Luis Garcia, VP of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University details how the creativity of Orlando’s tech ecosystem (and so much more) make Orlando a great place to be a geek.
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.
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This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Luis Garcia, the VP of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University. Read below for reasons why the creativity of Orlando’s tech ecosystem (and so much more) make Orlando a great place to be a geek.
Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it?
I think every day, every week, every season provides us with experiences that you can only find if you live in Orlando. First, is the daily quality of life of living in a place with a stunning blue sky and friendly and diverse people. A few weeks ago, I went with my kids to swim in the springs in Crystal River. In the summer, we go to the beach very often. During the winter months, we visit our world-class parks. All of this is within a few hours of our home. We can see rocket launches by just opening our front door and walking a few feet. We get to live in a place that visitors must travel from across the world to experience.
What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here?
I originally moved to Orlando from my home country of Venezuela in 1995 to attend Full Sail University. After graduation, I left and worked in several cities across the U.S. before moving back to join Full Sail as a staff member in 2003. I’ve lived in many cities in different countries, but really feel at home in Orlando. The great quality of life as a professional, but more importantly, as a family, has kept us here.
What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?
The Orlando area has been Full Sail University’s home since 1980. Here we have experienced extraordinary success in educating media and technology professionals from all over the world, including over 78,900+ graduates and over 22,000+ current students. Our university has also attracted incredible talent within our faculty, administrators and staff, which is currently comprised of over 2,100 employees. For us, the combination of a city that offers great access to talent for media, entertainment and technology, along with great quality of life for our students, have all been contributing factors for why we are proud to be located here.
What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique?
Creativity. We have technology companies that serve so many different industries: simulation, aerospace, hospitality, healthcare, gaming, marketing, financial and so on. I don’t think that’s possible without a workforce rooted in creativity.
What‘s one thing you wish Orlando had? What will it take to make that a reality?
Even beyond Orlando, I wish Florida had high-speed rails to move among the cities. I think it would be a game-changer for Miami-Orlando and Orlando-Tampa. I imagine going to Miami to have lunch with my family and coming back the same day, or all the people that come to Orlando by flying to Miami and renting a car. It would increase the visits to all cities tremendously and ultimately increase economic activities and progress for all. I understand we are in the process of getting there, so I can’t wait!
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?
Orlando is a great place to be whatever you want to be. For me, it’s a great place to be a geek.
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.