Gov.-Elect Scott Talks Education, Jobs in Visit to USF Research Park

Rick Scott met with business, political and education leaders during a 90 minute tour of new technologies and job potentials.



By Vickie Chachere News Manager


TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2010) – Governor-elect Rick Scott, who won office on a pro-business and job-creation platform, got a new look Friday at the economic potential of university research, surveying dozens of new technologies which are producing new medicines, technologies and job potential at the University of South Florida’s Research Park.


Scott spent more than 90 minutes taking in the new technologies and meeting with area education, business and political leaders in a town hall-style format to discuss the state’s economic recovery.


Scott said he would focus on lowering regulatory barriers that may hinder new businesses coming to Florida, reduce the size of state government and aggressively position the state nationally and internationally as a good place to do business.


The visit was Scott’s first to USF since his election in November.


“I am going to put an unbelievable amount of time into economic development,” said Scott, who will be inaugurated as governor on Jan. 4. “This is an entrepreneurial state. It’s ours to lose.”


The governor toured a large collection of emerging technologies in the atrium of USF Connect - an incubator for spin-off companies created by USF researchers and other high-tech start-ups – surveying presentations on drug development, marine science technologies, newly-developed equipment for people with disabilities and emerging solar energy technology.


The governor-elect’s advocacy for entrepreneurship echoes a central theme of USF President Judy Genshaft’s decade-long administration: research universities are key economic engines and harbor the expertise, innovation and creativity to create new industries.


“We are all about being that economic engine,” Genshaft said.


Genshaft and Stephen Klasko, dean of USF’s College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, earlier this month were named to Scott’s education and health transition teams. The soon-to-be governor made clear Friday the economic revival of Florida will start in the K-12 school system.


Responding to an inquiry from an audience member to work on keeping home-grown professionals who want to raise families here, Scott reiterated his campaign platform of taking a hard look at Florida schools from the standpoint of what will best serve students.


Scott also touched on his support for education vouchers for all of Florida’s students – not just those from low-income families or in failing schools.


“I don’t care whether it’s public or private, the money ought to follow the student,” Scott said.


Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.