Category Archives: Education & Talent Development

24Jun/09

USF Poly sees nothing but Blue Skies

(Lakeland, Fla., June 24, 2009) – Late yesterday, as violent thunderstorms doused central Florida yet again, Marshall Goodman sent a tweet: “No need to worry about the rain, Central Florida. Blue Sky is coming soon!”

Goodman, VP and CEO of the University of South Florida Polytechnic, announced today that USFP’s business incubation facilities will be named Blue Sky. Earlier this year the Central Florida Development Council invested $700,000 toward the construction of an incubation facility on the new I-4 campus, expected to open in 2012. In the meantime, however, the community will be served by at least two incubation facilities: one in Lakeland and one in Winter Haven, dubbed Blue Sky West and Blue Sky East, respectively.

Blue Sky West will be a 6,428 square-foot location at 116 S. Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland. Blue Sky East will open at 199 Ave. B NW in Winter Haven with 3,000 square feet. USFP officials expect both facilities to open in early fall 2009.

A tweet refers to a post on Twitter, the popular social networking site. Goodman used the relatively new technology, as well as his personal Facebook page, to tease online followers not about the weather but about economic development in central Florida.

The Blue Sky facilities will be the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology.

“This is an important step for our region, as we cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation,” says Goodman.

“These facilities will provide opportunities for a wide range of enterprises. Some will be raw start-ups, and some will be more advanced. Regardless of the stage, Blue Sky represents an opportunity to thrive.”

According to Goodman, “The story of innovation is the story of entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship is all about calculated risk. That is the principle upon which we’ll base Blue Sky. We will provide a climate to nurture innovation.

“This is a huge opportunity, not only for entrepreneurs but also for investors. We hope it will bring to this area more technology-oriented businesses with the potential for growth and new jobs”

Initially, USF Poly will seek information technology companies interested in software, networking and developing specific IT projects.

“We have felt for the past five years at least that an incubator is integral to this region’s long-term economic success,” says Tom Patton, executive director of the Central Florida Development Council, which has donated a total of $1 million to the USF Poly incubator concept. In addition to the $700,000 for construction on the new campus, CFDC donated $300,000 for current operation of Blue Sky. USF Poly has pledged to match those operating funds to provide $600,000 to fund Blue Sky.

The $700,000 for construction will be used to apply for state matching funds and in pursuit of an Economic Development Administration grant. According to Patton, the long-term goal is a technology park that develops around the incubator at the heart of Florida’s High Tech Corridor.

“This is a major step forward in developing and growing our technology incubator,” says Steve Budd, USFP’s program director for entrepreneurship and venture planning. “It will become a living, learning laboratory for interdisciplinary and applied research, education and training that directly impacts technology commercialization and business development.

“Our incubator will be a focal point where the university’s academic development and our community’s economic development will blend and synergize to create a win-win for all stakeholders — the business community, our students, our faculty, and many others.  I believe that this is where the magic happens, where we will create high-tech, high-wage jobs.”

There are 7,000 incubators and counting around the globe, and they create jobs, grow companies and help technology evolve. President Obama has pledged $250 million a year in federal funds to seed a regional network of such organizations–an effort aimed at growing jobs and innovation.

“This is the first time in the U.S. that a new administration has made this kind of commitment to innovation, entrepreneurs and technology,” says Dinah Adkins, president and CEO of the National Business Incubation Association. “This is the first time we’ve had a presidential administration that wants to invest in this.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration says business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works infrastructure project.

A recent study conducted for the U.S. Economic Development Administration showed that business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works infrastructure project. In the study of the economic impacts and federal costs of EDA construction program investments, researchers found that business incubators are the most effective means of creating jobs – more effective than roads and bridges, industrial parks, commercial buildings, and sewer and water projects. In fact, incubators provide up to 20 times more jobs than community infrastructure projects (for example, water and sewer projects) at a cost of $144 to $216 per job compared with $2,920 to $6,872 for the latter, the report notes. For more information on the study visit www.nbia.org/works.

“Business incubators are critical components of the nation’s entrepreneurial support infrastructure and the only public works projects that were designed entirely as job generators,” says Adkins. “The jobs created by incubators aren’t one-time construction jobs, but enduring, high-paying positions that contribute to community and U.S. global competitiveness.”

