On Tuesday, March 28 the cyber and technology community of interest will come together to complete the SWOT Analysis, a study undertaken by an organization to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses as well as its external opportunities and threats, of the cyber industry on Florida's Cyber Coast. The event will bring together equity holders from industry, academia, the military and the local and federal government at Gulf Power's downtown office.
FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance has taken the initiative to pull together the thoughts and ideas of hundreds of equity holders through interviews and small working groups over the past six months. The SWOT analysis will aggregate and contextualize this data in an effort that will eventually produce a comprehensive Cyber Strategic Plan. This plan will cover key areas such as job growth, infrastructure, technology-enabled delivery of government services and education.
Our community has built an incredible educational pipeline in the cyber trades, which is growing an unprecedented cadre of skilled labor ready to enter the workforce. Beginning in middle school with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's CyberThon, through the Escambia County School District's Cyber Academies and Cyber Patriot Teams, our children are growing up with a cyber mindset. After graduation, Escambia citizens have excellent options across the spectrum of education provided by George Stone Technical Center, Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida, as well as numerous private sector options.
"The bottom line is, no matter where an Escambia citizen is today, there is a ladder to prosperity in the cyber trades, and the next rung on the ladder is available right here in Escambia County," Escambia County District 2 Commissioner Doug Underhill said.
Upon completion of the community's Cyber Strategic Plan, Escambia County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Underhill will be actively pursuing companies from around the nation to bring jobs to Escambia County.
"I am confident there is no community in the nation better poised to enable these companies to meet mission goals and empower their growth," Underhill said. "We have a trained, agile, collaborative and hardworking workforce, and our work-life balance is second to none."
In order to ensure there is no possibility of conflict of interest, Chairman Underhill has resigned his position with CSRA Inc. in support of the Department of Homeland Security effective today, and divested himself of all interests in technology companies.
"There is too much opportunity for greatness here for half-measures and stray voltage," Underhill said. "We cannot afford even the slightest appearance of a conflict of interest impeding our efforts. I will certainly miss working with the DHS team in that role, but the value to our community far outweighs the personal cost."