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Special Investment Report: Infrastructure Investment, Educational Resources Support Florida’s Diverse and Growing Economy

Q2 2017
Florida has a dynamic and diverse economy that spans a wide range of industries and employs some 8.5 million people. Last year those businesses created nearly 250,000 new jobs, but fell 50,000 short of the state’s peak in 2015. According to the Governor’s office, however, Florida added the most new manufacturing jobs (nearly 12,000) last year of any state. The state is home to more than 19,000 manufacturing companies that benefit from Florida’s pro-business policies and low business taxes. Florida’s training schools, community colleges, and universities help to educate the workforce. They are regarded among the nation’s top producers of STEM graduates.

Florida’s population grows by about one million per year. Besides its warm weather and countless hours of sunshine, Florida offers a number of advantages. Residents pay no state income tax, and businesses pay the lowest possible rate of re-employment taxes. For 2017, the minimum tax rate remains at $7.00 per employee, 94 percent less than the $120.80 per employee businesses paid in 2012.

People are attracted to living in Florida. Its cities are growing, as indicated by Forbes’ 2017 list of America's fastest-growing cities. Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranked No. 1 for 2016 population growth; Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, No. 2 (first for job growth); Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, No. 4; Jacksonville, No. 5 (third for projected wage growth); North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, No. 6 (third for 2016 population growth); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, No. 8 (fifth for projected wage growth); and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, No. 12. Miami’s population has actually doubled since 2000.

Developed Infrastructure and Education Support Florida’s Growing Economy

Florida’s ports, airports, and other developed infrastructure — as well as its educational institutions — support a diverse economy.
  1. Florida’s Miami International Airport

    ` Miami, FL

    According to The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), Florida’s Miami International Airport ranks first for air cargo activity with Latin America and the Caribbean.

  2. Orlando International Airport

    Orlando, FL

    Orlando International Airport is nearing completion of its people-moving complex — part of a $1 billion expansion.

  3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is undergoing a $295 million expansion.

  4. Tampa International Airport

    Tampa, FL

    Tampa International Airport continues its $1 billion expansion and renovation.

  5. PortMiami

    Miami, FL

    PortMiami has recently increased its water depth to -50/-52 feet, and added super post-Panamax gantry cranes, intermodal on-dock rail connections to the national rail system, and an access tunnel to the U.S. Interstate Highway System.

  6. Port Tampa Bay

    Tampa, FL

    To serve this growing market, Port Tampa Bay and terminal operator Ports America have been expanding container facilities, and recently received two new post-Panamax gantry cranes, adding to the three existing gantry cranes already in place.

  7. Tampa-Orlando I-4

    Florida

    The Tampa-Orlando I-4 corridor represents the 10th-largest economy in the United States. Its growth outpaces the state’s 2:1.

  8. The University of Florida (UF)

    Gainesville, FL

    The University of Florida (UF) has set a tone for high-tech entrepreneurship strengthened by its prowess in garnering research funds.

  9. The University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL

    The University of Central Florida produces more graduates that work at aerospace and defense companies than any other university in the nation.

  10. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University helps to supply Florida’s aerospace, aviation, and defense sector with skilled workers.

  11. Florida Institute of Technology

    Melbourne, FL

    The Florida Institute of Technology has seven main academic divisions with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and aviation.

Investment in Infrastructure
Infrastructure is the backbone of Florida’s economy. Orlando has more than $2 billion in public-private investment in infrastructure and new facilities under way. Interstate 4 in Central Florida is being widened through downtown Orlando and is expected to be under construction for the next decade. Greater Orlando’s SunRail commuter rail system that commenced in 2014 is expected to be fully operational this year.

But much work needs to be done — hence Florida’s “C” grade in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2016 Report Card. In Miami and Orlando, alone, the cost of congestion exceeds $1,000 per driver each year. Florida earned its highest grades for its bridges (B), commercial airports (B-), and seaports (B-).

According to The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), Florida’s Miami International Airport ranks first for air cargo activity with Latin America and the Caribbean. Florida also has the second-largest foreign-trade zone network in the United States, and one in five U.S. companies that export is in Florida. Florida Department of Commerce figures indicate that Florida businesses exported more than $53 billion in goods in 2015 through its ports and airports.

Florida Aviation System Plan reports that more than 50 percent of Florida’s commercial airports will experience demand levels that will saturate their operational capacity over the next 15 years. Already Florida’s airports handle 139 million passengers and transport over 2.7 million tons ($46 billion) of cargo each year. Orlando International Airport is nearing completion of its people-moving complex — part of a $1 billion expansion. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is undergoing a $295 million expansion. Tampa International Airport continues its $1 billion expansion and renovation.

Florida’s 15 seaports are responsible for $117.6 billion in economic activity, supporting nearly 900,000 jobs, $40 billion in personal income, and $4.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. Florida has also invested more than $1 billion in its port infrastructure since 2011. An additional $3.7 billion in state, local, and private funding has been planned for port capital improvement projects over the next five years.

PortMiami has recently increased its water depth to -50/-52 feet, and added super post-Panamax gantry cranes, intermodal on-dock rail connections to the national rail system, and an access tunnel to the U.S. Interstate Highway System. The port is regarded as a one-stop gateway for all Southeast cargo. “Shippers have the advantage of accessing, via PortMiami, Florida’s huge consumer market,” says PortMiami Director/CEO Juan M. Kuryla.

Tampa offers the state’s largest concentration of distribution centers, and is also one of the largest distribution hubs in the Southeast. The Tampa-Orlando I-4 corridor represents the 10th-largest economy in the United States. Its growth outpaces the state’s 2:1.

“To serve this growing market, Port Tampa Bay and terminal operator Ports America have been expanding container facilities, and recently received two new post-Panamax gantry cranes, adding to the three existing gantry cranes already in place,” notes Wade Elliott, Tampa Bay Port Authority’s vice president of Marketing and Business Development.

Florida’s Diverse Industry Sectors

Florida is particularly strong in a host of industry sectors that include finance, information technology, biotechnology, and aerospace/aviation/defense.
  1. Fay Servicing

    Tampa, FL

    Fay Servicing recently chose Tampa for its new $1 million Southeast regional headquarters.

  2. KPMG LLP

    Orlando, FL

    KPMG LLP is building a $400 million, 55-acre, state-of-the-art learning, development, and innovation campus in Lake Nona near Orlando.

  3. Deutsche Bank

    Jacksonville, FL

    Deutsche Bank is expanding its campus in Jacksonville by $10+ million and 350 new jobs, making the location Deutsche Bank’s second largest in the United States.

  4. Unibanco Holding SA and Grupo BTG Pactual

    Miami, FL

    Brazilian banks Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Grupo BTG Pactual have expanded in Miami due to an influx of wealthy Brazilians moving to the city.

  5. Innovation Hub

    Gainesville, FL

    To date, 61 technology-based companies have gotten their start at the Innovation Hub, which opened in 2011. These companies have created more than 760 jobs and drawn more than $50 million in private investment funds.

  6. Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute

    Alachua, FL

    UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute in Alachua was named the 2017 Top Global Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association.

  7. Nanotherapeutics

    Alachua, FL

    Nanotherapeutics began as a start-up at UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology’s incubator and recently opened the doors to its new $138 million facility in Gainesville.

  8. BRIDG (Bridging the Innovation to Development Gap)

    Osceola County, FL

    BRIDG (Bridging the Innovation to Development Gap) has moved into its new 109,000-square-foot facility near Kissimmee located at the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.

  9. Gartner, Inc.

    Fort Myers, FL

    Gartner, Inc. — a global information technology research and advisory company — announced in March expansion plans in Lee County for creating 600 jobs and investing more than $21 million.

  10. ACI Worldwide

    Naples, FL

    ACI Worldwide, which powers electronic payments, announced plans to create 57 jobs and invest $1.5 million in Naples.

  11. RADISE International

    Riviera Beach, FL

    RADISE International, a small Riviera Beach business that provides engineering and IT services, has been expanding its operations in Palm Beach County and has created 60 STEM jobs since early 2016.

  12. randrr

    Jacksonville, FL

    Digital platform company randrr will create up to 200 jobs in Jacksonville by 2018 and add $9 million in capital investment.

  13. LONGBOW LLC

    Orlando, FL

    LONGBOW LLC, a joint venture between include Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, recently won a $10.7 million contract to conduct Hellfire missile engineering services in Orlando for the U.S. Army.

  14. Exploration Park

    Merritt Island, FL

    Exploration Park, a 299-acre property located outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center, is poised to become home to diverse private-sector technology enterprises. The Space Life Sciences Lab is currently the most prominent facility at Exploration Park, and is home to the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which coordinates the use of the International Space Station’s U.S. National Laboratory.

Diverse Industry Sectors
Forida is particularly strong in a host of sectors: finance; high technology, e.g., cleantech and biotech; information technology; aerospace and aviation; defense and homeland security.

Finance: Many leading financial and insurance services firms have large operations in Florida, employing more than 351,000 professional workers. These firms are attracted by Florida’s global connectivity, experienced workforce, and a growing market. That’s why Fay Servicing recently chose Tampa for its new $1 million Southeast regional headquarters. CEO Ed Fay finds Tampa’s workforce exceptional “in terms of the skills we require, and the area provides many advantages when it comes to recruiting talented individuals.”

Likewise, KPMG LLP is building a $400 million, 55-acre, state-of-the-art learning, development, and innovation campus in Lake Nona near Orlando. And Deutsche Bank is expanding its campus in Jacksonville by $10+ million and 350 new jobs, making the location Deutsche Bank’s second largest in the United States.

“A key part of our global strategy is to optimize Deutsche Bank’s geographical footprint,” says Leslie Slover, managing director and regional head of Jacksonville and Cary, N.C., for Deutsche Bank. “Jacksonville continues to be a core location in this initiative.”

