Northwest Florida - Brimming with Possibilities
Florida's Northwest grows new business on solid military, aviation and tourism roots
Pensacola/ Escambia County
Taking Research to Market
Bryan Clark, whose 10-year-old Pensacola company, Silver Bullet Technology, is a leader in providing check-processing software, is branching out. His newest company — Ceryph — marks the first commercialization of research coming out of the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition. Ceryph markets FIHMC’s CmapTools software to commercial users under the brand name Insight. The software enables users to construct, navigate and share knowledge models represented as concept maps.
Pensacola-based startup Gridsouth Networks has introduced a new Internet service that is 85 times faster than most existing high-speed connections and typically not available outside a megalopolis. “Any business in the region that’s going to bring in customers from outside the region needs the services we offer,’’ says company President Jim Nitterauer, noting, too, that Pensacola is a great place to do business. “The area offers a quality of life better than a big city requiring a long commute.”
Pensacola, one of Florida’s oldest settlements and “the cradle of naval aviation,” is bustling with redevelopment and new technology:
- Public and private partners are creating a $70-million Maritime Park, to include a multi-sport ball park, maritime museum, conference and university classroom space and fishing pier.
- A $14-million renovation of the 82-year-old Saenger Theater, home to symphony, opera, theater and Broadway-style productions.
- The Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition is earning accolades for its cutting-edge research on the relationship between humans and their machines. Launched in 1990 at the University of West Florida by Dr. Kenneth Ford, FIHMC was selected national winner of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s 2007 Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of technology-led economic development.
Students in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are getting a head start on training to be scientists thanks to “I LOVE Science,” an industry-sponsored program that puts real-life researchers into fifth-grade classrooms. An acronym for “Increasing Local Opportunities for Volunteers Enthusiastic about Science,” the program is co-sponsored by Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and Gulf Power Company, in conjunction with county school systems. The once-monthly classes are conducted by volunteers from numerous public- and private-sector employers, all of whom share a desire to make science lessons fun.
And by all indications, their efforts are paying off. In its first school year (2006-2007), some 240 volunteers participated in 225 classrooms, guiding students in such activities as building a rocket, making a telescope and removing pollution from water. Surveys show that not only are kids getting more excited about science, their standardized test scores are improving.Resources
• Florida A&M University
• Florida State University
• University of West Florida
• Chipola College
• Gulf Coast Community College
• Okaloosa-Walton College
• Pensacola Junior College
• Tallahassee Community College
• Okaloosa Regional Airport
• Panama City-Bay County International Airport
• Pensacola Regional Airport
• Tallahassee Regional Airport
• Port Panama City
• Port of Pensacola
• Port St. Joe