Writer: Liz Palmer
5 min read June 2022 —The secret sauce to South Florida’s prosperous past and encouraging future comes down to those who call the region home. The sky’s the limit for Broward County, and these industry innovators plan to test that limit sooner rather than later.
Timothy Hernandez, Principal, New Urban Communities
New Urban Communities exists as a solution to the claim that there’s not much left to be done about Broward County’s housing inventory issue. Timothy Hernandez disagrees and sees a clear path forward through intentional, compassionate urban development. “Most builders deliver great value in the home itself,” he told Invest:. “They’re not very good at creating a sense of community. They build homes and a clubhouse. What makes a community is everything else: the parks, the schools, the shopping, the dining, all those other elements and the convenience to where you work.” That’s where New Urban Communities comes in.
“I remember people coming to me 10 years ago and saying that Broward was built out. Broward is not built out. There’s still development going on in cities like London and Paris,” he said. “Broward will get better and better as we’re able to redevelop and infill areas, providing a more diverse range of housing opportunities along the entire socio-economic spectrum in areas that are or will be served by transit. This allows us to accommodate growth in a responsible way, using existing infrastructure and minimizing environmental impacts. That’s going to make a gigantic difference in our quality of life, and over time will establish a greater sense of community for what is a fragmented region by better connecting us.”
Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin, Founder & President, Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce
A litigation attorney and founding president of the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce, Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin is no stranger to advocacy. Before the chamber, Black business owners in Broward did not have an organization to turn to for networking and support.
She told Invest:, “From the beginning, we threw ourselves into advocating on a county and city level for local small-business preference programs. We also challenged public and private entities to look internally at how they could diversify and expand their supply chains to spread business and economic prosperity all over the county as opposed to one area.” In an interview on the Invest:Insights podcast, Gelin discussed how showcasing her members in that light is sending a new message and, “creating a truer narrative that is then shaking up and rattling the status quo” to position the chamber in a place where commerce and business is being discussed.
Greg Nordone, President & CEO, Greyson Technologies
At a time where cybersecurity threats are top of mind, Greg Nordone told Invest: how he’s finding ways to mitigate risks for clients through advocating for routine security awareness training, user education and early introduction to technological literacy.
Greyson Technologies has a public sector department to lead initiatives in encouraging educators and government officials to leverage technology in their daily operations. Nordone is also focused on bringing leaders and innovators together in Broward County. “The more we can connect these silos of innovation, where amazing people are doing amazing things, we’ll see productivity like we’ve never seen before in building the workforce of the future,” he said in an interview with Invest:. “If you can glue these silos together, we’ll see amazing things happen.”
Aidan Butler, COO, 1/ST RACING, in charge of Gulfstream Park
Gulfstream Park exists as the only source of horse racing in the region, and as such, leadership has taken on the responsibility of revitalizing a historically old business through multiple park and technological expansions. “While technology and horse racing haven’t always gone hand-in-hand, our company sees technology as an important tool for the long-term sustainability of this amazing sport,” said Aidan Butler, COO of 1/ST RACING, in an interview with Invest:. He voiced Gulfstream’s commitment to bringing in the next generation of fans through participation in year-round racing and prioritizing the health and safety of their horses through new technologies such as MILE-PET scanners and an AI capability to track and locate horses as they race. “Using 50,000 data points per horse, this allows us to track position, speed, acceleration, and stride length – all of which helps not only improve data for bettors but assists in real-time veterinary monitoring and horse care,” he said.
According to Butler, the ultimate goal of 1/ST RACING and Gulfstream Park is redefining the ecosystem of horseracing by “creating opportunities for young people, young people of color and women who have been traditionally underrepresented in horse racing,” he said. “We are redefining the ecosystem to include technology while providing a unique and fully engaging experience, for our fans and guests at the track and our online wagerers. We believe that the future of horse racing is bright, when done right.”
John Wensveen, Chief Innovation Officer, Nova Southeastern University; Executive Director, Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation
The Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation opened in the Fall 2021 semester and will act as a nonstop resource for learning and creativity. This April, John Wensveen told Invest: all about how his vision for the Levan Center conceptualized into what it is today. “When I accepted this role, I was given a blank slate . . . I had to take a step back and ask myself, ‘What is going on in the world?’ Also, ‘How does an innovation center define itself?’ I realized there were common trends that occur in all innovation centers,” he said.
“In the end, we created a ‘theme park’ for the entrepreneur and all the stakeholders that make that entrepreneur successful. The Levan Center offers a membership model which includes access to the 54,000 square feet of space which includes: co-working space, offices, meeting and event facilities, pitch space, a military-grade cybersecurity range, technology makerspace (3D printing, robots, drones, Artificial Intelligence applications), media studio, volumetric motion capture studio and a café as examples.”
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