Spotlight on: William Burns, Tax Office Managing Partner, BDO

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read JULY 2019 — Accountants and financial professionals play an important role in the global economy and business model, taking on an array of roles within organizations in all industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. 

Accountants can bring a significant perspective of the economy and industries growth. Our ‘Spotlight on’ for this week brings a perspective of what are the industries looking for in regards to advisory and how the local accounting companies impact the labor pool.

BDO offers a wide range of services including advisory, audit/assurance and tax services. Which are most in demand in Philadelphia?  

The core services that we provide in Philadelphia are audit and tax, which is where we are seeing the most demand. Our recent acquisition of AC Lordi will allow us to bolster what we can do regarding advisory and scale us up to the next level. We have seen an increase in demand for our services from healthcare, life sciences, and manufacturing and distribution. In addition, we have seen an influx of people reaching out for advice regarding maximizing the benefits of tax reform. We expect to see an increased demand for advisory services related to tax reform, especially surrounding Opportunity Zones.

What are BDO’s efforts to recruit talent from the local pool?

Six years ago, BDO merged a select group of geographically close practices, retiring a number of partners and ushering in a new class. We now find ourselves in a position where we can grow exponentially in one of the largest markets in the country. Our focus on targeted growth means we are constantly adding talent as we look to expanding our tax specialties.

There is always a hunt for qualified talent. To combat that, we try to over-hire at the entry level. Turnover in our industry is relatively high and by attracting more students at the front end we have more opportunity to offer them higher positions when people decide to leave. We have partnerships with local universities and we recruit on a regional and national level. We also have a program to identify and attract students to the region from all over the nation.

What Impact does technology have on the accounting and financial sectors?

Technology has a huge impact on how we operate, since most of what we do is software driven. Data analytics is making us more efficient and many firms are using it as a tool within their audit and tax practices. Those firms that aren’t focused on using and developing technology are going to lag behind.

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://www.bdo.com/about/us-locations/philadelphia-office 

Miami Banks Leading Tech Charge

By Yolanda Rivas

July 2019

2 min read  — Advances in technology are having a dramatic influence in the banking sector across the globe. Innovations are impacting the delivery of products and services, making the banking process faster, easier and more reliable. Customer satisfaction and increased competition are driving the tech push, and there is more on the horizon.

“We are changing our core banking system and investing more than $25 million to make that change. It’s an important step for us because we know technology will be the driving force to our growth in the future,” Fernando Beyruti, CEO of Itau Private Bank, told Invest:. 

An article from Bank Innovation explains that banks are spending more than $100 million to replace their aging core systems. Advances in blockchain technology, IoT, fintech, online banking and robotics have helped many financial institutions improve efficiency and accessibility. 

The investment isn’t just to make banking easier now, it is also part of the future. Technology is an integral part of City National Bank’s five-year plan. “We will invest over $15 million in digital transformation for the organization. This will ensure that we continue to be innovative as well as impactful through improving our client experience,” President and CEO Jorge Gonzalez told Invest:.  

Many financial institutions are also partnering with financial technology (fintech) groups to improve their offerings. According to a 2017 report from multinational professional services network PwC, 82% of financial leaders expect to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years. 

Cybersecurity and fraud detection are other areas where technology is playing a key role. “When we invest in technology we are also investing in strengthening our cybersecurity,” Gonzalez stated. The investment is not just in the technology, but also in bringing in the right people who have the experience and talent to be able to instill their knowledge throughout the organization,” he said. 

In that regard, First American Bank recently created a senior-level position — information security officer — whose role is to train employees and allocate resources in preparation for possible cyberattacks. “Security threats are on the rise, forcing us to be mindful that our information can be compromised at any time. Through back-room investments and increased training, we are taking the necessary precautions to reduce risk by educating our employees as well as our customers,” Brian Hagan, Florida Market President for First American Bank, told Invest:. 

