Episode 001 – Jim Thomas – CEO Orlando Regional Tech Association
Jim Thomas loves Orlando, and it really shows in how he talks about what the Orlando Regional Tech Association is working on in serving the community. He has become an advocate for the Central Florida region in both the business and tech spheres. Jim and I discuss the tech scene in Orlando and the Central Florida region.
Some of the examples of innovative companies include Massey Services a very successful local pest control and landscape service provider, Luminar creating LiDAR technology for the new autonomous vehicle industry. Osceola’s high tech center BRIDG (Bridging the Innovation Development Gap) is working on nano-sensor tech.
We also talk about how the University of Central Florida is leading the way in many tech innovations and how well the school works with the business community as well as Valencia College. Florida Polytechnic University has a somewhat different approach in staying small and focused.
Jim touts the social enterprise accelerator Rally (cflsea.com) as well as the Orlando Regional Tech Association‘s Momentum program, ways that the tech and business communities can come together to work with social organizations to improve the area’s mission. Orlando Together is another organization Jim refers to as one that was helped with OTA and the Momentum program.
We finish with discussing a three-pillar approach for building the Orlando entrepreneurial community. First is creating a peer-group of top professionals from the Central Florida area, then connecting them with the start-up and scaling community, then bringing all that brain power together with those social enterprises in need.