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How Florida’s Capital Built Magnetic Momentum

Kevin Gehrke, Business Development Manager, Applied Science

As most in the area know, Tallahassee is home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, affectionately known as “The MagLab”.  However, what many may not realize is Tallahassee is also home to other organizations that work and specialize in magnetics.  The advantage of having multiple magnetics organizations in one area is a knowledge base unlike any other in the world. Thus providing Tallahassee and Leon County with a very unique situation to capitalize on economic growth.

In 2017, the Office of Economic Vitality and other area leaders decided to look into how to promote this magnetic brainpower, resulting in the Magnetic Task Force.  This group, dedicated to the growth and development of the local magnetic industry, is comprised of individuals from the OEV, the MagLab, FSU, FAMU, and local manufacturers. The Magnetic Task Force works together to attract companies to the area and to educate the community about the technology.  First, the task force found a partner to research and identify global companies that might be interested in working with local research partners and making Tallahassee their home base. Next, they created a marketing campaign, “The Magnetic Capital of the World” to highlight Tallahassee on a global scale through social media, conferences, and conventions.

The task force knew from the start that this endeavor would take a few years to produce results. Generally, the first year is used to identify the marketing campaign and a list of companies to target for collaboration opportunities.  The second year is when relationships are built. During this time, we determined what resources are available and how those resources can benefit an interested group.  One of the tools being used to showcase available resources is a series of virtual tours of the MagLab found on their website here: https://nationalmaglab.org/about/around-the-lab/virtual-tour.  At a time, when the whole world has gone virtual, these tours are crucial to continue nurturing potential partners. The third year is when results are seen and the discussions and meetings turn into contracts.  These contracts mean employment opportunities and economic growth for the area. 

Now, in the third year of this endeavor, these relationships and the time spent have led to many opportunities, a few of which have developed into real economic growth for the area. A great example of the real economic growth happening in result of these initiatives is the recently announced multi-million dollar Danfoss expansion that is expected to create approximately 239 new high-wage manufacturing and research jobs. Over the next year, the task force looks forward to partnering with local ecosystem partners to welcome innovative companies to Tallahassee-Leon County and the continued momentum of the Magnetic Capital of the World.

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