For short, the facility goes by the name of CAMLS. Yet, it could just as well be JOBS.
This month, the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation opens in downtown Tampa. Initially, CAMLS brings some 150 new jobs; officials, though, believe many more will arrive in the form of healthcare and training companies.
The 90,000-square-foot center is focused on training and testing healthcare workers on ultramodern medical simulators and contains a virtual care center where doctors and nurses can better work together, hopefully reducing costly mistakes. In addition, the facility is dedicated to an important industry sector for Tampa Bay: Applied Medicine & Human Performance, which was cited as one of four high-impact growth industry sectors that will spur future job growth. (The other sectors are High-Tech Electronics & Instruments; Business, Financial & Data Services; and Marine & Environmental Activities.)
According to officials, Applied Medicine & Human Performance represents a refined set of medical research and services activities that have the potential to “differentiate” the Tampa Bay region. Consequently, the intent is to build regional research capabilities and expertise to become a recognized center of excellence for specific, targeted areas of biomedical research, clinical trials, medical manufacturing and health information technology.
In other words, officials hope to capitalize on CAMLS.
Shuttling Off to Glory
Located at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the $100 million, 65,000 square-foot Atlantis exhibit is the marquee element of the Visitor Complex's 10-year master plan proposed by Delaware North Parks & Resorts, which has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995. The exhibit will provide guests a special vantage point to view Atlantis up close, while telling the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program through a number of hands-on, interactive and immersive media.
The grand opening of the showcase facility is slated for summer 2013.
A work of art in itself, the exterior of the Atlantis exhibit will be comprised of two sweeping architectural elements, or "wings," representing the space shuttle's launch and return. The outer layer of the building, cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, represents the fiery-glow of reentry. The taller, internal wing of the building will be covered in a shimmering tile pattern in varying tones of gray, designed to represent the tiled underside of the orbiter. At the exhibit entrance, guests will be greeted by a full-size, upright, replica external tank and two solid rocket boosters. Also, on the opposite side of the tank and booster assembly, a silhouette of the orbiter will be attached to show guests its exact size and placement.
Essentially, officials say, the new mission of Atlantis, which traveled to space and back 33 times, is to remain docked in her home port, inspiring a new generation of space explorers.
Stetson University in Volusia County left little to interpretation when it named Emily C. Richardson associate vice president for Boundless Learning, starting this month. She will develop and lead a comprehensive strategy for the university’s new initiative to advance innovative educational opportunities for learners of all ages.
Richardson, recognized nationally as a leader in cutting-edge lifelong learning, will engage in ongoing conversation with faculty and academic leaders, as well as leaders in various private and public sector fields, to identify economic, market and social trends that lead to expansive learning opportunities for diverse students. Programs will support and catalyze academic quality, innovation and outreach and will lead to progressive economic ventures for the university, cite officials.
Education for all. Or, in marketing parlance, casting a wider net for customers.
Worthy of a Toast
Move over, Sonoma Valley, Lake County is the new Wine Country.
Not really. But Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards in Clermont did have a robust 2011. The winery produced an all-time high of 149,947 cases, equating to more than 354,000 gallons or 1,799,365 bottles of Lakeridge wine. In addition, by virtue of daily winery tours and wine tastings, along with monthly themed festivals and other activities, the number of visitors last year exceeded 100,000.
The winery's 2011 grape harvest season began with the grapes at optimum maturity on June 15. Harvest was completed Sept. 4 with more than 1,430 tons of grapes, yielding nearly 240,700 gallons of fermenting juice. Also notably, Lakeridge wines received top marks at many international competitions, winning a total of 30 medals.
Good news for future entrepreneurs: Junior Achievement of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools have partnered to create the Junior Achievement Academy for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (JA Academy). The new magnet program will debut at Oak Ridge High School at the start of the next school year.
The JA Academy will teach students leadership and entrepreneurial skills through an integrated high school curriculum. The program will focus on building economic acumen and leadership talents, while also teaching an entrepreneurial approach to enhance business and community services. In addition, students will learn real-world concepts from local business professionals and community mentors and have the opportunity to take part in executive internships. Upon graduating from the magnet program, students will have created plans for their own small businesses and will understand the challenges and intricacies behind entrepreneurship.
As part of the JA Academy, students will be required to participate in job and college shadowing experiences, as well as complete a minimum of 75 community service hours during their high school career.
