Business Florida 2021 - The Regions
Brevard • Lake • Orange • Osceola • Seminole • Sumter • Volusia
or theme park fun, but this city has a serious side too. Only 20% of workers in Orlando are employed in the leisure and hospitality industry. Of the remaining 80%, a lion’s share has found jobs that are in some way related to technology. In fact, on WalletHub’s “Best Cities for STEM Jobs 2020,” Orlando ranks No. 12 nationwide.
Among recent developments in this East Central sector:
• Solai & Cameron Technologies and its subsidiary, Novatio Solutions, which helps companies automate business processes through artificial intelligence, is moving its headquarters and training center from Chicago to Orlando, creating 200 jobs.
• Digital media firm Electronic Arts is moving its central Florida headquarters from Maitland to downtown Orlando’s Creative Village district where University of Central Florida’s downtown campus opened last year.
• Orlando-based credit-card payment processing provider Fattmerchant plans to add 40 workers to its existing staff of 110.
• Tavistock Development Company is teaming up with Verizon to deploy the company’s 5G wireless technology across Lake Nona to create a 17-square-mile “living lab” community.
• Global professional services firm KPMG has opened its 800,000-sq.-ft. “Lakehouse” center in Lake Nona where it will train up to 800 KPMG professionals each week.
• Next door in Seminole County, leading public sector software and services firm GCR is opening a Center of Excellence in Heathrow that will focus on innovation in GovTech with the expectation of hiring 250 new employees over the next five years.
Research and development studies underway include:
• Python detection: From its new U.S. headquarters in Osceola County’s NeoCity technology district, Belgian nanotech research firm Imec and partners are developing a camera designed to allow faster and more accurate detection of the invasive Burmese rock pythons in the Everglades.
• Mosquito reconnaissance: Jonathan Hale, a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Unmanned Aircraft systems program, is developing a drone program to assist Volusia County’s mosquito control efforts.
• Rocket propulsion: Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed an advanced new rocket propulsion system.The system, known as a rotating detonation rocket engine, allows upper stage rockets for space missions to become lighter, travel farther and burn more cleanly.
KEY PLAYERS: Electronic Arts, Redwood City, Ca.; FattMerchant, Orlando; SemTech IT Solutions, Longwood
Logistics & Transportation
Never underestimate the power of good connections. Florida’s East Central might not be home to three heavyweight industry sectors — aerospace, tourism and technology — without them. Multiple links by air, sea, rail and road facilitate easy movement of both people and products into, out of and across these seven counties.
The region boasts four international airports — Orlando International, Orlando Sanford, Orlando Melbourne and Daytona Beach. With a total of 50.6 million passengers, Orlando International remains Florida’s busiest airport and, thanks to increased traffic in 2019, 10th busiest in the nation. International traffic at OIA increased by 8.4% over 2018 for an all-time high of 7.2 million international passengers. In neighboring Seminole County, Orlando Sanford International Airport logged a record 3.3 million passengers, a 6.3% jump over 2018 and a 93% increase from 2009. Sanford’s $62-million expansion is scheduled for completion by year’s end. Orlando International’s new South Terminal, expected to cost $2.7 billion, will add a train station to accommodate the high-speed Brightline trains scheduled to begin service in Orlando in 2022.
Port Canaveral remains the world’s second busiest cruise port, logging, at last count, a record 4.6 million multi-day passengers in FY 2019. At $110 million, total port revenue was up 6% with cruise revenue making up the lion’s share at $81.9 million. And while cargo was down 8% at $8.3 million, tonnage was actually up 1% to 6.5 million tons for the year. In 2019, the port broke ground on Cruise Terminal 3, a $163-million complex to include a 188,000-sq.-ft. building and a parking garage to accommodate 1,800 vehicles. The terminal received its certificate of occupancy in early June.
Terminal 3 is to serve as home port for Carnival Cruise Lines’ largest ship and the first North American vessel powered by liquefied natural gas — the 6,600-passenger Mardi Gras.
MSC Cruises will berth two luxury vessels at Port Canaveral for cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean beginning in November 2020, and Carnival Breeze, which was scheduled for transfer to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, will remain at Canaveral. In the meantime, renovations continue at two other Canaveral cruise terminals in anticipation of a third Disney ship — the Disney Wish, another LNG-powered vessel — scheduled to arrive in December 2021.
Distributors are taking notice:
• Sysco, a worldwide distributor of food products to restaurants, lodging establishments, hospitals and schools, has doubled the size of its FreshPoint Central Florida warehouse south of Orlando to 150,000 square feet and expanded its receiving dock. The facility, which currently employs 300, expects to add 150 jobs and distribute 6 million more cases of products by 2029.
• Amazon has begun hiring workers for its new distribution center located along I-4 in the Volusia County community of Deltona. The 1.4 million-sq.-ft. facility, which is expected to open in November 2020, expects to create up to 500 jobs by the end of 2023.
• Hiring is also underway at the recently completed 375,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Groveland that is owned by Kroger and online grocery retailer Ocado.
KEY PLAYERS: Amazon, Seattle, Wa.; American Automobile Association, Heathrow; JetBlue, Orlando; Support Center, Orlando; Total Quality Logistics, Cincinnati, Ohio