News, Events & Blog
Smart manufacturers in Florida know the value of FloridaMakes, a non-profit public-private partnership devoted to helping manufacturers advance their productivity and performance, with the ultimate goal to produce positive growth and strengthen this high-wage sector of Florida’s economy.
Operating throughout the state since January 2016 from its Orlando headquarters, FloridaMakes helps manufacturing businesses, both large and small, unlock growth opportunities, adapt to new technology and develop talent.
According to FloridaMakes’ CEO, Kevin Carr, “Amazingly, the state of Florida is home to more than 20,000 manufacturing businesses, with 80% of those operating with less than 20 employees. What we do is provide the advice and assistance, essentially the bandwidth of manufacturing information, to help a business succeed. Sometimes the daily operational issues of running a business, particularly a small business, overshadow a strategic growth plan. That’s where we come in to offer support.”
Manufacturing companies can engage the help of FloridaMakes through their local Regional Manufacturing Association by requesting an Enterprise Assessment by one of our FloridaMakes’ Business Advisors. Some businesses know they need help and start the process to address major problems. Others are doing great, but want to improve with input from a knowledgeable and neutral team of experts. Regardless, a FloridaMakes’ Business Advisor prepares a report and offers suggestions and connects manufacturers to a fully vetted team of third party industry professionals that can assist with the implementation of the suggestions.
Some of the many services provided by FloridaMakes include: enterprise assessment, business growth and innovation, technology acceleration, export and international marketing development, workforce training and development, supply chain optimization, process improvement, and sustainability.
FloridaMakes is the official representative of the MEP National Network and NIST MEP in Florida, with funding partners including the U.S. federal and state governments and a network of Florida manufacturing associations.
ShuffieldLowman attorneys, led by Bill Lowman and Keith Hesse, have been instrumental in the launch and continued progress of FloridaMakes, providing legal services in the areas of corporate, employment and contracts.
To learn more about FloridaMakes and how they work with Florida manufacturers, please visit www.FloridaMakes.com.
Few could have predicted Domingo Sanchez’s future success. The son of a Mexican immigrant family with 11 siblings, all living and working as migrant farmers in Kissimmee, Domingo could have easily allowed his circumstances to define him, but he did not. He was driven and determined to get an education and use his gifts and abilities and the Walt Disney Company helped him do it. At 16 he enrolled in a work-study program offered by Disney, and his deeply ingrained work ethic helped him excel at both his studies and his job and he soon caught the attention of George Kalagridis, then President of EPCOT. Under the mentorship of George, named President of Walt Disney World in 2013, Domingo gained confidence, experienced satisfaction in his work and eventually found his calling in real estate.
Years in business as a real estate agent and work under a developer led Domingo to success, but he wanted more education so he returned to college at Valencia and there he met another person who would change his life, Thomasa Tompkins, whose father, Tommy, was a home building legend. Domi¬ngo and Thomasa would marry and have a daughter, Skylar, and devote themselves to serving others through various charitable endeavors, including the McCormick Research Institute, providing equine-assisted therapies for those in need.
This smiling group just closed an $18 million loan closing, the first HUD section 221(d)4 construction loan closed by the Miami HUD office. Pictured from left to right: Domingo Sanchez, Koren McKenzie-John, Michael Bisanz, Lisa Hermann, Amy DuMond-Kottke, James Basque, Deion Lowery, Stephen Davis, and Charles Nielson.
As the real estate work grew, and with guidance and direction from his father-in-law Tommy and another mentor Ken Dixon, Domingo started Titan Management in 2005. Titan Management expanded to include Titan HOA Management LLC, providing HOA management throughout the state, and Titan Land Company, LLC, a real estate development company that specializes in mid-size apartment communities. From the early days until now, ShuffieldLowman’s Jim Basque was there all along in Domingo’s words, “as a good friend and a good lawyer.”
Recently Domingo, with help from Jim Basque, closed an $18 million deal in the Miami HUD office that will finance Portofino at ChampionsGate, a 120-unit luxury apartment community. Offering upscale amenities such as direct-access garages, granite, gas appliances and barrel tile roofs, the community is well under way and will start pre-sales in the Fall, with a grand opening targeted for Spring of 2017. Domingo and partners have also worked with Jim to develop Vista del Sol and Tierra Pointe, each a 74-unit, active adult affordable apartment community in Osceola County.
In addition to his businesses and charitable endeavors, Domingo enjoys his work on the Board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, a positon he was appointed to by Governor Rick Scott. As a Board member, he headed-up an initiative to improve customer service at the airport and is currently working to improve the TSA experience for customers….something we can all appreciate.
AVT Simulation is a full service modeling and simulation and end-to-end systems integration company located in Central Florida’s heart of training and simulation, Research Park. Founded in 1998, AVT is quickly approaching 20 years in the industry and has been fortunate through the years to work numerous impactful programs supporting our nation’s military.
With a deeper focus on the Synthetic Training Environment, AVT Simulation has been developing their products and making visual database advancements heavily over the last 6 months, and will continue to do so well into 2016. The team’s ultimate focus is consistently improving training methods for our nation’s military through new product development, existing trainer upgrades, visual system upgrades, systems integration, and much more.
