Oral History of the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council

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Title

Oral History of the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council

Alternative Title

Oral History of the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council

Subject

High technology--United States
Colleges
Universities
Orlando (Fla.)
Tampa (Fla.)
Gainesville (Fla.)

Description

An oral history interview of John C. Hitt, Randolph E. Berridge, Dr. Peter T. Panousis, Dan Holsenbeck, Carrie Martine, and Roger Pynn regarding the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. This interview conducted by Dr. Connie L. Lester and James C. Clark at the Board Room in the Office of University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt on December 3rd, 2012. The Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) is an economic development initiative whose mission is to foster the high technology industry in Florida's High Tech Corridor, which spans 23 counties with rich industries in aerospace engineering, modeling and simulation, optics and photonics, digital media, and medical technologies. The council consists of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, and the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. In 1996, the Florida Legislature passed an act founding the FHTCC to support the 21-county service areas of UCF and USF. Its original mission was to expand research and educational partnerships in order to retain the Cirent Semiconductor water fabrication facility located in Orlando, Florida. In 1997, the development of all technology industries across Central Florida was added to the FHTCC's mission. UF joined the partnership in 2005.

Interview topics include: how the High Tech Corridor Council began, the Dallas-Fort Worth Corridor in Texas, Charlie Reed, reinvesting the original funding, expanding partnerships, Silicon Valley, Lynda Weatherman and economic development in Brevard County, the “Core Team” and the “Pajama Hotline,” the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center, serving as a model for other regions, the role of venture capitalism, workforce development, the expansion of the corridor, the impact of the business community on approval of university projects, and future challenges.

Abstract

Oral history interview of John C. Hitt, Randolph E. Berridge, Dr. Peter T. Panousis, Dan Holsenbeck, Carrie Martine, and Roger Pynn. Interview conducted by Dr. Connie L. Lester and James C. Clark.

Table Of Contents

0:00:01 Introduction
0:00:53 How the Florida High Tech Corridor Council began
0:07:24 Taking the plan to the Florida State Legislature
0:13:37 The Dallas-Fort Worth Corridor and project conception
0:20:11 Intellectual property
0:25:47 Charlie Reed
0:28:43 Reinvesting the original funding
0:31:10 Expanding partnerships and funding
0:35:57 Silicon Valley
0:40:02 Role of partnership in the success of the Corridor
0:48:18 Lynda Weatherman and Economic Development in Brevard County
0:51:01 “Core Team” and the “Pajama Hotline”
0:54:40 Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center
0:58:46 A model for other regions
1:02:10 Growing and retaining versus buying jobs
1:13:27 Role of venture capitalism
1:20:35 Workforce development
1:27:52 Expansion of the Corridor
1:39:08 Impact of business community on approval of university projects
1:42:28 Future challenges

Creator

Lester, Connie L.
Hitt, John C.
Berridge, Randolph E.
Panousis, Peter T.
Holsenbeck, Dan
Clark, James C.
Martine, Carrie
Pynn, Roger

Source

Original 1-hour, 59-minute, and 19-second oral history: Hitt, John C., Randolph E. Berridge, Dr. Peter T. Panousis, Dan Holsenbeck, Carrie Martine, and Roger Pynn. Interviewed by Dr. Connie L. Lester and James C. Clark. December 3, 2012. Audio/video record available. RICHES of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Date Created

2012-12-03

Date Copyrighted

2012-12-03

Date Modified

2015-01-26

Contributor

Dickens, Bethany

Has Format

50-paged typed digital transcript of original 1-hour, 59-minute, and 19-second oral history: Hitt, John C., Randolph E. Berridge, Dr. Peter T. Panousis, Dan Holsenbeck, Carrie Martine, and Roger Pynn. Interviewed by Dr. Connie L. Lester and James C. Clark. December 3, 2012. Audio/video record available. RICHES of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Is Part Of

General Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Format

video/mp4
application/pdf

Extent

298 MB
383 KB

Medium

1-hour, 59-minute, and 19-second audio/video recording
50-page typed digital transcript

Language

eng

Type

Moving Image

Coverage

University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
AT&T Semiconductor Plant, Orlando, Florida
Gray-Robinson Law Firm, Orlando, Florida
Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale, California
Lake Nona Medical City, Orlando, Florida
Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland, Florida
Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, Rockledge, Florida
National Academy of Inventors, Tampa, Florida
Department of Economic Opportunity, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Heathrow, Florida
Harrah's Cherokee Casino, Cherokee, North Carolina
GrowFl: Florida Economic Gardening Institute, Orlando, Florida
Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orlando, Florida
Florida Power & Light Company, Winter Park, Florida
Central Florida Research Park, Orlando, Florida

Accrual Method

Item Creation

Mediator

History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher
Economics Teacher
Science Teacher

Provenance

Originally created by Dr. Connie L. Lester, James C. Clark, John C. Hitt, Randolph E. Berridge, Dr. Peter T. Panousis, Dan Holsenbeck, Carrie Martine, and Roger Pynn and published by RICHES of Central Florida.

Contributing Project

Curator

Cravero, Geoffrey

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

"ABOUT." Florida High Tech Corridor. http://www.floridahightech.com/about/.
Burnett, Richard. "Technology: Local council's grant program wins award." The Orlando Sentinel, September 19, 2010. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-09-19/business/os-cfb-tech-corridor-092010-20100919_1_grant-program-florida-high-tech-corridor-council-advocacy-group.
Florida High Tech Corridor Council. "florida.HIGH.TECH 2014: The Guide to Florida's High Tech Corridor." Florida High Tech Corridor Council. http://www.floridahightech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Press-Kit-florida.HIGH_.TECH-2014.pdf.
Manning, Margie. "High Tech Corridor matching grants create billion-dollar economic engine." Tampa Bay Business Journal, September 30, 2010. http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/print-edition/2011/09/30/high-tech-corridor-matching-grants.html?page=all.

Transcript

Clark
Can you tighten up?

Panousis
Oh.

Pynn
Come on over Peter. Just from a standpoint of getting—we want to get pictures and video for the archives.

Lester
And can I do one thing before we start?

Pynn
Oh, no.

Panousis
Should I get this out of the way?

Lester
Best practices says that we need to get a—a release so that we can use this. So I am going to send this around.

Pynn
Doing exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Lester
Yes [laughs].

Pynn
And so while you guys are—are signing those, I mean, I just—I—I shared some of these questions with you earlier today but, [Dr.] Connie [L. Lester] is—is leading this effort in the—in the [University of Central Florida] History Department, and Jim Clark has been working very closely with her, and Bethany [Dickens] is—you’re a graduate student, right?

Dickens
Mmhmm. Yes, sir.

Pynn
And we’ve been on a—some months’ quest to review everything that we have in our archives about the [Florida High Tech] Corridor and—and how it evolved, but in a meeting that we had—I guess a couple of months back—both Connie and Jim said, “You know, it would really be helpful to have the anecdotal background. The opportunity to sit and—and talk with this team.” Because we had described how it all began and how you four worked together to make it happen, and so I volunteered that I—no. The first idea was that I was going to take everybody out to lunch. We didn’t get there [laughs], but it—it really would be helpful if you all could just think back a little bit before we get into any questions or any specifics. Think back to how this all began. Randy,[1] I think you probably picked up the ball and Kerry it from [Dr.] Pete[r T. Panousis]’s office to John [C. Hitt] and started the conversation, and maybe you—maybe you want to, Dan…

Berridge
We had…

Pynn
First, I can’t remember.

Berridge
We had a council of some 25 division heads of AT&T [Inc.] representing about 6,000 employees. I had the smallest division, and I was the oldest and the dumbest, so I got to chair the thing [laughs], and tried for 12 years to pass that gavel on to someone else—unsuccessfully.

In [19]95, Peter and Peter’s associate, Bob Cook, had shared that there was a major expansion that was going to happen to their semi-conductor manufacturing operation, then located on the south side of Orlando[, Florida], and it had the potential of being up to 1.4 billion and 1,500 jobs. Normally, that kind of operation gets most people’s attention, but the concern was that the expansion, at the time, looked like it was going to happen offshore, based on incentives that were ladled to the tune of $90 million. Payable in two years, and what we had in Florida at the time—thanks to some research that Charlie Gray, founder of the Gray-Robinson Law Firm—and—and I had the pleasure of helping with—was that Florida had about 6 million [dollars] payable over seven years, and so, with Charlie’s help, we negotiated another 6 million, also payable over seven years. So those of you who are really good at net present value calculations: if you had 90 million incentives payable over 2 versus 12 payable over seven, I think I am pretty sure which—which one you would pick.

We had several things going for us. We had a great management team that didn’t necessarily—didn’t want to move to Madrid[, Spain]. We had a facility that was built three times larger in the early 80s than needed at that time that we could readily expand into, but more importantly, we had a research capability provided by UCF [University of Central Florida] and USF [University of South Florida] that was not available offshore.

And so one day on the golf course—Roger [Prynn], you were there—we shared with John that we are fighting a potentially losing battle regarding this facility and, John, you said, “Well what—what do you need? What do you—what do you have the potential of having here that you don’t have offshore?” And we replied, “A research commitment that UCF and its professors and USF and its—have been providing for quite some time.” So John, you checked with Betty Castor, then-president of USF and came back with a commitment of $20 million, payable over 10 years—1 million per year, per school—of real asset. Not something where we would try to figure out what it was, but a real asset and that made the difference. Peter, why don’t you…

Panousis
Let me add a little bit to the first part. The—the opportunity to move to Spain—the Spanish government providing the—the extra money—may have been appealing to some people, but it wasn’t to me [laughs], and it also wasn’t to a group of 100 engineers we had moved from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Florida just six months before that, and so we really, really wanted to find some way to stay in Florida. We liked the facility, we liked living here, and we certainly didn’t want to move again, and we weren’t quite also all that sure about what would happen if we moved to Spain, just because I could feel the boat rocking, and so, when the opportunity to—came up to find alternatives, we jumped at those opportunities, because they were important to us, as I believe they would have been to the State of Florida, and so we’re—we are in the right mood for that kind of operation.

And the thing that made a difference is—I think Randy talked about the money. You looked at the money that was on the table, and if—if it was just money, you go to Spain. You wouldn’t—you wouldn’t come here, but what was being offered and what we worked out after a while with the—with the universities was an opportunity to couple in to two universities—two large universities—and—and connect to the research base in a way that we could never have been able do in Spain, and we really were a very high-tech company. We were leading edge in the semi-conductor field. So having that kind of support was worth a lot of money, and so it became—it became an easier sell when we could go back to the board of directors and say, “Look what we can do here,” compared to “what we can do there,” and—and it worked.

Pynn
So what was the—what was the process, Dan, that took it to the [Florida State] Legislature? Took it to the next step and actually resulted in the creation of the entity?

Holsenbeck
Well, as the mathematics, that Randy explained, boil down to a million dollars a year for each of the institutions to offset the million dollars a year worth of research. Whether that was in-kind or actually whatever it might have been, it had a value of about a million dollars, and so, our charge by the president was to try to find, you know, additional cash from the Legislature to make that happen.

