September 22, 2023
ATS Central Sept 2022
Arjun Verma and sister Hannah launched a non-profit called TeleHealth Access for Seniors that takes donated smart devices to help connect seniors with their doctors.
ATS Central Sept 2022
Melbourne-based L3Harris Technologies has sent an infrared system into space that will help capture high-resolution imagery that will enable the U.S. Space Systems Command to patrol wide areas for potential missile launches.

Photo: Millennium Space Systems

ATS Central Sept 2022
Rajni Shankar-Brown, a Stetson University professor and Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education, was elected president of the National Coalition for the HOmeless. She's the first woman of color to hold the position.

Photo: Stetson University

Central Florida Roundup

Non-profit created by children of doctors helps seniors stay connected with their physicians

Amy Keller | 9/13/2022


Tech Offensive

The shift to telemedicine has been heralded as one of the silver livings of the COVID-19 crisis, but it hasn’t been a simple shift for everyone, says Arjun Verma, a 2022 graduate of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando. His parents are both doctors, and “many of their patients, especially elderly patients, didn’t have access to the devices they needed to connect to their virtual health care appointments” during the pandemic, he says.

Aiming to help solve the problem, Arjun Verma and his sister, Hannah Verma, launched a non-profit called TeleHealth Access for Seniors that takes donated iPhones, iPads and other smart devices and provides them to seniors and others so they can connect with their doctors.

Hannah Verma, a 2021 Yale graduate who is now a medical student, says the non-profit has 400 volunteers in 26 states. The Longwood-based organization has donated 3,750 devices to health care clinics, which distribute them to patients who need them. The group has also raised $251,000.

The benefits of the technology have extended beyond doctor visits. Clinics in Chicago have reported that patients are using the devices to register for vaccines, boosters and to use health apps. “In New York City, we’ve had patients using them to register for social services, so the benefits have been really widespread,” says Hannah Verma. “Another clinic in Florida installed them in rooms and got interpreters on video so patients could talk to the interpreters. Overall there’s been a lot of utility in these devices in many ways.”


  • Brightline has reconfigured its planned expansion from Orlando International Airport to Tampa to include two stations — one at the Orange County Convention Center and a second near Disney Springs on land not owned by Disney. Brightline’s intercity service will be integrated with SunRail through an east-west expansion.
  • Nicole Guillet was named president and CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport, replacing Tom Nolan, who served nearly two years before retiring in July. Guillet most recently served as the airport’s executive vice president of commercial development, real estate and legal affairs.
  • Avelo Airlines, a low-cost startup headquartered in Houston, has designated Orlando International Airport as a base as it expands service to include flights from Orlando to Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, N.C. Avelo expects to create up to 150 jobs at the airport over the next year.
  • Breeze Airways — the low-fare air carrier launched last year in Utah — is running daily non-stop flights between Charleston, S.C., and Orlando International Airport.
  • Scandinavian carrier Norse Atlantic Airways is operating a non-stop route between Orlando and Oslo, Norway, with three flights weekly.


  • Aaron De Groft was terminated as director and CEO of the Orlando Museum of Art, following a scandal over the authenticity of a collection of paintings attributed to the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The FBI raided the museum in June, seizing 25 paintings from the museum’s Heroes and Monsters exhibition that it suspects are fakes. Joann Walfish, the museum’s CFO, was named interim COO and is now leading the museum.


  • An analysis of government data by Associated General Contractors of America found that the Orlando region suffered the biggest decline in construction employment of any U.S. metro area between May 2021 and May 2022, with a loss of 5,500 jobs, or 8%. The organization attributed the reduction to a lack of qualified workers.


  • Miami-based Westside Capital Group plans to build up to 1,600 apartment units (including 160 affordable housing units) and 150,000 square feet of retail space on the site of the defunct Lake Orlando Golf Course in the Rosemont community north of downtown Orlando. The planned $1-billion RoseArts District has met resistance from residents concerned about traffic congestion, building heights and environmental impacts.


  • Health First, an integrated health network that operates four hospitals along Florida’s Space Coast, will break ground next year on two “wellness villages.” The 14-acreWellness Village at Merritt Island will include a 120-bed hospital that will replace Cape Canaveral Hospital, as well as medical offices, imaging, retail space and walking and bike trails. The 22-acre Health First Wellness Village at Melbourne will be located adjacent to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center and will feature an outpatient surgery center and many of the same elements as the Merritt Island campus.
  • AdventHealth promoted Dr. Neil Finkler from senior vice president and chief medical officer for AdventHealth Orlando to chief clinical officer for its sevencounty Central Florida division.


  • Robert King was appointed interim president of the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. King was most recently assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Former Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay recently retired.


  • Disney’s board of directors voted to extend CEO Bob Chapek’s contract through 2025. Meanwhile, the company is delaying plans to move 2,000 employees from Southern California to a planned Imagineering campus in Lake Nona until mid-2026.


  • John Staten, president and COO of Orlando-based Holiday Inn Club Vacations, succeeded Tom Nelson as CEO following Nelson’s retirement. John Geller Jr., president of Marriott Vacations Worldwide in Orlando, will become CEO in 2023 when Stephen Weisz retires.


  • CO2Meter, an Ormond Beach company that makes CO2 monitoring devices and other gas-detection devices, is expanding at the Ormond Beach Airport Business Park.


Deborah Bowie was named executive director of the onePULSE Foundation, the nonprofit group behind Orlando’s planned National Pulse Memorial & Museum. Bowie previously served in several senior public administrator roles with the city of Gainesville.

The Heart of Florida United Way awarded $1 million to the Sharing Center, a charity in Longwood that provides services to Seminole County’s homeless.

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