The team at AVT Simulation takes great pride in being part of the Central Florida Community. Each year AVT sponsors a charity to support through the year, for 2015 that charity was Operation Giveback. Events such as community charity runs, Toys for Tots, the Orange County Public Schools Teach-In, community outreach programs like Rethink Homelessness, and team runs like The American Mud Run and Tough Mudder fill the AVT company calendar. Team AVTSim gets involved whenever possible!
The AVT executive team gets involved in other ways. Founder and CEO Robert Abascal serves as Vice President of Publicity for the local chapter of Army Aviation Association of America, while AVT Vice President of Business Development, Kevin Vizzarri, serves as the Vice President of Membership for the chapter. In addition, Chief Executive Officer Cliff Ingari, serves on the Rollins College Business Advisory Board. Mr. Ingari also served as a mentor for Startup Quest Orlando, a 10 week entrepreneurial training program that pairs mentors with local unemployed or underemployed professionals.
ShuffieldLowman represents AVT in a variety of corporate and real estate matters, including leasing issues, acquisitions and divestitures, and intellectual property.
For more information, please visit www.avtsim.com
The secret is out. Since 2011 Orlando foodies and the urban hip have enjoyed a unique, savvy and delectable small plate restaurant that serves delicious Asian-inspired cuisine at Hawkers Asian Street Fare. The word is spreading, mostly through social media and excellent reviews, and the culturally affluent are flocking to Hawkers, located in downtown Orlando’s Mills District to enjoy the tastes of Malaysia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong. Menu items are prepared using ancient family recipes and served in a lively and modern setting that provides outdoor seating and a full bar.
According to Kaleb Harrell, one of Hawkers four original founders, the restaurant’s name and concept came from Southeast Asia. “Street food is considered the best food in Asia and the dining experience is very communal, with friends visiting several food ‘hawker’ stalls and then sharing their meal at a central seating area.”
The success of the original Hawkers has spurred a new casual catering concept where devotees can serve their favorite dishes at home, in the office or for special events. The all new Hawkers website, www.eathawkers.com, has all the catering details along with the full restaurant and bar menu. In addition, the company opened a second location last year in Jacksonville’s urban Five Points area and they have two more locations planned for 2015 in St. Petersburg and Jacksonville Beach.
ShuffieldLowman has worked with the Hawkers team to provide counsel in corporate and investment structure, securities law compliance, capital raising, intellectual property, growth planning and contract and leasing matters.
Ingenious may be the best word to describe BookThatDoc.com. In the complicated and often frustrating world of healthcare, BookThatDoc.com offers a respite of convenience and order for weary patients just looking to manage the medical needs of their families. The website, free to patients, features an easy interface for finding doctors and dentists based on a wide range of criteria. Users can search for doctors, sorting by any number of factors, including health insurance providers, location and medical specialties. In addition, patient provided reviews offer candid insights on everything from bedside manner to the convenience of parking.
One of the best features of the site is the ability to make appointments online. According to Matt Bohannon, one of three owner-partners, “Nights and weekends we see a 40-50% spike in online traffic because that is the most convenient time for people to address their medical needs, check their personal schedules and make appointments.” Another key benefit of the website is the ability to create a completely private, and HIPPA compliant, profile that keeps track of a wide variety of healthcare needs, including doctor contact information and appointments (both past and future), all with the benefit of being able to tap into an online community of medical information uploaded by healthcare participants and peer-to-peer interaction spanning a wide variety of topics.
Started in Central Florida by Matt Bohannon, Henry Danish and Joe Gallagher, BookThatDoc.com fully launched their site October 2013. Since then they have seen substantial growth, with more than 130 doctor participants and 1,200 members in a five county Central Florida area. Plans include expansion into the Tampa and Jacksonville markets, followed by other areas of Florida and beyond.
ShuffieldLowman has worked with the company since its inception, and continues to provide counsel on a broad range of matters pertaining to the company’s business, which include corporate organization, negotiation and drafting of agreements with third parties, registration of company trademarks, and other intellectual property protection issues.
Founded in Eustis in 1954 by Jerry Brown, Sr., Florida Food Products, Inc. was in the natural ingredient business before being all-natural was so wildly popular. Like many in the Central Florida area in the 1950s, the company was devoted to the booming citrus industry, serving as a major provider of orange juice concentrate. In addition, the company had a very successful side business, actually pioneering a carbonated beverage canning process and operating seven plants along the East Coast.
Wisely, the ever-evolving company diversified early and as citrus production decreased due to environmental factors, such as freezes, the company was well positioned to pursue new lines of business focused on other non-citrus products.
As Jerry Brown’s sons, Jerry and Tom, came of age and finished college in the 1980s, they joined their father in the rollout of products that included aloe vera and carrot juice, resulting in an instrumental role in the launching of the very successful V8 Splash vegetable juice beverage.
Today the company is still under the leadership of Jerry and Tom and continues to innovate with a focus on all-natural ingredients and processes, holding the USDA certified organic designation for many of the items they produce. Their full line of successful products are sold worldwide and include 100% vegetable juice concentrates, savoury vegetable concentrates and powders, natural cured meats and vegetable texturizers.
ShuffieldLowman has worked with the company and the owners to provide legal counsel on the unique needs that relate specifically to family-owned businesses, including company and individual succession planning. Tom Brown has said the firm provides technical planning and wealth management options that have a comfortable and common sense approach.
Florida Food Products Inc. is located in Eustis, Florida, operating out of a 100,000 + square foot, state-of-the-art facility with more than 70 employees, many of whom have been with the company for generations.