Economic yearbook 2011
ORLANDO / ORANGE County
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: Grace Medical Home — The Orlando non-profit with nine full-time staffers was founded last year and offers primary care to children and adults who are part of the "working poor" — ineligible for Medicaid but unable to afford health insurance. Grace has enrolled 930 patients, nearly a third of whom had been to a hospital ER in the prior year because they did not have a doctor or insurance. Representatives from Florida Hospital and Orlando Health serve on Grace Medical's board.
EMERGING STAR: Randall Mechanical — CEO Jeffrey S. Condello in the past year snapped up central Florida's leading ductwork and fabricating company, South Seminole Sheet Metal, which makes precision-crafted ductwork for high-tech labs and clean rooms from a 90,000-sq.-ft. facility in Apopka. Condello moved Randall's headquarters from Orlando to the larger facilities in Apopka and expanded his 25-year-old mechanical contracting company's piping business group to keep pace with a growing workload in biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, energy, food and beverage, and higher education. Randall handles landmark projects such as the $63.4-million UCF School of Medicine at Lake Nona in Orlando.
HEAVY HITTER: Universal Orlando — Harry Potter's popularity worked magic for Universal Orlando in 2010, and all signs point to another potent year ahead for the theme park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened to long lines and TV crews from around the world. The result: A record year for Universal, the only one of Orlando's major theme parks to post attendance gains, according to industry estimates. Universal's sorcery during an otherwise lackluster tourism year boosted heads in beds for the region's hotels and Orange County's tourist tax collections. Analysts say the magic should continue through the first half of this year, though Universal will face increasing competition as SeaWorld Orlando debuts a new killer whale show and other additions, and Walt Disney World unveils an immersive tour in Animal Kingdom called Wild Africa Trek. Universal employs more than 14,000 in Orlando.
Robert Owens, president/CEO, Owens, Renz & Lee Facility Services — Robert Owens has grown a company that cleans buildings as well as builds, manages and sells them. The firm's stand-alone janitorial contract service sets it apart from most real estate outfits and helped it during the downturn. Last year, it snagged a $2-million-a-year contract to clean the new Amway Center and other Orlando venues. Bottom line: $2 billion in property under management, 450 employees in the Orlando area and annual revenue of about $20 million, which has more than doubled over the past five years.
Jefre Futch, president/CEO, Alinean Inc. — Jefre Futch is looking for a breakout year for Alinean, as the business-to-business software development and analysis company settles into new, more spacious digs in a downtown Orlando tower. Futch, who was promoted to president and CEO last year by founder and Chairman Tom Pisello, is adding to the staff of 35 to meet growth goals for getting state and local targeted tax refunds.
Paul and Laurie Koren, founders, Impact Lighting — Laurie Koren left her job as a lighting installer in 2006 when she had her first child, opting to work from her Winter Park home designing home theater lighting. The company now employs 15 and tackles splashy commercial specialty lighting projects for hotels, nightclubs and other businesses. In 2010, the company — in larger digs near downtown Orlando — launched an international division and was named by GrowFL to the inaugural list of 50 Florida "companies to watch."
Rick Weddle takes over as president and CEO of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
Weddle previously led the Research Triangle Foundation in North Carolina.