—— RICK STAAB —— CEO, The Intermed Group • Founder, Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure Iam fortunate enough to be blessed with the opportunities to travel and experience many different cities and cultures. Having stated my fortunes, I have chosen to live in Gainesville, Florida. The decision is both an educated and emotional choice. I grew up in the research triangle park area of North Carolina and have always been fascinated by biotech and research. My corporate office is in the Progress Corporate Park in Alachua where many publically traded biotech companies are now based. The Sid Martin Biotech Institute is rated the #1 biotech incubator in the world. I have seen tremendous growth and focus in our region in biotech over the last ten years. The resources for talent and willingness to promote my company has been a great reason for our success as well as other companies in the region. We have often taken some difficult issues we have faced in business to our partners at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College for support. There is a collaborative visionary approach to our future in the Greater Gainesville region that is palpable. When I think of home (Gainesville) I think of the many lakes, beautiful trees and fantastic weather year round. The natural springs, bike trails, athletic fields, and natural attractions provide me with an excitement to get out into our community as well as a serenity experienced in its beauty. The culture in the greater Gainesville community is uniquely stronger than almost all other communities. The size of our region plays a role in the culture that has developed. Being a college community with two of the best educational institutes in the United States, the culture reflects a well-educated and diverse population. There is an overwhelmingly strong sense of community and pride in innovating. We started a foundation to cure a rare movement disorder (Dystonia) and we are realizing great success in our fight for a cure because this community is so active and supportive. The innovation is seen in cutting edge research and care center created by the brilliant minds at UF and UF Health. Medical tourism is big in our community based largely on the aggressively innovative approaches fostered by our top healthcare facilities in the region. I believe the next business revolution will be biotechnology and cures and that our community will continue to lead in these areas. Earlier this year, I boarded a plane that had a large contingency of members from our Chamber of Commerce (recognized among the top in the country) headed to Austin, Texas to explore what we can continue to do to improve the business, health, and education of our community into the future and learn from the mistakes made in other communities. These were all people that paid their own way and had a genuine interest in our region and in ways to constantly improve it. There is and has been tremendous community involvement and a sense of “giving back” that is encouraged and expected in the Greater Gainesville region. Lastly, I am proud of our regions focus on diversity. Not just ethnic diversity which we have mainly because of our major university but diversity in the arts, education, jobs, and ideas. There is very little I can find in other major cities throughout the globe that I cannot find in Gainesville. The arts are outstanding and through community driven initiatives like the education compact or talent alignment programs that focus on all levels of employment/employability we will continue to have what I feel is the best place to live in the US. —— MAGI CRAWFORD—— Communications Director, Gainesville Regional Utilities As Communications Director for Gainesville Regional Utilities, I have been blessed to work with and meet a diverse cross section of our community. I am honored to list among my friends’ electric line workers who brave blazing heat and dangerous storms to keep our power on; community volunteers who work tirelessly to improve the lives around them; firefighters and paramedics who are always ready and willing to respond to our call; and proud families whose children and grandchildren have studied at our local schools, from elementary all the way up through college. You asked, Why Gainesville? I say, look in the mirror. I’m like many of you who came to Gainesville to attend not one but both of its amazing upper-level institutions and not only grew fond of the town’s uniqueness but the warm hearts of its citizens. Coming here as an 18-year-old freshman, I was just taking the next step and didn’t yet consider myself the embodiment of one of my favorite Oscar Wilde quotes: “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.” As I look back over my time here in Gainesville, I realize that the relationships I’ve created over a lifetime in and around this area are what make it the greatest place in the world to live, work, play and raise a family. If I ever forget that, all I need to do is stroll about a block to the new Depot Park, which came alive with the sounds of playing children this summer. Or I could stop by Sweetwater Wetlands Park, where I see fresh faces walking the miles of trails that cut through our unique landscape and offer a glimpse of nature in the raw. I mention these two spots because GRU employees were essential to their development and success. I am so proud of the work we did and how it has touched our neighbors in such a positive way. These parks also provide evidence of Gainesville’s newfound growth. It can be seen downtown, on Archer Road and in many other pockets throughout the area. We are an ambitious town full of innovators, entrepreneurs, caregivers and dreamers. I witnessed that when my now-adult children attended P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School and I see it now more than ever. I will admit that over the years some of the faces have changed, but something about this place attracts giving, passionate people with big hearts. So, for me, Why Gainesville is simple – you, because you prepared me for the future and you continue the tradition as you prepared my family. And what I value most are the relationships I developed during the early years, the people I still call on today if I ever need help reaffirming my true north. Thanks Gainesville. —— KEVIN MONROE —— Market Vice President, Central