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August 14, 2018

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Boundless: Florida is a state of excitement

Andrew P. Corty | 2/26/2016

With no Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico or Everglades to hem it in, Orlando’s potential is boundless.

Its central location is one reason it has grown so much over the years. But other reasons are equally important — the verve of the market, aggressive leadership and a focus on creating and attracting cutting-edge businesses.

This month, Florida Trend focuses on the metro Orlando region, which encompasses Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties.

Metro Orlando

Tourism remains the part of the economy everybody knows, and the theme parks are building new attractions, “towns” and hotels at a rapid clip — 1,000 new rooms a year seems to be routine for these giants.

But outside the tourism sector, the broader business community is thriving as well. The University of Central Florida now is the nation’s second-largest by enrollment. Medical-related companies have become big players. The defense industry has spun off a host of simulation, optics, sensor and aerospace firms. Advanced manufacturing has taken its place in the mix, as has digital media.

National organizations — Darden Restaurants, AAA, the United States Tennis Association — have headquarters in the area.

The cultural infrastructure is growing, too — there’s a new performing arts center, a new Orlando Magic arena and a new stadium that will be built for the city’s Major League Soccer team. Roads are under construction, through downtown and around it. Orlando International Airport is undergoing a billion-dollar expansion that includes a train (the “Brightline”) from downtown Miami.

» The whole region is on the move — please see our report.

When I attended school decades ago, students could participate in multiple sports. Now, by the time children are 10 or 12, the pressure is so intense to land a college scholarship or to go pro that they have to focus on one sport, whether football, baseball, tennis or golf.

The same can be said of MBA programs. When I earned my MBA, I majored in finance but took a wide range of courses, from accounting to finance to organizational behavior.

I’m not sure that’s good enough today. Instead, we see specialized MBA degrees with an emphasis on health care management or international business or supply chain management.

As business (like sports) becomes more specialized, these concentrations make a lot of sense. Our MBA student profiles (see the Economic Backbone section) show the need for big-picture thinking and creativity — with a foundation in rationality, statistics and reality.

Enterprise Florida has a sharp new marketing campaign that debuts with this issue. The governor, other state officials and top executives are thrilled with the campaign, which positions Florida as a forward-looking state.

The tag line is “Florida: The Future Is Here,” and you will see the word “boundless” many times. This month’s ad highlights the “boundless innovation” of technology advances in Florida, the state’s many high-tech companies and the large number of STEM graduates.

Please visit the new website to view the inspiring video.

— Andy Corty


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