Although technology adoption can be a challenge for some financial institutions, especially smaller banks that do not have the financial capacity to keep up with the latest innovations, ultimately it can provide a cost-savings. “I think all of us as a banking community in Miami are saddled with compliance concerns. But I think that, with technology, those kinds of costs can be reduced gradually while still maintaining the kind of vigilance that we have to have. There’s a good opportunity for our industry here,” G. Frederick Reinhardt, Chairman and CEO of Brickell Bank, stated in an Interview with Invest:. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Itau Private Bank: http://www.itauprivatebank.com/

City National Bank: https://www.citynationalcm.com/home/home 

First American Bank: https://www.firstambank.com/personalbanking/ 

Brickell Bank: https://brickellbankmiami.com/ 

PwC: https://www.pwc.com/ 

Bank Innovation: https://bankinnovation.net/ 

Orlando Communications Pick Up Pace With 5G

by Staff Writer

2 min read July 2019 — For a fast-moving business, it’s all about fast-moving data. These days, one millisecond can mean the difference between being the market leader and being a late mover. Big Data allows companies to analyze huge quantities of data in seconds, but it also requires substantial internet speeds. And with 5G networks able to provide download speeds 20 times faster than 4G, it’s no wonder Orlando is carving out its piece of the pie.

Earlier this year, AT&T announced that Orlando would be among the eight U.S. cities to roll out its new 5G technology. Let’s be clear: this isn’t just about getting a crystal-clear cell phone signal or being able to download a 1.25GB movie in one second. The actual implications of 5G are huge.

“5G is a real revolution. Connectivity will become a platform and no longer a pipeline [making it] possible to get everything online all the time and all the applications up into the cloud,” said Ken Hu, Huawei’s rotating chairman, at the company’s analyst summit in April. “Eventually the technology will help us to create a brand-new seamless experience between [the] online and offline [worlds].”

Nearly 50% of respondents to a recent McKinsey Analytics survey say analytics and Big Data have fundamentally changed business practices in their sales and marketing functions. According to an Accenture study, 79% of enterprise executives agree that companies that do not embrace Big Data will lose their competitive position and could face extinction while 83% have pursued Big Data projects as a competitive advantage.

“The vast majority of our economy is not actually tourism; we’re really high-tech,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re biomedical, we’re digital media; we’re focused on the other parts of Orlando as well.”

Orlando’s unmatched human capital is one of the reasons why tech companies are establishing operations in the state, one of which is Luminar Technologies, an autonomous-vehicle testing facility. “It’s like the Silicon Valley of lidar (Light Detection and Ranging),” said Scott Faris, Luminar’s chief business officer in an interview with Forbes. “The density of folks here that understand things like lasers and computer modeling is higher than certainly anywhere else in North America, and maybe even the world.”

To take advantage of the city’s emerging tech opportunities, Orlando needed to kick up the connectivity a notch. One of the ways it was able to vie for the coveted pilot 5G program was a complete overhaul of its zoning ordinances to simplify the process for companies like AT&T. “We have truly embraced the notion of being one of the first cities with 5G so we have changed our permitting process related to that,” said Dyer. “We set up a process where we can pre-approve all the types of applications or installations they may have.”

Ultimately, the city’s businesses will reap the benefits of the 5G transformation, said Wilson Chow, head of global technology, media and telecommunications at PwC in an interview with South China Morning Post. “Data is king. [When companies] digitize their processes and transactions, they can then derive more value from their data. 5G will provide the backbone for the proliferation and development of these digital journeys for many corporations.”

Miami Grabbing Greater Slice of Tech Investment Pie

By staff writer

June 2019

Credit: Miami Dade College

Miami has historically been a diverse and attractive city for international investors.  With a high number of Latin American and international companies and solid real estate, tourism and trade industries, the city provides a unique ecosystem for tech and startup companies.

According to eMerge Americas’ 2018 eMerge Insights report, $1.38 billion was invested in South Florida startups through 128 deals over the last year. Furthermore, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area ranked 11th in the U.S. for venture capital investments by dollar volume, attracting international venture capital from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Denmark, UK, Japan, Latin America, China and more.

“There’s no question as to whether there’s a lot of startup activity down here,” Laura Maydon, managing director of Endeavor Miami, told Invest:. “On the tech side, we’ve seen progress in terms of the quantity of companies starting up, but there needs to be more investment activity locally. It’s part of the growth cycle of the ecosystem, and investment is always the last stage, since investors want to validate that there’s a solid pipeline in the city. If we look at South Florida’s development over the last five to seven years, the pipeline’s here,” she added.

A report from real estate firm CBRE, Scoring Tech Talent in North America 2018, showed an increase of 21.5% in Miami’s tech jobs, with the addition of over 4,000 tech-related positions.