So my colleague, who has since retired at USF, Kathy Betancourt and I started to work together on a strategy to simply to get a million dollar earmark. We didn’t think we could get a million apiece, but we thought we could get a million total. So our first visit was to [Antoinette] “Toni” Jennings, who was President of the [Florida] Senate and—from here, and we proposed to her a million dollars, and she said, “A million is too much. Seven figures is difficult for the Legislature to absorb right now. I don’t think we’d even talk about it. Anything less than that for a major project …”

But anyway, she said, “Why don’t you settle on something a little bit lower? How about 850 [thousand]?” And of course, Kathy and I said, “Yes, ma’am. 850 is fine,” and actually, Toni was not president of the Senate at that time…

Hitt
She was Chairman of the [Committee on] Rules…

Holsenbeck
She was Chairman of the Rules, exactly. About to be President of the Senate, and so she sent us down to—to see the Chairman of [Committee on] Appropriations at that point, who was the infamous Senator Tilders. I don’t make a personality judgment by saying “infamous,” but he was famous in some ways and not so famous in others probably, but Kathy and I went to visit with him and he said, “Did Senator Jennings approve of this and ask for this?” And we both said, “Yes, sir,” and his response, which I’ll never forget, was, “Whatever that young lady wants, I’ll give her.”

Berridge
[laughs] Young lady…

HolsenbeckSo the Senate was going to put $850,000 in the budget. The second part of that—and the president was a witness to it—I probably ought to let a witness tell a truth rather than me embellish the story.

Hitt
Oh, I’m eager to hear it.

Holsenbeck
All right, but…

Pynn
Y’all have already heard some revisionist history so far [laughs].

Holsenbeck
But our next step was to go to the [Florida] House [of Representatives] because we had a commitment from the powers in the Senate, and there are lots of other commitments too in the Senate. [John Hugh] “Buddy” Dyer, for example. I mean, Buddy was, at the time, one of the leading Democratic [Party] Senators. I think he was later majority—I mean minority leader, but we had his full support from the very beginning. So Senator Jennings knew that she—with her support and with the minority leader’s support—because you were in Buddy Dyer’s district at the time—that was pretty good.

But we had to cultivate the House, and that’s the way those things do, you have to go back and forth. So Representative Alzo [J.] Reddick happened to be Chairman in a Democratically-controlled House of the Committee on Transportation and Economic Development Funding at the time. So the president and I went to visit him and talk through the project and so forth, and ask him for a million dollars, and he said, “I’ll do it,” and then he calls his staff director in from around the corner—I forget what his name was—and the staff director comes in and Alzo says, “I want a million dollars in the budget for this project,” and he says, “Well, what is it and what will—will he do?” And that’s the source of the tale that whatever it is I had in my pocket.

Hitt
It was an envelope, as I recall.

Holsenbeck
Yeah. I just wrote down, “Million dollars for UCF, USF, and AT&T to grow, retain, and attract high technology industry to the I[nterstate]-4 High Technology Corridor,” and we handed that to the staff director, and that’s how it came out in the bill, and that’s what the source is of that original language. Now you got a million dollars in the House, and 850 in the Senate. Guess what happens when you go to [U.S.] Congress? Randy gets $925,000, and that’s where the original appropriation came from, and it was also funded through Enterprise Florida—which a lot of people forget—which created some interesting situations later on.

Pynn
Had we created Enterprise at that point? I didn’t realize that.

Holsenbeck
Mmhmm.

Berridge
About the same time.

Panousis
Let me—let me add a little to that, because there’s a piece that I think you might find interesting. I still remember the very first meeting we had. I met John and Betty Castor and the airport and we went to see Charlie [Bass] Reed, and I didn’t know any of them at the time. We all met for the first time and Charlie Reed was the [State University System of Florida] Chancellor of Education at the time, and—and basically I wanted to—all I was there for was to get some money out of the—out of the universities. I wanted $10 million. He—after he stopped laughing, said, “No. don’t you understand? Companies give us your money. We don’t give them money.” [laughs] And we had a discussion about that, but after—after we were done and John—that’s where John showed, at least for me, the very first picture of High-Tech Corridor —the lights along the two coasts…

Berridge
It’s there. Right there.

Pynn
That middle thing there.

Panousis
I remember him showing that, and describing the way—at that time it was—it was Dallas[, Texas] and…

Hitt
Dallas and Fort Worth[, Texas].

Panousis
And Fort Worth. Growing together and—that’s the picture he had, and—and in that discussion, I think Charlie Reed sort of bought into it pretty—pretty well.

Hitt
Yeah.

Panousis
And as—at the end of the meeting he said, “Look. I don’t know how to do this.” But—but we shook hands and he said, “I’ll find a way,” and I think what you described was the way.

Pynn
The way.

Berridge
I think you need to share—since you shared it with the board of governors and your fellow presidents—the idea—the corridor coming to you…

Hitt
Oh, yeah.

Berridge
In the shower, you know?

Pynn
It drives Dan [Holsenbeck] crazy to hear this story. Thanks Randy [laughs].

Hitt
Well, Dan will get over it [laughs].

Pynn
We all take showers, Dan.

Holsenbeck
I—I know. I know.

Berridge
Your historians are wondering what’s coming.

Hitt
I know. Well, early in my time here, I had driven pretty much coast to coast to the center part of the state, and, you could see along I-4 infill of population, and I’d watched that process take place in my native state of Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth. When I was a boy, you could see, you know, area between them was ranch land, there were a lot of cattle grazing along the side of the highway. You know, it was really a rural environment. Well, by the time I left Texas in—in ‘77, they had pretty well grown together, and if you’re—if you’ve driven along it in—in the last 20 years or so, you know, it’s—it’s one big, continuous metropolitan area now, but, you know, it occurred to me pretty strongly there—there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are moving in, and a lot of them settle right along that corridor, that, you know, essentially goes from the Tampa Bay area to—to the—the Daytona [Beach] area. But, you know, it sort of spills down towards the Space Coast as well, and the question in my mind is what kind of jobs are they going to have? Now, we’ve got a great hospitality industry here in—in Central Florida and, you know, it—it is the backbone of our economy in this—in—in this part of our state. Really for our whole state, but if you think about the—the distribution of pay for the jobs that they’ve got, it’s biased towards lower in—income employment. Now all jobs are good jobs. You think about it, there’s—if the alternative is unemployment, just about any job’s a good job, but, it—it just occurred to me that, if we really are going to have the kind of jobs we want our kids and grandkids to have, it would be really helpful if you could find a way to bring in more high tech industry, and it seemed to me that we had a good chance with two large state institutions, each of which had a strong engineering program, a strong business program, the—the natural laboratory sciences to support research and development. We really could have a—a guiding effect, if you will, on the development of the economy, and I had proposed to—to Betty Castor, before Peter came on the—on the scene, that we try and put together a cooperative endeavor and get some state funding for it, and—and Betty just had too many other things on her plate at that time, you know. She didn’t really respond all that favorably, you know, and I—you know, I didn’t take that as a bad thing. I figured, Well, we’ve got time—time. We’ll win her over soon or later on this. It’s a good idea, and we just went on.

Well then, Pete’s opportunity challenge presented itself, and I think what you saw was the value of a good organizing concept. It—it—there’s nothing all that overpowering about the idea. It’s just—it’s—it’s just sort of an observation. Gee, Dallas and Fort Worth grew together, I think I see the same kind of process beginning here in—in Central Florida. Isn’t that interesting? Well, then you think about two universities, and well, Maybe we could have an influence on what kind of jobs get developed, maybe we could raise the—the prospects for high tech industry, and then, guess what? We get a really high tech industry who is wanting our help, and we were able to get enough people excited about the possibility to really do something, and—I—I’ve said repeatedly, with—without the opportunity to work with Peter, all we’ve got’s kind of an interesting idea. You know, better than no idea at all, but it probably would have come to very little if we hadn’t had a—large-scale employer in a high tech business who really wanted and needed our help. You know, I think wanted more than needed. You would have gone somewhere, you know. You would have gone to Spain or somewhere else without us, but, you know, you wanted our help, and sometimes wanting something is every bit an important or more than needing.

So we were able to put together an idea, and Dan’s memory is just as mine—we had it, you know—it was the focus right then when we were at Alzo’s outer office—was retention. We had the foresight to put—attract, grow, and retain in that bill, and that is indeed what let us go from this one instance to a general operation that recruits, grows and, we hope, retains high tech industry. It—it’s been a very interesting thing to watch—and you know—and without—without Peter, you don’t have much. Without Dan’s skills in the Legislature we don’t have much and without Randy’s determined leadership—and excellent leadership over the years—we probably wouldn’t have nearly what we have.

Berridge
That’s very kind.

Hitt
So it pays to take showers, you know?  [laughs].

Panousis
It was—it was—a very unique partnership. I had—I had a lot of years at AT&T and we had lots of partnerships with companies in the universities, but generally they were—they were designed for very specific application, and generally they were tense, because the other companies are competitors and the universities really did what Charlie Reed said, “Give me the money and I’ll give it back, with 200, half the time,” and what was happening in this relationship is—is right from the beginning. in fact, the legislation you put together called out that this was a partnership, that there were certain rights that the company—AT&T had—to the intellectual property, which was truly unique.

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Panousis
And—and it made a big difference, because now we could get research support from two universities and we didn’t have to give up the intellectual property that was generated in the process of doing them, and that was really, a big—and big deal, and I—I still remember telling other people about that and they wouldn’t believe it. They said, “It couldn’t be, couldn’t be, couldn’t be.” In fact, some other universities said it was illegal, even though it was in the legislation [laughs].

Hitt
Yeah, well, one university very distinctly [laughs].

Pynn
Pete, I can remember you saying back then that you had—we were sitting together at the plant one day—you’d never had relationships with universities like this. This is unheard of.

Hitt
Well, a prevailing model at universities was that the industrial partner ought to throw money over a transom and come back in several years to hear what the university had done with it.

Pynn
Well, let’s not preclude that.

Hitt
And feel suitably proud, you know? Guess what, you know? When money is not terribly plentiful, the enthusiasm for that gets pretty darn scarce and the other—the other side is the intellectual property side. The university still does well out of this—and when you get to these partnerships, you know, my sense is that most universities want to control 100 percent and they end up with something about this big, and they think that’s better than having 20 percent of something this big, and I’ve never quite seen that point of view get you anywhere.

Panousis
And it’s interesting. In all the time we worked together, I can’t think of any single case where we had a serious disagreement about intellectual property. It just wasn’t that big of a deal. The people—people are paranoid about it.

Hitt
Yeah, it’s a principle, you know?

Panousis
It’s a principle. It’s a principle.

Berridge
I’ve had the pleasure of approving 12—more than 1,200 research projects. Dan, more than half of those with UCF. My—my case with UCF, USF, and UF. I can count on the digits—less than the digits on one hand—the projects we did not get to because of an issue over intellectual property, and when you—when you share that with an audience that—that has this perception that there’s going to be an issue, and you share well—wait a minute. We’ve done 1,200 of them with 400 companies, where we’ve put up over 56 million [dollars] to fund those projects—from Carter funds at UCF, USF, and UF, and we have more than 160 million [dollars] in corporate cash and in-kind at the time we do the project and more than a billion on top of that in downstream return to the university—to the companies, and yet in—in—in going on—about to finish 16 years, we have had really not had an issue on intellectual property, because the companies see it—that—well, this is unique. Our hometown university wants to help us. They’re not asking for the money back. Where is the value? And the value is the partnership with the company that creates more jobs, creates more intellectual value, and by the way—we’ve got an outside, investigator/researcher that’s showed there’s more than a billion returned to our local economy from—from this program.

Holsenbeck
Yeah, let me—let me just say that Randy had an awful lot to do with those languages and that we were able to translate into legislation, and the actual legislation that you’re talking about Peter, where that language about the IP was? Was part of the matching tax exception—matching grant program? And I always thought that pulling that off as a collective effort —taking advantage of really the goodwill of the company—the essence of that bill said that the Legislature would put aside another package of incentive moneys—not just the money that we were operating the Carter on the doing research with—but they put aside another pot of money that if Cirent[?] would take the tax-exemption that they were given under the incentive laws. That if they would take the taxes, they would have paid and send it over to the university, the State would match it out of that fund. So all of a sudden, both institutions were able to do really big things at once like our materials lab.

