Awards honor businesses for job creation, entrepreneurship, and export growth and excellence
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of Commerce and President and CEO of Enterprise Florida (EFI), Gray Swoope announced the winners of the 2013 Governor’s Innovators in Business Awards during Florida Business Innovators Week. The awards recognize Florida companies in select industries that have influenced the state’s economic growth and diversification over the last year.
Governor Scott said, “Florida’s economy has experienced a huge turnaround. In three years, Florida has added over 446,000 private-sector jobs and our unemployment rate has fallen below the national average to 6.4 percent. Businesses are able to thrive because we have created an economic climate in Florida that supports job creation. I want to congratulate all of the companies being recognized today for their hard work in creating jobs and helping to create an opportunity economy in Florida that supports jobs for generations to come. Florida families are able to live the American Dream with the help of the successful, innovative companies that call Florida home, and I am proud to recognize some of those companies today.”
EFI has hosted the annual program for 30 years. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges that includes business leaders, past winners and EFI staff. Winners will be recognized at a special event in the Governor’s Mansion this evening. The event is sponsored by Bank of America and Florida Trend magazine.
Secretary of Commerce Swoope said, “Florida and its companies continue to be the model for economic recovery and growth. Companies from every industry around the state have helped produce jobs and provide opportunities that companies in other states just haven’t been able to match. They truly deserve to be recognized for their resilience, innovation and achievements. On behalf of EFI, congratulations to each of these worthy companies and we look forward to their continued success.”
Three awards were given in each of the following categories:
Governor’s Business Expansion Award: Florida companies that expanded their operations in 2012, investing capital and creating jobs for Floridians.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: Highway Systems, Inc. of Sumter County: Highway Systems, Inc., an AISC SSB certified company, manufactures steel sign structures, sign arms, bridge mounts and other steel products. The company recently completed an expansion which included additional production space, larger overhead cranes, and welding and metal fabrication equipment. Highway Systems used only local suppliers for the expansion and estimate their total sales for 2013 to be more than $15 million.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: Navy Federal Credit Union of Escambia County: Navy Federal’s largest regional operations center resides in Pensacola and they plan to continue their expansion and migration of personnel from Virginia to Florida. They recently announced a project that will add more than 1,500 jobs in Florida’s Northwest Region over the next five years.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: AT&T of Miami-Dade County: In 2011, AT&T spent more than $1.8 billion on goods and services purchased from Florida suppliers. AT&T’s “Project VIP” is a major commitment to invest billions of dollars over the next three years in the 21st century communications infrastructure for Florida and the U.S. Through this investment they plan to expand their 4G LTE network to cover 300 million people by the end of 2014.
Governor’s Newcomer Award: New-to-Florida companies that began business operations in 2012.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: AMTEC Less-Lethal Systems, Inc. of Taylor County: AMTEC Less-Lethal Systems is one of three domestic full-service manufacturers of products for law enforcement and corrections agencies in the U.S. and worldwide, and developed a full service Tactical Training Complex in 2013 aimed at providing realistic, tactical training scenarios, which created 60 jobs and $10 million in capital investment.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: Seven Gun Games of Marion County: Started in 2013, Seven Gun Games has 14 mobile games in their catalog, with four in the iTunes App Store. One of their titles, Ramp Champ, was named Macworld’s Best Designed iPhone Game.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: AA-USA Food & Logistic Solutions of Hillsborough County: AA-USA Food & Logistic Solutions provides a wide range of food products to hotels, fine dining restaurants, catering companies and the retail sector around the world. The opportunities are strengthened by the relationships they have with the Port of Tampa and Tampa International Airport.
