With blizzards hitting the Northwest, FloridaWest, the county’s economic development authority, has launched a campaign to lure frozen businesses and remote workers to live and work in the Pensacola area. Security Magazine picked up the story within hours of the campaign’s release – “Cyber pros: Pensacola, Florida wants you.”
As snow piles deeper and the winter weather grows harsh across much of the Midwest and Northeast, Pensacola is reminding cyber workers (and their employers) that relief can be found just a few hours south. A new series of social media ads presents images of the region’s emerald waters and sugar-white sands, but officials say that’s only the beginning of what the area has to offer information security professionals.
“The ads are designed to start conversations – among coworkers, family members, and cybersecurity company executives,” said Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance. “The next step is to get them here so that they can experience our quality of life firsthand and start considering doing their current job remotely, finding a new job with one of our many cybersecurity employers, or in some cases, moving their company here.”
Northwest Florida is home to a host of military, government, and private sector cybersecurity assets, many of which are featured on CyberCoastFlorida.com, centerpiece of FloridaWest’s cybersecurity strategic plan. The ads will drive traffic to the site and promote the area’s advantages in terms of climate, commute times, cost-of-living, and overall quality of life.
FloridaWest is also working with local tourism officials, hoteliers, and real estate companies to offer incentives for qualified cybersecurity professionals to try out a remote-work week in the area.
Luth noted that the focus on attracting people who already have jobs complements the more traditional effort to attract companies.
“Organizations with high-demand, high-wage specialties like cybersecurity thrive where they can find the best talent in the highest numbers,” he said. “FloridaWest is leveraging this trend to keep our homegrown cyber talent here and bring in more from other places. If we have the people, the companies will follow.”
As an example, Luth pointed to Argo Cyber Systems, a company created in 2017 when Pensacola native Kevin Schmidt teamed up with Navy veteran Jim Rodgers. After deciding that their business idea was viable, the men agreed that the quality of life, low taxes, and business-friendly atmosphere made Pensacola the ideal home for the new venture.
“Argo Cyber Systems was on the leading edge of a trend that I believe will only grow over time,” Luth said. “Much of America’s professional workforce has been freed from the need for a long commute on icy roads to a crowded building. Our ads are designed to show them an entirely new lifestyle is possible on Florida’s CyberCoast.”