Hitt
Yeah.

Holsenbeck
That’s where out materials lab—to this day, seems one of the best in the southeast, maybe in the country—comes from.

Pynn
AMPAC [Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center].

Holsenbeck
That’s right. That’s where…

Berridge
AMPAC.

Holsenbeck
That’s where USF’s—what’s it called? Center of Metrology?

Pynn
Center for…

Berridge
Center for Materials Research. Sam R., I think. Center for Materials Research.

Holsenbeck
So that was another, part of that whole deal—the tax-exempt matching grants that’s kind of gone away, because they don’t have any money to match it with anymore, but I always thought that was a—one year—in one of the later years, the Legislature decided to sweep together everything that they were funding for the High-Tech Corridor, because they all wanted to take credit for a big deal. So when they pulled together all the operational funds and showed the tax-exempt matching, there’s a line—and I forget what year in the budget—that shows something like 25-26 billion dollars. Charlie’s in California. So I cut that out, sent it to him, and said, “Charlie, if you’ve ever seen a bigger turkey in Florida, I want you to let me know.” [laughs] And he wrote me back and he said, “Nope. That’s got to be it.” It was a $25 million line-item in the budget that pulled all that stuff together one year.

Berridge
Help with the name—is it The Chronicle of Higher Education?

Holsenbeck
Yeah.

Berridge
Is that the right term? I believe both of you about the same time shared with me an article that our friend Charlie Reed crafted that appeared in there, where he took credit for the Corridor and—and explained his version of what it’s all about, and it’s—that’s pretty special, knowing where it came from.

Holsenbeck
Can I tell you one more quick[sic] story about Charlie? The first year was 950,000 and then it jumped a little bit and—we were looking for—in one of the years, we were looking for—I think it was another million and a half for each of us, and we wound up getting 1.7 million and USF got 1.5. So we’re down in the committee room where they are about to vote on it and make the decision. By the way, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, making this happen, under Speaker Dan[iel Allan] Webster, is Orange County School Superintendent—no. School Board Chairman Bill Sublette—he’s the Chairman of that committee.

Pynn
That’s right. I forgot that.

Hitt
That’s right. Yeah.

Holsenbeck
So Charlie comes up to us, with Kathy and me with his entourage—which is not unusual for Charlie—comes blustering and says, “I just took care of it. We’ve taken care of everything. You’re going to get a million and a half,” and Kathy and I looked at each other and said, “Charlie, you mean—million and a half each?” And he said, “Oh, no, no, no. just a million and a half.” I said, “Charlie, the bill’s about to come out. It’s a million and a half each,” and there was a five million appropriation for research, so we were going to get basically two-thirds of that money or—or close to it, and Charlie did not speak to Kathy and me for a couple of weeks after that [laughs].

Pynn
It’s not nice to tell the Chancellor he’s wrong.

Berridge
By the way, the original funding—9—925—the original funding, UCF got 300 for corridor funds—corridor projects. USF got 300 and AT&T got 325. Ask him if he ever took the money.

Lester
Did you?

Panousis
Nope.

Berridge
No recurrent funding invested back in the corridor.

Panousis
We—we…

Pynn
Used it to run this Corridor center.

Berridge
Sixteen—privacy of this room—for 16 years, we’ve invested that money back into the corridor to help market the region as a high-tech region. That’s pretty special.

Panousis
The thing we—we needed from universities was the research.

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Panousis
We didn’t need the money. I mean, the money’s nice. We would have taken it, but if you, you know—if you think of the numbers just over the whole period time, we spent a little over a billion dollars. We were exempted, most of that time, for the 6 percent sales tax. That’s 60 million dollars. By giving up fairly significant piece of that—almost all of that—to the university that was doubled by the State to close to 120 million dollars that was shared between the two universities. That’s a lot of money. I still remember the time we were sitting there thinking about how to spend it [laughs]. That was tough to do.

Berridge
The results of that effort—not only the great research projects and the marketing comes to us by the way of Roger Pynn and Kerry Martine. It’s interesting when an organization outside of our state shares nationally the top technology regions in the country based on information from January of 2012 to August 2012, and I know if I were a better teacher or instructor, I’d have a better show and tell graph. I gave a speech this morning out at its—its—and I did the same thing to the audience, it—even the first row couldn’t see it, but what it portrays is…

Pynn
Randy, we prepare you better than that. Don’t you ever do that again [laughs].

Berridge
What is portrays is the top regions in the country, and we’re number four, ahead of the Research Triangle and ahead of—of Austin[, Texas], and—and the major one is the number of high-tech job openings. A positive statement that our region —we’d like to have top talent come here as well as graduate from here. So it says Florida High-Tech Corridor.

Hitt
That’s neat.

Holsenbeck
That’s certainly a manifestation of grow, retain, and attract.

Pynn
And Dan—when—when you were going through that review of the expansion of the state funding, since it’s a history project—I’m not sure, Connie, that we have been able to—and if we have, Kerry [Martine] can take credit for it—accurately give you a timeline of the progression of the funding. I think it would be very helpful to have. Maybe we can work with someone.

Holsenbeck
We have it. We—it’s—we had to go through digging it out, But yeah. We can show you the bills and the amount of money each time.

Pynn
So you see, it wasn’t just a one-time thing. We—if it had just been for the initial bill, that provided people that the research they needed, we’d have been a one-hit wonder and this would—none of us would be here today, but this was about the evolution of partnerships, and—and—and John realized very quickly afterward, we had something here. Once he pulled it off with AT&T, he says, “Hey, you know, we’ve got a good deal here. We can help other people,” and that led to the MGRP. The idea that we can create research projects on an ongoing basis. Bringing companies on campus to do it, and—and having them kick the tires of young students—as their graduate students, as their research partners. Just to—just to…

Berridge
Give M. J. Soileau some credit for helping devise the program.

Pynn
True.

Berridge
And working with the folks at USF in making sure the programs mirrored each other.

Hitt
Yeah, it’s been interesting watching all that, you know, even with M. J. The first response is, “How do I get part of that money?” [laughs]. “How do I—how do I get my share—my fair share of the money?” And then it evolves. You see people start to understand, “Oh, there is no share—fair share. It’s all money that’s there for a purpose.” “How do I get to be part of the purpose?” is really the—the question to ask, and if you—if you—I think if you conceive of it properly, it’s money that attracts business leaders to the campus and incents faculty members to work with them.

The big complaint you still hear today is, “How do I get the faculty to work with industry?” Or “How do I get industry to work with faculty?” Well, you put some money on the table to do good things and you—you—you get a little entrepreneurial interest. Which is what we’ve done, and Pete, you’re, you know—you—without you in all of this, I don’t think we’re celebrating anything today, but that’s basically, you know, between the Legislature and Dan’s good influence there, and the leadership we’ve had from Peter and Randy. We—we’ve created a self-perpetuating cycle at this point. Virtuous cycle.

Berridge
This is a small world we live in. What are the odds that we’d have this conversation today, and the new VP[Vice President] of Engagement[2] at FIU [Florida International University] wanted to set a meeting and the only time we could do it was before this meeting, and her predecessor was promoted to Provost in Virginia, and so Mark [B.] Rosenberg lost his focal point of cloning our corridor in his end of the state.

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Berridge
So the new person is on board, and the only time we can meet is right before this meeting, and she said, “I apologize. I know you’ve been through this. I know you’ve come down here to meet, but we’re basically starting over would you”—Roger’s about to die—“would you mind sharing with me again all about the corridor? How you got started? How you’ve done? What you’ve done?” And I said “Well, thank you. You’re getting me—getting me warmed up for a meeting with President Hitt, Peter Panousis, and the rest of the team.” I said that it’s going to take more than a half an hour to explain the length and breadth of what we’ve—what we’ve done. So honored by the compliment again from Mark Rosenberg that he still wants to figure out how to make it happen.

Hitt
Yeah.

Pynn
And that’s one of the questions that Connie’s had is, “Can this be exported to this equation?”

Hitt
Yes, it can be, but you need to have a good understanding of the model and you gotta have to have a…

Pynn
Peter. You’ve got to have a Peter.

Hitt
A business leader. Yeah. Otherwise, you—you can write it all up and everything…

Berridge
We’ve suggested to Mark, you know, a couple of companies down there that could be—could be the patron that—that Dr. Panousis and Sarah McGeer was to us.

Panousis
You know what’s curious is in Silicon Valley, the normal sense of business is that they deal with universities. That’s just what you do, particularly with Stanford [University] and other universities. It might not be…

Hitt
Guess why? It works. Fred Turner.

Panousis
It works. Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.

Hitt
Fred—as a young man I was vice-president of the TCU [Texas Christian University] research foundation and he served on our advisory council, and I got to sit and listen to Fred talk about how—he didn’t phrase it this way—but he started Silicon Valley. He came back after World War II, he had seen [Massachusetts State] Route 128 outside Boston[, Massachusetts], he—he knew what had happened there, and he said, “We could do that here,” and he proceeded to do it. He was then Dean of Engineering at Stanford, became Provost and—and really, I think it is—I think if you had to pick some sort of high-tech industrial heroes, Fred would be right up at the head of the pack.

Panousis
So there must be some in South Florida.

Hitt
Yeah.

Panousis
You know, there have to be. Man, they just need to be found [laughs].

Lester
Can I ask a question a question about that? Do you see the High-Tech Corridor as being more similar to Silicon Valley? Or what—what has it added to the—to the growth of the high tech industry that’s different from Silicon Valley?

Hitt
That’s a good question. I don’t know the inside of Silicon Valley well enough probably to answer —to answer—to answer in a well-informed way. Pete, what—do you?

Panousis
I think that—and I don’t know if I have an answer, but—but I think what happened there is they got to a critical mass that we never quite have gotten to.

Hitt
Yeah, yeah.

Panousis
And there were so many companies doing the same kind of work that people were just spilling out of each, setting up additional companies, and every new idea was a new company, and it just got to a level where it was just running by itself. Now we’ve got to that point. Or haven’t gotten to that point.

Hitt
We may have more self-conscious direction at the university level. It may have become just auto-catalytic at Stanford, because of that process you’re talking about. We’ve taken a view that really says that the university is the agency that will help this happen in—in—in the region, and maybe I’m not expressing it well, but I think we—we have tried to see the university—the—the—the metropolitan research university as the equivalent of the land-grant university—the 21st century equivalent of the land grant. Where we combine the generation transmission application of knowledge, and it’s a social agency, if you will, that—that helps companies.

Berridge
John, your leadership—UCF’s leaderships and its partners—Medical City is going to be, in my humble opinion, the catalyst that’s going to give us—give us that next boost in terms of comparing our corridor—our region—to Silicon Valley. If you reference the facts that we shook our heads when we said, right after World War II—after World War II—having been there, like a couple of people in this room, but very young—look at the time span, and yet, UCF is now celebrating its 50th, we’re celebrating our 16th as a—as a corridor. We have a lot of room to grow, and despite all the issues in terms of Florida Poly[technic University]—when they call us—Rob Goddell and team called and asked for help in terms of focus, as you and I discussed—to—to give them some ideas in terms of what they are going to focus on in terms of a curriculum. That’s pretty special, but it’s part of this continuum of our region catching up with—maybe even surpassing—Silicon Valley. The university is still—if you notice, the university is still centering to that happening.

Holsenbeck
The—it seems to me that one of the—well, I think it’s—there are two very strong forces at work here that you’ve got to—have to—even think about duplicating anywhere, and we all travel and we all have got our canned speeches on the High-Tech Corridor, and what it means, and, you know, the advantages of it, but there are two things that the High-Tech Corridor has proven, and both of those are related to one word, and that’s “partnership.”

