Economic yearbook 2011
Central - Yearbook
Lake Mary/Sanford/ Seminole County
One of only two rivers in Florida to carry the national wild and scenic designation, the spring-fed Wekiva (above) flows through Seminole County and serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between the environment and economic development in a metro area with more than 2 million residents. [Photo: John Moran]
|Seminole Population: 425,408|
|Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 1.03%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $42,722|
SEMINOLE COUNTY GOALS
Increase the pace of buying and refurbishing foreclosed homes with grant money and continue to lead metro Orlando in home sales recovery.
Promote efforts to complete the Wekiva Parkway project as a final link in a beltway around Orlando to relieve traffic on SR 46, create jobs and boost economic development.
Attract more airlines, frequency of service and business expansion at Orlando Sanford International Airport.
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: BlueChip Energy — BlueChip Energy of Lake Mary has an ambitious utility-scale photovoltaic solar project under way and is working to attract more business internationally. Incorporated in 2009 with Advanced Solar Photonics as its manufacturing unit, BlueChip's headline project is a 10-megawatt "solar farm" under development and covering a portion of its 380,000-sq.-ft. headquarters in Seminole County. A local utility agreement to purchase the "green energy" is the key to making that project work. BlueChip's diversification — it manufactures solar modules as well as distributes and installs them — is the other key to its growth. Employment has more than doubled to 65 from 25, and another 50 jobs are expected to be created this year.
EMERGING STAR: Brijot Imaging — Growing demand for less invasive full-body scanners has Lake Mary-based Brijot Imaging Systems emerging as a player in the field nationally and internationally. Brijot has been in full-scale production and distribution of its screening systems only since 2006 but has become an industry leader in "passive millimeter wave" security checkpoint technology. The high-tech screening system allow airports, government agencies and other users to conduct body scans for metal and objects such as weapons, explosives or drugs without being overly revealing. Privately held Brijot in 2010 inked a $3.6-million contract with the U.S. Air Force to develop a long-range imaging system prototype.
HEAVY HITTER: Mitsubishi Power — Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas in Lake Mary is the type of economic driver that central Florida and other regions covet to diversify and boost wages. Mitsubishi has been hiring for its big south Orlando manufacturing plant, which makes parts for turbines worldwide. The facility doubled in size to more than 200,000 square feet in 2008. This year, the company is working on several major projects, including construction of a gas turbine manufacturing and assembly plant near Savannah, Ga., its first industrial frame plant outside of Japan. Mitsubishi Power also is installing an advanced combined heat and power system for the University of Central Florida, in service late this year. The natural gas system uses an absorption chiller to capture heat, making it more efficient and reducing the school's carbon footprint.
Prasad Chittaluru, principal, Epic Engineering — Prasad Chittaluru's Oviedo-based Epic Engineering & Consulting Group tackles some of the toughest IT challenges with significant payoffs. One system developed by Epic helps healthcare providers aggregate critical information about patients, to save lives. A National Science Foundation grant is helping Chittaluru's 4-year-old company develop a system that wastewater companies can use to quickly analyze diverse data sets and prioritize repairs — before a breakdown. Chittaluru, a former engineer with PBS&J and researcher at the University of Miami, also is past-president of the American Society of Civil Engineers East Central Florida Branch, one of the largest in the state.
Wendy Brandon, CEO, Central Florida Regional Hospital — Hospital Corp. of America selected Wendy Brandon in 2008 to head Central Florida Regional Hospital.
Michael Wright, president, Power Grid Engineering — Professional engineer Michael Wright founded Power Grid Engineering with two friends in 2007, and the Winter Springs-based electrical engineering firm has since grown to employ 33, developing complex protection and design packages that keep the electricity flowing at major utilities nationwide. A Florida native and resident of Sanford, Wright has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida and an MBA from Rollins College.