John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” That is exactly what Osceola County has exemplified in its vision and implementation of Neocity, a 500-acre master planned campus that will serve as a global center of advanced research, pilot manufacturing, design and commercialization of sensor related technologies.
On Monday July 10th the Osceola County Commissioners were presented with a 50-year masterplan for NeoCity by Austin Texas’ Stephen Coulston of Perkins + Will who identified how it will become a “significant and comprehensive global center for smart sensor, photonics, and nano-technology research and development, big data/predictive analytics, and workforce talent concentration” with a long-term economic output between $25.3 and $28.5 billion.
Coulston described NeoCity as truly a “game changing opportunity for Osceola County, and looking at it from a global perspective all the way down to the regional perspective we feel that you’re moving on to the map in a completely different way and that Florida uniquely within the tech corridor is positioned to file what we see as the next disruptive market opportunity.”
With a population that his expected to double by 2040, Osceola County is on of the most rapidly growing, and evolving counties in the United States, and with that comes the need for jobs, and not just service industry jobs. One of NeoCity’s main focus is to create high paying technology based jobs and to bring opportunity for those who are focusing on technology based career paths. The School District of Osceola County, Valencia College and the University of Central Florida are all heavily focused on careers based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, (STEM) making NeoCity a natural part of the vision and the local community.
“We are building the kind of world-class infrastructure that will attract the jobs of tomorrow to Osceola County,” said Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington, who has joined with partner imec to welcome select leaders in the high tech world to a major conference in San Francisco this week. “This investment and the resulting workforce that it will create is going to open up new avenues for fiscal success. The masterplan helps us chart a course toward a better future. I’m proud that we have crafted a road map that has received so much input from our partners in this life-changing journey.”
Key features of the plan that was presented at the meeting were the integrated functions of water management, functional and active landscape features, urban farming, transit connections and hub, and cutting edge research and development within a walkable urban fabric.
Osceola County has invested more than $200 million in construction of the Center for Neovation, formerly known as the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (FAMRC). This 109,000-square-foot, two-story state-of-art R&D facility will focus on the manufacturability of novel materials critical to the commercialization of next-generation universal smart sensors. Osceola County is partnering with BRIDG, a Florida non-profit, to manage, develop, and commercialize the completed facility.
As was noted in the presenation, technology is a hyper-changing world, putting much risk on investments and directional decisions. The products consumers, businesses and manufacturers utilize today will most certainly not be what is utilized a decade from now. However, Osceola County has certainly leveraged the fact that sensor technology will be a major component in technological advances for years to come, reducing the likelihood that NeoCity will find itself outside the technologies of tomorrow. Positively Osceola applauds Osceola County for its consistent focus on bringing the jobs of tomorrow to Osceola County. Once again from John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
For the masterplan and the presentation go to http://www.osceola.org/neocity/ and click on resources.