of the Wesley Chapel hospital, slated for fall 2012, will create 400 new jobs and infuse additional economic growth into the area through development spinoff.
Since December 2010, intent on attracting top talent, the Florida Hospital Tampa Bay Division has been conducting a salary market survey and review to ensure that all employees are at competitive local and regional wages, and upgrading employee salaries if they’re below fair market value. Also for the past year, the division has focused on developing strategic partnerships, including one with USF Health, to provide greater access to healthcare while developing research. Another key investment is the implementation of systemwide electronic medical records and physician orders for increased patient safety and faster, more accurate access to information.
In total, the Florida Hospital Tampa Bay Division has 1,003 beds.
Information for Insomniacs
According to The CIO Insomnia Project, a recently released research initiative from Robert Half Technology, nearly one-quarter of chief information officers cited data security as the primary worry keeping them up at night, and 13 percent cited hardware and/or operating system upgrades. The research project examined the most pressing technology concerns of and WAS based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 U.S. CIOs.
Other findings: 65 percent of CIOs estimated that the average company experiences three or more IT security breaches per year; 37 percent plan to implement hardware or software upgrades as the economy improves; 63 percent said understaffing at least somewhat affects their company’s ability to implement innovative technologies; 34 percent said they were at least somewhat concerned about losing top IT performers to other job opportunities in the next year; and 10 percent said that managing a heavy workload is the top concern keeping them up at night.
Given the wealth of IT across the region, don't sleep on this information.
An Intermodal First
More green is spreading across the Port of Tampa.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P., the Tampa Port Authority and CSX Corp. are engaging in an innovative, public-private partnership project that will bring ethanol into the Tampa market more efficiently and safely via the nation’s first ethanol unit train-to-pipeline distribution system.
The joint intermodal project involves the Tampa Port building new rail track and support infrastructure to handle 100-car unit train deliveries and a multiproduct unit train offloading yard at Hooker’s Point in the Port of Tampa. The new rail facilities will allow CSX to transport ethanol from Midwest producers to Central Florida in 100-car unit trains that can then be offloaded within a 24-hour period into Kinder Morgan’s Tampa Terminal, where it will be distributed to numerous blend terminals and to new markets via pipeline.
The project reduces the ethanol delivery carbon footprint through a more efficient use of rail capacity and pipeline movements and is a safer method of transport than trucks for local deliveries, according to officials. Further, the project promotes use of biofuels, known for having less impact to air quality. Beyond the transport of fuels, the rail project allows the Tampa Port Authority to move containers and other general cargoes directly from dock to rail. Adjacent to the expanding Port of Tampa Container Terminal, the new facility creates an on-dock unit train capability for containers. This ultimately extends the port’s container hinterland potential, providing competitive access throughout CSX Intermodal’s extensive network.
Not surprisingly, Richard Wainio, port director and chief executive, comments: “This first-of-its-kind intermodal project represents an all around win-win for the Port of Tampa, terminal operators, the consuming public and the environment.”
Tampa Bay Shines
With a strong conviction that Tampa Bay has much to celebrate and be proud of, leaders from around the Tampa Bay region have launched “Together Tampa Bay Shines,” a community pride campaign.
Frustrated that perceptions about Tampa Bay don't show a true picture of the region’s strengths and attributes, leaders have opted to take a proactive approach to build broader awareness and community pride in the region’s collective strengths. The campaign focuses around building a forum to collect, compile, share and celebrate the many reasons why citizens believe Tampa Bay Shines. A Facebook campaign page has also been launched, where visitors can submit their own stories and shining facts about Tampa Bay (www.TampaBayShines.com).
For example, did you know that according to a KPMG business cost study, the Tampa Bay market is the least expensive large city in the United States for doing business? That's right. KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives study measured 26 significant cost components over a 10-year planning horizon. Oh, and the Tampa Bay region holds the record for most consecutive days of sunshine, 768 days, to be exact.
Those are two among many other facts that will receive new light.
Ten companies were honored by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission as part of the 2011 William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Awards. The annual awards, named after the late William C. Schwartz, a local pioneer in the field of optics and photonics, recognize companies that have a significant effect on the region through innovation. Two recipients were selected from each of the three counties served by the EDC, and two were named from Orlando. In addition, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council presented an innovation award, while a special award went to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The other nine winners: E.R. Precision Optical and Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando; Lockheed Martin Corp. and n-Space Inc., Orange County; Seminole County Public Schools and XOS Digital Inc. of Lake Mary, Seminole County; the City of Tavares and WattNext Inc., Lake County; and Orlando-based VaxDesign, which won the tech council's award.
WUSF Public Media is collaborating with National Public Radio, along with other public broadcasting stations in Florida as well as the Florida College Access Network on a new initiative called StateImpact Florida. The local-national journalism pilot project is focused on the impact that education policies in Florida have on the economy, communities and people. All media platforms will have access to the reporting produced during the project.
File this under “A community comes together.” More than 1,700 corporate and community volunteers from more than 40 local businesses and organizations rolled up their sleeves to work on nearly 70 projects at 26 local nonprofit agencies throughout Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties during United Way Days of Caring 2011 in late September. Organized by Heart of Florida United Way, the effort connected businesses, organizations and individuals with volunteer opportunities to help those in need. Projects included reading to children, cooking breakfast for seniors, repairing homes and building playgrounds, among other activities designed to “make a difference.”
How are companies using social media to build awareness? Here's one way, and it benefited more than the company. The Orlando Utilities Commission held a “Random Acts of Greenness Contest” earlier this year, promoting the importance of conservation and of energy and water efficiency by encouraging people to create 30-second videos to share what they do to help the environment. Submissions were uploaded to Facebook, and the video with the most votes was chosen to star in OUC’s next conservation commercial (which will air later this year). The winner was “A Green Romance,” a music video spoof from local Orlando residents. OUC saw a more than 300 percent increase in its Facebook “likes” over the course of the contests and received 16 video submissions with a total of 1,320 votes.
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg has been named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's “2011
Great Colleges to Work For” program in the Compensation and Benefits category. Among Eckerd's notable related features is the college’s contribution of 10 percent of the salary to the retirement account of any employee who participates in a retirement fund option, regardless of whether the employee contributes anything to the account.
Twenty-four clients of GrowFL, a program administered by UCF’s Florida Economic Gardening Institute, placed in the 2011 Inc. magazine 500/5000, a ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. GrowFL companies account for nearly 14 percent of the top 500 Florida companies and 11 percent of the top 5000 Florida companies. The GrowFL program offers a suite of services including business strategy review, market research and competitive intelligence, Internet/social media strategy and search engine optimization.