First of all, it’s just a spirit of partnership. It’s mutually beneficial. We’re willing to put on the table and sacrifice a little bit—or “comprise” maybe is a better word. You do the same thing and we’re both just going to just flourish after that, and then the second part of it is—to reinforce what we’ve said—is that I don’t think you can just be given some money. Other places in the state have tried to get an appropriation. They’ve said they couldn’t do it, okay? What they’ve got to have though, again, is this, again, spirit of partnership from a very large organization, or at least relatively large, so you can have an anchor and tie.

Let me—let me do one more. I can’t help the opportunity for these political—but taking the word “partnership,” okay? The High-Tech Corridor created something in the Legislature that has never, ever happened. Not before and definitely not—not since, according to what I’ve been told. The second year of the funding, the money was eliminated at some point during the process, and we have to earmark it out of the budget. So we asked two people to sponsor the amendment to add it back on the floor during the final debates of the bills, okay? Way over here on the left side, one of the most loyal Democrats of all time, is Rep[resentative] Alzo Reddick, and way over here on the right side—so far right that he told me one day that Dan introduces me on the right side of the stage, I’m so far right he thinks I’ll fall off—that person was [Thomas] “Tom” [Charles] Feeney [III], who was going to be Speaker of the House. So in front of the entire legislative body, outspoken Democrat, outspoken conservative Republican, stand together and offer an amendment to do this. There was not a single negative vote that I recall, and it was the spirit of partnership that has permeated this project all the way through, which I think has made it successful.

Hitt
Yeah, support for the university, for the community.

Holsenbeck
Yeah.

Hitt
An effort to—to work together to build something.

Holsenbeck
And until the medical school came along, and probably now—I’ve always used in my conversations that, you know, the High-Tech Corridor is the perfect example of what John Hitt means about being America’s leading partnership university.

Lester
Did the fact that the Corridor existed and had been so successful—was that instrumental in helping to bring high tech industry, or laying the foundations for…

Hitt
I don’t know. Certainly the successful experience lent credibility to the university and our administration. I don’t know that people drew—the people who were making the decisions—I don’t know that they drew lessons from the corridor operation, but the fact that we had done it and it was successful probably helped.

Holsenbeck
Well, I—he—he’s being modest, because I know in some of the conversations we had on the medical school in the Legislature that I had—and I can name three or four of them—very powerful members—to say—if John Hitt says that this is good and it’s going to work and it’s a partnership, then that’s all I need, and that’s the truth. One of them had two children to graduate from here, so I’m not making those names up, but I think it did have maybe more then you want to give it credit for is this spirit of partnership that we’re known for.

Pynn
It was certainly a track record by that time.

Holsenbeck
Oh, yeah.

Pynn
And I don’t think there’s been a person in the [Florida] Governor’s Mansion since this happened who hasn’t wanted to point to the Corridor in some way or another at the start of every year.

Holsenbeck
Mmhmm.

Hitt
Mmhmm. The disappointment that I think we all share to some extent is that is hasn’t been replicated elsewhere yet. There have been attempts.

Pynn
Right. It’s good to hear they’re still committed to it, Randy, and we need to offer to—to give them what help we can.

Hitt
Yeah, but, you know, part of the problem is you’ve really got to have industry. You’ve got—and you’ve got to be able to attract industry into it. So, you know, people will say the “I-4 Corridor.” Well, why don’t we have an “I-10 Corridor” or whatever, you know. Well, if all you’ve got’s a highway, you know, you’re not really—you’re not going to do this, and—and it’s still the case that some people think if they can just got an appropriation, they can have something. Well, they’d have the money, but that alone would not give them what they’re looking for if they’re trying to replicate the corridor. You’ve got to have—you’ve got to have that employer who’s really committed, and you do have to have a critical mass of administration and faculty who understand partnership. And, you know, I think there’s still too many people in universities who just want to be given money to go do what they want to do. That’s nice, and, you know, we’ll all take that, but it’s—it’s not going to give you—an organization like the corridor.

Panousis
You know, the partnership between the universities was also important—now three in the partnership. Yeah. I still remember a meeting—I was trying to recall what the background for it was—but Governor Lawton [Mainor] Chiles[, Jr.] was at the meeting so it must have been ’90…

Berridge
’96?

Panousis
’96-’97, and we had just come from one of our customers, making the PalmPilot at the time, and we did something for them special, and we invited him to come to the meeting. He did, and I remember in his presentation, he made a comment that I thought was really interesting. He says he’s never seen two universities actually work together like the two—those two—UCF and USF.

Pynn
There’s no question.

Panousis
And it was really interesting, because he—he was amazed that it could happen. I didn’t know any better, so I assumed it could happen [laughs].

Berridge
An example of the partnership—and I’ll share with you—Kerry Martine provided that. Gentleman pictured there—in ’99, we partnered with—very small company. He now has a billion-dollar drug. He now also is the new VP of Research [& Innovation][3] at USF, and in the first meeting with him, he said, “If we have an incubator company that wants to locate in Orlando, is there any reason we couldn’t figure out how to locate them in M. J. Soileau and Tom O’Neal’s incubator at UCF?” And I’m sitting there going, “Ah.” [laughs] What a burden has been lifted in terms of—this is a prime example of partnership that he would reach out.

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Berridge
And I said, “Not that I’m aware of,” and he said, “You think they would agree that, if they have a company in—in their incubator that would want to move to Tampa, that it would be okay if we housed ’em?” And I said, “I think we can make that happen.”

Pynn
Now, what son of a Mississippian says…

Berridge
Yeah, son of a Mississippian. So there’s—Dr. Paul Sanberg, and thanks to Kerry Martine, who’s going to give that to me by email, I’m going to send that to Paul and say, “There’s a picture of you from the late ‘90s you might like to have for your file.” A good partnership.

Pynn
They had been doing anything they could to prevent them to leave, and so would we 20 years ago. You know, we hadn’t quite gotten to that point. I think the—the mantra of leader: leave your ego at the door. The idea that whatever can benefit Tampa, can benefit Orlando, and vice versa, has been such a powerful philosophy. People have gone out of their way—you like to tell the story of Lynda—thinking over in Brevard County…

Holsenbeck
Weatherman.

Berridge
Weatherman.

Pynn
The Economic Development Director over there, risking probably, at the time, her—her job to put was it 500 or 5,000 dollars into a sponsorship of an event that was going to take place in Tampa?

Berridge
5,000.

Pynn
5,000. People were thinking, Was she crazy?

Berridge
We indicated we would help her with something downstream. That was understood, but yeah, that she was willing to do that.

Pynn
She understood that she might benefit down the road from it. We…

Hitt
Yeah, that whole notion that a win anywhere in the corridor in a win for everybody is hard to…

Berridge
We called Dr. Paul Sanberg, who’s a very respected scientist—founder of the National Academy of Inventors, and we have a project we’re working on that is very large in scope—almost as large as one of Peter’s projects—and we needed some initial funds to put on the table to get the company’s attention. So I called Paul and I said, “I know that our team is over about a week before this phone call to show support for a major project in the Tampa area, and so we have one, by coincidence, a small world. We have one a week late, as big as that one. If we can merge our matching funds at UCF and USF, we can make a better case,” and he said, “Make it happen. What are you putting on the table?” I said, “We’re going to make a commitment of 250,000 a year for five years, because of the size and scope and potential of this project.” He said, “You want to do the same thing from USF?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “You know, it doesn’t matter where the graduates work, as long as they’re working here. So the fact that you’re going to give an opportunity for some of our USF students to partner with—you know, professors to partner with UCF on a project for a company that happens to be located in the eastern end of the Corridor, our students are going to be benefited, so make it happen.” That’s partnership in its, you know, 15-16 years in the making.

Holsenbeck
You know, there is another activity that a lot of folks don’t participate in or know much about—and I’ve always thought this was one of Randy’s brilliant creations—and that is what he called the “Core Team” and the Tuesday morning telephone calls. Every Tuesday morning, I’d say there are 25-35 people throughout the corridor who talk about what is going on in the corridor and by the end of that conversation—what reminded me was Lynda Weatherman—you have got Brevard County willing to go over to Tampa to participate with a Tampa Bay partnership. You have got 4-5 groups agreeing to come together to put money on the table to do a booth talking about the photonics industry and sending it to the west coast. You’re doing things that the state as a whole has not been able to get communities and EDCs [Economic Development Commissions] and workforce boards and all those things to do.

Pynn
We are doing things every Tuesday morning on that little pajama hotline that the state has never been able to do. It’s amazing to see the number…

Holsenbeck
Yeah.

Berridge
This is a 16-year document…

Lester
Yes, I have the whole box. Yes.

Pynn
She has—she has a box. She has Steve Burly’s collection of every single one of those.

Berridge
It’s an old AT&T thing. Peter and I learned years ago what is bolded in here, including the names of the people, as well as what is in there is what was covered the previous weeks. You know, who attended and what was discussed and it becomes the agenda for the next meeting so you can continue.

Lester
And I can tell you that is very helpful to a historian who is reading through this.

Pynn
You know, we need to get you in touch with Burly by the end of this, because the fact that he is collecting means he has got a lot of knowledge. The—what I can remember as an example of that is we achieved corridor-wide participation in the [International] Paris Air Show[4] on the telephone on a Tuesday morning. Had never happened.

Berridge
Because Lynda Weatherman wanted to do it.

Pynn
That is right. Payback.

Berridge
In Brevard—and so we got Tampa Bay saying, “Yeah. We will do that with you. We will be there with you, in terms of presence and money.”

Pynn
She helped those people earn over 5,000, and now we have an annual basis, participation to market this area’s aerospace.

Hitt
What a silver-tongued devil she is [laughs].

Berridge
She is. She chaired the Federal Reserve Board in Florida in Jacksonville—amongst her many talents. Also nationally, she’s a pretty sharp lady—chaired our workforce committee. What is unique is we start with this in ‘96-‘97—something like that—and we couldn’t get folks to attend, mainly our economic development partners, for a 4 o’clock call. So, once a decade, I am going, Why don’t I have it at 7:45 in the morning? They can’t claim they are out working, selling deals, and entertaining prospects as 7:45 on the morning. So half of the folks on there are on their drive time. We ask them to be on mute and make sure they drive carefully, but every Tuesday morning, unless it’s a holiday week—and Dan, you are on every one of them—7:45-8:15, and it is over at 8:15—and it’s over at 8:15, because everyone on there has a full-time job doing something else.

Pynn
A lot of spouses across this corridor who wonder what is going on a Tuesday morning, if you don’t have a call, what is happening? You are just sitting here drinking your coffee, reading the newspaper. You are supposed to be on the telephone.

Holsenbeck
You know, I still think Roger and you and I have talked about this, but just for the purposes of conversation—that is one example of a critical activity to the corridor that’s not as glamorous sounding as the matching research. There another one—there is a tech path program that is done with…

Berridge
Dr. Jeff Mendell? One of Peter’s top scientists?

Holsenbeck
Jeff Mendell, one of Peter’s guys who is now in our physics departments that does this, and now going all over the place trying to get the other institutions and school boards and schools to learn about what it is to be in high technology, and another one—the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center. I mean, people don’t—Roger, I just don’t think the average person or even the average politician realizes how those three parts of what we do—the core team and the partnerships, the tech path and the entrepreneurial center—what a key element they are, and there is nothing—nothing anywhere in the state comparable to those three activities.

