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Sailing Ahead


Miami-Fort Lauderdale overtook Austin in 2017 to become No. 1 for business startup activity among the nation’s 40 largest metro areas; on average, 560 residents per 100,000 here become entrepreneurs every month; 81% of them are driven by opportunity rather than necessity. (Kauffman 2017 Index of Startup Activity)

23% of southeast Florida residents are foreign-born and Hispanics are the most prevalent immigrant group, making up 68% of the population in Miami-Dade County alone. (U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Population / 6,762,235
  • Labor Force / 3,370,328
  • Households / 2,673,807
  • Total Earnings / $188.3 bil.
  • Median Per Capita Income / $67,096
  • Total Retail Sales / $119.05 bil.
  • Universities/Colleges / 19
  • Commercial Airports / 4
  • Seaports / 5

PortMiami was the world’s busiest cruise port in 2016, logging 4.98 million multi-day passengers, up 1.5% over 2015. Counts could soar even higher when Royal Caribbean Cruises opens a $200-million terminal to accommodate its largest cruise ships in 2018.



SUNRISE Synechron has added 50 software developers and engineers to its workforce of 33 in Broward County. The firm employs more than 8,000 financial services specialists at its 18 offices worldwide.

HOLLYWOOD RMS International has relocated with 30 employees to the downtown business district. The global toy design/fabrication firm has working relationships with Disney, Marvel, Hello Kitty and other industry icons.

MIRAMAR Cable giant Comcast is adding 600 employees in Miramar as part of a nationwide effort to improve customer service. Comcast currently employs more than 30,000 workers in Florida and, since 1996, has invested more than $8.5 billion in technology and infrastructure in the state.

SUMMERLAND KEY Mote Marine Laboratory opened its $7-million International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration in the Florida Keys in May 2017. Built to withstand a category 5 hurricane, the 19,000-sq.-ft. center more than doubles the size of the facility it replaces, allowing Mote to expand the number, size and duration of its experiments aimed at protecting and restoring Florida’s coral reef.

Key Players

ADT | Boca Raton
Citrix Systems | Fort Lauderdale
Microsoft Latin America | Fort Lauderdale

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) opened its $80-million Center for Collaborative Research in September 2017 near NSU’s Health Professions Division complex on its Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus. The six-story structure houses commercial enterprises, incubators, the U.S. Geological Survey and six research institutes, including the AutoNation Institute for Breast and Solid Tumor Cancer Research, the Emil Buehler Research Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and NSU’s Institute for Natural and Ocean Sciences Research.




MIAMI KLX Aerospace Solutions Group will add 100 employees with the expansion of its global headquarters and distribution center. A leading distributor of aerospace fasteners and consumables, KLX currently employs more than 650 Floridians.

SUNRISE Aviation Inflatables opened its south Florida headquarters in late 2016. The FAA-licensed repair station and reseller of passenger aircraft accessories and emergency evacuation equipment will add 40 jobs to its current staff of 69.

PEMBROKE PINES Broward College is now offering a degree in aerospace sciences for students seeking to study pilot and aviation management. Classes will be conducted at Broward College Aviation Institute.

FORT LAUDERDALE JetSmarter opened a corporate headquarters in September 2016. Offering travelers access to private jet services in more than 170 countries, JetSmarter allows users to charter planes via mobile app. Since its founding in 2013, JetSmarter has created more than 100 jobs in south Florida.

STUART Triumph Aerospace Structures was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for its stewardship and commitment to implementing environmental management policies. The manufacturer of fuselages, wings and other aerostructures for commercial, military and business jet aircraft opened here in 1950.

Key Players

Embraer | Fort Lauderdale
HEICO Corporation | Hollywood
KLX Aerospace Solutions Group | Miami
Piper Aircraft | Vero Beach
Pratt & Whitney | West Palm Beach

Aerolease Aviation of Miami has signed a deal to purchase 10 MRJ90 regional jets from Mitsubishi Aircraft; delivery expected in 2018.



INDIAN RIVER COUNTY Florida Power & Light (FPL) expects to begin generating 74.5 megawatts of power — enough to power 15,000 homes — from each of two Indian River-based solar plants in 2018. The Indian River Solar Energy Center is scheduled to become operational in January. The 432-acre Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center has a target opening date of April. Both will operate as universal solar centers — virtually silent and requiring neither water nor staff to operate.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY FPL’s Loggerhead Solar Energy Center is scheduled for completion by March 2018. The site will generate 74.5 megawatts of zero-emissions electricity. FPL sites already operating in the region include:

• Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, a combination solar and natural gas facility, near Indiantown.
• SolarNow arrays at the Broward Young at Art Museum & Library in Davie and Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society.
• A solar research installation at Florida International University in Miami.