Note to the business community: Mentors for the academy are needed.
Envisioned as a “school-within-a-school” program, the JA Academy is still in the beginning stages of development—just like its expected students.
Small Business, Big Rewards
Apparently, not only do small locally owned businesses strengthen economies, they also make populations healthier.
Counties with a greater concentration of small businesses have populations with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes than do those that rely on large companies with “absentee” owners, according to a national study by sociologists at Louisiana State and Baylor universities.
The study of 3,060 counties and parishes in the contiguous United States brings new evidence to a body of research literature and a debate among sociologists, who traditionally have advanced two competing hypotheses about how small business impacts public health. Some sociologists argue that small businesses, unlike chain retail “big box” stores and large manufacturing plants, have a greater investment in the community and thus have more at stake when it comes to the well-being of employees, customers and other local citizens. The LSU and Baylor researchers, who analyzed national population, health, business and housing data, agreed, finding that the greater the proportion of small businesses, the healthier the population.
Communities that have thriving small business sectors and feature entrepreneurial cultures promote public health, researchers suggest, resulting in a can-do climate in which a community takes control of its own destiny.
There’s an app for that” may apply to nearly half of U.S. businesses before the year is over, a new survey by Robert Half Technology shows.
Twenty-seven percent of CIOs polled recently said their companies already offer a mobile application, while another 22 percent said they plan to offer one in 2012. More than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees were surveyed.
As mobile applications become more prevalent, there is no shortage of issues for the IT teams tasked with developing them. In the same survey, CIOs said the two greatest challenges for IT teams developing these applications are collaborating across departments and finding IT professionals with the skills to build them. It’s important for mobile application developers to have strong soft skills, in addition to the ability to write code and test and debug software applications, cite survey officials.
Similarly, as more companies look to develop mobile apps, the demand for IT professionals who specialize in this area has increased, according to the Robert Half Technology 2012 Salary Guide, which shows starting salaries for mobile applications developers are expected to increase 9.1 percent next year—one of the largest increases of any IT position researched.
Active Fun for All
Last month, Healthy Central Florida, an initiative designed to “make healthy changes in environments where we live, learn, work and play,” was founded by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation. At the announcement, Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon and host of the Emmy Award-winning The Dr. Oz Show, was on-hand to inspire community leaders to lead the charge in implementing HCF in their own backyards.
The initial focus is policy and environmental change in the neighboring cities of Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville, located slightly north of Orlando. The initiative is based on research that shows behavior is impacted by environments—workplace cultures, family dynamics, school settings and community-level conditions. Among many tools, the initiative uses a behavior-change strategy of asking individuals to take a “3:30:3” pledge—a commitment to be active three days a week, for 30 minutes, for three months.
Already, the effort has brought together community leadership teams, including each community’s mayor, with representation from various sectors such as business, faith, education, health care and government. Also, web-based tool has been unveiled to help residents find fun ways to be active, primarily in those cities: www.FindActiveFun.org.
Corporate Synergies Group LLC, a leading employee benefits broker and consulting firm, has expanded into Florida with a new office in downtown Orlando. Corporate Synergies specializes in the intricacies of health benefits design and management. Utilizing a team of in-house health and welfare benefits experts, the firm works as an extension of the employer’s organization. Business Insurance magazine ranks Corporate Synergies as the fourth-largest U.S. benefits specialist and No. 60 among the nation’s 100 largest brokers of U.S. Business. The company works with approximately 600 corporate and nonprofit employers across a wide range of industries.
Metro Orlando businessmen Tom and Bob Cannon, cousins and cofounders of BungoBox, were featured on Bloomberg TV last month during an episode of “The Mentor.” BungoBox is a Casselberry-based company that rents plastic, reusable bins as an alternative to cardboard. The show, available in more than 310 million homes worldwide, gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to gain expert guidance from top CEOs. During the episode, CEO Mark Lore, who sold diapers.com for $570 million, gave Tom and Bob Cannon advice on how to scale their innovative business. While noting that BungoBox is a “$4-million-dollar-a-year business in boxes,” Lore reminds them that “investors are going to own a larger percentage of the company than you guys will.”
Suncoast Community Capital announced major investments from Wells Fargo and the Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency to support the implementation of its collaboration with the Kauffman Foundation’s Urban Entrepreneur Partnership in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Partnership will bring world-class business coaching and technical assistance to the area’s small and emerging businesses. It also will assist those businesses in growing to scale, in turn creating local jobs and providing economic development opportunities. For Kauffman, the effort represents the “science of entrepreneurial success.” For Suncoast, it's the logical next step in the continuum of entrepreneurial services already available through its own organization and in the bi-county area.