Berridge
Hunt[ing F.] Deutsch is the head of the [Florida] Department of Economic Opportunity, and I am honored to have known him from the mid-80s, when my daughter worked for him in the trust department, when he had the trust affirmative for SunTrust [Bank]. They were going to have a business portal they were going to launch. They didn’t know what they were going to do but they were going to launch it—a bit reckless, and I said, well, “Howard, we already have one. It is called the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center.” “What does it do?” I explained to him what it does, and he said, “Why do we want to launch one of our own? Why don’t we just use yours and you will have a link and we will call it a state program?” And I said, “It is called a ‘Florida Virtual Entrepreneurial Center’ on purpose. It’s all 67 counties are up and running.”

Hitt
They didn’t know it.

Berridge
They didn’t know it, but they do now. They had a webinar earlier this week—explained the program, so if you are entrepreneur and want to start or grow a business that won’t cost you anything to use it, and every county is there. You just punch in a county. Roger showed them too. He’s better at show and tell than I am.

Pynn
This morning we got the monthly—a monthly report on the activity.

Berridge
Fourteen thousand.

Pynn
Last month, 13,629 visits for all 67 counties, and even though it was a holiday month, that is 3.6 percent—6.5—3.65 percent increase month over month, and out of state, 2,700 from out of state were checking in on that, and out of country, more than 500 people visited to find out what’s available, what’s going on in Florida, “How can I do business here?” It’s an amazing thing.it continues to grow. Kerry, what’s the month to month on that? It’s just amazing numbers.

Martine
Yeah, they have continued to grow since. Probably about 4,700.

Berridge
The addition of the other counties. Give Kerry Martine the credit, if you would, because when you see it that is her creativity.

Hitt
She is the walking history.

Pynn
Okay.

Berridge
Alright, and the other piece is—though its corridor funded. Doesn’t cost the entrepreneur to use it. Doesn’t cost—like Gray and Robinson, our attorneys—they can post that they are available help entrepreneurs and it doesn’t cost them anything to post. Now, if you would like a little better listing, thanks to Roger Prynn and Kerry Martine—or if you want to sponsor a section you can certainly do that. So when you think of Miami coming up with 10—excuse me—with $7,500, you think of Jacksonville, Duvall County, coming up with $7,500. So we raised about $85,000 last year, before we added all the other counties to offset the cost of what we’ve been putting in—in terms of the cost of people work it in on a daily basis. One of whom is a UCF graduate student named Michael Zaharris, who is an OPS [Other Personnel Services] employee reporting to Tom O’Neal. So again, it is a stateside program housed at UCF. Thank you, Dan.

Lester
I have to say that I think that kind of retaining and growing of businesses is perhaps one of the most important parts of this. I am a Southern historian and I look at the economy across the South, and most of what I see is buying jobs, not retaining them in the long run. I have been interviewed a couple of times by the Federal Reserve [Bank] in Atlanta[, Georgia], about some things I have written about that, and I always say that the South is missing the boat when they keep buying jobs.

Berridge
Your pride is our pride and getting a call from the economic development organization for Atlanta—the greater Atlanta area—looking to make a corridor from Atlanta and Athens[, Georgia], and they call and say, “How did you do it? What can we do? Can you clone it? Do you mind if we clone it?” And I said…

Pynn
And that is just one of them—one of many. We have had a lot of calls from around the country, from out of the country. I’ve heard Randy talking to people from Thailand.

Berridge
From Puerto Rico; the lead attorney for the [Colorado] House [of Representatives] and [Colorado] Senate from the State of Colorado; a co-ed from [Harvard University John F.] Kennedy School of Government wanting to start a high-tech region around Syracuse [University]; Yankton, South Dakota. Are you familiar with Yankton, South Dakota?

Lester
I am not [laughs].

Berridge
Well, I get this call from Charlie Gross—the then-mayor of Yankton. “We would like to start a high-tech corridor between South Dakota State [University] and University of South Dakota.” He said, “Roughly the same geography, two universities you had two to start. How did you do it? And what do you do?”

Pynn
A lot more cows than people.

Berridge
Yeah, and I spent three calls—total of six hours—keeping track of these things with Charlie Gross. I get a call from the Head of Economic Development for the Cherokee Nation—they wanted to—my boss is looking at me. Does he look at you like this?

Holsenbeck
All the time.

Berridge
All the time. He wanted to diversify their gambling establishment in this Cherokee, North Carolina. Okay? God bless him, and I said, great, and I said “Where do you live, by chance?” Because I know where the gambling establishment is—I never been there—but I know where it is, and he said, “Well I—you probably don’t know it—but I live south of [U.S. Route] 74 on [North Carolina State Road] 28,” and said, “Where?” And he told me, and I said, “Well, if you come about 6 miles further south and turn onto Trailing [Oak] Trail, that’d be where we have a place.” “No kidding?” So I struck up a friendship with a Head of Economic Development at the Cherokee…

Pynn
So Randy’s now a player at the Cherokee Casino.

Holsenbeck
Isn’t that a hoot?

Berridge
Yeah.

Pynn
Yeah, sure. Sure.

Hitt
Do you remember the old TV program Get Smart? Yeah, but do you remember the episode where they had the Indians who were—they had a nuclear-tipped arrow—coming out of a teepee?

Berridge
Out of a teepee?

Hitt
Yeah, yeah, and the woman, Smart, says “That is the third-biggest arrow I have ever seen.” [laughs].

Berridge
Too much.

Pynn
You know, you talk about—Connie, you talked about the path here versus buying jobs, and I know that one of the questions you said you were interested in exploring was the role played in the GrowFL[: The Economic Gardening Institute] program, the economic partnership program, and I think—Dan, that goes then along with the others you mentioned as—while there were folks that knew we were behind the kind of a catalyst to get that moving, they don’t realize just what it has done. There are a lot of companies out there that are really benefiting from the kind of counsel and advice they are getting to help them get to the next stage.

Berridge
That is the creativity of this university and Tom O’Neal, and convincing as he is to get Roger Pynn and yours truly, and Ray Galley and Amy Evancho to go to Cassopolis, Michigan.

Pynn
Cassopolis.

Berridge
In November, and then he doesn’t get to go. He is still here in the middle of November—to…

Pynn
He was the lucky one, as far as I was concerned

Berridge
Smarter guy. Well, he has a doctorate from here and an MBA [Master of Business Administration], what do you expect? Mrs. Lowe has this wonderful facility—of 2,600 acres that housed 14 farms, knob them together, we get all the farmhouses—she was staying in a nicely redone farmhouse—to you can stay in their center, and what they share is economic gardening in Littleton, Colorado. The experience that community has of losing a 10,000-employee Lockheed Martin plant, and they decided that never again would they be dependent on one facility for their livelihood. So they started by building their own, and so the orchestration of that is the platform for this GrowFL program. You need to ask how did Mr. Lowe made his millions? Kitty litter. Oh, oh, I should have let her answer. You know she has 2,600 acres around Arcadia, Florida? Special.

Lester
Yes.

Pynn
She is a cool lady. Very devoted to what we started.

Berridge
So the idea that we could bootstrap our own companies—and one of our own council members, George Gordon, went through it. Said after—in fact, we’ve used him—as you know, Dan—thanks to your leadership in the House and Senate to give testimony. He said, “Randy, not since my days at Annapolis[, Maryland] have I been grilled, and even there, as much as I was grilled by people who knew more about my business than I did.” As a way of taking another look at how you might be a better business person and make your company more profitable.

Pynn
You know, I went through the CEO round-table portion, and I was amazed to see folks who had very sophisticated companies. Particularly one of them has a company fella—has a company called Alinea. They are an Internet services commission. Brilliant guy, and he was eyes wide open in that process, sharing around the table the program is facilitating, and one day, he stopped in the middle of it, got up and left, because he had gotten the answer he needed. We didn’t see him for two months, until he had finished implementing it.

Berridge
It’s amazing when you can see what happens in our state. When our Governor,[5] who had received some poor advice last year, vetoed the program that we were told by his staff he was going to approve, and then, within two weeks of the veto in The Villages, was out in the state espousing the virtues of supporting small states, two companies. We need to do more of that, and so we had some folks whisper to his team to whisper in his ear, “You just vetoed the least expensive program in the state that has created the most jobs for the least amount of money,” and so we think that impetus, as well as some excellent work on Dan’s part and the team—two million? Two million in refunding this year. Corridor funded it, and then we get a call from Jennifer Thompson, who’d been told by [Orange County] Mayor [Teresa] Jacobs that they found some extra money in Orange County, and Jennifer didn’t want to invest in sidewalks. She wanted to invest in companies. I heard about this GrowFL program, and I’d like to learn more about it. Tom O’Neal took a meeting with her, made a friendship—$50,000. For a while, that $50,000 was happening. We, of course, went to the [Orange] County on the north to say to Randy Morris and his mentee, Bob Dallari, who is now chair of Seminole County—just reelected—that this is going to happen in Orange County. So Seminole County said, “Well, we want that too,” and they put in $50,000 to help this program, to match our $50,000 that we put in to keep it alive last year, and now, it is obviously going great guns this year, because the State has seen fit to invest in it. It is run out of UCF, but it’s a statewide program.

Holsenbeck
These things are good examples of what you can do with discretionary funds under enlightened leadership, and when people talk about—they want to reproduce the corridor or try to expand their operations or activities—we do have a foundation that nobody else in the state has. Nobody else in the state has been able to get or sustain. Randy gives you an example of how I think he very wisely has used a lot of these funds that uses them as incentives or matches or initial investments, but the truth of the matter is: without those dollars, he could not do that, and it is very hard for others to get that same hold. I don’t think today we could do that. With the current economic situation and the current political leadership. I don’t think we could do it.

Berridge
We’re a 501(c)(6) in the State of Florida with a fairly substantial budget by comparison. How many employees do we have? We are all consultants to the enterprise.

Hitt
Oh, I see.

Berridge
It is the most cost-effective way of running it. The idea that you would have a corporation set up to do these things, as we talked in ‘96—where does the money reside? It resides at the two universities. Well, three, because we have been able to get some one-time funding on occasion from UF, and hope to remedy that, and get David [P.] Norton, their new VP of Research—said it is their number 1 priority, and he is going to make sure Bernie says it is their number 1 priority to get recurring funding at UF for corridor funds, but the funds reside at the university, because if they transferred them to the corridor, a private corporation, you have a red flag. You have a target.

Oh, by the way, having a county organization at AT&T, here’s—excuse me—I have really good people that did it, and I kind of showed up. The county thinks it is an expense, but the university managing it through their existing processes—both in county and the auditing, the corridor doesn’t have to incur that expense; therefore, we can use more of our corridor funds to do the matching projects that Dan just talked about, but you know—see, I don’t trust there. We have been doing this—finishing 16 years. You are chronicling it. How many issues have we had over the spending of funds in that many years?

Holsenbeck
Except for your travel budget? Oh, excuse me [laughs].

Berridge
My travel budget. Saks takes me to Dallas later—later this week, and you are right. It’s been an experience.

Holsenbeck
We just…

Berridge
You told me. You tell them about that.

Hitt
He told me he wanted to come on a commission of colleges. I warned him, “Do you have any clue what you are getting into?”

Berridge
“You have a clue what you are getting into?” I said, “No, but I have got some real goods friends who can help.” The idea is that the university has trusted its volunteers, as well as consultants, as well as team members, to do the right thing, to spend the money in the correct fashion. The majority of the funds are spent on the matching grants project. People say, “You have an organization. It’s got what it does and so…” it is really like an “ad hoc-racy.” We come together, we address an issue, address the problem, put some resources to it. By the way, we thought we created that term—you are a historian—we found out. We did some checks. I think Roger did it—it was created—somebody came up with it in ’72.

Hitt
“Ad hoc-racy?”

Berridge
An ad hoc-racy.

Hitt
It was not a compliment.