Key Player

Florida Power & Light | Juno Beach




MIAMI-DADE DB Schenker is consolidating and relocating its Americas headquarters to a site near Miami International Airport. With more than 10,000 employees and operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and the U.S., DB Schenker is one of the largest integrated logistics service providers in the Americas.

MIAMI Seaboard Marine completed construction in spring 2017 on an 11,000-cubic-ft., temperature-controlled cold chamber at PortMiami to provide a safe environment for storing delicate cargo as it undergoes customs inspection and transfer procedures.

FORT LAUDERDALE At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — Florida’s third busiest — passenger traffic for 2016 was 29.2 million, up 8.4% from 2015. For a third consecutive year, international travel alone grew by 10%, helped by the addition of 12 international cities and two new carriers, Emirates Airlines and British Airways.

BROWARD COUNTY Port Everglades is moving forward with plans to build the PortEverglades International Logistics Center on 17 acres of port property west of McIntosh Road. Plans call for the center to include approximately 240,000 square feet of warehouse facilities with an attached 45,000-sq.-ft. office building; completion is anticipated by April 2019. Also in the works: the purchase of three low-profile Super Post Panamax gantry cranes capable of handling containers stacked eight units high as well as rail infrastructure to accommodate them, and the addition of five new berths for larger cargo ships.

HOLLYWOOD Online pet products retailer Chewy.com is bringing a customer service center and 1,100 jobs — an undisclosed amount of which will be new hires — to Hollywood before the end of 2017. The firm, which maintains a ready-to-ship stock of more than 18,000 items, was founded in south Florida in 2011 by millennial entrepreneurs who met in a computer chat room. Earlier in the year, Chewy announced plans to create 600 jobs at an e-commerce fulfillment center at Ocala in Florida’s north central region. The firm’s headquarters will remain in Dania Beach.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ MOL Majesty was the first ship to call at PortMiami after passing through the Panama Canal’s new, larger locks. In preparation for the arrival of post-Panamax ships, PortMiami spent $1.3 billion dredging its shipping channel to a depth of 52 feet, buying larger cranes and building a tunnel that provides direct access between marine terminals and interstate highways

MIAMI-DADE Amazon broke ground in June 2017 on an 800,000-sq.ft. fulfillment center, its 10th Florida location and first mega warehouse in the southeast region. The new facility, located at the Carrie Meek International Business Park adjacent to Opa-Locka Executive Airport, is expected to open in 2018 and create 1,000 jobs. At the same time, Amazon Prime Now opened a hub in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood aimed at south Florida’s Hispanic population.

MEDLEY San Diego, Ca.-based PriceSmart opened a 325,000-sq.ft. distribution center in May 2017 that will serve 75 warehouse clubs across Latin America. The largest operator of membership warehouse clubs in Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean, PriceSmart has no storefronts in the U.S., but sells more than $1 billion worth of U.S.-sourced merchandise annually and maintains a workforce of more than 200 at its Miami facilities.

Key Players

DHL Solutions Americas | Plantation
FedEx Express Latin America | Miami
Ryder System | Miami
Seaboard Marine | Miami

Home to 106 airlines — the most of any U.S. airport — Miami International continues to be Florida’s busiest. In 2016, MIA welcomed 44.6 million passengers and 2.2 million tons of cargo. Since 2012, MIA has added 43 destinations, 36 of which are international. In April 2017, Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW began non-stop service to Reykjavik; El Al will begin non-stop flights to Tel Aviv in November 2017


Life Sciences / Health Care

MIRAMAR As part of a $184-million expansion, the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company — Apotex — is constructing an R&D center and advanced manufacturing and packaging facility in Miramar that will serve as its U.S. headquarters and offices for Apobiologix, which is currently located in Weston; 150 full-time jobs are expected. Apotex produces more than 300 generic pharmaceuticals with an annual $2 billion in worldwide sales.

BOCA RATON Health care IT firm Modernizing Medicine plans to expand operations in the historic Boca Raton Innovation Center in Palm Beach County and add a total of 838 jobs by 2022. Founded in 2010, Modernizing Medicine works with physicians to develop specialty-specific systems for more efficient management of their electronic health records. The company’s many touch- and cloud-based products and services are programmed by a team that includes practicing physicians representing a variety of specialties, including dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management and plastic surgery.

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, where even the CAT scan machine is designed with children in mind, is ranked among the top 50 “Best Children’s Hospitals 2017-18” in eight specialties — the most of any pediatric hospital in Florida — including neurology, neonatology, urology, orthopedics and cardiology.

CORAL SPRINGS Cleveland Clinic Florida began work in April 2017 on a family health and ambulatory surgery center in Broward County. Scheduled to open in 2018, the center will include six operating rooms, 34 prep and recovery bays, two endoscopy suites, 40 exam rooms and imaging services.

JUPITER Pharmaceutical products firm CTD Holdings is growing its footprint in Florida with a corporate headquarters in Jupiter and 51 new jobs.

