South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

MPFI on the road to offering hi-tech programs thru Mobile Science Outreach Initiative due to generous donations

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According to Palm Beach Post data, last year, only 51% of Palm Beach County 5th-grade students and 46% of students in 8th grade passed state standardized science exams. Thanks to a generous donor, the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience hopes to help improve those numbers.

Philanthropists David Nicholson and John and Stephanie Pew have donated $50,000 each to MPFI’s education outreach program. This $100,000 gift has enabled MPFI to purchase a customized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) van to bring high-tech scientific experiences to Palm Beach and Martin County schools. “Ask Max” will be a mobile science engagement program aimed at schools and community groups throughout the region.

“Children learn in different ways, and we have found that providing exciting hands-on activities helps them understand complicated concepts like genetics or brain anatomy – even at the elementary school level,” said Dr. Ilaria Drago, Head of Outreach and Advancement. “We are profoundly grateful to the generosity of David Nicholson and John and Stephanie Pew. Their gift will impact thousands of students for years to come.”

The custom-outfitted van brings vibrant, hands-on neuroscience activities right to the stuidents. Led by experts, these sessions not only teach but inspire, showing science as a playground of curiosity. “Ask Max” is equipped with high-quality scientific tools like dissection microscopes and gel electrophoresis kits, ensuring a stimulating educational experience right at your doorstep.

The Ask Max initiative aims to bridge the gap between the research conducted at MPFI and the broader community, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for science. The curriculum-aligned activities will go beyond neuroscience to encompass a broad range of STEM-related topics such as genetics, DNA, experimental design, microscopy, optogenetics, and more. By bringing immersive science experiences directly to schools, MPFI hopes to ignite curiosity and passion for discovery among students of all ages.

“Our goal is not only to help students understand the science, but to be excited by it. Studies have shown that students, particularly girls, will not consider a STEM-related profession if they don’t have a positive experience with science by their middle school years. We want to help every student in our region understand that they have what it takes to pursue a career in STEM, and that science is fun and within their reach,” said Erica Eggerman, MPFI Education Outreach Coordinator.

In the last 18 months, MPFI staff have visited dozens of schools and connected with 9,000 students and community members. For teachers who have brought MPFI to their classrooms in the past, this new expansion of the program opens even more possibilities.

Caitlin Holloway of Wellington High School has participated in MPFI’s teacher training as well as classroom visits. As an educator, she saw firsthand how MPFI’s education outreach impacted her students. “Students often have a difficult middle school science experience and tend to check out in science classes in high school. Max Planck classroom visits reinstate joy in science and spark a love for learning,” she said.

Susan Hahn of Eagles Landing Middle School in Boca Raton agrees. “Students receive many benefits from this program. They are exposed to different career paths in science and get an idea of what it takes to become a scientist. They get to practice the steps of the scientific method. Hands-on practice with variables, control groups, and trials will help them comprehend and remember the steps,” she said.

To bring the “Ask Max” program to your school, visit mpfi.org/ask-max or email education@mpfi.org.

By Nikki Cabus

Innovative opens new HQ2 in Boca Raton with professionals skilled in watsonx to support expanded IBM collaboration

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Innovative Solutions, a New York-based AWS Premier Tier Services Partner, announced an expansion of its collaboration with IBM and open an office in Boca Raton, Florida.

Innovative Solutions is focused on helping every small to midsize business, across the U.S. and Canada, leverage the power of the cloud to drive business growth. As an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner, the company specializes in cloud consulting, cloud migrations, cloud optimization, and cloud-native development. Innovative Solutions believes that every company will become a technology company. With an army of experts and the Innovative Cloud Runbook utilizing the leading platforms and technologies, Innovative gives businesses of every size the confidence to grow in the cloud.

Through this expanded collaboration, Innovative Solutions will work with IBM to deepen its expertise and skills on watsonx to help scale AI adoption among small businesses (SMBs). They will bring Generative AI (GenAI) solutions, AI-infused managed security services, and an AI-infused observability platform for cloud-based applications and businesses to customers. Available on AWS Marketplace, customers can more easily access offerings developed by Innovative Solutions that embed IBM technology such as watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform with AI assistants, to help modernize their business.

IBM has had a significant presence in Boca Raton, Florida since the late 1960s, when IBM Chairman Thomas Watson announced the opening of a research facility and manufacturing plant. Accordig to the Boca Raton Historical Society, the Boca Raton plant originated as part of IBM’s General Systems Division responsible for developing, manufacturing, and marketing low-to moderate-priced computers and business systems. The facility, now known as the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRIC), was designed by architect Marcel Breuer and Robert Gatje and opened in 1970.

Fittingly, Innovative Solutions, who has had a relationship with IBM since the 1980s, just opened a second headquarters in Boca Raton during the first week of May 2024. The 2,600-square-foot office is located at 1499 West Palmetto Park Road, just east of Interstate 95. Innovative Solutions is now currently hiring for their South Florida office which is projected to add up to one hundred new jobs by 2026 with emphasis on SMB digital transformation.

Innovative Solutions is slated to receive $60,000 from the Economic Development Incentives Policy fund. Through its agreement, the company has committed to creating 30 new jobs in the City, with an average salary of $120,000 and plans to potentially increase this number to 100 in the near future.

The agreement between Innovative Soluitions and IBM is world-renowned. We have the opportunity to make history happen together, ” says Justin Copie, CEO of Innovative Solutions. “Our services combine best-in-class software from IBM with best-in-class cloud infrastructure from AWS, providing real-time value that can’t be found anywhere else.”

He continued, “We’re already based on the East Coast, and are excited to bring more jobs to Boca Raton, which has a rich history in technology. This expansion is a direct result of our collaboration with IBM to bring customers unparalleled, AI-powered solutions that combine best-in-class software from IBM with best-in-class cloud infrastructure from Amazon Web Services.”