Berridge
No, right, but we come together, address an issue, find some funds, get some other people who have some funds, do it, and move in.

Holsenbeck
We did. Randy and I in the last year requested an audit, because with all the things that keep popping out, they finished the audit, having given us a written report. There are no questions, not management statements, any negatives.

Berridge
She asked for a little more in terms of elaborating on why we are putting money into the GrowFL program, and I think we can fix that. So I got a hold up Fran Korosec, and said, “Fran, I need a little more information on the use of corridor funds.” Immediately fixed that.

Holsenbeck
I have to confess: I did not know it at the time. I would like to take credit for it, or give us credit for it, but using that term attract—attract implies recruiting public relations, advertisement things that you—a lot of things you can’t do with state-funded money, because the original appropriation has that word “attract” in it. Randy is exempted from some of the regulations. For instance, he can do things with state money that we can’t that relate to meetings and conferences. I wish we could say we were that smart in the beginning, but it just worked out that way.

Pynn
I always said you were that smart.

Lester
Since you are talking about funding—I have been teaching a class this semester in U.S. economic history. Divided my students into groups and each group did a project, and one group did a project on the High-Tech Corridor. So that way did their presentation today—and I said, “I’m coming…”

Berridge
No, no. wait a minute. Excuse me—we are having this conversation today. I had the conversation with the FIU lady and now your class…

Pynn
Randy is writing a book on small worlds.

Berridge
I have a book on small worlds. I should work harder on this book, but really? This is…

Lester
Well, they gave a very nice presentation, and after it was over, I told them I was coming to this meeting and I said, “If you had a question to present to this group, what would you ask?” And they thought about it and then they asked, “What is the role of venture capital in the Florida High-Tech Corridor? Is there a role, and if there is, what is it?”

Berridge
It is us. We are unique venture capitalists.

Pynn
We are venture capital.

Berridge
That is what we are, and the uniqueness is we don’t ask for our money back. Find a venture capitalist that will do that and not ask for their money back and I would like to see which asylum the gentleman is with.

Lester
Well, I think they were asking generally about private venture capital.

Pynn
Well, I think there are two sides to that, Randy. We do want. We are very supportive of the venture capital organizations, the Florida venture…

Berridge
Florida venture—we are supportive even though—if I may?

Lester
Mmhmm.

Berridge
They changed their model about a year ago, and said we will no longer support small companies, and as gently as I could, I am saying, “Well, you may just have lost a sponsor.” Because we can’t be attached to that regimented approach to lunacy of not supporting your livelihood going forward. It doesn’t make any sense. They changed the administration. They changed the board.

Lester
And this is?

Berridge
The Florida Venture Forward, and you will find the gentleman’s name on this list is now part of our Tuesday morning call. He called and said, “If I told you we’ve changed and have gone back to supporting small companies, can we come back to the fold?” I said, “Absolutely.” So…

Hitt
It could be an un—or under-developed part of what we do though. We really—that has probably been the thing we have talked the least about, and I am not involved day-to-day with this, so, you know—but if I could think of one area I could say we might do more in from my standpoint…

Berridge
Your students are very astute.

Holsenbeck
But GrowFL has that as one of its objectives, so we use our funds to help start GrowFL and support that aspect of their mission.

Pynn
But we have done, over the years, a number of things to support and expand venture capital flowing into the state. We hosted a group on the far western end that came here from around the country—I am trying to think of the name of it—but they go—they are actually an international group, and they go from market to market very quietly and find a sponsor like us to come in and show them what’s there.

Hitt
Yeah.

Pynn
We have been very supportive of the for—and I think you are really right. that’s an area that we—and this may be the time of us to step back and look and say, “What can we do?” Because it’s a one—we are two things. We get with our Central Florida Tech for or the Tampa Bay Tech for two issues: workforce, finding the town, and venture capital, and that is why Randy always says we are venture capital, because though we started with a mega-giant like AT&T as our partner, there are a lot of companies that are getting funding for that through that matching grant research program that otherwise it would have to come through a venture capitalist.

Berridge
May I compliment your students, number one? And number two, we have a pretty strong history of funding starving graduate and doctoral students. Twelve—excuse me—2,400 through our matching grants program over the 16 years, and Kerry is the keeper of that stat. We have two interns right now in Tom O’Neal’s shop helping us with economic impact studies that we do, but the question they have posed presents an opportunity for some corridor funding back to your organization and to them. I don’t believe as a state we do a good enough job of chronicling the venture capital invested in who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who are the venture capitalists investing in—in our state? How much? If we can capture that, but take it more than just venture. If I can expand their question, and have it friends and family starting with some crazy things I’ve done over the years, I have to admit, as well as angel funds, which I had that much money to qualify for that, and all the way to venture. Alright? And in doing that, they will get a better understanding of the difference in those categories and who they apply to, but more importantly, we may end up with a better study then we’ve ever had in terms of what is happening in Florida, and what can we do then to change the paradigm that we think exists of the folks that are in Peter’s category of having some megabucks and all? And why is he not investing in Florida, but in this—well, I know he’s investing in the Carolinas—but, the history we think we have…

Hitt
You are making a pretty good payment from the Cherokee Nation [laughs].

Berridge
That is going to my church. What can we do to identify better why we think the folks that have some money to invest are investing it in the states and the companies in the states from whence they came? Okay, so…

Hitt
Well—or in California and New York or in California. I didn’t mean my comment to be at all critical of what we are or are not doing, but if I had to think of one area that we might be doing something in that I sort of thought—and heard the least about in discussions on the corridor—that is probably it.

Berridge
Right. That’s it. Right on target.

Hitt
And that might be an opportunity for us.

Berridge
You’re on the leadership board with some of the Metro Orlando EDC [Economic Development Commission] and some of the refocusing things they are doing. To have this study, maybe have it annually for them—for the EDC—critical. In terms of—it’s just not having major hunting in major boxes. It’s growing and starting and growing our own and having a better idea of the potential of investment capital, no matter what size. We would benefit from that. So compliment them, please and the astuteness of their question.

Lester
Well, I was somewhat shocked when they come up with that question.

Hitt
It’s a good question.

Lester
It’s a good question. Since you have brought up the subject of workforce as well, one of the things that struck me about the High-Tech Corridor as opposed to some other places, is the amount of effort that has gone into the partnerships to create a solid workforce that is going to do more than just put together widgets, but actually had make a contribution. So if you could talk about that…

Berridge
That’s from the golf—that’s from the golf course. We’re sitting on…

Pynn
A lot of things happen on the golf course.

Berridge
John goes—John goes…

Hitt
Some of them we can talk about.

Lester
Yes, I understand.

Berridge
John goes, “Let me get this straight,” and this is—gosh. This has to be 12 years ago? This was when Feeney was Speaker. He said, “You want to take some corridor money and invest it with the community—community—community colleges.” Yeah. I said, “Yeah, John. You want to be the number one metropolitan partnering university, and if you don’t help the companies that are in your backyard do a better job getting the technicians they need, and getting the technicians a chance to get a baccalaureate, you are not going to be as successful in the partner category as you could be, and when you think about the great relationships that exist between UCF and the State and community colleges, the idea of funding seven of the Associate’s Degrees—which is what we ended up doing with a little bit before we got the funding, thanks to Dan and Speaker Feeney—but the workforce money we have received with seven different state community colleges funding those Associate’s Degrees—that’s pretty special, and we put about an average of 150,000 into each one of them, with the caveat that the community—state college—community college would bring its industry to the table, define the need, develop the curriculum from what the industry said the need was, but then structure it in such a way that the graduate—should they elect to do so—could go on and get a baccalaureate. Now, I will give you an example and watch your facial expression. Volusia did the Modeling Simulation and Training degree. There have been 600 enrollees. Ask me how many graduates have graduated to date. Program’s about 4 years old—5 years old.

Lester
How many?

Berridge
Thirty. You see? You see that? And the individual—when I reacted the same way, I’m going, “Why did we put the money—why did we—what—with 30 graduates?” He said, “You didn’t ask the right question.” It goes back to your question in support of workforce. I said, “What?” He said, “Ask a different question.” He said, “Why don’t you ask me how many have jobs?” Light bulbs, light bulbs. He said, “All of them.” I said, “You are telling…” He said, “They are hiring them after they get their first year in. There is enough guts to the program that the corridor helped them devise, based on industry input to get enough that the industry hired them after they finish the first year.” Now I am going, “What happened to this idea of allowing the technicians to get a baccalaureate?” He says, “You’re helping the industry through the program that you funded. They can’t—they can’t get these—they can’t get enough of these technicians.”

Panousis
That goes back on—remember when you were looking for people? We could find engineers. We paid enough money to a company in California or wherever. We could not find technicians. We started some of the programs in community colleges.

Berridge
The first one—the first one—it was—and…

Panousis
We were paying a lot of money. We were stealing them from [Walt] Disney [World] and other companies, but there weren’t enough around to really fill it.

Berridge
It was…

Panousis
That was the most difficult job to fill was a technician.

Berridge
That was the first one.

Pynn
And that’s also why we started Tech Path.

Berridge
Tech Path.

Pynn
It was originally Chip Camp.

Holsenbeck
I had forgotten that.

Berridge
And…

Hitt
There’s a—there’s a thing in a book that really influenced me—Lester [Carl] Thurow’s book, Head to Head[: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America]. He says that economists in Germany make more than they do in the U.S, and that is because the technicians in Germany make more. You know, the guys out on the floor who really make this stuff make more, and that’s a lesson we…

Berridge
Ben Noll…

Hitt
Need to learn.

Berridge
Head of the Interactive Game Academy. When he was number 2 at Electronic Arts or whatever his COR…

Pynn
Sacher.

Berridge
Right. When we asked him to be at the table to help determine the digital media Associate’s Degree at Seminole State College, he was Electronic Arts and had only technicians. Within about four months of that, he transitioned from Electronic Arts to FIAA, and he called—and I will count on you to clean this up if it makes your report—he said, “I will find the biggest crow in Central Florida. I’ll cook it any way you ask me to cook it, and I will eat it in front of any audience you choose.” He said, “I need technicians.” He said, “I want technicians to go through the UCF program, but coming in as technicians, because they offer a different perspective, but all are needed. That I need—I need the technician perspective, and then the baccalaureate, and then we will do some really neat things with them at FIAA.” But ask Ben Noll about that. He reaffirmed that, by the way, because he hosted our tech camp—the one that took place today, this morning. Kicked off for I/ITSEC [Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference] —the last one was at FIAA, which he hosted and he allowed me to tell this story, so that the teachers from schools all over the corridor would understand that their students. It’s all right to be a technician as well as then get your baccalaureate.

Pynn
So what that means is that everything we do is really workforce development. Every bit of it, and he who wins at workforce development wins at economic development.

Berridge
2,400 students.

Pynn
Starting with kids in the middle schools and high schools.

Berridge
In fact, if M. J. or Tom were here, or Dr. Sanberg, or Tracy Swartz, or—or David—David Gordon—UF—or Shava Jackson-Carr—who runs a program there—they would tell you that, if a program gets to ask desk for approval—Peter is still one of our approvers—doesn’t have students built into it—hm?

Pynn
Doesn’t happen.

Berridge
Very rarely does it happen now, because the intent was—we are doing applied research to help a company, but we want students as a part of that process.

Lester
Excellent.

Pynn
Clark hasn’t asked any questions, have you noticed that?

Clark
Been wonderful.

Berridge
Oh, and I thought it was just Roger.

Pynn
Come on, we are so good at this, listen—he never—he never misses a chance to zing me a little bit.

Hitt
No, no. He’d never.

Pynn
I have a string today, John. I’ve got him under control.