MIAMI For the 14th straight year, Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital was named the nation’s No. 1 hospital for ophthalmology
by U.S. News & World Report.

Key Players

Baptist Health South Florida | Miami
University of Miami Health System | Miami
Cancer Treatment Centers of America | Boca Raton

Baptist Health South Florida opened its $430-million Miami Cancer Institute in January 2017. A member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance (the only Florida institution so designated), the new interdisciplinary facility houses south Florida’s first proton radiation therapy center. Proton therapy enables oncologists to target tumors with precisely aimed radiation in order to avoid damaging healthy cells.


Corporate/Regional Headquarters

FORT LAUDERDALE Fiber optics telecommunications provider Hotwire Communications has relocated its headquarters from Pennsylvania. Hotwire employs 300 Floridians, and with the opening of its new Hotwire Technology Center in Fort Lauderdale, expects to create 375 jobs.

CORAL GABLES Cosentino Group, a global leader in natural stone, quartz and recycled surfacing, is relocating its Americas headquarters from Texas and adding 85 jobs. The family-owned, Spain-based firm employs 60 Floridians at distribution centers in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill and plans to open a design center in Miami’s Design District.

SUNRISE After nearly two years of construction, American Express has moved into its $200-million, 400,000-sq.-ft. regional headquarters. The third largest employer in Broward County, American Express will house 3,000 customer service, marketing, HR and legal services employees in the new space.

MIAMI Norfolk, Va.-based Boats Group, a leading online marketplace for buying and selling boats, has moved its corporate headquarters to Florida, where approximately a quarter of its customers are already located, and has begun filling an anticipated 80 jobs.

PALM BEACH GARDENS Construction continues at United Technologies’ headquarters and product showcase for its Climate Controls and Security division at I-95 and Donald Ross Road. The $115-million development is expected to create 380 jobs.

Key Players

AutoNation | Fort Lauderdale
NextEra Energy | Juno Beach
World Fuel Services | Miami



Widely respected educational options
Twenty-one Southeast Florida high schools earned gold medals in U.S. News & World Report’s “2017 Best High Schools” rankings; nine were among the top 100. This region is also home to 19 not-for-profit colleges, including the University of Miami, site of the UM Life Science & Technology Park (recently renamed Converge Miami). Also in this region: Florida International University, ranked No. 5 for its international business programs on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2017”; Broward College and Indian River State College, both finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence; Miami Dade College, with eight campuses and an entrepreneurial center; and, opening in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in fall 2017, Miami College of Design, the state’s first college devoted to industrial design.

Fun for all
Southeast Florida is packed with things to see and do. People watch over “con leche and a Cuban” or a cocktail and conch fritters at one of many seaside venues. Shop for designer togs along Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, or for bargains at Sawgrass Mills outlet mall in Sunrise. Take a leisurely drive down U.S. 1 to Key West for great history, sunsets and underwater adventure — the world’s third largest coral barrier reef system is just a few miles offshore. Get close to nature as you kayak the Indian River Lagoon or enjoy an air-boat tour of the Everglades. Play a round of golf or watch the pros compete in your favorite team sport; depending on the season, there’s football, hockey, baseball, basketball and soccer to enjoy.

Naturally good-looking, too
Southeast Florida has a reputation for glitz and glam, but natural wonders also can be found here. The region boasts three national parks: Biscayne (within the Miami city limits); Everglades (just a short drive west of the city); and Dry Tortugas (a dot in the ocean 70 miles from Key West). Also in this region: three of TripAdvisor’s 2017 “Top 25 Beaches, U.S.” — Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale Beach in Broward County (Nos. 6 and 11, respectively) and South Beach in Miami-Dade (No. 12).

Everglades National Park

Young, smart and urban-oriented
Young professionals are flocking to Miami’s central business district — and not just for jobs. A report from Miami’s Downtown Development Authority shows an urban population increase of 33% since 2010 in the 3.8-square-mile area that includes the central business district as well as the Brickell, Overtown, Wynwood, Midtown, Edgewater and Arts & Entertainment neighborhoods. Current estimates put the population here at 88,540, with projections to reach 100,000+ by 2021. Almost half of downtown residents are age 25-44 and well-educated — 29% have an undergraduate degree; another 22% hold graduate degrees.

Browsing and buying at Art Basel
The contemporary art fair that helped put south Florida’s arts and culture scene on the international map continues to draw crowds to the Miami Beach Convention Center every December. More than 250 galleries from 30+ nations exhibit, and some 70,000 art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados come to browse and buy.

On Exhibit
The long-awaited 250,000-sq.-ft. Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has opened at Miami’s Museum Park. Highlights include a 250-seat planetarium, one of only 13 worldwide equipped with an advanced 8K projection system, and a three-level 500,000-gallon aquarium where sharks, rays and other sea creatures can be viewed from an open-air deck or through a 31-foot-wide lens.

Frost Museum of Science