The four core products Innovative Solutions will focus on for SMB clients include: Innovative Tailwinds, designed to help organizations rapidly drive business efficiency and growth through Generative AI technologies with IBM watsonx, as well as Amazon Bedrock, Anthropic, and Cohere, Innovative Managed Security Services, leveraging IBM security technology deployed on AWS infrastructure such as EKS, EC2, and purchased through the AWS Marketplace, Managed Cloud Services to help customers with Infrastructure Observability using IBM Instana, supported by access to expert engineers — discounted on AWS services, and Innovative MAP, leveraging IBM Instana and AWS data transfer and migrations technologies, to monitor and effectively manage workloads as they move onto AWS.

“Enterprises of all sizes are searching for impactful and trustworthy AI-powered solutions to help modernize their business,” said David La Rose, general manager, IBM Ecosystem, Sales.

“Through our collaboration with Innovative Solutions, we’re helping develop the deep expertise of a trusted partner to scale adoption of watsonx on the AWS Marketplace and our portfolio of AI and hybrid cloud offerings with clients on multiple environments. It’s a prime example of meeting clients where they are through the power of the IBM Ecosystem.”

In addition to the expected 100 new hires in the Boca Raton office, the collaboration with IBM is projected to bring in 2,400 new customers using IBM software on the AWS cloud. This expected growth is why Innovative Solutions has been partnering with local schools to find the best young talent in South florida.

As Innovative continues to focus on providing the best customer outcomes, it all comes down to keeping customer needs at the forefront and finding solutions to meet those needs. “Collaborating with IBM and AWS helps us flip the script on managed services, giving our customers the power of IBM watsonx AI and data platform and AWS AI in a highly secure, managed way that allows them to expedite their growth,” says Copie.

To learn more about Innovative Solutions, visit www.innovativesol.com

 

By Nikki Cabus

Max Retail Raises $15M Series A to Help Independent Retailers Participate in the Growing Ecommerce Wave

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Max Retail, a marketplace that makes it easy for independent retailers and brands to sell excess inventory, announced a $15 million Series A round to help independent retailers take part in the ecommerce wave and sell their excess stock. 

Small retailers in the US sit on an average of 22% excess stock which, left unsold, represents anywhere from ~$50K-$200K in financial losses each year for these sellers. Globally, this is a $600 billion opportunity to solve. Most small independent retail stores and brands do not have the resources and technical capabilities to meaningfully participate in ecommerce marketplaces that large brands and retailers do. Max Retail exponentially increases the potential buyer pool beyond storefront patrons browsing the sales rack for these independent retailers, resulting in immediate cash relief and payouts 4-8x higher than the standard quo of liquidation.

West Palm Beach-based Max Retail expands the reach of retailers’ and brands’ unsold inventory far past their storefronts through its network of online marketplaces partners where end consumers can easily discover and purchase this inventory. The company enables small retail businesses to become fulfillment partners of some of the biggest names in online retail today, reaching over 400 million consumers. Max Retail is the only solution of its kind for small businesses to get paid the maximum value for excess inventory by easily and frictionlessly connecting the supply of unsold inventory to a global network of demand.

The round was led by Nosara Capital, a London-based online marketplaces VC firm, with participation from Rethink Impact, the largest US-based impact venture capital firm that invests in female leaders using technology. The round also includes continued support from LA-based VC M13, Houston-based The Artemis Fund, and Canadian-based StandUp Ventures, who share a focus on enabling technologies that power commerce and money.

“Independent retail shops are core pillars of their communities but face limited options for their excess inventory other than discounting far below cost, sending to consignment, or donating for a tax write-off,” said Melodie van der Baan, CEO & co-founder of Max Retail and former independent retailer.

“With this investment, we will continue to grow our sales channel network and expand this excess inventory solution to support the full product lifecycle, giving independent retailers and brands the tools they need to increase their inventory turns and maximize cash recuperation on unsold goods.”

This funding enables Max Retail to more than double its sellers, focusing on serving specialty retailers and brands that add vibrance to flourishing communities. The company is on its way to becoming the largest supply chain that holds no inventory and will expand its support of global sales channels in need of drop ship inventory.

“Max Retail has built a highly automated product and does not manage inventory or logistics, allowing them to grow efficiently and expand into new geographies and categories. We’re excited to back Melodie and the Max Retail team, who bring a wealth of first-hand industry experience to solving these challenges,” said Ian Loizeaux, founding partner at Nosara Capital.

The funding will also bring new innovations, including an AI-powered pricing and allocating engine that enables Max Retail to pay sellers the maximum value possible for their excess inventory, and SKU-level insights to help retailers understand inventory performance and market value of every item listed on Max Retail.

“Max Retail powers a more efficient market – getting the right inventory to the end customer at the right time, place and price. We’re thrilled to continue supporting the Max Retail team solving a big problem for retailers that also provides a valuable new inventory stream for online commerce sites. The more Max Retail grows, the more valuable a partner it becomes for its supplier network – and the less inventory sits on shelves or gets liquidated.” said Anna Barber, partner at M13 and former retailer, who recently joined the company’s board of directors.

Max Retail’s 2,000+ sellers nationwide praise the solution, launching the marketplace’s flywheel into full effect with 40% of the company’s inbound leads coming from customer-generated referrals today. Max Retail simultaneously solves pain points of marketplaces operating on zero inventory models, along with online retailers looking to supplement their stock with a wider variety of drop ship inventory.

“Max Retail has been a great partner, helping us source desirable merchandise and proactively respond to our rapidly changing seasonal assortment needs,” said Lindsay Ferstandig, CEO of Yaysay, an AI-powered discovery-driven shopping app.

Over the last twelve months, Max Retail has increased its seller payouts 3x with smaller sellers receiving ~$12K per year and larger sellers making over $250K per year. The company has also grown gross merchandise value (GMV) sold through the marketplace 4x year-over-year and is on the same trajectory for 2024, with 89% of active sellers having sold inventory every month of Q1.