Clark
I have—I have talked to Connie about this. Although it is called the I-4 Corridor, is there any limit to the north-south expansion?

Hitt
We actually changed the name from I-4, because it turned out, you couldn’t trademark the name of an Interstate [Highway], so it’s the Florida High-Tech Corridor now. It can be the XYZ Corridor if somebody else wanted…

Clark
But could you see—it keeping going?

Berridge
It’s in Gainesville.

Hitt
Well, you have to have business.

Clark
Even north of Gainesville or south…

Hitt
But you’ve got to have business and some kind of employment. It wouldn’t have to necessarily high-tech, but you—you need an employer base that you work with.

Berridge
We’ve used it as leverage. The governor has accepted it. Thanks to John and Bernie’s oratorical skills, witnessed by some folks in the room. We were a plank in the governor’s—one of eight—in the governor’s economic development plan, when he was governor-elect. If you look at the most recent report out of the foundation for—Florida’s Chamber Foundation—we are a plank in their 20 year plan to replicate this around the state. Mark Rosenberg, because of the friendship, because of working together, has said, “We would like to clone what you have done it, how you’ve done it, from Miami to Orlando.” Didn’t call it the I[nterstate]-95. He just simply called it—in fact, Roger and Kerry have been helpful in trying to get him to name it. The idea is rather than become one huge—we think it’s five city-states in our state regardless of what we try to do to make it a state. Why not build on that strength? We complement each other…

Pynn
We’ve tried. We’ve tried to—for instance, Jim, connect all the way to the Gulf Coast and become a South Florida version of this. We basically cover the central portion of the state, because we are a partnership of the three universities. We define it as you’ve gotta be in the primary service areas of the universities. Now, Florida, as a land grant, has this statewide mission, but they are—they have defined—was it Alachua [County]? And they added two counties.

Berridge
Bernie agreed—I know you are quick to go away there, but that didn’t go anywhere, but Bernie agreed that we would try to keep the idea of a corridor, so therefore it was just Alachua and Putnam [County] that we added, when we added UF, and that was their request.

Hitt
But you really do have to have an identifiable employment base that you are going to service and it can be high-tech, it can be something else.

Clark
So you are encouraging Mark to start his own, not join you.

Berridge
Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Hitt
Well, if he wanted to join us, that’s fine, but he—he stills needs a base of employment down there. He needs some companies he is serving who will work in partnership with him. Absent that he can get appropriations, you can get all the free consulting from us—from Randy—that we could possibly give, but he won’t have an organic entity. You’ve got to have the real partnership. You’ve got to have a Peter Panousis, who says, “I need the research.” You know? “I’ve got a series of problems that we can work on together,” and absent that, you’ve just got another university office.

Berridge
We got the first funding based on the success of what was done for Peter through the two universities. We got the second funding—based on skills that Dr. Holsenbeck—Dr. Holsenbeck has—we got the second funding because of Peter, but also because of what we did with the money the first year. We got the third round of funding—again, the confluence of Toni Jennings, Dan Webster—leadership, leadership, leadership, but you gotta do something with the money. So the third round of funding came because we had branched out by that time, and we had done projects, like we did with Peter. We had done projects, started to do projects with companies of all sizes.

So what we said to Mark—Mark called about three months ago, before he lost Davina. He said, “We’ve been meeting a lot.” I said, “Yes, sir.” “We’ve been meeting a lot.” I said, “Yeah. I got it the first time.” He said, “All we’ve been doing is meeting.” I said—“Mark, you’ve got it.” I said, “Just do something. Just do it. Okay?” And he goes, “Okay. What do you suggest?” I said, “Mark, you got a research foundation?” “Yeah.” “You got $250,000?” “Yeah.” “Does M. J. have a research foundation at FAU [Florida Atlantic University]?” “Yeah.” “Got $250,000?” “Yeah.” “Do you have friendship with the University of Miami?” “Yeah. kinda sorta.” I said, “Do they have a research foundation?” “Yeah.” I said, “Then why don’t you each put up 250,000 and just start doing projects like we’ve been doing projects? And once you’ve demonstrated success, I think you’ll have a better chance of getting some matching funds from the state to start doing what we are doing.” Besides you’re gonna get your money back off they call them—recovering’s or loadings—or what’s the proper term when it is charged to the companies?

Pynn
Overhead.

Berridge
Overhead.

Holsenbeck
Indirect overhead.

Hitt
The other thing you just said that I think is really important is you encouraged him to talk to M. J., at least, M. J. is not Soileau’s; it’s Sanders, president down there at FAU. The people in the Legislature and other people in the communities like to see universities work together. So the fact that it isn’t just one university working in the community helps in generating financial and others helps. So I think that is really good advice, but they’ve got to have a few employers down there between that whole corridor from Fort Lauderdale, down to essentially Miami-Dade [County], they’ve got to have a few employers they could enlist to come in as part of this.

Pynn
I think, John, at this point, they haven’t quite figured out that part of the equation. All the schools are together, all the economic developers are together, and the private sector hasn’t been brought to the table yet.

Hitt
They won’t get anywhere ultimately until they do that. I mean, that’s the…

Berridge
Right.

Holsenbeck
What Randy’s advice was: we’ll get two or three private developers on board for that match.

Hitt
But they need to reach out and ask. If they look at their foundation, let alone if they got it, even without a research foundation—just the university foundation—they’ve almost certainly got a few employers who are in manufacturing or some research operation they can bring in and just say, “Look, give us your research folks to attend a few séances here, and let’s try to get this going.”

Pynn
We represent, for instance, Florida Power and Light [Company]. We have asked them to come to the table. I am sure they will. Through our partnership with MSW, we represent United Technologies [Corporation] and Pratt [&] Whitney. I was down there a couple weeks ago, and I asked one of the plant executives about how much research is done. He said, “Well, you know, we do a lot of primary research in this specific area” —which I am not allowed to tell you about or he would shoot me—but something very important, but he said, “We got applied research going on all the time.” So when we have this conversation, I’m going to put those people together for you. That’s the kind of partnership that I mean—jet propulsion.

Hitt
Yeah, you’d think they’d kill for that. But, you know, Peter, you shared with me years back that a lot of the most profit-enhancing, if you will, work that you did in cooperation with the corridor, I think, was—was really operational research. You know, the industrial—classic industrial engineering.

Pynn
Got to make it better.

Hitt
Yeah, and that—you could be operating—you could be working with a trucking firm.

Holsenbeck
Yeah.

Hitt
And—and have—have opportunities there.

Berridge
Yeah, that’s right. We did one at USF.

Hitt
Well, but, you know, you don’t have to be in necessarily a high-tech industry to have really good engineering and scientific impact.

Holsenbeck
You know…

Panousis
[inaudible] that work there. It is really very valuable. You have as many kind of operation with stuff moving through a production line—and I use the term “production line” loosely, because it could be chemicals, it could be medicine, could be anything, but things are moving and they are limited by processes. Understanding that process is very important, and that’s something universities spend a lot of time on and was very valuable for us. We got a lot of out of it.

Hitt
It’s one of the basic skill sets that IEs brings to the table.

Pynn
One of the things that I think will help them is to broaden their horizon. One of the things that has been very powerful for us is the fact that we focus on a number of sectors. We have limited it other than to attach it to the areas that the partner universities believed were their real strengths, where there was the potential for a cluster to develop, where we were—we had teaching and researching in other areas that matched the interest of some industry that’s already here—modeling, simulation, aerospace. When Bernie and the University of Florida joined, they said, “Hey, don’t forget agro-tech.” We hadn’t even—I don’t think any of us had heard the term before. You know? But there’s a lot of technology that mirrors life sciences in agro-business. Right now, the folks in South Florida are focused solely on life sciences. They have—they believe for whatever reason that because of Scripts, because of the success in bringing them down there that that’s the ticket to ride. A few years back, they were the “Internet Coast.”

Holsenbeck
Mmhmm.

Pynn
And they are looking—they are trying to figure out—they need to look to their strengths.

Berridge
That didn’t go anywhere.

Holsenbeck
No, they need to look…

Hitt
Still at the beach.

Pynn
They need to look to their broad, academic strengths, and say, “Who can we match this to in support?”

Holsenbeck
One—excuse me—just a quick answer to your question too, by using a quick example is [Central Florida] Research Park. A lot of people ask High-Tech Corridor and the Research Park to, “Come help us be successful,” and Research Park is—you could build a research park and set up an office. And, by that, I mean just the land and the infrastructure and set up an office, and that’s what the folks at Innovation Way [Corridor] have already contracted with us to do. Joe didn’t ever go out there, okay? Because somebody like Peter has to come in and express an interest in being there. So why—how do you start these kinds of things? Research Park is a good example. You have to have some tenants. Our Research Park owes its success not to the High-Tech Corridor, but to the simulation and modeling industry and the presence of the [U.S.] Military. That’s why it’s doing what it is.

Clark
Doctor, do you think that the involvement of the business community, going back 16 years, helped get other things approved, such as the medical school, the stadium? That is—you coming into contact with all these business leaders, and business community getting to know you, and the university coming to trust you guys?

Hitt
Yeah, I think that’s the way it works, it wasn’t say—if you think about either of the projects you mentioned, it wasn’t the nuts and bolts of them. It was the fact that they associated us with a successful enterprise. That we had been able to—helped organize something and get it really working, and they had seen the university as a competent organization

Clark              So is it possible that those things might not have happened if it hadn’t been for the initiative of the High-Tech Corridor ?

Hitt
Well, I suppose so. You know, I—probably less so with the—less so with the stadium, but when you ask people to get behind something as complicated as getting the medical school approved, probably the perceived success of the—of the High-Tech Corridor was a really…

Holsenbeck
I can give you one very solid example. Ken Pruitt, President of the Senate—we are trying to get FIA, and I go in and talk to Ken and explain—this was—this was this was, I think, the two years before he became president. He was Chairman of [the Committee on Appropriations], I believe, and I go sit down and talk to him, and I said, “You’ve heard about the FIA project and what we are trying to do there?” And maybe a few words changed, but this is exactly the way the conversation went. “Do I need to give you a white paper or do I need to put any other facts or anything together for you?” And that’s the absolutely truth. He looked at me and he said, “If John Hitt says this is what you’re going to do with the money, and this is what it will do, then I am okay.” That’s exactly what he said, and the FIA money was eventually in the budget.

Hitt
I forgot—Dan had told me that story at one point and I forgot it. There’s an important thing nested within that, that Dan and others at the table deserve credit on too. Universities sometimes get a bad reputation for taking money to do one thing and then doing something else with it, and that’s something that Dan and I have worked very hard to get all of our people to understand. You don’t do that. If you ever want to get money again from those people, don’t do that. You ask for the money to do X, you do X. If for some reason that can’t happen, you go back to them, and if need be and re-appropriate it, but don’t just take it under the supposition—promise—that you will do one thing and do something else with it. That’s deadly. Surprising how often it happens.

Lester
Well, I have a couple—couple of last questions. One of them is: where do you see as the challenges now that you are 15 years into this?

Berridge
The answer I was honored to give a couple weeks ago in a similar setting was—if you believe in partnership, and it really is a partnership and you put yourself on the line—so I called Dan last week, following a conversation I had with David Norton, and I said, “David, we’ve been trying through some very, very tough times to get even one-time funding, let alone recurring funding for—for UF.” But it’s still a major objective. The governor accepted 5 million per state university that wanted to adopt our program on the basis that the money would come to us, we would validate their program, and only once we validated their program, would the money be transferred to said university. In doing so, that would have increased our funding as well, which we would be very happy, when you think in terms of UCF running through the budget by January-February, which it has historically done, that would tell you that there are plenty of projects.

