The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

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"Much of our economic growth will be internal, organic. We'll see growth in our Latin population. We already have a strong population base that speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Creole, and other languages that are good for business." barrier to entry in this market. If a business is looking at a competing site that offers lower rates, we can negotiate. Florida has tremendous cyber-connectivity. Along our east coast we have eight places where fiber cables come out of the water from all over the world. By combining electricity and fiber, we can build out whatever a data center might need—a new feeder, a new substation—as long as the center's going to be a big enough consumer." Data centers aren't the whole story along Florida's coastline. Corporate headquarters are growing in Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The aerospace/aviation and life/ health sciences continue to grow. Florida's government encourages the growth of these industries friendly. By working closely with the public and private sectors, she says, companies like FPL can stay aware of coming business trends and take a proactive attitude toward bringing new business into their territory. FPL supplies electric service to most of the east coast of Florida, the agricultural area around southern and eastern Lake Okeechobee, the lower west coast area, and portions of central and north central Florida. The company supports development in those areas by supporting local business organizations and by leading the effort to bring more data centers into the region. "Our rates are the lowest in the state and among the lowest in the Southeast," Stiles says. "That's especially good news for data centers, since electricity accounts for 60 to 70 percent of their operating costs. Power, and the cost of power, should never be a of development there is likely to be either a 250-unit apartment building or a 150,000-sq.-ft. office building. "As a state, the burdens of our success are the biggest challenge we face," Swindell notes. "We've seen a phenomenal recovery. We have a strong fiscal model, great tax climate, budget surplus and a wel l-f unded pension program. It's through close fiscal management that we've kept the state in a strong position. "By 2030 we'll have five million to seven million new Floridians. Where will they work? How will they get around? We hope to be more strategic about how we acquire new people. Much of our economic growth will be internal, organic. We'll see growth in our Latin population. We already have a strong population base that speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Creole and other languages that are good for business. We don't see any industries diminishing." Public, Private Sectors Look to Power Companies for Support Power and light companies are essential to economic growth anywhere in the U.S. In any major market, a close relationship between those companies, their corporate clients and government will help to create jobs and profitability for all parties. Low-priced and abundant electrical power attracts private businesses; their growth drives real estate development and general prosperity. Cr ysta l Stiles, Economic Development Project Manager for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), explains that a reliable power company can make any market more business- Throughout its 35-county service territory, FPL has upgraded the electrical grid with the installation of more than 4.7 million smart meters and 12,000 intelligent devices that help identify outages before they happen, diagnose issues for faster power restoration, reroute electricity around trouble spots and confine outages to smaller areas. because they create jobs, while data centers don't employ a lot of people. But, Stiles explains, data centers bring capital investment into the state—thus indirectly growing employment. "When I came here," Stiles says, "I thought Florida was all tourism and retirement communities. But we have an amazingly diverse economy. We're becoming more of a transportation and logistics hub, thanks to our ports and our connectivity. Many young families are coming into the state. "Our state government is exceptionally business-friendly. Governor Rick Scott has cut a lot of red tape and eliminated the sales tax on manufacturing equipment to increase our competitiveness." A s a r e s u l t , N o r t h r o p Grumman recently launched September/October 2015 | the LEADER 45

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