Central Florida Economic Overview

Central Florida Economic Overview

Home to a “live, work and play” environment that is the envy of the world, Central Florida is known internationally as one of the greatest tourist, convention and beach destinations in the world. But the region is also one of the top 10 locations in the country for business. Anchoring the center and eastern portion of what has become known as the Florida High Tech Corridor, it is the epicenter of the world’s modeling and simulation industry, as well as home to tech giants like Harris Corporation, Siemens, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, along with a myriad of smaller technology companies. The region also boasts corporate headquarters and regional distribution centers, along with some of the best colleges and universities available anywhere. With these attributes, plus transportation hubs like Orlando International Airport and Port Canaveral, the prospect for quality, sustainable growth is limitless.


Orange County

Much of Orange County’s recent economic explosion has come in the high tech sector. The Central Florida Research Park and the University of Central Florida, housing the nation’s number No. 1 technology incubator, are both located in Orange County and support a large and diverse high tech industry base. Significant sectors include modeling, simulation and training; life sciences and biotechnology; software development; optics & photonics; and digital media. Positioned at the hub of the metro Orlando region, airports, highways, bus systems and rail come together here. Federal, state and local governments are located in the county, as are the region’s business, cultural, sports and international trade centers. Orange County is a dynamic community of global opportunity.

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Seminole County

With a business climate that has fostered quality development, this county has become home to a plethora of equally dynamic corporations. Industry growth in Seminole has taken several forms. Most notable is the establishment of corporate headquarters, such as American Automobile Association (AAA), Mitsubishi Power Systems, Scholastic Book Fairs and Sears Home Improvement Products, as well as the emergence of many high tech companies, including CuraScript, Kinetics, FARO Technologies, Team Information Systems and Convergys. Ongoing expansion at the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), coupled with the state’s largest foreign trade zone designation, has helped SFB become the third most active international airport in Florida and the 12th most active in the U.S. What is more, the county’s public school system has been rated the best in the state and among the top 100 nationally; and Seminole State College comes in at No. 19 among the top 100 community colleges in the U.S. for associate degrees in liberal arts and sciences.

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Lake County

With its picturesque lakes, rolling hills, affordable land and an exceptional pro-business attitude, Lake County has successfully pursued business growth through startups, local expansions and relocations. The county’s strategically located, county-owned commerce park serves as a model for efficient permitting, and local government aggressively provides incentives to qualified businesses. Offering small town charm with easy access to rail and some of Central Florida’s key transportation arteries like Florida Turnpike, Lake County is positioning itself as an easy and efficient distribution point throughout the state and
the southeast.

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Osceola County

Long-known for its vast ranches and world famous Silver Spurs Rodeo, Osceola County may soon be in the conversation about cutting edge technology like smart sensors and photonics.  The county recently took a quantum leap into the future by becoming the location of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, and most feel that the impact is beyond anyone’s imagination. The county is also known for being the world headquarters of Tupperware Brands Corporation and Disney’s World Wide Shared Services, as well as other well-known companies and distribution centers for Quaker Oats, Gatorade Tropicana and Lowe’s. They also are on the leading edge of commercial/ residential developments like Celebration, Reunion Resort, ChampionsGate and Harmony.

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Volusia County

From Deland, which could be mistaken for the antebellum south, to one of the most famous beaches in the world and certainly the most famous race track in Daytona, Volusia County is perhaps one of the most culturally diverse in Central Florida. Over the last 60 years, it has evolved into a nationally recognized vacation destination, while also supporting an agriculture and natural resources industry that has an economic impact in excess of $750 million in total output in the county. With new upgrades coming to Daytona International Speedway and development springing up around it, it is easy to overlook major manufacturers of medical devices, like Covidien, or electronics and electromechanical equipment companies, like Sparton Electonics or Teledyne Oil & Gas. These companies are known around the world, but all call Volusia County home.

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This article appears in the January 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Business.
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