Brazilian banks Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Grupo BTG Pactual have expanded in Miami due to an influx of wealthy Brazilians moving to the city. Miami is also home to Florida’s largest financial services cluster and scores of hedge funds that have recently opened offices downtown.

High Technology: Although venture capital resources lag behind California and Massachusetts, Florida offers numerous centers and resources that boost a burgeoning high-tech sector. The University of Florida (UF) has set a tone for high-tech entrepreneurship strengthened by its prowess in garnering research funds. In 2014 alone, UF brought in $706 million.

The UF Innovation Hub spurs innovation and tech startup growth in Gainesville. UF is currently doubling the size of the Hub to accommodate 45 tech startup companies and will include office space and wet and dry lab space. To date, 61 technology-based companies have gotten their start at the Innovation Hub, which opened in 2011. These companies have created more than 760 jobs and drawn more than $50 million in private investment funds.

Nearby in Alachua is UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute, which was named the 2017 Top Global Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association. “This puts a seal of approval not only on the incubator, but the university and the community as a whole,” comments Thomas Clemens, vice president of Economic Development for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nanotherapeutics began as a start-up at UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology’s incubator and recently opened the doors to its new $138 million facility in Gainesville. The company produces vaccines and treatments for bioterrorism and infectious diseases for the U.S. Department of Defense.

In April, BRIDG (Bridging the Innovation to Development Gap) moved into its new 109,000-square-foot facility near Kissimmee located at the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. The center anchors a 500-acre, master-planned site owned by Osceola County called NeoCity. BRIDG and the University of Central Florida have landed a role in a $75 million federal contract to develop smart fiber technology at the facility. Last summer, Belgian nanotechnology research firm Imec announced its partnership with the project. Harris Corp. is also a partner.

Information Technology: More than 26,000 IT companies employ more than 245,700 professionals in Florida. Gartner, Inc. — a global information technology research and advisory company — announced in March expansion plans in Lee County for creating 600 jobs and investing more than $21 million. Gartner constructed two 120,000-square-foot buildings in Fort Myers in 2012 and 2014, as well as a new world-class training facility in 2016, representing more than $46 million in capital investment. Gartner employs in excess of 1,100 Floridians in Fort Myers.

In December, ACI Worldwide, which powers electronic payments, announced plans to create 57 jobs and invest $1.5 million in Naples. In exchange, ACI, one of the Gulf Coast’s largest companies by revenue, is receiving $600,000 in combined state and local incentives over the next five years. Florida competed with Nebraska for ACI’s expansion. ACI Worldwide President/CEO Phil Heasley sees the region as “fast becoming a major technology hub due to its universities and growing pool of top talent.”

RADISE International, a small Riviera Beach business that provides engineering and IT services, has been expanding its operations in Palm Beach County and has created 60 STEM jobs since early 2016. The expansion includes a capital investment of $2 million.

“Partnering with local businesses like RADISE International is one of the many ways Florida Atlantic University (FAU) works to prepare students for success in their education and careers,” notes FAU President Dr. John Kelly.

Digital platform company randrr will create up to 200 jobs in Jacksonville by 2018 and add $9 million in capital investment. It chose Florida over Silicon Valley, Calif.; Ohio; and New York to establish its new app development offices. Terry Terhark, randrr CEO, says he was attracted to Jacksonville because city leaders are committed to creating a world-class technology environment where companies like randrr can find the talent they need.

Aerospace, Aviation, and Defense: Florida has long been the world’s premier gateway to space, an undisputed air traffic hub for the Western Hemisphere, a major center for flight training and MRO, and home to manufacturing of aircraft and aviation/aerospace components. Florida aviation and aerospace businesses export more than $5.2 billion in goods annually, making Florida a national leader in these sectors. More than 85,000 Floridians work in the state’s aviation and aerospace industries, including large numbers of rocket scientists, machinists, pilots, and engineers, among others.

More than 220 aerospace, aviation, and defense companies have operations in or near Orlando, including the top eight companies on the Fortune 500 list. Known as the Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T) capital of the world, Orlando sees more than $4 billion in simulation contracts flow through the region each year.

The region has a labor pool of more than 1.2 million, with more than 17,600 individuals working in the aerospace, aviation, and defense sector. The University of Central Florida produces more graduates that work at aerospace and defense companies than any other university in the nation. Other education leaders in the area include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Institute of Technology.

Leading aerospace employers in Orlando include Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gunman. LONGBOW LLC, a joint venture between the two companies, recently won a $10.7 million contract to conduct Hellfire missile engineering services in Orlando for the U.S. Army. Lockheed Martin has also expanded its Mission Systems and Logistics Solutions facility in Orlando.

Exploration Park, a 299-acre property located outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center, is poised to become home to diverse private-sector technology enterprises. It offers opportunities to grow and deploy commercial space capabilities and respond to national priorities in science and technology. The Space Life Sciences Lab is currently the most prominent facility at Exploration Park, and is home to the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which coordinates the use of the International Space Station’s U.S. National Laboratory.
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