“During a moment in which independent retailers face increasing pressures from the rising cost of rent and the likes of Amazon, Max Retail is providing much needed relief by unlocking untapped distribution channels with just a few clicks,” said Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact. “We see Max Retail as a huge multiplier of our mission, making a meaningful impact on its customer base of 90% women-owned small businesses across all 50 states.”

To learn more about Max Retail, visit: www.maxretail.com.

By Jason Steinfeld

South Florida Tech Hub: Pioneering Wellness to Combat Burnout

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As the demands of the tech industry continue to evolve, so do the pressures and stresses that come with it. South Florida Tech Hub’s Women’s Council and HealthTech & Life Science peer groups came together to discuss the topic of “Beyond Burnout: Cultivating Resilience In Work and Life.”

Sponsored by NRG VR, the event was held at ModMed located at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus in Boca Raton and featured a keynote speaker, panel discussion, exhibit tables and networking. Celine Kaiser, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Specialty Business at ModMed and Vice Chair of South Florida Tech Hub’s Women’s Council welcomed everyone to the venue.

Opening speaker, Dr. Morgan Levy, a clinical psychologist and executive coach, is passionate about helping professionals enhance all areas of their lives and embrace all parts of their identity without giving up their drive, motivation, and perseverance. She has been a past speaker for previous South Florida Tech Hub events such as SoFlo DevCon, South Florida’s largest developer conference. Dr. Morgan opened up the eveings discussion with a keynote on “The Power of Presence: Cultivating Well-Being Beyond Work.” 

In a career-driven society, it’s really easy to become consumed by our work and ignore other aspects of our lives. However, finding meaning in our lives outside of work can help us be more productive in our work. Attendees learned the role that perfectionism and burnout plays on mental health as well as gain a deeper understanding into the importance of valuing our identity beyond our work roles. “You can have success in the workplace without sacrificing who you are,” Dr. Levy stated.

The Panel was made up of a group of professionals who expressed cultivating wellness in a variety of ways. Panelists included:

Event sponsor and panelist, PJ Ware, is also the Founder & CEO of NRG VR, a company on a mission to support individuals mental health by providing a variety of meditation experiences through virtual reality (VR) technology in breathtaking locations around the world using nature as therapy. Employee wellness and well-being is a new untapped element of virtual reality in which NRG is pioneering. PJ played a crucial role in the panel discussion giving examples of how technology can combat the tresses of every day life and offer a solution towards mental wellness.

NRG VR is dedicated to helping individuals navigate daily stress, whether it’s the fast-paced environment of corporations, within scary or stressful healthcare settings, or the pressures of everyday life faced by teens and adults. The VR technology allows you to enter a world where the boundaries of physical locations melt away. transporting you to the tranquil beaches of California, Bali, Florida, and Spain, as well as the cliffs of Australia and Hawaii, the mountains of Utah, and the Buddhist temples of Thailand. Their exotic locations provide the virtual mental escape you need. With NRG VR Meditation, you can personalize your journey to serve you best: Guided Meditation & Breathwork, Sound Escapes, or Voice Therapy.

Prior to the panel discussion, attendees had the chance to connect and interact with the different panelists products such as the NRG VR headset, Dr. Krista Imre and her table of naturopathic medicine from her company Live Wellness, and Katherine Murphy from NAMI Palm Beach County, an organization dedicated to providing support, education and advocacy with the goal to empower persons with mental illness and their families. There was even a table for Charleston Coffee Roasters handing out free samples for all guests.

NRG VR provided a VR simulation before the panel so people could witness the immersive experience for themselves. He told South Florida Tech Hub, “It’s great to express the imperative need for this on behalf of the ‘Cultivating Resilience’ event.  I’m grateful for South Florida Tech Hub’s work in providing evnts like this.” 

He continued, “South Florida Tech Hub is what we’ve needed for a long time. We haven’t really had a place where the community can come together like this.” 

The event was a must-attend for anyone looking to lead a more fulfilled life by managing work stress, understanding the pitfalls of perfectionism, and reclaiming a sense of self beyond their professional identity. This will be the first of many more discussions around mental health for technology professionals.

Attendee, Mirna Eusebio Lithgow, an Advisory Board Member for Intellias and Founder and CEO of LeapView Group, posted on social media some of her insights from the event’s discussion stating, “It is inspiring to see how tech companies are bringing innovation to healthcare centers, such as using VR to provide experiences to patients and help them appreciate life and enjoy a moment of joy traveling virtually.”

She posted, “We heard about best practices to boost Wellness and Self-Care in your everyday and with our teams; here are some tips shared:”

✅ Take time to do intentional breathing using the box technique.
✅ Go for a 15-minute green walk.
✅ Schedule walking meetings with your team.
✅ Offload your mind before sleeping; build a to-do list before bedtime.
✅ Schedule emails to go out the next day, instead of late at night.

Our panel moderator, Chair of the Tech Hub Women’s Council, and Co-Founder & COO of Focus Glogal Talent Solutions, Brittany Fox, works with tech professionals every day from data science, to artificial intelligence to c-suite executives in the tech space. She understands the stres factors in working with such professionals, but also being a founder in the tech space herself. 

“You want to give the audience the opportunity to learn from different perspectives,” Brittany told South Florida Tech Hub. “From mental health to your physical body to how meditation can play into their mental health and also technology is a big part of it.”

Want to learn more about getting involved in Tech Hub? Become a member by visiting www.techhubsouthflorida.org/membership

By Nikki Cabus

Palm Beach State College making strides in cyber; ranks in National Cyber League competition

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The National Cyber League concluded the Spring 2024 NCL Competition with participation from 8,017 students and 737 high schools, colleges, and universities from all over the United States and Palm Beach State College ranked 42nd in the competition. 

Established in 2011 by an alliance of public agencies dedicated to developing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, the National Cyber League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aiming to help students develop, practice and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills. The NCL Competition, powered by Cyber Skyline, is a biannual event that enables students to prepare and test themselves against practical cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce, such as identifying hackers from forensic data, pentesting and auditing vulnerable websites, recovering from ransomware attacks, and additional cyber skill sets.

