Excellence Leads at Florida Polytechnic University

Excellence Leads at Florida Polytechnic University

By Dr. Randy Avent, Florida Polytechnic University President

This rendering shows the proposed research park adjacent to Florida Polytechnic University campus in Lakeland, Florida.

Today’s rapid pace of technological advancement means Florida’s workforce needs to be educated, nimble, and ready to respond to our state’s evolving needs. All along the I-4 Corridor and throughout the state, we are seeing a definite shift toward more tech businesses moving in and looking to hire highly-skilled engineers, scientists, and sculptors of the future.

At Florida Polytechnic University, we are running head-on into the forefront of a new era. Innovation is in our DNA. We attract top students who identify with our ethos of the academic vanguard, committed to excellence in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math
(STEM). This fundamental predisposition toward discovery means we support our students as they work to make their big ideas a reality. This environment is perfect not only for creating the engineers and visionaries who graduate ready to fill the state’s high-tech job needs but also for producing entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take risks and develop solutions to modern life problems.

Our institution was established in 2012 with a mission different from any other public university in the state. Leadership in Tallahassee had the courage and the vision to create a university that would respond to the state’s needs to be competitive in the high-tech, global marketplace. Florida Poly’s exclusive focus on STEM and close industry relationships makes it more than an institution of higher learning. Our University is an agent of transformation and a strong economic engine for the community, the state, and the nation. Florida Poly is strategically at the heart of Florida’s High-Tech Corridor. Thousands of acres surround our state-of-the-art campus in Lakeland, Florida, each representing abundant opportunity that the University is not waiting to seize. We envision a robust research park taking root in the land surrounding our campus and serving as a magnet for strategic economic growth.

Today’s complex, multi-dimensional problems are best met when government, industry, and academia come together to commercialize innovation and accelerate development. The research park will blend seamlessly into our existing ecosystem with academic buildings constructed in the park and industry partners operating on our campus. For each new high-tech job, several mid-wage positions are also created to support it, which improves the health of the entire regional economy. As a catalyst for financial and facility capital surging to this area, the research park will usher in an era of creative collisions accompanied by an unprecedented boost of growth. Companies unsurprisingly want to be located near universities recognized for producing graduates in high-demand, low-supply fields. By being part of this technology pipeline, they gain access to talent ready to lead them forward in competitive industries. The University has taken the first steps together with government officials and business leaders to begin working on making this transformative vision a reality.

Florida Poly is taking a big step toward achieving our growth goals on Sept. 11, when we break ground on our second academic building. The Applied Research Center will have over 85,000-square-feet dedicated to research and teaching laboratories, as well as other spaces for student academic development. The entire structure is meant to provide a creative environment to nurture new ideas, provide resources for marketable innovation, and promote research growth and entrepreneurship.
In addition to physical growth, partnerships are key to achieving our strategic priorities and stimulating economic development in the state. We focus on building excellent collaborations across legacy and developing industries to take our students’ foundational education and access to research to a new level. An example is our Advanced Mobility Institute (AMI), a university research center focused on advancing and testing connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology. AMI partnered with SunTrax, a brand new test track, to further research into emerging transportation technologies. Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise is building the
the facility in Auburndale, Florida.

Florida Poly is on its way to becoming a global force and leader in higher STEM education. With the state and community support, we are driving economic development by rising to today’s challenges and leading the way to the high-tech solutions of tomorrow.