The founder and managing director of venture capital firm Rokk3r Fuel ExO, Jeffrey Ransdell, told Invest: that he and his partners decided to start the company because they recognized there was a need for venture capital in Miami. “We also knew that Miami was going to be something special in the tech and startup space. Miami startup activity has been growing at an amazing rate of 100 percent over the last three years, so there is evidence that this is working. There is a lot of traction in Miami in this space right now. Everyone needs to keep their eye on Miami,” he said.

National trends are also reflected in South Florida’s tech activity and investments. For example, software continues to be at the forefront; 45% of the companies in South Florida receiving funding in 2018 offered software of some type, which follows national trends, according to the eMerge report. Healthcare is the most active industry; health-tech, medical devices and biotech startups encompassed 23% of the deals.

Miami is transforming into a tech-friendly city for startups and experts say the trend is only picking up steam. Although there is still some work to do, there is no doubt that Miami’s tech industry will play a key role in the local economy.

For more information on our interviewees, please visit their websites:

Endeavor Miami: https://endeavormiami.org/

Rokk3r Fuel ExO: https://www.rokk3rfuel.com/

CBRE: https://www.cbre.com/research-and-reports/Scoring-Tech-Talent-in-North-America-2018

eMerge Americas: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2716555/eMerge_Insights_Report-1.pdf

 

American Heritage Keeps Growing, Giving Back

By staff writer

May 2019

American Heritage Credit Union has made the news many times lately — and the pace of breaking developments is only going to speed up as the esteemed Philadelphia institution continues growing at a rapid clip. Yet the financial institution’s focus will never change a key aspect of its operations, according to CEO and President Bruce K. Foulke.

“All our efforts are driven to directly benefit our members and give back to the communities where our members and employees live and work,” said Foulke, who has seen American Heritage’s assets grow from $4 million to more than $2.5 billion during his 40-year tenure. “That’s the heart of American Heritage.”

Last year, the $2.5 billion, member-owned financial cooperative with locations across Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Camden counties was named the top credit union in Pennsylvania by Forbes and the market research firm Statista. Recently, it was named “Best Place to Work” in the extra-large companies category by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

It’s on many national top-50 and top-100 credit union lists, too. “We began as a small credit union in Philadelphia 70 years ago,” said Foulke. “We were the only financial institution in a two-mile radius in our part of Philadelphia when we started. Today, we have more than 38 locations in the Philadelphia area.”

But that doesn’t mean that American Heritage has become like the other financial powerhouses in the state, he added. “Credit unions offer a special experience compared to a traditional banking institution. We’re a non-profit organization, and our members are also our owners. So we don’t have shareholders we need to satisfy. Whether it’s in the form of lower fees, better technology, or better rates, we’re focused on solutions that make our members’ lives better.”

Indeed, American Heritage is making big investments in delivering best-in-class convenience. The credit union continues growing its branch network throughout the Philadelphia and South Jersey region with more and more locations — all with surcharge-free ATM access to the public.  Additionally, it gives free ATM access to members at more than 30,000 locations.

American Heritage has also made significant investments in innovative, transformational technologies. It was the first financial institution in the tri-state area to introduce video tellers, for example. Its technology offers “personalized service and extends our hours, which allows our members to make transactions on a schedule that meets their needs,” said Foulke, who added that American Heritage’s Personal Automated Tellers are being implemented throughout the credit union’s network in branches, workplaces and in drive-thru locations.

A key benefit that comes with the implementation of new technologies, he said, is the increased connectivity with experts and personnel in different locations, as well as later hours. “We’re also adding video conferencing to all our offices so that members can have that personal interaction with our financial experts right at their fingertips, no matter where their branch of choice is located,” Foulke said.

Both the video conferencing and the Personal Automated Tellers are helping American Heritage become less transactional and more consultative — which in turn improves its personalized service. That type of attention and community focus will remain American Heritage’s priority despite technological advancements, Foulke said.

“The Philadelphia area is a region of unique neighborhoods, and although in recent years we have enjoyed significant growth in our technology, membership base, workplace partner relationships and expansion into the suburbs and New Jersey, we don’t forget our roots and the communities from which we were built.”

Indeed, American Heritage invests heavily in local neighborhoods through donations, volunteer hours and lending programs. In fact, American Heritage was the first credit union in the country to start its own Foundation, Kids-N-Hope, which has contributed more than $2 million since its inception to underwrite health programs, schools, child programs, parks and recreational activities throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs.

In addition, “our lending programs have helped businesses grow, creating jobs and revitalizing badly needed parts of our city,” Foulke said. “Through our lending efforts to families, businesses and non-profits, we’ve been able to provide true economic development opportunities.”