Founded in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State College has been an integral player in the growth and prosperity of Palm Beach County. Our graduates impact every industry and are community and business leaders. With more than 130 programs of study, PBSC offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, professional certificates, career training and lifelong learning. Nearly 36,000 students enroll annually in onsite, online, live online and hybrid classes at five convenient locations in Belle Glade, Boca Raton, Lake Worth, Loxahatchee Groves and Palm Beach Gardens, and through PBSC Online.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Palm Beach State College has made a remarkable impact in the Spring 2024 Cyber Power Rankings,” stated John Hadley, District Dean of Business & Computer Science at Palm Beach State College.

“Palm Beach State College’s outstanding performance in these rigorous challenges highlights our commitment to excellence in cybersecurity education and training. We are proud of our students’ dedication, hard work, and achievements.”

The Cyber Power Rankings were created by Cyber Skyline in partnership with the National Cyber League (NCL). Every year, over 10,000 students from more than 500 colleges & universities and 100 high schools across the US participate in the NCL competitions. These rankings represent the ability of students from these schools to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform. Students had to identify hackers from forensic data, pentest & audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Schools are ranked based on their top team performance, their top student’s individual performance, and the aggregate individual performance of their students.

Cyber students at Palm Beach State ranked 42th nationally and 18th among eastern colleges for the Spring 2024 competetion. This rank is an improvement from the Fall 2023 seaon when they ranked 57th nationally. This current ranking makes Palm Beach State the Cyber Power Rankings leader among the South Florida colleges.

From a Cyber Pathways Grant to the Cyber Symposium hosted at Palm Beach State’s Lake Worth campus, the college has been stepping it up and making a name for themselves for cybersecurity education in South Florida. The symposium was the latest initiative from PBSC’s growing push into cybersecurity.

In 2023, The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have named Palm Beach State College a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense through 2027. The CAE Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) designation is awarded to regionally accredited academic institutions that offer quality cybersecurity-related degrees and/or certificates and meet rigorous requirements to prepare students for the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

Currently, in PBSC’s Center for Cyber Defense, students are offered a two-year associate degree upon which they can then follow with another two-year program to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Information Management with a concentration in Security and Network Assurance. In Fall 2024, PBSC will expand its existing cybersecurity program with new degrees in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.  “Nationally, we’re having conversations on a skills gap in the field of cybersecurity, said PBSC’s John Hadley. “Our job in admissions is to fill those gaps.”

Additionally, students that participate in the NCL receive valuable performance data through individualized Scouting Reports, which aligns their experience to industry certifications and government standards. With these reports, they are able to showcase tangible evidence of their technical skills to employers.

“NCL is one of the most important venues to reinforce classroom learning,” said NCL Coach and Cybersecurity Instructor at the United States Military AcademyMax Love. “In a traditional classroom setting with slides, lectures, and practical exercises, students can lose focus on the spark of curiosity that drove them to learn more about this field. In the heat of competition, they can find that spark again and suddenly the lessons of the classroom carry a whole new meaning when it helps them overcome the challenge right in front of them.”

Registration for the Fall 2024 NCL Competition is open from Aug. 19 to Oct. 11. The cost to participate is $35, with late registration from Oct. 12 to 15 and a cost increase to $45.

To get more info or join the next competition, visit https://nationalcyberleague.org/competition

By Jason Steinfeld

TEDxBocaRaton does it again, this year’s theme ‘Divergence’

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On May 11th, 2024, TEDxBocaRaton held their eighth independently organized event with over 500 in attendance. 

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

This year’s TEDXBocaRaton theme ‘Divergence’ was a thought-provoking exploration of the widening differences or disparities among various groups, individuals, and ideologies, inviting us to delve into the complexities of our world. The organizers, Erik Mintz and Cindy Metzler, aimed to ignite discussions that challenge conventional thinking and inspire new perspectives on a wide range of topics.

With over 500 people in attendance, the newly renovated presentation hall at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC) was the perfect venue. With it’s history as IBM’s Research and Development outpost, birthplace of the first personal computer, and now a state-of-the-art, accessible 1.7 million square foot office park, it’s a magnet for forward thinkers in technology and life sciences.’ BRIC is known for its convergence of innovation, technology and art at the campus being home to companies such as ModMed and Lynn University’s NFT student gallery.

The doors opened at early at 2:30 pm offering the unique opportunity explore the businesses who sponsored the event. This unique access allows you to engage with these brands and the folks who lead them in a more intimate way. One of those brands, Live Wellness, led by Dr. Adam Dombrowski and Dr. Kriste Imre, were educating attendees about their medically certified holistic wellness programs. Also onsite was Dr. Haasseemm Mohammed, D.C., showcasing innovations in chiropractic, as well as The Silver Logic who displayed their cloud-based technicolor lighting control solutions.

“It’s cool to be here, TEDx – it changes lives, so we are transforming people’s lives through health. It is great to be here and exciting to be with amazing people,” Imre and Dombrowski explained.

The event was supported by multiple volunteers and community supporters working closely with event’s organizers, Erik Mintz and Cindy Metzler, who have been the original TEDxBocaRaton hosts since 2018.  In addition to BRIC, this year’s sponsors and partners were Dell Anno Boca Raton, VConnex Services, Inc, LivingFL.com, GrayRobinson, Owwll, Holiday Inn Boca Raton North, Media Components, and, of course, South Florida Tech Hub.

“South Florida Tech Hub has been an incredible supporter over the past eight years. Their support has been instrumental in our growth and success, and we are deeply grateful for their partnership and belief in our mission,” Cindy Metzler explained.

TEDxBocaRaton has a tradition of delivering a captivating lineup of speakers who are making waves in their respective fields.  This year was no different. The TEDxBocaRaton stage hosted an eclectic array of thought leaders, innovators, and visionaries who embody the theme of “Divergence” who explored the myriad ways in which our world is evolving, intersecting, and diverging.

