Saturday, December 25, 2010

Florida Companies to Watch Event Celebrates Companies thatCreate Growth and Foster Innovation

To: Florida Photonics Cluster members

I thought you would be interested in this announcement. Only a couple of companies that are photonics-related, although one is Optigrate Corp., a spin-out of CREOL. I hope to see more photonics companies in next year's competition and awards, including some of our FPC member companies. A full list of the honored companies and info on the awards event is also on the web at Companies to Watch Winners Release 12-17-10.pdf

Best regards and Happy Holidays!

Jim Pearson

FPC Executive Director


Florida Companies to Watch Event Celebrates

Companies that Create Growth and Foster Innovation

Awards Event Recognizes Companies That Positively Impact Florida’s Future

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 17, 2010) – Fifty companies from 18 Florida counties have earned a place in Florida’s inaugural class of “Companies to Watch.”The accolade, presented by GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida and ACG Florida, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation and funding support from The Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, recognizes the state’s privately held businesses that employ up to 99 employees and have between $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or capital.

“Firms like these named ‘Companies to Watch’ continue to be the catalyst that is fueling Florida’s emergence from a turbulent national economy,” said Randy Berridge, President of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. “Congratulations to this exemplary group of Florida businesses that continue to invest in their communities and create new jobs in all corners of our state.”

The “Florida Companies to Watch,” which were named after evaluating more than 310 nominations for the awards, represent industries ranging from alternative energy development to food production and industrial gear makers to information technology firms. The combined impact of the fifty chosen companies is $423 million in total annual revenue; 1,972 full-time equivalent employees and 510 new net jobs created compared to 2009. From 2006 through 2010, these companies generated $1.4 billion in revenue and added 1,153 employees (both in Florida and out of state), reflecting a 162 percent increase in revenue and 141 percent increase in jobs for the five-year period. That translates into a 32 percent annual revenue growth and 28 percent annual growth in employees.

With major sponsorship support from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Florida Business Incubation Association, Fowler White Boggs, P.A. and the University of Central Florida, the “Florida Companies to Watch” awards program is an initiative developed by the Cassopolis, Mich.-based Edward Lowe Foundation. The foundation hosts similar programs in Michigan, Indiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Additional sponsors include Gulf Power Company, Nperspective, Osceola County Economic Development Department and the University of South Florida.

The fifty “Florida Companies to Watch” will be honored at the awards celebration on February 17 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando. Tickets for the ceremony and dinner are still available and may be purchased online at or by calling Lynn Aitken at 407-823-6384.

“Florida Companies to Watch takes a whole-business approach, identifying companies across the state that represent Florida’s future, not just major metropolitan areas,” says Dr. O’Neal. “It shows the economic potential of the entire state as demonstrated by the successes of second-stage companies. Being selected for the Florida Companies to Watch awards program provides growing businesses the credibility and recognition that distinguish them among their competitors. This statewide event lauds the success of business leaders who have taken their operations to the "second-stage" of growth and hold the potential to continue to create new jobs in their communities and industries, thereby making a difference in regional communities.”

In addition to the recognition of being named a Florida Companies to Watch award winner, companies have the opportunity to participate in a leaders retreat attended by former Companies to Watch award recipients from other states at the Edward Lowe Foundation’s Big Rock Valley retreat facility in southwestern Michigan.

List of 2011 Winners:

A.G. Findings & Mfg. Co. Inc. (Broward)

Aerostar Environmental Serivces, Inc. (Duval)

Airon Corporation (Brevard)

Alinean, Inc. (Orange)

Analytics Partners (Duval)

Ark Naturals Products for Pets (Collier)

atLarge, Inc. (Sarasota)

Avalex Technologies Corporation (Escambia)

B3 Solutions, LLC (Duval)

Bari Furniture (Seminole)

Bit-Wizards (Okaloosa)

Blue Streak Couriers (Duval)

Carter-Health (Orange)

Compass Solar Energy (Escambia)

DGG Taser and Tactical Supply Inc (Duval)

E3 Spark Plugs (St. Johns)

eBridge Solutions (Hillsborough)

Engineered Lining Systems (Duval)

Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS) (Orange)

Enporion (Hillsborough)

FreightCenter (Hillsborough)

GiftRAP Corporation (Martin)

H2 Performance Consulting Corporation (Escambia)

Haynes Corporation (Collier)

Hixardt Technologies Inc (Escambia)

Impact Lighting Inc. (Orange)

IMS ExpertServices (Escambia)

Industrial Lighting Products, Inc. (Seminole)

Innovative Data Solutions, Inc. (Orange)

JVI Appraisal Division, LLC (Seminole)

Keystone Water Company (Highlands)

Lakeside Medical Centers (Pinellas)

Media Vista Corporation (Collier)

Millennium Luxury Coaches (Seminole)

NRI (Palm Beach)

OmniPoint (Hillsborough)

OptiGrate Corp (Orange)

Pharmaworks (Pasco)

Phoenix Ink Corporation (Sarasota)

PlusOne Solutions, Inc. (Orange)

Power Grid Engineering, LLC (Seminole)

Pro Poly of America, Inc. (Marion) (Broward)

SCB Marketing (Brevard)

Securboration Inc. (Brevard)

THAT! Company (Lake)

The DiSTI Corporation (Orange)

The Kimball Companies (Orange)

The Launch Pad (Pasco)

VaxDesign Corporation (Orange)


About GrowFL and the Florida Economic Gardening Institute

GrowFL is the official Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program for the State of Florida and a program of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute. Created in 2009 to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute is headquartered at the University of Central Florida under contract with The Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. Additional information is available at

About ACG Florida

ACG Florida is a statewide collaboration of the four Florida chapters of the Association for Corporate Growth - Orlando, North Florida, South Florida and Tampa Bay. ACG is the global community for middle market M&A dealmakers and business leaders focused on driving growth. ACG members have access to data, content and networking to access capital, make deals and drive corporate growth. Founded in 1954, ACG has grown to more than 13,000 members organized in 55 chapters throughout North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit

About the Edward Lowe Foundation

The Edward Lowe Foundation inspired the creation of the Companies to Watch program to celebrate second-stage entrepreneurs and their companies. Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through recognition, education and research with a focus on second-stage companies—those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth. The foundation also encourages economic gardening, an entrepreneur-centered strategy providing balance to the traditional approach of business recruitment. For information about the Edward Lowe Foundation, visit

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