When Angela Alban first moved to Central Florida in the mid-1980s, the region was known for tourism and citrus groves.
But there was something else brewing in the community – a bubbling tech ecosystem that could change the region’s landscape but just had the timing off a bit.
Florida Tech University had long been renamed University of Central Florida.
Martin Marietta, which had opened in the 1950s, would not merge with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin for another decade or so.
However, fast forward 35 years and Alban says the time for the city’s tech community to step forward might be now.
“We have continued to evolve and that growth justified revising our message,” said Alban, CEO of Simetri, a company that uses technology to create realistic mannequins for medical and military training. “That eventually improved our ability to attract talent and notoriety across the globe as a high-tech region.”
A high-profile event next month called MetaCenter Global Week represents a showcase of the long-expected emergence of technology in the region, Alban said.
“We’ve made it,” said Alban, a board member of Innovate Orlando. “We are delivering on what was promised.”
MetaCenter Global Week a hard-charging effort
MetaCenter Global Week represents a hard-charging effort to unite, reshape and direct the region’s technology ecosystem in one direction.
During the course of several days starting Oct. 16, MetaCenter Global Week will put global technology leaders alongside regional experts on stage to dig into the transformative technologies Orlando specializes in.
Thus far, the effort has brought on partners that include Meta, Unity, Sony, Snap and several others.
The showcase will spotlight and highlight the community, Alban said.
“This will offer like-minded attendees the opportunity to meet and potentially collaborate to grow together,” she said. “This event will allow those of us who are already here to celebrate our successes and the future opportunities ahead.”
The effort has brought in leaders from a number of tech sectors that have some heft in Central Florida. These include gaming, simulation and health.
The big week will offer an opportunity to show off just what has been brewing in the region.
“The week symbolizes Orlando’s status as a prominent global tech hub, demonstrating its top-tier standing,” said David Adelson CEO of Innovate Orlando and one of the lead organizers of MetaCenter Global Week.
While board members have certainly come on board to support Innovate Orlando, others in the community have, as well.
Innovate Orlando had been part of Orlando Tech Community until it spun off this summer.
“I have been a fan of what the Orlando Tech Community has been doing since it started,” said Tim Hill, former commander of NAWCTSD in Orlando who now serves as director of Central Florida operations and Florida innovation for Intuitive Research and Tech Corproation. “This notion of coalescing all of these factions is a really big thing. When you start to get a central branding campaign, that’s a big deal.”
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