This year’s speaker lineup included: 

  1. Sixcia Devine – Social entrepreneur and author Sixcia Devine empowers communities through her non-profit organization, Caritas Smile. Her innovative approach combines philanthropy with eco-tourism to create lasting change worldwide.
  2. Carole Blueweiss – Redefining aging, Carole Blueweiss brings over 25 years of physical therapy and geriatric care expertise. Her holistic approach emphasizes the mind-body connection and challenges traditional notions of aging.
  3. Pete Vargas – Teaches people how to grow their businesses and spread their message through stages. In 2003, one man on a stage deeply impacted his life, and since then, he has dedicated his life to the power of stages.
  4. Kanwal Bawa, DO – A distinguished Cleveland Clinic-trained medical doctor and a leading expert in sexual medicine. She is known to millions around the world as “Dr. Sex FairyTM.” With her extensive knowledge and experience in medicine, particularly sexual health, Dr. Bawa has become a prominent figure in advocating for sexual wellness and empowerment.
  5. Ved Chirayath – Professor, physicist, inventor, and National Geographic explorer, Ved Chirayath pioneers next-generation sensing technologies to study and protect life on Earth and beyond. His interdisciplinary work pushes the boundaries of scientific exploration.
  6. Angela Hunte – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Angela Hunte performs her nostalgic song Empire State of Mind. Angela is passionate about music, having spent her childhood in Trinidad and adulthood in Brooklyn, NY. Her musical journey and upcoming projects promise to captivate audiences worldwide.
  7. MeiMei Fox – 2X NY Times Bestselling author MeiMei Fox empowers individuals to share their stories with the world. Her Forbes column focuses on purpose-driven entrepreneurship, and her company, Your Bestselling Book, takes a scientific and soulful approach to helping others find their voice and make an impact.
  8. Sean Davis – Philanthropic private equity investor Sean Davis pioneers models for combining wealth creation with social impact. His work at Merton Capital Partners is redefining how philanthropy intersects with private equity to transform the world through giving pledges.
  9. Melissa Daimler – A culture thought leader, Melissa Daimler, focuses on aligning organizational values with behaviors to drive long-term success. Her innovative strategies have significantly impacted employee engagement and performance at many organizations, including WeWork and Udemy.
  10. Pedro Meneses – Aerospace engineer turned entrepreneur Pedro Meneses pioneers drone-based logistics solutions with his company Aerialoop. His innovative approach to technology and business is shaping the future of transportation.

At the end of the evening, South Florida Tech Hub journalist, Jason Steinfeld, had the opportunity to connect with some of the night’s speakers, attendees and organizers. The event’s opening speaker, Sixcia Devine, stayed the entire evening stating that she is “absolutely in love” with the event and would love to hear all the TEDx speakers and their ideas on the TED stage.

“It was an honor to be able to share at this event. There are so many ideas and thoughts on this stage that need to be presented to the world,” Sixcia stated.

To view the official photo album, click here

 

By Nikki Cabus

The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach unveils the extraordinary and exclusive ‘Space Explorers: THE INFINITE’

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The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in association with Infinity Experiences, Felix & Paul Studios and PHI Studio is proud to announce the presentation of Space Explorers: THE INFINITE coming to West Palm Beach June 4 – September 2, 2024.

The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts provides exceptional cultural experiences that entertain, inspire, and educate audiences across the entire community. INFINITY Experiences is a joint venture between PHI Studio and Felix & Paul Studios, founded in April 2020 to create and market large-scale immersive projects, including the travelling exhibition Space Explorers: THE INFINITE. The two companies joined forces and set a mission to evolve how visitors experience new extended reality (XR) experiences while creating a genuine and authentic connection around them.

THE INFINITE will transport you to space where you’ll witness never-before-seen 360-degree views captured in space using advanced technology, a view previously available only to astronauts. The highly-acclaimed experience will transport you on a journey as you roam freely inside a state-of-the-art, virtual 3D replica of the International Space Station (ISS), float in space alongside the astronauts and admire breathtaking sights of Earth that only a handful have ever seen before — all without ever leaving the ground. Calling all adventure seekers and space aficionados, it’s time to ascend on a first-of-its-kind immersive odyssey into Space.

“Experience the extraordinary, only at the Kravis Center. Space Explorers: THE INFINITE beckons, ready to take you on an awe-inspiring journey through the cosmos. We are proud to bring this exclusive encounter to Florida” said Diane Quinn, Kravis Center CEO.

Space Explorers: THE INFINITE redefines the frontiers of the user experience. Guests will quickly become a part of the station’s crew as they lift off on their very own voyage into Space while interacting with offerings throughout the ISS replica. Adding to the thrilling experience, explorers will witness the astronaut’s epic conquests first-hand, including the first-ever cinematic spacewalk captured in 3D, 360° virtual reality, shot outside the ISS – making for an immensely powerful and magnificent experience.

Space Explorers: THE INFINITE is an extension of the Primetime Emmy Award-winning immersive series, Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, the largest production ever filmed in Space, produced by Felix & Paul Studios in association with TIME Studios, in collaboration with the U.S. ISS National Laboratory, NASA and five more international Space agencies. Shot over a period of three years and producing more than 250 hours of high-end virtual reality footage, the four-part immersive series documents the life of ten international astronauts inside—and outside—the ISS.

After an extraordinary run in Montreal, having fascinated over 350,000 visitors from around North America, Space Explorers: THE INFINITE lands in West Palm Beach featuring proprietary content captured in space, promising an otherworldly adventure!

Prepare yourself for a powerful immersive virtual reality experience inspired by NASA missions aboard the International Space Station. On this unique journey, you will access never-before-seen 360-degree videos captured in space using advanced 3D technology. Witness breathtaking views of Earth and gain a unique perspective into the daily life of astronauts through exclusive encounters with the international crew.

Now it’s your turn to experience firsthand what life is like in orbit!

