Ranging from information technology, to healthcare, to auto parts, 50 of the state’s high-performing companies were honored at the recent second annual Florida Companies to Watch event.

Hosted by GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida, the awards program honors second-stage growth companies for their impressive employment rates and revenue growth. The companies were recognized for generating a large number of new jobs and strengthening Florida’s economy.

The event was in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation and sponsored by SunTrust Banks with support from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. About 400 attended the celebration to recognize the impact these companies have in Florida.

The combined impact of the Class of 2012 Florida Companies to Watch resulted in $355 million total revenue for 2011, and included 1,576 full-time equivalent employee positions. The companies added 350 new jobs compared to the previous year.

From 2008 to the end of this year, these companies will have generated $1.4 billion in revenue and added 1,297 employees, reflecting a 204 percent increase in revenue and 151 percent increase in jobs for the five-year period.

In 2012 alone, that translates to a 35 percent annual revenue growth and 37 percent annual growth in employees.

Of the 50 companies from around the state that were honored, 26 were assisted by UCF’s GrowFL: AAJ Technologies, Fort Lauderdale; ActivEngage, Maitland; American Bancard, Boca Raton; ATGI, Stuart; Boca Bearing Company, Boynton Beach; Coastal Steel, Cocoa; Cosmetic Solutions, LLC, Boca Raton; Cybis Communications, Orlando; e-Builder, Inc., Plantation; eMindful Inc., Fort Lauderdale; Florida Supplement, Hollywood; Health Designs, Ponte Vedra Beach; Hernon Manufacturing Inc., Sanford; Life’s Abundance, Jupiter; Money Pages, Jacksonville; Moore Consulting Group, Tallahassee; Overgroup Consulting, LLC, Pensacola; PHXX LLC, Longwood; Pragmatic Works, Middleburg; RADISE International, Riviera Beach; ReliaQuest, Tampa; Schwenn Services, Orlando; Seal Shield, Jacksonville; Telovations, Tampa; The Launch Pad, Odessa; and US Metropolitan Telecom, LLC, Bonita Springs.

In addition, one of thoses companies, Hernon Manufacturing in Sanford, was assisted by UCF’s Business Incubation Program in Winter Springs. There are 10 incubatin offices around Central Florida that help provide tools, training and infrastructure to start-up companies in the community.

Other recognized companies from Central Florida were: Advanced IT Concepts, Winter Springs; AMTIS Inc., Orlando; Avant Healthcare Professionals, Casselberry; Florida Institute of Animal Arts, Winter Park; Maple Street Inc., Longwood; Monster Transmission & Performance, Brooksville; and Talismark, Lake Mary.

In opening remarks via video, Gov. Rick Scott congratulated the 50 companies on their contributions to economic development and job creation. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs welcomed the winning companies and reinforced the importance of supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

One of the event’s speakers was Tom O”Neal, executive director of GrowFL at UCF and vice president of UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization, whose goal for producing  the Florida Companies to Watch awards program is to celebrate company transitions from small to big. The keynote speaker was Richard Bendis, founder, president, and CEO of Innovation America.

For video highlights of the recent event, go to https://vimeo.com/52828948, and for a complete list of this year’s winners go to https://florida.companiestowatch.org/index.ctw?page=honorees&honoreeYear=2012.