Tag Archives: Orlando EDC

Orlando EDC’s Schwartz Tech & Innovation Awards Seeking Nominations and other Advancements

New partners, categories and event format for this year’s tech and innovation awards from the Orlando EDC

Each year, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) honors companies and individuals for bright ideas, creative solutions, pioneering research and support for the tech community with an awards program. This year, the EDC is adding new partners, new categories and changing the format of the event. OrlandoEDC

The EDC is partnering with the Orlando Tech Association for the first time and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council for the awards program. Now in its 24th year, the event is named after the late William C. Schwartz, an avid community leader in Orlando, business pioneer and innovator within the field of optics and photonics.

This year’s award categories include:

  • Regional Innovator of the Year – (One from each jurisdiction – Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola Counties and the City of Orlando) – Recognizes companies for creating, developing and successfully implementing products, ideas and processes that positively impact our community.
  • Researcher of the Year – (Academic Researcher and Industry Researcher) – Recognizes individual researchers from academia and industry who are pioneering exploratory and cutting-edge research to enhance products, services or other applications in any field.
  • Diversity in Tech – Recognizes an individual who strives to promote understanding and appreciation of diversity in the region’s tech industry, either through service to women or minorities or who serves as a role model to others.
  • Tech Investor – Recognizes an individual who has financially supported the region’s tech industry. Nominees do not need to be local, but their investment must be.
  • Tech Community Champion – Recognizes an individual who does not directly work in the region’s tech industry but supports its efforts, entrepreneurship and expansion.

“The EDC has been proud to recognize technological innovation over the years with this awards program, but we wanted to ensure that the program kept up with needs and desires of our evolving tech community,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando EDC.

“Reaching out to the Orlando Tech Association to partner speaks volumes of the EDC’s growing engagement with the local tech scene,” said Orrett Davis, executive director of the Orlando Tech Association.

The call for entries and nominations are open from July 1 through August 1. The winners will be announced at an event held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in downtown Orlando to coincide with Orlando Tech Week.

Two additional awards will be given during the Sept. 30 celebration recognizing student entrepreneurs from top regional academic business competitions and an innovative company from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.  For more information, visit orlandoedc.com/schwartz.


Disney Executive, UCF Researcher to be Honored at Orlando EDC’s Annual Awards Dinner

The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) will host the 2014 James B. Greene Annual Awards dinner on Thursday, April 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St., in downtown Orlando.

This year’s James B. Greene Award will be presented to Meg G. Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France. A Chairman’s Award will also be given this year to MJ Soileau, Vice President for Research and Commercialization at the University of Central Florida.OrlandoEDCEvent

The James B. Greene Economic Development Award, first presented in 1990, is the highest honor bestowed by the EDC. The award recognizes an individual whose work has contributed substantially to the economic prosperity of the region. The EDC Chairman’s Award, first presented in 2007, recognizes a long-term contributor to the work of the Orlando EDC.

Crofton, who grew up in Central Florida and lived in the region until 2013, is responsible for operations at many of the company’s theme parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World Resort – Central Florida’s largest employer – Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyland Paris.

During her time in Central Florida, Crofton held several significant roles in the local community. She was appointed to UCF’s board of trustees and served on the Florida Council of 100, a group that promotes statewide economic growth, and as chair of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. She also served on the boards of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, Orlando Health, Rollins College and the Executive Committee of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Soileau was the first director of UCF’s now internationally recognized Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL). In 1999, Soileau was named Vice President for the Office of Research and Commercialization, where he has built on his philosophy of supporting top faculty by coupling the university’s research expertise to the economic needs of the community.

In his role at UCF, Soileau has emphasized the creation of new companies and jobs and remains a powerful advocate for partnerships, such as the Florida High Tech Corridor, that bring together university research experts and industry for the common goal of growing Florida’s wealth-producing, high-tech industry.

The price for an individual EDC investor is $245, non-investors is $265 or $2,300 for a corporate table of 10 (plus tax). More information is available online at http://OrlandoEDC.com/JBG. For questions or to register, send an e-mail to Events@OrlandoEDC.com or call 407.422.7159 ext. 246.

About the Orlando EDC: The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, private/public partnership. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate, expand and grow in the four-county Metro Orlando (Florida) region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed. For more information, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com.