Business Florida 2022 - The Regions
Broward • Indian River • Martin • Miami-Dade • Monroe • Palm Beach • St. Lucie
Innovation & Technology
Southeast Florida has a long history of supporting innovation and technology. After all, it was here, that in 1980, a team of engineers in Boca Raton designed and built the first IBM PC. Today, Florida is third in the nation for high-tech industry and first in the Southeast for high-tech employment.
Among Southeast Florida’s technology superstars is UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group). Formerly known as Ultimate Software, the firm merged with Kronos, another similarly-minded human capital management firm, in April 2020 to become one of the world’s largest cloud companies focused on workforce management and employee experience solutions. In September 2020, Ultimate Software was ranked No. 13 on People magazine’s 2020 list of “50 Companies That Care,” an annual recognition of firms devoted to caring for employees, customers and their communities. On October 1, Ultimate Software and Kronos officially re-branded as UKG.
Elsewhere in the region:
• ACI Worldwide, one of the world’s largest electronic payment software firms, is relocating its headquarters from Naples in Florida’s Southwest region to Miami-Dade with plans to build a 23,000-sq.-ft. head office, expand its software design and research/development operations and hire 182 full-time employees.
• Global finance giant Blackstone has signed a multi-year lease for its new in-house technology unit, which will occupy 41,000 square feet in the 2 MiamiCentral office building downtown with the expectation of hiring at least 200 employees.
• Microsoft has announced plans to open a 50,000-sq.-ft. Latin America-focused office in downtown Miami’s growing Brickell Financial District.
• The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has pledged $15.3 million to Florida International University, the University of Miami and Baptist Health South Florida to develop a deeper pool of local tech talent. FIU and UM will receive $10 million and $4.3 million, respectively, to expand their computing and data sciences schools; Baptist Health will receive $1 million to create a fellowship program focused on health care innovation.
• Global IT solutions provider Future Tech Enterprise plans to open its new executive headquarters on the top floor of Broward Financial Centre in downtown Fort Lauderdale with the expectation of creating 25 jobs.
• Vero Beach-based Piper Aircraft has sold nearly 60 of its Piper M600 SLS turboprops, which come with Garmin “Autoland” self-landing technology as a standard feature. In an emergency, the technology connects with air traffic controllers and lands the plane on a runway. But it comes with a hefty price. The Autoland feature contributes about $150,000 to the total price tag of $3.1 million.
KEY PLAYERS: Accelirate, Sunrise; Citrix, Fort Lauderdale; Cyxtera Technologies, Coral Gables; UKG, Weston
Manufacturing remains an important business sector in Southeast where three counties are among the top eight for manufacturing jobs in Florida. Miami-Dade County is ranked No. 1 with more than 41,000 people employed, followed by Broward at No. 5 and Palm Beach at No. 8, each representing more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs.
Wire and cable manufacturer Accel International Holdings is nearing completion on its new manufacturing plant in Port St. Lucie. The 150,000-sq.-ft. facility in Port St. Lucie’s Tradition Center for Commerce will produce high-performance cables, wires and conductors for the aerospace, medical, industrial and telecommunications marketplace. It’s expected to create 125 new jobs.
Central Florida-based design-builder and manufacturer Finfrock has begun construction on 140,000-sq.-ft. of precast manufacturing facilities and administrative offices, located on approximately 94 acres in the Palm Beach County community of Belle Glade. Previously headquartered in Apopka, Finfrock’s new facility is positioned to better serve commercial developers in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward and Southwest Florida counties. Located in the Glades Gateway Commerce Park, the new facility is expected to employ 200.
Other manufacturers finding new homes in Florida’s Southeast:
• JanSteel, an Israel-based heavy equipment manufacturer of transport products such as bodies for all truck types, tip trailers, flatbed semi-trailers and lowboys, has plans to construct a 45,000-sq.-ft. facility.
• Orchid Island Juice, maker of Natalie’s Juice, is expanding its warehouse and administrative offices by more than double its previous square footage in St. Lucie County.
• Charcoal maker Green Carbon Solutions, manufacturer of an eco-friendly charcoal-like substance, approved to construct a plant in Indiantown that will employ up to 80. The firm’s highly porous, high-carbon charcoal is used in the industrial and environmental sectors.
KEY PLAYERS: Automated Manufacturing Systems, West Palm Beach; Injex Manufacturing, Port St. Lucie; Piper Aircraft, Vero Beach; Tectronic Industries, Fort Lauderdale