May 26, 2020
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Governor Ron DeSantis was sworn in as Florida's 46th governor in January of 2019.

Photo: Colin Hackley

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VR Systems provides software and hardware technology to support the election process throughout the country.
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Tally Job Hop is a program of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

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Florida's Gov-Tech Leader

Heidi Tyline King | 2/28/2020

Being the capital of the third largest state in the country, Tallahassee gives its vibrant gov-tech sector an unparalleled advantage. Besides the close proximity to state government, the city offers a wealth of entrepreneurial resources, access to renowned experts in various fields, and a well-educated workforce at the ready.

The state government in Tallahassee is a catalyst for new business and innovation. Working with and satisfying the third-largest state government in the country gives both start-ups and established companies in the gov-tech sector a competitive advantage.

Access to Government

Diverse Computing, one of the leading software vendors developing innovative IT for the criminal justice and law enforcement industry, began in 2001 with a contract with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Our path is very much like the path of other IT businesses in Tallahassee,” explains Lester Hutt, director of recruiting and community outreach at Diverse Computing. “We created software and had a successful implementation, and other states started taking notice. They wanted the same technology for their states.”

Hutt says that the reason Tallahassee is such an ideal location for the gov-tech industry is the easy access to all different state departments as well as the affordable cost of living in Tallahassee and the knowledge capital to draw educated employees. “Every single state agency uses technology, and there are literally dozens of Tallahassee companies designing software to meet their needs.”

To counter the threats of bioterrorism, Ebola, flu, and other diseases, Tallahassee-based Ruvos helped create software to track diseases, technology that is now used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and state and federal governments. “The Florida Department of Health gave us an opportunity in 2004 and here we are, 15 years later, working internationally providing surveillance of diseases and advising foreign governments on how to set up their own disease tracking operations,” says Eduardo Gonzalez Loumiet, CEO and senior project manager. “Most of our clients are located out of state, but we’ve stayed put. We love the schools, the direction in which the overall community is headed, and the great things that the OEV, Florida Technology Council, and DOMI Station are doing to promote technology and talent.”

Capital Benefits

One of the oldest companies in the sector is Municode, historically a legal codification company that is now a unifying platform for meeting agenda creation and approvals, website design and hosting, self-publishing software and document archiving, and municipal codes of ordinances for all sizes of government entities. Founded in 1958, the company’s first client was the city of Tallahassee. Today, the company is a national leader in gov-tech services. “As a midsize-to-large company, we have access to everything we need to do business, including a vibrant talent pool,” says Eric Grant, president and CEO. In contrast, Kikoda, founded in 2016, is one of the newer software firms in town, and in only three years, has tripled in size, with plans to double in size in 2020. The company specializes in custom software development, security and data privacy, IT consulting, and business analysis. Even the Florida Lottery creates the latest gaming innovations right in Tallahassee.

Given that Tallahassee and the state of Florida always play a major role in national elections, it was only natural that a local company recognized the need for designing technology to support modern elections. VR Systems creates electronic pollbooks, online training systems, and comprehensive software platforms to support the entire election effort. Its products are now used throughout the country.

Zack Dunlap is director of business development at Inspired Technologies, an all-inclusive technology solutions provider with 40 employees and a 35% annual growth rate. With clients in 30 states and 5G rollouts slated for major cellphone companies, the Tallahassee-based company will break ground on a 50,000-squarefoot facility next year.

“We’re just two guys from Wakulla who migrated to Tallahassee and began running fiber nationwide for law enforcement communications networks,” Dunlap says. “Working in the state capital makes it easy to communicate and showcase new IT and solutions designed specifically for government. It also gives us a chance to prove ourselves because it shows that our company can meet the needs of a state as large as Florida.”

Tags: Northwest, Custom Content, Tallahassee Community Portrait

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