Business incubation programs provide entrepreneurs with a guiding hand to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.  Many thousands more jobs have been created by companies that have graduated from these programs and now operate self-sufficiently in their communities. For more information about business incubation and the EDA study, visit www.nbia.org/works.

For more information on Blue Sky see poly.usf.edu/BlueSky.

15Jun/09

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA TO MAKE MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT ON USFP’S NEW CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT PLANS AT 10 A.M. EST – TUESDAY, JUNE 16

What:

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16, the University of South Florida will announce via live webcast and press conference the next steps in development plans for USF Polytechnic’s new campus at the intersection of Interstate 4 (I-4) and the Polk Parkway in Lakeland, Fla.

USF Polytechnic, Florida’s only polytechnic, focuses on hands-on learning and research in the applied arts and sciences, business and education. The new campus, which has been anticipated for almost a decade, will be an important landmark on the highly traveled I-4 corridor and help anchor economic development activity along Florida’s High Tech Corridor.

When:

10 a.m. EST, Tuesday, June 16

Who:

Speakers during the live webcast include:

· Judy Genshaft, Ph.D., USF President

· Marshall Goodman, Ph.D., USFP Vice President and campus executive officer

Where:

Online: http://www.poly.usf.edu

In person: University of South Florida Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Road, LTB 2155

Lakeland, FL 33803

Parking is available directly across the street from LTB. For more information, visit http://www.poly.usf.edu/parking.

Contacts:

Tom Hagerty, USFP media relations coordinator
(O) 863.667.7077, (C) 863.286.9450
thagerty@poly.usf.edu

11Jun/09

Lakeland Students Achieve On National, Standardized Testing

Ninety-three graduated seniors who attended Lakeland schools or are Lakeland residents were named 2009 Superintendent’s Scholars. Superintendent’s Scholars have a minimum grade point average of 3.75 and a score of 1270 (critical reading and math) or above on the SAT or a 28 or better on the ACT.

The Superintendent’s Scholars program is in its 21st year and is coordinated by the Polk Education Foundation.

Superintendent’s Scholars attending Lakeland schools or are from Lakeland are listed with their school:

Bartow High: Cassidy Lancaster, Cory Smith.

Bartow International Baccalaureate: Melissa Adams, Robin Clark, John Erwin, Samantha Espinosa, Andrea Farinas, Carlene Fogle-Miller, Margaret Frates, Jessica Gonzalez, Lauren Hughes, Suma Metla, Joshua Newell, Shivani Patel, Christine Tallo, Amith Umesh, Samuel White.

George Jenkins High: Cayley Abrado, Nicola Antonelli, Erika Bailey, Christina Campbell, Lindsay Castret, Katherine Childs, Jessica Dye, Kevin Freedman, Alexandria Greenhill, Jackson Hager, Harish Kotipoyina, Matthew Lauer, Nathalie Moyano, Jonathan Munoz, Rachel Patel, Janki Patel, Nasreen Sadeq, Allison Stewart, Tessa Syvertsen, Allison Thompson.

Harrison School for the Arts: Brooke Adams, Allison Bedford, Emily Boyer, Bryce Bresnan, Tyler Campbell, Alejandro Garcia, Meagan Johnson, Christopher Kline, Grace McMullen, Eric Obermeyer, Kathryn Phillips, Jennifer Russell, Joshua Schell, Jamie Steinberg, Garrett Williams, Olivia Williams, George Williford.

Kathleen High: Jeremy Williams

Lake Gibson High: Wade Carreno, Tylor Earl, Katelynn Harrell, Andrew M. Miller, Gage Mueller, Phillip Roddenberry.

Lake Region High: Jessica Moore.

Lakeland High: Allison Calahan, Kyle Champeau, Eddie Chirino, Anna Edwards, Stephen Franzen, Nathan Gates, Erin Goding, Andrew Joyner, Jaren Kerber, Alexandra Lewis, Carrie McNeill, Megan Petrie, Victoria Shannon, Victoria Sheets, Gilbert Thomas, Rachel Van Middlesworth, Cori Wells, Katie Wellslager, Kyle Wise.

McKeel Academy: Laura Newberry, Jessica Poulsen.

PCC High: Adam Bracewell, Kevin Bryan, Aaron Cassity, Shiloh Hodges, Hannah Hodges, Krysta Ledford, Katelyn Ruppert, Caity Strickland.

Summerlin Academy: Heather Weaver.