Among the recent achievements of the Adult Literacy League, which serves Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, is the growth of its early literacy program for low-income preschool children. In the past year, the organization’s “Read to Me!” program has grown 80 percent to include 500 children. Also, the League provides adult basic education and English language literacy through one-to-one tutoring and classes, serving 1,000 adult learners weekly. Also notably, acclaimed bestselling author Lisa See was scheduled to make an appearance early this month as part of a fundraiser to benefit the League.
It's very early in the process, but the findings of a study by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority support a 24-mile light rail route that stretches south from downtown Clearwater along a CSX freight corridor, twists east toward the Gateway area, then south again to downtown St. Petersburg and Tropicana Field along Interstate 275. The cost is estimated between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion. Transportation officials will spend the next year holding meetings to discuss the project and collecting comments from residents. The $4 million study—paid for with state and federal Department of Transportation grants—projects more than 67,000 jobs would be created over 30 years, with about 48,500 jobs created in the construction industry. An estimated 300 jobs, such as drivers and dispatchers, would be needed to operate the light rail system. In all, the study says the system would pump $4.2 billion into the Pinellas economy, a return of $2.50 on every $1 spent.
The University of South Florida’s National Center for Transit Research received a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, to be matched for a total of $7 million. USF was one of 22 national University Transportation Centers, and one of only two public transportation-focused university research programs, to receive the highly competitive national grant. Sixty-three university consortiums applied. USF's center is a consortium of four universities, led by USF, that includes Florida International University’s Lehman Transportation Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Transportation Center, and North Dakota State University’s Small Urban and Rural Transportation Center.
In case you missed it, just six weeks after its official grand opening, LEGOLAND Florida announced its first expansion: LEGOLAND Water Park. Scheduled to open in late May, the water park will feature a wave pool, Build-A-Raft lazy river, tube slides, body slides and an interactive water-play structure called DUPLO® Safari. The water park has been designed for families with children ages 2 to 12 and moves LEGOLAND Florida into a multiday experience for vacationers. Admission to the water park is included with an all-new LEGOLAND Premium Pass, which offers 12 months admission to LEGOLAND Florida and seasonal access to the water park. The new five-acre park is expected to bring 250 new seasonal and full-time jobs.
St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, an 81-year-old community facility and the only faith-based hospital in Pinellas County, has opened a new four-story emergency center and patient care tower—at a cost of $61 million. The upgrades include an advanced CT scanner, x-ray imaging labs, critical cardiac care and an electronic medical record system. Its new 64 private patient rooms, spanning two floors, are dually accessible, with patients and family entering from the lobby side and medical professionals entering from the nurses' station. In the past, the hospital, which is part of the BayCare Health System, has received numerous recognitions and awards from entities such as the American Heart Association, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, American College of Radiology and EPA's Energy Star program.
File this one under “the circus is moving across town.” Feld Entertainment Inc., producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, among others, is moving its world production headquarters to Ellenton in Manatee County from Palmetto, just down the street. The move, which allows the company to expand, required state and local incentives along with training grants. Feld anticipates preserving some 148 local jobs while adding as many as 235 new high-skill, high-wage jobs in Manatee County during the next five years.
Given the pronounced shortage of nurses and doctors in the next 10 to 15 years, this event is noteworthy: A group of 20 students from Lake Highland High School in Orlando received a firsthand look at a live robotic surgery and how the operating room works. In an effort to spark interest in medicine at an early age, the students also received a chance to try their hand at using the daVinci robot at the Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, the same place thousands of surgeons come to learn how to use robotic technology. Instead of operating on a patient, the students played the far less risky board game Operation.
Femfessionals, a group for the “savvy business woman” has made its way to Orlando, as FemCity Orlando. The group connects ambitious professional women through workshops, networking lunches, events and social media (www.femfessionals.com), creating individual communities within cities around the world. At each “connection event,” women are strongly encouraged to promote their “brand” and interact in a positive and uplifting environment. Monthly events are typically limited to 40 guests. FemCity Orlando, one of the newest local chapters, was launched by Leah Nash, who has 14 years of relationship-building and marketing communication experience in Central Florida.