Florida Operations at Cox Communications Living in the Gainesville area, I feel like I’m back home. I grew up in a very similar college community near Champaign- Urbana area, home to the University of Illinois. Being here in Gainesville, I’m often reminded of that sense of community that I was so fond of as an impressionable young man. After High School, I left for the big city, and until recently, I planned on staying there forever. That was until I found Gainesville. Living in Orlando at the time, I couldn’t pass on the chance to visit Gainesville. After my first foray to the community I was intrigued by the true hospitality of almost everyone I encountered. When the opportunity to work for Cox in Gainesville became available, I leapt at the opportunity to leave the big city behind and join an amazing company and community. As I took advantage of the short drive between Orlando and Gainesville, what began to impress me even more was how much there truly is to do, see and fully experience in the Alachua County area. Whether you’re hiking in the San Felasco Preserve or navigating Payne’s Prairie, counting the steps down into Devil’s Millhopper or running the steps at UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, there is always something for the family to do…together. The World renowned Santa Fe College has a teaching zoo and a great planetarium. The Harn Museum of Art, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Cade and the Cotton Club Museum are all great places to experience the richness of the area. The Hippodrome and Dance Alive National Ballet rival any performing arts and professional ballet in the state of Florida. Our compassionate not-for-profit organizations like the Children’s Home Society, Pace Center for Girls, The Boys and Girls Club, United Way and Reichert House and many others along with our business community led by the outstanding work of the Chamber of Commerce, our Rotary Clubs along with academia partners, continues to create a true sense of community for all to embrace. And if you’re a person of faith, there are numerous houses of worship that would be more than happy to welcome you to their family. Alachua County is quickly becoming an industry and technology leader with UF’s Sid Martin Institute, the world’s number one Biotech Incubator and the numerous advanced manufacturing companies that call the Greater Gainesville area home. Gainesville is poised to usher in the next exciting phase of the digital age. Cox is preparing for future generation bandwidth demands with GIGABIT speed offerings that are now available in Gainesville. Plus, we offer smart home automation through the Cox Homelife service, so customers can keep a watchful eye on their home, through the convenience of their smart phone. And knowing that it is critically important to close the digital divide in Central Florida, Cox offers the Connect2Compete high speed internet product to families with children in Kindergarten through high school that are on the Free or reduced cost lunch. Alachua County’s technology future is indeed primed and ready for our next generation of doctors, scientists and inventors, homemakers, caregivers, service professionals, students, professors and dreamers, and I’m so thrilled to be part of this outstanding community! —— ZANDRA STRAPLE—— Assistant Manager, Pet Paradise Gainesville From a pet parent perspective, Gainesville is a great place to live. There is something pet friendly to do in almost every part of the town and surrounding areas. There are several restaurants and bars that offer outdoor and patio seating so you can bring your four-legged baby with you. Some even provide bowls of water for them to drink while you are out there! You can also choose from a variety of activities to do with your dogs. There are multiple dog parks in the area you can take them to play and socialize with other dogs, including Pet Paradise and Dogwood Park. If you prefer to be outdoors and enjoy nature, there are a multitude of trails and state parks to hike with your fur baby. Paynes Prairie and Devil’s Millhopper are two such options that are my personal favorites. It is great to be able to spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful scenery that Gainesville has to offer and tiring my pup out at the same time. Gainesville also has many companies that host pet specific events throughout the year. From Pet Paradise’s Splash Bash competition in April to the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life relay in November, there is an event to look forward to in almost every month. When I am not participating in an event as a Pet Paradise representative, I try to attend as many as possible with my own dog. It is a great way to have fun and meet other pet parents in the area. Many of the events are also charity functions so you know you are supporting a great cause at the same time. If you want to go on vacation or need to go out of town for any reason, you never have to worry about where you are going to keep your pet. There are numerous options to choose from! Most of the veterinary offices in the area offer boarding services and there are several pet resorts that cater specifically to boarding and daycamp. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you have so many places to take great care of your pet when you cannot be home with them or take them with you. You will also find the best care for your pet in Gainesville. There are a few different national chain pet stores in addition to many locally owned pet stores to find your pets’ needs. Some of the locally owned stores offer all natural, organic, and homemade pet supplies that you will not find anywhere else. If you do not own a dog or cat, there are a few specialty stores that have supplies for both reptilian and aquatic animals. Gainesville also offers top veterinary services for all pets. In addition to the myriad private and holistic veterinary practices, the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine’s small and large animal hospitals are available to everyone. They have every type of specialty medicine you could need, including zoological medical services for exotic animals! As a pet owner myself, I could not find a better place to live with my dog. Gainesville has an option for every pet need I have.
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