Space Explorers: THE INFINITE 
June 4 – September 2, 2024
Gimelstob Ballroom in the Cohen Pavilion
Tickets start at $45* for Adults; $25 for Children (ages 8-12) and $35 for Students.


To get more info or purchase tickets, visit https://www.kravis.org/events/space-explorers-the-infinite-an-immersive-experience/

By Nikki Cabus

South Florida-based MyBundle among 2024 StreamTV Awards Finalists

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Questex’s StreamTV Show today announced the finalists for the StreamTV Awards program, which celebrate and honor the innovators and leaders that are making a difference in driving viewership, revenue growth and elevating their brands and organizations. One of the distinguished finalists is South Florida-based MyBundle. 

MyBundle is the industry-leading consumer and enterprise platform simplifying streaming TV. MyBundle’s free and easy-to-use tools help consumers discover and manage their streaming service subscriptions, watch free live TV, and find content to watch across their services. Incorporating more than 150 streaming services and partnering with nearly 220 broadband providers serving approximately 13 million customers and growing, the MyBundle platform helps consumers navigate the streaming video world and creates new growth opportunities for programmers and high-speed data distributors alike.

The StreamTV Show, produced and managed by Questex, is widely known as the industry’s largest annual event and meeting ground for next gen video programming distribution and the streaming television industry. The StreamTV Show is supported by the event’s official publication, StreamTV Insider, the streaming TV industry’s daily monitor.

Questex helps people live better and longer. Questex brings people together in the markets that help people live better: travel, hospitality and wellness; the industries that help people live longer: life science and healthcare; and the technologies that enable and fuel these new experiences. We live in the experience economy – connecting our ecosystem through live events, surrounded by data insights and digital communities. We deliver experience and real results. It happens here.

Kevin Gray, VP and Market Leader, Questex Technology Group said, “With 200% more applications than 2023, we’re thrilled with the growth of our annual StreamTV Awards program. ” He continued, “As a result, this year’s finalists are as deserving as any in the history of the competition. Congratulations to all finalists, and thank you to our esteemed judges for their hard work in making this year’s program a success.  We look forward to honoring everyone at our flagship StreamTV Show event in June.”

South Florida-based MyBundle CEO, Jason Cohen shared on a social media post, “Congrats to the entire MyBundle team on being announced as a finalist for “Innovation in Monetization” at the StreamTV awards coming up in just a couple of months!

He continued, “Scott Barton and Scott Kessler are looking forward to seeing everyone at the show, and, win or lose, we’re honored to even be in the conversation. Good luck to other finalists Cleeng, ThinkAnalytics, Vevo and Xumo.”

The finalists were chosen based on innovation, engagement, leadership, strategy, engagement, audience, revenue and partnerships. The judging panel included experts from the Streaming Television Industry.

The winners will be announced at the StreamTV Awards Dinner on June 24 at the Westin Westminster in Denver, CO, as part of the StreamTV Show, which takes place June 24-26 in Denver. To attend the StreamTV Show and the Awards dinner, click here.

The 2024 finalists are:

  • Advertising Executive of the Year:
    • Amy Leifer, DIRECTV Advertising
    • Jamie Power, The Walt Disney Company
    • Ria Madrid, Wurl
    • Tony Marlow, LG Ad Solutions
  • Content Partnerships Executive of the Year:
    • Akhilesh Gupta, Asia TV USA Ltd.
    • Amy Kuessner, Pluto TV
    • Annie O’Brien, Samsung TV Plus
    • Leslie Falbo, Amagi Corporation
  • Emerging Leaders:
    • Danny Pruett, Samsung TV Plus
    • Isabel Bonebrake, Fubo
    • Matthew Dominguez, Cox Media Group
    • Tyler Budd, Blue Ant Media
  • FAST Channel of the Year:
    • BBC
    • Top Gear
    • Love Nature
    • Love The Planet
    • NFL Channel
    • Tennis Channel – T2
    • The Walking Dead
    • FAST Channel
  • Innovation in Advertising:
    • DIRECTV Advertising and Yospace: Maximizing fill-rates for live sports
    • DIRECTV Advertising: Innovation in Advanced Advertising
    • Harmonic: VOS360 Ad SaaS with In-Stream Advertising
    • Wurl: Wurl ContentDiscovery
  • Innovation in Content Delivery & Distribution:
    • Eluvio: Eluvio Content Fabric and Application Suite – Casablanca Release
    • Local Now: Local Now
    • Verimatrix: Verimatrix Streamkeeper
    • Zixi: Zixi Software Defined Video Platform (SDVP)
  • Innovation in Monetization:
    • Cleeng: ChurnIQ
    • MyBundle: Innovating Monetization During the Migration from Legacy Pay TV to Streaming
    • ThinkAnalytics: ThinkFAST
    • Vevo: VevoXumo: Xumo AMS
  • Innovation in User Experience:
    • Plex: Discover
    • Together: Streaming’s first integrated community feature
    • Google TV: Google TV and the Android TV OS
    • Bango: The Digital Vending Machine® from Bango
    • XITE Networks: XITE Networks
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year:
    • Samsung TV Plus: Conan O’Brien TV
    • HauntTV, a Blue Ant Media FAST Channel: HauntTV
    • Pluto TV: Pluto TV Country
    • Stingray: Stingray Naturescape celebrates Earth Day
  • Marketing Executive of the Year:
    • Aileen del Cid, Samsung TV Plus
    • Sylvia George, AMC Networks
    • Val Kaplan, Pluto TV
  • Streaming Platform of the Year:
    • Local Now
    • Plex
    • Pluto TV
    • Roku
    • Samsung TV Plus
  • StreamTV Impact Award:
    • AMC Networks
    • Innovid
    • Pluto TV
  • Technology Executive of the Year:
    • Ashley Hovey, Xperi
    • Jeff DiTullio, Atmosphere TV
    • Scott Olechowski, Plex
    • Vijay Sajja, Evergent Technologies, Inc.