“Despite all the success and growth that American Heritage has enjoyed, our members can still contact me directly through our website or by calling me.  I still welcome the personal interaction with our members. Ultimately, the impact that our credit union, its members and employees have had on the community is my greatest source of pride.”

For more information about our interviewees, visit their website:

American Heritage Federal Credit Union: https://www.americanheritagecu.org/

 

 

Atlanta Creates Board to Boost Tech Growth, Connectivity

By staff writer

April 2019

Atlanta may be one of the nation’s leading technology hubs, but the city isn’t satisfied. Last week, it announced the formation of a Chief Information Advisory Board (CIAB) to take its tech industry to the next level while improving the city’s digital connections.

Leaders from public and private sectors who comprise the board will analyze the challenges facing Atlanta’s technology sector and overall digital connectivity. Members of the CIAB team include IT leaders from Delta Airlines, Georgia State University, Cox Enterprises, Equifax, Chick-fil-A, Southern Company, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Quikrete, Adams & Reese LLP and Atlanta Tech Village.

 “The Chief Information Officer Advisory Board will play a vital role in setting the strategic direction for innovation and technology now and in the future,” said Gary Brantley, the city’s chief information officer.  “We’re thrilled to partner with these senior executives within top companies whose deep experience will fuel our agenda and help shape the future of technology in the great city of Atlanta.”

Building the right ecosystem for a growing tech hub requires a community of entrepreneurs, tech-focused corporations and higher education institutions who can supply skilled workers. As they say, it takes a village, and Atlanta has created its own Atlanta Tech Village, the country’s fourth largest tech hub. And it’s tethered to a robust investment and business community.

The city’s goal is to create 10,000 jobs and fuel Atlanta’s rise to a top-5 U.S. tech start-up center. The Village facilitates connections between talent, ideas and capital. In addition to providing fully equipped office space, The Village offers daily interactions to spread ideas and collaboratively solve problems; mentors and advisors who guide participants through challenges; networking events and classes to create collaborations and pre-accelerator programs; discounts from partners like Google, Microsoft and Hubspot; pitch competitions; and access to talent that can help grow businesses and attract new customers.

Atlanta is also home to the BridgeCommunity, a platform developed by Coca-Cola that aims to accelerate the success of technology start-ups by connecting them to corporations, while supporting local entrepreneurship. In addition, those with ties to cybersecurity and machine learning have a robust accelerator program in Cyberlaunch.

Higher education opportunities for techies include programs at Georgia Tech and Emory University, designed to help students and non-students further their businesses and achieve greater success. They’re another critical component of the city’s high-tech plans.

“We are proud of the ever-growing tech hub Atlanta has created,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms upon announcing the new board. Its members, she said, “will serve as a great resource as we explore how we can continue to use technology in creative ways to improve our city and leverage our innovative local tech community.”

To learn more, please visit: https://www.business.org/business/startup/top-cities-for-entrepreneurs-and-startups/

Atlanta Chief Information Officer Advisory Board members include:

Eric Anderson, Egon Zehnder
David Cummings, Atlanta Tech Village
Cynthia Curry, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Martin Davis, Southern Company
Michael “Mike“ Ebrick, Chick-fil-A
Jay Ferro, Quikrete
Roy Hadley, Adams and Reese LLP
Bryson Koehler, Equifax
Danielle McPherson, Delta Airlines
Gregory Morrison, Cox Enterprises
Krishnakumar “KK“ Narayanan, Delta Air Lines
Phil Ventimiglia, Georgia State University
Tye Hayes, City of Atlanta

Tampa Bay’s Strong Female Leaders are Changing the Area’s Future

By staff writer

April 2019

Within the Tampa Bay market lies a strong cohort of female leaders looking to enhance their community. Whether it be local government, law offices, performing arts centers, or tech-based companies, these women are taking steps to ensure Tampa Bay’s steady growth.

Take Trenam Law, for instance, which has offices in Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg and is led by managing shareholder Marie Tomassi. “We have seen some growth over the past year or so that we’re very excited about,” Tomassi said. “We acquired five lawyers and two paralegals from another firm in the area that have been a great fit for Trenam.”

As the firm continues to grow, Tomassi sees Trenam Law expanding its reach into fields that have recently fallen into higher demand — such as cybersecurity and solar energy. The firm recently bolstered its land-use practice by adding lawyers who are well-versed in representing alternative energy sources as a means to better the community.