Pynn
Let me explain that—running—running through the research projects, not running out of money.

Berridge
The budget is appropriation is consumed by January-February, because we have that many great projects coming to the university to partner with corridor money to do the applied research. You forget was—if you had an amount more than we have now—we have taken budget cuts just as the university has, of course. Well, we could do more, if we had more in terms of funding, but we didn’t put it that way. What we put it was—establish the program for any state university that wanted to do what we were doing. We said in the process, our three—UCF, USF, and UF—we would like to see recurring funding initially at the 2 million level for UF. So that’s a major goal. So hopefully it doesn’t take the next 15 years to get that done. That would be a major goal.

Hitt
I think one of the things we have got to—to address—I think we have been doing so, but look around the table we are not spring chickens. And, I mean, even a young guy like Roger. You know? But, you know, this Friday—I guess it is I will be 72 years old. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be President [of the University of Central Florida], but it’s not another 20 years plus, and Randy’s gonna want to be fully retired one day, as well Ben, and Peter already is—the rascal. So you know we’ve gotta—I think we’ve institutionalized things pretty well, but if you got a president who just didn’t understand or commit to partnership, it would be hard for this to survive. When you think about the five goals, and partnership, and how much we are invested as an institution in that concept and in practice, I don’t think it’s likely that the next president will not care about partnership. I think that will be a criteria in the selection process that we’ve set up, but that’s clearly an issue, you know? Does it survive the person—the people who put it in place and operating it and sustaining that for 16 years?

Berridge
Bernie is in the process of going on to his next vocation—or vocation or what have you—dentist, I believe. Researcher, as well as a dentist.

Pynn
I bet he doesn’t go back to pulling teeth.

Berridge
No?

Hitt
Oh, no. He’s going to be here in Orlando for a lot of this time.

Berridge
So…

Pynn
Is he?

Lester
Really?

Hitt
Yeah.

Berridge
A transition plan for a couple years now.

Pynn
With the research center?

Hitt
Yeah, in developing part health partnership—expanding, I think, on what they’ve got with Orlando Health and…

Pynn
Wonderful.

Berridge
We have shared it this morning from folks all over the country that are part of this. It’s a program—some nationally acclaimed teachers—we have been recognized through the tech camp tech path program as the best of the best in terms of the state of Florida for STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] programs. I want the gentleman sitting to your right to close his ears now. We’ve had his leadership in trying to bridge a number of STEM programs at our universities and in our region. PRISM [Promoting Regional Improvement in Science and Math]—I don’t like the term—no matter how you succinctly you try to pronounce the first thing that comes to mind is not an optical device or an acronym for STEM programs. Anyway, He lets me say that each time we get together, but the idea of merging all of these STEM programs across the region to make them more effective would be a target for sooner than later in the next 15 years. It needs to happen. With limited resources, Roger’s team has put together every school superintendent. Thanks to Jim Shot and others across our—is there ten? Ten of them?

Pynn
Ten.

Berridge
Ten counties. So that’s the lynchpin you’ve got—that you’ve got the school superintendents that have come and gone. Bill Vogel—his replacement—Orange County—he’ll shoot me—just retired from Orange County.

Pynn
Ron Walker.

Berridge
Don’t tell Ron I did that. All this transition and they’re still together, but they’re only…

Hitt
Yeah, but his successor’s also a [UCF] Knight.

Pynn
UCF alumni.

Berridge
That’ll help. That’s right.

Pynn
The school superintendent in Orange, Seminole, Lake County. All three of ‘em. ’80, ’81, ’82 grads.

Berridge
That’ll help us keep that group together, but there is so much more in terms of potential. So how do we do a better job or orchestrating and sharing best practices?

Hitt
We take so much for granted. The ability to partner vertically in this—Central Florida. It’s not even the case in a lot of the rest of the state, where, you know, where you could say, we’re going to work with the schools, we’re going to work with the state colleges. Hell, there are parts of the state where they’re at war with one another. Not only do they not collaborate and cooperate, they’re fighting one another, and we tend to take that for granted here.

Holsenbeck
Yeah. Instead of working together in difficult times—without mentioning the topics, because I think it is like this right here, a signed docent—but the school system and the community colleges have to come to us for a joint endeavor, and that’s an example, and we all talked—the three government relations people—as we sat around the table and talked, and we said, “Do you know anywhere else—not only in the state, but maybe in the country—where this kind of initiative would come from the K-12?” So I think that’s something unique. I think one of the long-range goals is that we need to move with even more design and strategy to emerge as truly the statewide model, and help everywhere we can go and every corner of Florida to instill this program, and I think that should be one of our goals, and Roger knows this. I think he and Kerry—his organization—do a great job, but I still think, as I said a while ago, we need to double our efforts to make the policy-makers aware of all these other programs that are going on behind the scenes that are so vital to the foundation of creating that high-tech knowledge and the workforce to go along with it.

Pynn
And that to me—and I talk about this all the time—having this history is such an important tool for us in our toolbox to tell that story. So once we’ve chronicled where this thing’s been, it’s a lot easier to do that. Hit somebody over the head with a book.

Holsenbeck
And one last goal that I think would really help us—and I’ve been saying this for years—and it takes the M. J.’s and the faculty, but we need one huge hit, one great big project that the three institutions secure together. We need a high-tech SymTech or a high-tech something with hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal level, and if we could ever get all those faculty members working together unselfishly on that level to come up with some sort of sharing program on that, I think that would be an indelible footprint on the map of what we’re about.

Pynn
And that brings up a point that we really haven’t talked about here. It ain’t for not trying that we haven’t gotten there. Behind the scenes, we’ve made some incredible efforts…

Holsenbeck
Mmhmm.

Pynn
To try and focus Federal energy and other grant-making activities on this region. We’ve come very close, and the great news is that out of that we have—I always look at it as part of that pajama hotline we have on Tuesday mornings—we have a bunch of people on the phone on Tuesday mornings who can respond like that—put together responses for opportunities. One of these days—we’re going to hit another...

Holsenbeck
SymTech was one.

Berridge
We’ve had two by the way. Guess that—from what company the two projects came from? Yeah. You’re good. Yeah. One of your graduates, and it was a wafer-polishing deal where we brought professors and students in from USF and UCF to work on.

Hitt
You know, there’s a good example too of what Roger said—the learning that takes place as you respond to these. We were a lot better in our attempts to bring Sanford-Burnham [Medical Research Institute] here than we were in our attempts to bring Scripts here. I mean we learned a lot from the near-miss on Scripts, and we were a lot closer on that then people knew. What’s the guy’s name that’s head of Scripts, who’s going to retire now?

Pynn
Richard…

Hitt
Yeah, and he was—when we were out at the airport before they left to go down south, he was asking if I’d come out and meet with his board the next week. We were—we were that close to getting that, but I correctly forecasted we would not. The farther they got away from us, the more his desire to be down there with the billionaires would take over, and that’s what happened.

Holsenbeck
The area also looked like La Jolla[, San Diego, California]. A lot of those people were coming…

Lester
Yes.

Holsenbeck
Because they wanted that environmental landscape.

Hitt
You know, we—we had the better offer in terms of what we could really provide for them, but there’s was a lifestyle component that was very important to them and I thought the closer they got to that—the farther they got from Lake Nona and what we were offering them, the less we were going to be happy with the result, and that’s indeed what happened, but boy, what we learned. Not just here at the university, but what Orlando and—and Orange County learned made a big difference in the next effort.

Clark
One thing that surprised me ever since we got involved in this was: in so many places, the local university is either the 500 pound gorilla—and I am thinking Yale [University] and New Haven[, Connecticut] —or else is an ivory tower that almost is ashamed of—Duke [University] and Durham[, North Carolina]—being in the community, and this is really very unique. This is—I—I can’t think of other—other cities where this has happened, where the local university…

Hitt
There are a few.

Clark
Has played such a role in the business community.

Hitt
Yeah, yeah. No, and that makes a big difference for us, in the support we can get for various things.

Berridge
That’s how we had University of Florida [inaudible] Dean of Engineering, a friend—I guess they’ve been together in a past life—with President [Bernie] Machen. Vermont called and said, “We’d like to join the corridor,” and said, “We’re honored.” On asking why, he said, “Well, there’s no way we can stay on the top 20 or have any hope of getting into the top 10 of engineering colleges in the U.S. if we don’t climb out of our ivory tower and get down and start partnering with companies to do applied research.” Not basic—applied research. Oh, by the way, his stats—and he knew it—70 percent of those companies in Florida “were in your corridor, and we’d like to partner with them.”

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Berridge
I know we can come down, but that’s not the way to do it. We want to figure out how to partner with you.

Holsenbeck
I think that’s a change in attitude among the institutions…

Hitt
Yeah.

Holsenbeck
Again, which is to your credit, is this concept of partnership—that it does work, because I think what Randy said is, Bernie could be here, do whatever he wants to do. He does need us, but in reality, he could do it without us.

Hitt
Yeah, he could, and it’s a closely-held strategic view. They see, as he puts it, we are the survivors, and they would like to work with us. I hope that survives Bernie.

Holsenbeck
Yes, that’s the—that’s always the question.

Berridge
Mmhmm.

Hitt
Always the question. You know, if you’ve got an old-style, rigid, competitor mentality that it might not, but…

Pynn
John, I think going—part of [inaudible] we will know that very quickly, but that search committee was given the sense of the importance of that partnership.

Hitt
Well, and in their chair in that David Brown again? He and Bernie are really good in that selection.

Berridge
What can we do for you?

Lester
Well, I—this is…

Clark
You had another question, you said?

Lester
They answered it.

Hitt 
Did they? Okay.

Lester
In going through that. This has been very helpful. A lot of the things that you said I kind of gathered through looking at other things and I kind of had the intuition that this was the way it was, but it is very helpful to hear you say it and confirm it. That that’s the way it was, and there was some new things I learned, and I know your time was very valuable and I really appreciate the time.

Hitt
This was fun.

Berridge
Thank you.

Hitt
Thank you. Yes.

Lester
I have to say, on a much smaller level, I’ve worked at a couple big universities before I got here. This is the first university I’ve been to that actually meant it when it says “partnership,” and even in the [UCF] History Department, RICHES [Regional Initiative for Collecting the History, Experiences, and Stories of Central Florida] now has 28 partnerships between different departments, the community, and businesses.

Berridge
Oh, wow.

Hitt
You guys and gals over there are doing partnerships. It—it’s known.

Lester             It’s really been amazing to me how well that works.

Clark
Did you know we have our own museum now? Up in Sanford?[6]

Hitt
Mmhmm.

Pynn
You’re the dinosaur.

Clark
A number of people have said…

Pynn
Can I get two points?

Hitt
You’re a leg up on three points

Lester
But you know…

Clark
A number of people I’ve talked to, involved in this, have said that giving me a pay raise would enhance the university.

Lester
Exactly.

Clark
Have you given that much…

Hitt
We have. We’ve thought about it a lot.

Pynn
You know what—actually, I understand.

Hitt
We’ve thought about it as much as we’re going to.

Pynn
I understand we’ve thought that we’re going to do some research on that.

Berridge
It’s a history project.

Holsenbeck
Let’s say goodbye to the staff. Thank you so much for the interview.


[1] Randolph E. Berridge.

[2] Irma Becerra-Fernandez.

[3] Paul R. Sandberg.

[4] Salon International de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, Paris-Le Bourget.

[5] Richard “Rick” Lynn Scott.

[6] UCF Public History Center.

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Lester, Connie L.
Clark, James C.

Interviewee

Hitt, John C.
Berridge, Randolph E.
Panousis, Peter T.
Holsenbeck, Dan
Martine, Carrie
Pynn, Roger

Locations

Categories