By Nikki Cabus

FAU Engineering selected by NASA for University Nanosatellite Program

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Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is one of eight U.S. university teams chosen to collaborate with NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. military in advancing small satellite technology.

Established in 1999, University Nanosatellite Program (UNP) was the first federally-funded program dedicated exclusively to university participation in spacecraft development and nearly 5,000 students from 38 U.S. universities have participated since its beginning. Remaining true to its founding principle of education, the program has developed into the premier U.S. small satellite education program. Over the years, the program has had 11 cycles of student programs.

This training program takes place from May to August and is designed to provide students with specialized systems engineering training for spacecraft development. Led by faculty experts, the program aims to refine satellite project proposals, increasing the likelihood of student-designed technology reaching space. Teams that are selected for the program, including FAU College of Engineering & Computer Science, will gather for a kickoff meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center before spending seven weeks interning at the Air Force’s facilities in Albuquerque. There, students will work with the Space Dynamics Laboratory and receive expert guidance to refine their proposals.

“We are incredibly excited and proud to have been selected to work with NASA and the U.S. military to help revolutionize the space domain with tiny yet powerful small satellite technology,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean, FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“Importantly, this initiative will offer participating students invaluable systems engineering training specific to spacecraft development and is part of NASA’s broader strategy to engage and retain students in STEM fields to build a robust pipeline of talent in the aerospace sector.

The FAU College of Engineering & Computer Science UNP is led by Dr. Oscar Curet, an associate professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering and a member of FAU’s Center of Connected Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence (CA-AI), along with Dr. George Sklivanitis, a Schmidt Research Associate Professor, and a fellow of FAU’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), and a senior member of CA-AI.

Curet’s research interests and expertise include fluid dynamics, biomimetics and biological locomotion, hydrodynamics of underwater vehicles and energy harvesting. Sklivanitis’ research interest and expertise include autonomous radios, ocean Internet of Things, networked AI and connected robotics. The team also includes three students: Vitas Diktanas, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace, Sky Rueff (undergraduate in mechanical engineering), and Jonathan Mazurkiewicz. (undergraduate in computer engineering).

The 2024 Mission Concept Program provides funding for all travel, including kickoff, final event, and in-person reviews, allowing faculty and students to formulate teams without straining university resources. NASA uses CSLI as one if its ways to attract and retain students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. This strengthens NASA’s and the nation’s future workforce. The initiative promotes and develops innovative technology partnerships among NASA, U.S. industry, and other sectors for the benefit of all.

Guided by years of spacecraft development history, the UNP structure is divided into four distinct phases. Successful completion of each phase is accomplished through specific entrance and exit criteria. Phases include various reviews and program down-selects intended to help as many teams as possible achieve successful spacecraft mission operations. The UNP Program Office assists university teams throughout the development process in a variety of ways, including facilitating educational opportunities, meetings, reviews, and supplied resources. UNP spacecraft that meet Phase C exit criteria are launched through the Space Experiments Review Board and the Space Test Program (STP).

By Nikki Cabus

RTX’s Pratt & Whitney announce North American Technology Accelerator in Palm Beach County

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Pratt & Whitney, an RTX (NYSE: RTX) business,  announced details of its North American Technology Accelerator (NATA), a commercial and military aftermarket operations center of excellence based in South Florida

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines and auxiliary power units. With more than 185,000 global employees, RTX pushes the limits of technology and science to redefine how we connect and protect our world. Through industry-leading businesses – Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Raytheon – we are advancing aviation, engineering integrated defense systems, and developing next-generation technology solutions and manufacturing to help global customers address their most critical challenges. The company, with 2023 sales of $69 billion, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.

The NATA, based in Jupiter, Florida and will have dedicated floor space, equipment and resources for the development and industrialization of technology insertion programs that will support the company’s global maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) network.

The accelerator projects in South Florida are primarily focused on material restoration and process automation including advanced repairs, digital inspection, adaptive processing, and coating and masking for compressor and fan parts, blades, cases, and more. The benefits of these technologies will reduce cost, material demand, and environmental impact, while decreasing turn times, improving throughput, and delivering value to customers.

“NATA combines data science with people know-how and state-of-the-art automation to help address customer pain points such as inventory management and part availability, while accelerating our improved repair capabilities and efficiency to better serve our customers,” said Kevin Kirkpatrick, vice president, Aftermarket Global Operations at Pratt & Whitney.

Key projects include additive repairs for critical GTF engine components. With this new additive repair technology alone, Pratt & Whitney expects to recover $100 million worth of parts over next five years to support GTF MRO ramp.

NATA complements Pratt & Whitney’s fully operational Singapore Technology Accelerator (STA), which was established in September 2022 with a focus on robotics, advanced inspection, connected factory and shop digital twin. STA has since delivered over 30 innovations which will maximize the productivity in MRO processes.  Both accelerators leverage other RTX research and development expertise to enhance automation, connectivity, analytics and intelligence to benefit aftermarket operations. Combined annual savings of at least $24 million is expected from Pratt & Whitney’s accelerator programs.

NATA and STA are part of Pratt & Whitney’s Industry 4.0 transformation, enabled by its Customer Oriented Results and Excellence (CORE) operating system which is at the foundation of the business’ technology accelerator strategy. CORE provides a common language, toolset, and methodology for delivering on customer commitments. The CORE system assesses and pinpoints critical areas and provides a framework from which to execute.

By Adam Elitzur

Turn The Tables: Career & Internship Expo

Build the talent pipeline of tomorrow for Palm Beach County!

Path to College is hosting ‘Turn the Tables’ on Friday, March 22, 2024. We are striving to build the talent pipeline in Palm Beach County by inviting students ages 15+ to participate in career panels led by innovative industry leaders and local employers to showcase summer internships in various professional fields.