“This group of top-notch professionals has helped us develop our solar practice, which is something that’s fairly unique,” Tomassi said. “As the Tampa-area market grows, our practice groups strengthen. Tampa has seen an increase in tech and a booming real estate market. Our technology and cybersecurity practice groups have been seeing a lot of demand because of the action in the market.”

And as Trenam Law moves into more tech-focused fields, so does the workforce in Tampa Bay.

This is quite evident in regulatory software company Global Safety Management, which is led by their founder & CEO Julia MacGreggor-Peralta who is working to ensure that as the tech space in Tampa continues to grow, so does the number of women working in it.

“More than 60 percent of our employees are women, which is unusual in our space as a regulatory software company. It’s traditionally considered a man’s business,” Julia MacGreggor-Peralta told Invest. “As female business leaders, we’re working to change this.”

The growth in tech is also being stimulated by women like Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective, who felt extremely bullish in relation to the growth in Tampa. “It’s the right time to be in Tampa Bay if you want to be a part of our growth story. I believe the growth of the entrepreneurial community and increase in startup businesses will attract people that maybe weren’t previously interested in Tampa Bay or Florida that want to help grow and build something here.”

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who was re-elected to a third term in 2016, sees the Tampa Bay area as an up-and-coming destination for tech workers and is intent on making that goal a reality.

Here in Tampa, we’re intent on acquiring higher-wage tech jobs to keep graduates local after they move on from our colleges and universities. We want to be seen as a Charlotte, Chicago, or New York — an attractive city that young professionals want to call home.”

Murman knows that in addition to providing job opportunities, the city also needs to provide an affordable place for said very tech workers and young professionals to live, and the city is putting forth the resources to do just that.

“We just made a large investment in our general revenue budget — an extra $5.2 million for affordable housing,” Murman said. “The plan is to leverage that money with private developers to maximize our impact. Most affordable housing projects cost somewhere between $15 to $25 million, so we have to creatively figure out ways to make our dollars stretch.”

The city also benefits greatly from the economic impact of the Straz Center, one of the country’s largest performing arts centers. President & CEO Judith Lisi is keen on the center remaining a mainstay of a booming community.

“The Straz Center is the largest performing arts center south of the Kennedy Center and the largest cultural organization in Florida with $100 million annual economic impact,” she said. “We are the first performing arts conservatory attached to a major performing arts center in the country. There are a lot of other performing arts centers from around the country looking at us as a model.”

And Lisi intends to capitalize on the prime location of the Straz Center, right along the Tampa Riverwalk, as a means for attracting an even larger and diverse crowd to the center.

“We have a great opportunity in light of the transformation of the Riverwalk,” Lisi said. “Our whole masterplan for the renovation of the Straz Center is being developed to address everything that’s happening on the river.”

With a strong group of female leaders within its business and arts communities and a local government investing in its community, Tampa Bay is establishing itself as the next hot spot in South Florida. Thanks to the efforts of women like Tomassi, Murman,Lisi, MacGreggor-Peralta, and Shenoy, the city is making that dream a reality.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Marie Tomassi with Trenam Law: https://www.trenam.com/people-list/marie-tomassi/

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman: https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/government/board-of-county-commissioners/sandra-murman

Judith Lisi with Straz Center: https://www.strazcenter.org/About-The-Straz-Center/Executive-Staff

Lakshmi Shenoy with Embarc Collective: https://www.embarccollective.com/team/

Julia MacGreggor-Peralta with Global Safety Management: https://www.gsmsds.com/

A Hub for Medical Innovation

By staff writer

February 2019

There are certain aspects of a community that will always prove to be true. One such truth is when you have an area like Tampa Bay that is home to nearly 3 million people, and that number is steadily increasing year after year, there is inevitably going to be a need for more medical care. With that comes an increased emphasis on medical education. So how is Tampa handling this increased demand? The simple answer is: innovation.

Tampa is home to a number of highly praised and widely recognized medical institutions, and one of these institutions is Ultimate Medical Academy. The academy is using innovative methods for its online school to better equip those students who might not have the flexibility in their lives to go to an actual campus. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down with the school’s president, Derek Apanovitch, to discuss how they are best supporting their medical students.

