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Oviedo gives tech a boost

Design Interactive VP Matt Archer sets up a flight simulator inside the company's Oviedo headquarters. Oviedo and Winter Springs are using new incentives to lure businesses to keep residents in town.

Design Interactive VP Matt Archer sets up a flight simulator inside the company's Oviedo headquarters. Oviedo and Winter Springs are using new incentives to lure businesses to keep residents in town.

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The desert sands of Afghanistan swirl around a U.S. Army combat medic, the air filled with the smell of burnt rubber and the sound of gunfire. Separated from his unit in the battlefield, the medic stumbles upon an overturned Humvee.

Smoke billows out of the side of the vehicle with a soldier trapped inside. The medic sprints over to the wreck, wrenches the door open and pulls the unconscious soldier out, carrying him away to a safe distance. Blood on the soldier’s uniform also reveals a severe leg wound, so he quickly wraps a tourniquet securely around the area to stop the bleeding.

The soldier is safe and the mission is complete. The training session is over.

The V-Xtract is a U.S. Army Humvee replica designed by the Oviedo-based modeling and simulation company Design Interactive Inc. It helps train medics on rescuing soldiers from rolled-over vehicles.

Design Interactive is getting some help of its own. In the coming months the firm will hire 12 new simulation and software employees thanks to the city of Oviedo’s Jobs Growth Incentive program and the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program. Those opportunities could result in an overall assistance package valued at $84,000.

Kay Stanney, president and founder of Design Interactive, said these new positions are integral in moving her company forward.

“We’re starting to get work now much more quickly because of our past performance, and we couldn’t accomplish it without these new positions,” Stanney said. “The growth is contingent on bringing in those new people because we’re beyond capacity now in terms of the amount of work and number of people. It’s absolutely critical to our growth that they come in to help us.”

Design Interactive is the first company to take advantage of the Jobs Growth Incentive program. It reached out to Oviedo roughly a month ago to begin the application process.

The program, which went into effect in the city about six months ago, requires Design Interactive to maintain 12 new positions for at least two years with annual wages of 200 percent of the average county wage. The Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program requires the same wage criteria.

Founded in 1998, Design Interactive has grown 50 percent in the past nine months and is now up to 35 employees. In addition to the V-Xtract, other pieces of Design Interactive technology include SensorIT suits, which are often placed on mannequins and able measure their lifesaving performance based on pressure of tourniquets and other tools. Screen-ADAPT is a system that enhances the training of airport employees who view X-rayed carry-on luggage by measuring eye tracking, electrical signals along the scalp, heart rate and behavioral responses.

Not only will the programs help Design Interactive and their research, but the local economy as well. According to the city of Oviedo, the estimated impact from the 12 new positions created will be an additional $1.6 million into the Oviedo and Seminole County economies.

Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari highlighted the modeling and simulation industry in Central Florida and the importance of helping companies such as Design Interactive.

Info Box: Design Interactive, located at 1221 E. Broadway St. in Oviedo, has worked with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Visit designinteractive.net

For more information on the Oviedo business incentive program, visit http://cityofovie...>

“When it comes to simulation and training in Central Florida, it is a $500 billion industry; it is constantly growing,” Dallari said. “This has a lot of potential and is something that helps us in the diversity of our economy.”

Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere said that these programs are just a couple of the many incentives that Oviedo has for growing business.

“The city of Oviedo has an array of economic incentives that are available to businesses that want to grow,” Persampiere said. “We’ve specifically targeted the medical, scientific, modeling and other clean industries. It is a goal of the City Council to provide these types of incentives to companies who want to relocate to the city of Oviedo, want to do business in the city of Oviedo and want to provide higher paying jobs.”

With paperwork for the Jobs Growth Incentive Program still being filled out and approval pending at the state level for the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program, Design Interactive is expecting to receive the beginning of their assistance package within a few weeks. They have already hired four new employees in anticipation.

“It definitely is having a critical impact for us at a critical time. The growth right now that we are experiencing, we haven’t experienced at this rate before,” Stanney said. “It really helps to ease the way for this growth and the timing couldn’t be better.”