This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Chris Morton, Founder/CEO and Chairman of the Board of Nanophotonica and Operating Partner of Orchid Black.
The Orlando innovation ecosystem is rich with high-caliber tech talent and boundary-pushing entrepreneurs. In an effort to foster a more connected community, the Orlando Tech Council presents “Profiles in Tech,” a new series highlighting the region’s top executives, innovators and movers and shakers whose ideas and companies are changing the world right from our own backyard.
To stay up-to-date on all matters tech in Orlando, sign up for the Orlando Tech Council newsletter today!
This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Chris Morton, Founder/CEO and Chairman of the Board of Nanophotonica and Operating Partners of Orchid Black. Learn more about why high quality paint brushes were part of his reason for relocating to and staying in the region and what comprises the perfect storm that makes Orlando the right place for his business.
Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it?
Absolutely! Several years ago I hosted the leader of a company I was buying downtown in the morning, explored art in Winter park and the eastern suburbs in the early afternoon, and ended the evening at a killer beach hang in Ponce Inlet. Enough said…
What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here?
I came to Orlando after taking some time to decompress following the sale of a business in the Northeast. Partly as a lifestyle choice (why did I put up with winter for so long?), but also because I sensed the range of personal and professional possibilities that were beginning to emerge. The building blocks here were clear: quality education, serious R&D in some sectors, highly competitive cost of living, an an increasing number of great people who were awakening to the real possibilities here. OK, the beach too. It was like being an artist with high quality paint brushes and paint on my pallet, along with a canvas that was only partially filled in. I’m still here because it turned out to be true, and there is plenty left to experience and contribute to as a member of the community. And friends for life to share it all with.
What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?
My businesses have, for several years, required first class engineers (check), a “central” location worldwide, since our customers are in the US (East and West coast), Europe, and Asia (check), and a convenient airport (check). It’s a perfect storm!
What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique?
I think it’s the unusual number of market segments whose leading innovation companies call greater Orlando home – especially since Orlando is a growing, but still relatively small, metro area. Amazing!
What’s one thing you wish Orlando had? What will it take to make that a reality?
Forging closer, meaningful business connections between our smaller tech/innovation companies as well as major corporations and influential business leaders. This will accelerate progress in the key elements of an innovation growth economy including: operating capital, channel partnerships and “guided” relationships with other geographies and markets, experienced guidance for innovation leaders, etc. What will it take? Continuing focus on making measurable impact, being clear-eyed about where we are and where we need to go, impatience in the very best sense of the word, and work and real support by all segments of the community. Join the movement; co-own it and make it your own!
If you had to describe to an out-of-town friend what it’s like to live, work, learn and play in Orlando, what would you say?
Check out the amazing variety of personal, professional and community “pieces” that are in play in Orlando. Mix and match them in a way that works for you.
The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.