“It has been a good year at Ultimate Medical Academy,” Apanovitch told Invest:. “We reached 15,000 students nationwide, and we have more than 45,000 graduates across the country. We also received four more years of accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

“We have what we call learner-services advisors who are assigned to individual students on their first day of class and stay with them through the duration of their program to help keep them on track,” Apanovitch continued. “One of the obvious challenges of running an online learning environment is that you don’t have students in front of you. We try to reaffirm that human element through constant interaction with our students, many of whom are single moms who are juggling part-time jobs and child care, so it’s important that someone is always available to help them. Faculty and the student support center employees are always on hand. That’s integral to the success of our students.”

Online institutions like Ultimate Medical Academy are proving successful because of their accessibility. This idea of accessibility has also been adopted by Tampa’s hospitals, making it so their patients have access to the items they need without having to go out of their way to procure them.

Invest: Tampa recently spoke with Tampa General Hospital’s CEO and president, John Couris, to discuss how they are leveraging innovative technologies to improve patient experience.

“We use a system called Epic for our electronic medical records (EMRs), and arguably it’s one of the best EMRs in the world,” Couris said. “It has improved access to clinical information exponentially for patients. Patients can access test results. They can communicate and message their doctors. They can make appointments. They can fill prescriptions. They have a to-do list for healthcare and tracking. They have a healthcare summary. They can see and pay their bills. They can do an e-visit, and they can share their records with any other Epic institution in the world. Not every institution has that kind of technology and infrastructure. We have it, and we’re continuing to get better at it.”

Innovation is not a new concept, but it is one that is necessary for Tampa Bay’s continued success in the medical field. As long as medical professionals and institutions continue to innovate, Tampa Bay will continue to be at the forefront of Florida’s medical community!

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:
Ultimate Medical Academy: https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/
Tampa General Hospital: https://www.tgh.org/

High-Tech Hub

By staff writer

January 2019

Orlando has been evolving into a high-tech hub. With more than 2,000 technology-based companies in fields from simulation and training technology to digital media and medical technology, the City Beautiful is increasingly attracting tech startups and investors. Orlando ranked number six among 20 of the fastest-growing technology markets in the U.S. in 2017, according to Time magazine.

The growth in Orlando’s tech jobs was 149 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to data from the job search site ZipRecruiter. Among the top tech jobs in Orlando are project manager, software engineer, project engineer, network engineer and developer, with an average $59,500 early career median pay and $105,000 mid-career median pay.

The modeling simulation industry plays a big role in Orlando’s technology sector, earning the city the reputation for being the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world. With simulation programs supporting military training and partnerships between the local government, defense department and private entities, the industry continues to grow and fuel the local economy.

“We have the most robust modeling simulation and training cluster in the entire world, and that’s something not many people know,” Buddy Dyer, mayor of the City of Orlando, told Invest: Orlando when he sat down with our team in late 2018. “That is successful because of the great research park that we have associated with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and military applications. It continues to be a developing area, along with the biomedical and life sciences industry cluster.”

Another cluster that is seeing growth is digital media. For example, Creative Village is a mixed-use neighborhood in downtown Orlando built on the success of Orlando’s digital media industry. “We broke ground on the UCF/Valencia College downtown campus and started constructing the Creative Village,” said Dyer. “We are noted for industry clusters in our community, so this is an industry cluster in digital media that will have the academic, residential and, certainly, retail and business parts all clustered together.”

At the beginning of 2019 the Orlando Business Journal reported that more than 1,200 jobs were available for tech workers in Orlando. Companies recruiting included Lockheed Martin Corp., with 839 job openings; Leidos Inc., with 84 job openings; Luminar Technologies Inc., with 47; Accenture Federal Services, with 41; and EA Tiburon, with 40.

Claudia Muriel, president of UCRYA, a leading global software application development company, noted that the growth of the technology sector in Central Florida stands out. “Each industry has a lot of growth and demand, but technology is the one experiencing the most growth,” she told Invest:. “No matter which industry an IT solutions company is in — healthcare, life sciences or financial services — we see opportunities everywhere. We just have to determine what technology is right for them.”

To support the development of the tech sector, Orlando universities offer specialized programs and certifications. Programs include the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training, Full Sail University’s bachelor’s degree in simulation and visualization and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s simulation science, games and animation program. With all the advances in global technology, there’s no doubt that Orlando will continue to excel in the industry, and Invest: Orlando will be keeping a close eye on the evolution!

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

City of Orlando: http://www.cityoforlando.net/

UCRYA: http://www.ucrya.com/