They're not just mousing around in central Florida anymore. Some 800,000 people live and work in Orange County, Florida, and while DisneyWorld remains the Big Show, a vibrant educational scene--anchored by the University of Central Florida--plus unbeatable winter weather have transformed the region into a beehive of tech businesses. Among local leaders: Lockheed Martin and Lucent Technologies.
Local tech lawyer Peter Reinert of law firm Ackerman Senterfitt tells about living and working in his turf:
Why it's hot: The big companies invent new processes and gizmos but don't want to commercialize them, so "they spin them off and let other people build companies around them," says Reinert. Other pluses: a comparatively low cost of living and great weather.
What's not so hot: "The unemployment rate is very low," says Reinert, so it's tough to fill job openings. Other problems: a viciously hot summer, occasional hurricanes and frenzied vacation crowds.
Hot networking spot: "Any lunch or dinner put on by the Central Florida Innovation Corp.," says Reinert. Financial angels, tech execs and entrepreneurs flock to this business development group's events.
Power eats: Reserve a table for lunch at Pebbles downtown or the Citrus Club.