We anticipate serving 250+ students this year and are looking to partner with amazing organizations to lead insightful panel discussions or host exhibition tables. If you are interested in attending this event or would like to share this opportunity, please view the attached flyer. Thank you for supporting Path to College to fearlessly clear the path for overlooked students to get into the best colleges with their best foot forward.

By Nikki Cabus

ModMed Appoint Joe Harpaz to Co-CEO After 6 Years in Leadership

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Practice technology leader and EHR pioneer ModMed® announced today the appointment of Joe Harpaz to Co-CEO.

ModMed is transforming healthcare by placing doctors and patients at the center of care through an intelligent, specialty-specific cloud platform. With their electronic health records (EHR) and practice management (PM) systems, and patient engagement and revenue cycle management (RCM) services, the all-in-one solution empowers specialty medical practices by providing clinical, financial and operational software solutions. ModMed staff physicians help to develop products and services for allergy, dermatology, gastroenterology, OBGYN, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pain management, plastic surgery, podiatry and urology practices, as well as ambulatory surgery centers.

Joe Harpaz is a seasoned leader steeped in technology and operational leadership experience who, since 2018, has served as President and Chief Operating Officer at ModMed responsible for helping the company execute against its revenue targets.

During his six years of leadership with ModeMed, he oversaw and implemented multiple strategic initiatives that transformed the company’s go-to-market approach and fueled year-over-year growth, including driving market share with the company’s expansion into new medical specialties and products, and through several key strategic acquisitions.

“I am honored and excited for the incredible opportunity to co-lead this next chapter of ModMed, and to continue to work with our executive leadership team to deliver sustainable value and results,” commented Joe Harpaz.

Working alongside ModMed Co-founder and Co-CEO Dan Cane, and Co-founder and Chief Medical and Strategy Officer Dr. Michael Sherling, Joe will continue to help shape the company’s vision and strategic direction.

“For some time Joe’s contribution and many successes at ModMed have gone beyond go-to-market strategy and operations,” said Co-CEO Dan Cane.

“With his depth of experience in operational excellence, his passion for serving customers, and his longstanding commitment to empowering those around him, we are so pleased to recognize him with this promotion, and are confident in Joe’s continued ability to drive growth and profitability.”

Joe previously worked at Thomson Reuters, where as Managing Director of the Corporate Market, he led the highest-growth business in the company with nearly $600 million in global revenues. Earlier in his career, Joe founded Immediatech and the GoFileRoom cloud workflow solution and was recognized as an industry innovator multiple times in Accounting Technology’s “40 Under 40.” Joe is also a well-known as an industry thought leader and a regular contributor to Forbes.com.

To learn more about ModMed, please visit www.modmed.com.

By Nikki Cabus

South Florida Water Management District announced Florida Crystals exceeds 2023 clean water goals

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Florida Crystals and neighboring farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) have been recognized once again for outperforming clean water goals.

Just last month, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) announced that in Water Year 2023 EAA farmers exceeded the 2023 clean water goals. A “water year” is a 12 month period that extends from October 1st to September 30th. The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. The current water year is 2023.

As Florida Crystals partnership in Everglades restoration nears 30 years, EAA farmers achieved a 63% reduction in phosphorus in – more than double the 25% goal set forth in the Everglades Forever Act. The Everglades Forever Act is a Florida law passed in 1994 designed to restore the Everglades.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Education, “The long-term water quality objective for the Everglades is to implement the optimal combination of source controls, stormwater treatment areas, advanced treatment technologies and regulatory programs to ensure that all waters discharged to the Everglades Protection Area achieve water quality standards consistent with the EFA. The Restoration Planning and Permitting Section of the Bureau of Assessment and Restoration Support is responsible for coordinating with DEP staff, state and federal agencies, industry representatives and other groups on permitting activities required under the EFA.”

The Everglades Forever Act requires the state of Florida to:

  • Restore and protect the Everglades ecological system.
  • Authorize the district to proceed expeditiously with implementation of the Everglades program.
  • Reduce excessive levels of phosphorus.
  • Pursue comprehensive and innovative solutions to the issues of water quality, water quantity, hydroperiod and invasions of non-native species that affect the Everglades ecosystem.
  • Expedite plans and programs for improving water quantity reaching the Everglades.
  • Provide a sufficient period for construction, testing and research so that the benefits of the Everglades Construction Project will be determined and maximized prior to requiring additional measures.
  • Achieve the water quality goals of the Everglades program through implementation of stormwater treatment areas and best management practices, e.g., the best available phosphorus reduction technology.
  • Pursue the Everglades Construction Project expeditiously but with flexibility so that superior technology may be utilized most effectively when available.

“We are proud of our science-based farming practices,” said Jaime Vega, Vice President of Agriculture. “Our regenerative farming philosophy ensures we continue to supply homegrown foods while enhancing our soil and protecting our surrounding ecosystem.”

Further demonstrating EAA farmers’ success this year, data from the SFWMD showed that water flowing south from the EAA was cleaner than when it arrived on Florida Crystal’s farms from Lake Okeechobee. This highlights not only the effectiveness of Florida Crystals Regenerative Organic Certified® practices, but also the role of sugarcane – one of nature’s most sustainable crops – at absorbing nutrients from irrigation water.

Florida Crystals’ sustainable farming practices have been vital to helping EAA farmers achieve and outperform the nation’s strictest water-quality standard for 28 years, with an average long-term phosphorus reduction of 57%.

Florida Crystals and members of our farming region, the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), developed and implemented high-tech, on-farm Best Management Practices (BMPs) with researchers from the University of Florida to ensure we protect our natural resources.  Our BMP program has been nationally recognized for its effectiveness in environmental preservation. Regenerative agriculture is front and center each day on Florida Crystals farms.

Florida Crystals Corporation is a fully integrated cane sugar and agriculture company in Palm Beach County. Florida Crystals farms 190,000 acres in South Florida, where it also owns two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a packaging and distribution center, a rice mill and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America, which cleanly powers its sugar operations. Florida Crystals was the first and remains the only producer of organic sugar grown and milled in the US.

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