26May/09

Two Lakeland Schools Named SMART Showcase Schools

Lakeland schools Crystal Lake Elementary and Lincoln Avenue Academy are among eight Florida schools named SMART Showcase Schools for their outstanding use of SMART boards and SMART technology. SMART Showcase Schools act as host sites for other schools interested in learning how SMART products and services are used to improve teaching and learning. According to the SMART Technologies company, the Showcase Schools Program is comprised of schools that use classroom technology in outstanding ways. Crystal Lake and Lincoln Avenue will become resources for other educators wanting to learn about the benefits of implementing the technology.

SMART Showcase Schools are chosen by invitation only. Polk, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties all have two Showcase Schools. One school each is from Alachua and St. Johns counties. Six of the Showcase Schools are public and two are private.

12May/09

USF Polytechnic Needs Your Help

As you may have recently read in the Ledger, USF Polytechnic is poised to receive the funding necessary to develop the programs, faculty and facilities to move the University toward its mission as Florida’s first Polytechnic University. USF Polytechnic is unquestionably one of the most important economic development projects to impact Lakeland, Polk County and the I-4 corridor in years, and will serve as a catalyst to attract high skill/high wage industry and jobs to our region. The Lakeland community is already experiencing the ripple effect associated with this project. Welldyne, a high-tech pharmaceutical company, chose to build its newest facility in Lakeland because of USF Polytechnic. They have pledged to fill 700 jobs in the next two years. As the University grows our community can expect to see various support industries moving to Lakeland.

As business leaders in the community, the Chamber is encouraging you to communicate your support of USF Polytechnic and ask Governor Crist to support the funding allocated in this year’s budget for the University. David Steele, Director of University Advancement, has provided some points and communication tips to assist in this process:

AGENDA:

Urge Gov. Charlie Crist to support the Legislature’s recommended funding levels for higher education and USF Polytechnic.

TIMING:

Make contact by letter, email, phone & fax ASAP after 05.11.09.

SPECIFICS:

The Florida Legislature has appropriated $11.4 million in construction (“PECO”) funding and $5 million in base budget for new faculty & programs.

KEY POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR LETTER:

Last year Gov. Crist signed legislation that established USF Polytechnic as “the state’s first and only polytechnic”.

Last year Gov. Crist supported $15 million in initial construction funding for the new campus.

The development of USF Polytechnic has been a top priority of our entire region, including the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Central Florida partnership, the Central Florida Development Council, the Lakeland Economic Development Council, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, the Polk Board of County Commissioners, the Lakeland City Commission, Lakeland Vision, and numerous other public and private organizations and citizens.

It represents a stunning opportunity for economic development in one of the state’s most dynamic regions, at the heart of Florida’s High Tech Corridor. (Key sectors include information technology, manufacturing/logistics/distribution, healthcare, engineering, etc.)

The PECO (construction dollars) funding is vital as an economic stimulus initiative (construction projects have tremendous “ripple effects” on the economy)

The base budget funding for new faculty & programs is crucial as USFP develops an exciting new model of public higher education and moves toward separate accreditation.

Well over $100 million has already been invested in this project by local government and private donors. The state “needs to do its part” and leverage those investments.

This is important to you, your organization, your community/region, and the state.

This is about “finishing what we started” and positioning Florida for global competitiveness.

COMMUNICATION TIPS:

Use multiple modes of communication: email is quickest, but you can follow up with fax, phone, AND “snail mail”.

Open your communication with a clear statement of support. Don’t save that for the end. At the end you can reinforce your message.

Briefly explain your connection with the project & region (i.e. local entrepreneur, investor, donor, native, concerned citizen, etc.)

Emphasize that this is not only an important “regional priority” but also vital to the state’s future

Don’t forget to thank Gov. Crist for his prior support for USF Polytechnic.

Every “touch” on this issue matters. Please do NOT pass up a chance to weigh in!

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

fax: 850.487.0801

phone: 850.488.7146

email: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com, Eric.Eikenberg@MyFlorida.com

/ cc: HARRISON.PATTY.S17@flsenate.gov, seth.mckeel@myfloridahouse.gov, dfsteele@poly.usf.edu

NOTE: It is very important to send the emails to all addresses noted above. That allows those other than the Governor to track support & help to leverage it.

QUESTIONS:

If you have any questions, please contact David Steele (dfsteele@poly.usf.edu or 863.944.9119). He can get you whatever information you need.