The leader of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council administers and executes the joint economic development initiatives of three of the country’s largest research universities – the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF). This position reports to and provides support to the presidents of UCF, USF and UF, who serve as the co-chairs of the Corridor Council, which is funded by the State of Florida.

The Council’s mission is to attract, retain and grow high tech industry and the workforce to support it in the 23-county Corridor region through programs and partnerships that support research, marketing, workforce development, STEM education and entrepreneurship.

 

The unique Council partnership has resulted in a strategic approach to high tech economic development that involves matching grants for applied research in partnership with industry, workforce development and marketing programs that leverage governmental, corporate and economic development organization budgets on a regional rather than local basis. The Corridor functions as what has been called a “secondary economic development organization,” providing tools, resources and reputation to enhance the work of local and regional agencies as they seek to broaden local economies.

This executive oversees a broad portfolio of programs that supplement typical economic development programs, including:

  • The Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) is The Corridor’s signature effort. Having invested $80 million in state dollars since its inception, this applied research program matches company researchers with university faculty and graduate student researchers to help solve problems and help companies bring products and services to market. To-date, the program has had a verified downstream impact of more than $1 billion from 1,500 projects involving 425 companies, and more than 3,000 student and faculty researchers. Partner companies have added $182 million in corporate cash and in-kind investments in the projects.
  • stemCONNECT cultivates a high tech workforce by encouraging middle and high school students to pursue STEM education, paving the way toward high tech careers through a virtual “expert in the classroom” program that has reached more than 13,000 students in 380 presentations streamed into 585 classrooms all over the state this year alone. The program transports tech leaders from business and academia over the web to tell engaging stories about interesting high tech job opportunities. These two-way interactive presentations go beyond traditional classrooms to venues such as Boys & Girls Clubs, scout troops and Junior Achievement.
  • The annual Corridor Talent Forum supports workforce development and graduate education by bringing Career Center directors from some of the nation’s finest universities to The Corridor to meet with employers who would otherwise have to travel to multiple campuses to interview top graduates who, once hired, become top prospects for graduate studies at our Corridor universities.
  • The Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center (FLVEC.com) is an online community for entrepreneurs seeking to build their enterprise and connects not only the entrepreneurs, but also a wide variety of commercial and government resources essential to their success and to the creation of high-wage, high-value jobs.

The successful candidate will represent The Corridor in related organizations that advance the mission of The Corridor, including Florida Chamber Foundation, St. Petersburg EDC, Orlando Economic Partnership, BRIDG, Team Orlando, National Entrepreneurial Center, National Center for Simulation, Corridor Talent Forum, Metro Orlando Defense Task Force, GrowFL, Florida Venture Forum, Tampa Bay Tech and more.

The Corridor leader acts as the registered agent of the Council, oversees the day-to-day business of corporation, including but not limited to establishing the budget and managing the expenditure of Corridor funds at UCF, USF and UF related to matching grants research, marketing, workforce development and entrepreneurial programs, and serves as a member of each university’s MGRP Review Committee.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Travel extensively throughout the 23-county region of the Corridor and the remainder of the State of Florida (i.e. Tallahassee and Miami), Washington, D.C., and, on occasion targeted markets within the continental U.S. in support and advocacy of Corridor programs, and strategic regional and statewide economic development priorities;
  • Attend and/or participate in various meetings in support of the mission of the Corridor to include meetings within normal business hours but to also include breakfast meetings, luncheons, dinners, conferences, trade shows, etc. outside of normal business hours and on weekends and/or holidays;
  • Develop a strategic approach to high tech economic development that involves matching grants for applied research in partnership with industry, workforce development and marketing programs. Leverage governmental, corporate and economic development organization budgets on a regional basis;
  • Oversee Corridor as it functions as a “secondary economic development organization,” providing tools, resources and reputation to enhance the work of local and regional agencies as they seek to broaden local economies, with a focus on high tech industries and innovation;
  • Report to and provide support to the presidents of UCF, USF and UF, who serve as the co-chairs of the Corridor Council. Serve as a member of each university's MGRP Review Committee;
  • Oversee a broad portfolio of programs within The Corridor including: Matching Grants Research Program, stemCONNECT, Talent Forum, and Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center;
  • Supervise and manage all employees within The Corridor;
  • Engaging, as appropriate, Core Team members and academic, corporate, governmental, CareerSource, EDO and community partners;
  • Engaging legal and other support organizations, establishing committees, preparing and issuing the annual and other reports to the co-chairs and Council members, as well as other state agencies as required by law;
  • Supervise and oversee marketing communications consultants to create and maintain internal and external communications programs, including media relations, newsletters, brochures, annual reports, social media, website and online magazines that keep The Corridor, the universities and their partners positioned to achieve economic development goals;
  • Develop and submit annual assessment plans to the appropriate university administrators in support of university accreditation goals;
  • Support economic development strategy of the State of Florida through FHTCC programs and resources.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree or J.D. preferred;
  • Significant economic development and/or advocacy experience required; 
  • Proven record in providing dynamic leadership in high tech economic development;
  • Must possess dynamic and engaging public speaking abilities;
  • Political savvy and interpersonal skills necessary to cultivate successful relationships within the economic development and advocacy community of the State of Florida and beyond;
  • High level of integrity in accordance with the Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees;
  • Certified economic developer credentials a plus.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, resume/CV, and the names and contact information of five or more references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the Florida High Tech Corridor.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm by January 27, 2020.  For additional information, please contact:

Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Rich McNeal, Associate
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 x109 or x112
pwilliams@parkersearch.com | rmcneal@parkersearch.com

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