“Firms like these named ‘Companies to Watch’ continue to be the catalyst that is fueling Florida’s emergence from a turbulent national economy,” said Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. “Congratulations to this exemplary group of Florida businesses that continue to invest in their communities and create new jobs in all corners of our state.”

The “Florida Companies to Watch,” which were named after evaluating more than 310 nominations for the awards, represent industries ranging from alternative energy development to food production and industrial gear makers to information technology firms. The combined impact of the fifty chosen companies is $423 million in total annual revenue; 1,972 full-time equivalent employees and 510 new net jobs created compared to 2009.  From 2006 through 2010, these companies generated $1.4 billion in revenue and added 1,153 employees (both in Florida and out of state), reflecting a 162 percent increase in revenue and 141 percent increase in jobs for the five-year period. That translates into a 32 percent annual revenue growth and 28 percent annual growth in employees.

With major sponsorship support from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Florida Business Incubation Association, Fowler White Boggs, P.A. and the University of Central Florida, the “Florida Companies to Watch” awards program is an initiative developed by the Cassopolis, Mi.-based Edward Lowe Foundation.  The foundation hosts similar programs in Michigan, Indiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Additional sponsors include Gulf Power Company, Nperspective, Osceola County Economic Development Department and the University of South Florida.

The fifty “Florida Companies to Watch” will be honored at the awards celebration on February 17 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.   Tickets for the ceremony and dinner are still available and may be purchased online or by calling Lynn Aitken at 407-823-6384.

“Florida Companies to Watch takes a whole-business approach, identifying companies across the state that represent Florida’s future, not just major metropolitan areas,” says Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Economic Gardening Institute. “It shows the economic potential of the entire state as demonstrated by the successes of second-stage companies.  Being selected for the Florida Companies to Watch awards program provides growing businesses the credibility and recognition that distinguish them among their competitors. This statewide event lauds the success of business leaders who have taken their operations to the “second-stage” of growth and hold the potential to continue to create new jobs in their communities and industries, thereby making a difference in regional communities”

In addition to the recognition of being named a Florida Companies to Watch award winner, companies have the opportunity to participate in a leaders retreat attended by former Companies to Watch award recipients from other states at the Edward Lowe Foundation’s Big Rock Valley retreat facility in southwestern Michigan.