Governor’s Export Excellence Award: Florida companies with new or significant increases in documented export sales in 2012.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: Seatorque Control Systems of Martin County: Seatorque is a manufacturer of propulsive and fluid dynamic systems for the marine industry. Seatorque has a worldwide network of sales and service centers from South America to Asia. The company opened three new international offices in 2013, including Seatorque Asia and Seatorque Europe. As a result, 90 percent of revenues are now from export sales, which represented a 30 percent increase over the last year.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: Electron Machine Corporation of Lake County: As a result of the development of the concentrated citrus industry, Electron Machine Corporation created the first in-line process refractometer. They recently added a full-service distributor in China and developed a new product for the Chinese market. Exports to the region have steadily increased and their world-wide exports accounted for 53 percent of sales in 2012.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: Quantachrome Corporation of Palm Beach County: Quantachrome is a leader in the design and manufacture of laboratory instruments for researchers characterizing properties of porous materials and powders. In 2012, approximately 70 percent of all instruments produced by Quantachrome were exported to their network of more than 45 international distributors.
Governor’s Innovation/Entrepreneurship Award: Florida start-up companies or innovative companies that have set a standard for entrepreneurship and creativity in the past three years.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: Sol Inc. of Martin County: Sol Inc. is the top supplier of solar lighting for the Department of Defense, and its technology provides an economic and sustainable solution to energy costs and “green” initiatives. Sol Inc. has installed more than 60,000 systems in more than 60 countries on six continents.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: Algenol Biofuels of Lee County: Algenol is a global, industrial biotechnology company that produces ethanol and other biofuels from its patented algae technology. They relocated their lab facilities from Baltimore to Lee County in 2010 and have added more than 100 jobs in three years. They received a $25 million Department of Energy Grant to build and operate an integrated biorefinery in Lee County, and have raised more than $160 million of private equity capital to expand their research abilities.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: People’s Trust Insurance Company of Palm Beach County: In 2013, People’s Trust added 45,000 new policyholders and expanded its workforce from 162 to more than 425 employees statewide. Direct written premiums increased 230 percent to $208 million, and they invested $8 million in a 10-acre corporate campus at the FAU Research Park in Deerfield Beach.
Governor’s Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality Award: Florida companies that best exemplify innovation developed through product or process in the last three years.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: Omni Amelia Island Plantation of Nassau County: Omni Amelia Island Plantation has had a positive job impact on Nassau County, adding 160 permanent jobs and 200 additional seasonal associates. With more than 1,000 employees during season, they are the largest employer in the county.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum of Escambia County: As part of Florida’s tourism market, in particular the cultural heritage sector, Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum has grown from a volunteer organization to a booming business in a few short years. Through fiscally sound planning, the business experienced continued growth resulting in an increase in visitation from just 8,000 visitors in 2009 to more than 150,000 in 2013.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: Westgate Resorts of Orange County: Westgate Resorts plans to expand its marketing operation to fund two to three additional resorts in world-class locations, thus expanding their corporate structure in Orlando. The expansion will add jobs in their call centers, marketing, and other aspects of the business’ corporate culture.
Governor’s Rising Star Awards: Rising Florida companies that have shown a commitment to business growth, professional excellence and involvement in their communities.
- Mid Market: County population up to 150,000: Escosphere Technologies, Inc. of Martin County: Escosphere develops environmental water treatment solutions for industrial markets in the U.S. and abroad. Since 2009, Ecosphere’s patented Ozonix technology has enabled oil and gas customers to treat, recycle, and reuse more than three billion gallons of water on more than 800 oil and natural gas wells, protecting $4 billion worth of well assets, and generating more than $65 million in revenue.
- Major Market: County population 150,001 to 800,000: STYLEDWEL® of Alachua County: STYLEDWEL ® designs and distributes a unique line of medical accessory products for consumers coping with short and long-term disabilities. Their personal goal is to manufacture these innovative products in the U.S. by training and employing veterans, disabled civilians and their families. Their numbers show that within the fifth year of their product launch, they will have increased revenue an additional 40 percent to 70 percent.
- Mega Market: County population 800,001 and higher: Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. of Duval County: Deutsche Bank, a global banking and financial services company with offices in Duval County won the Rising Star award in a mega market. The Bank’s Jacksonville campus has grown rapidly from 100 employees since opening the facility in 2008, with plans to continue its expansion through 2015.
The industries recognized this year include: