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September 30, 2014

North Central: Fueling the Future

Focus on alternative energies and technology bodes well for growth in this dynamic region.

Ginger Broslat | 9/24/2009

GAINESVILLE/ALACHUA COUNTY

HyGreen™ system
Developed at the University of Florida, the HyGreen™ system ensures that healthcare workers’ hands are clean. [Photo: Xhale]
Quicker technology transfer: The Gainesville Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) is capitalizing on the University of Florida’s presence in Alachua County. CEO is working closely with UF’s Department of Patents and Licensing to ensure that the results of the innovative, high-tech research under way in campus laboratories gets quickly into the marketplace by way of local and regional businesses.

One example is Xhale, whose CEO Richard Allen says his company currently owns and/or licenses about 30 patents from UF researchers. The latest product — HyGreen — is designed to solve the recurring healthcare problem of germ transfer by dirty hands. The HyGreen system employs a combination of hand wash stations with sensors and monitors beside each patient bed and special badges worn by healthcare workers. The badges light up to assure the patient that an employee’s hands have been washed, and vibrate to remind the worker if the precaution has not been taken.

DIXIE, LEVY AND GILCHRIST COUNTIES

Improved access to healthcare: Residents of Dixie, Levy and Gilchrist counties are looking forward to plans being finalized for a Tri-County Hospital to serve their healthcare needs closer to home. AMERIS Health System, based in Nashville, Tenn., is making plans to construct the $53-million facility in Chiefland.

Gearing up for growth: Although construction on Progress Energy’s new nuclear power plant in Levy County has been delayed pending environmental impact studies, programs are already under way to prepare for anticipated changes in community dynamics. Team Levy, a group of business and community leaders, is seeking ways to attract and retain businesses in the area, and Workforce Connection, which coordinates employment and training services in Citrus, Levy and Marion counties, is gearing up to prepare workers for jobs related to the plant’s construction and operation.

Preserving the environment: Always conscious and protective of their area’s ideally pristine environment, Gilchrist County volunteers have joined with Pure Water Wilderness on a “Suwannee River Clean Up.” Stretching from White Springs to the town of Suwannee on the Gulf coast, the Suwannee River offers 170 miles of scenic adventure.

Tags: North Central, Business Florida

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