The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County held its first virtual event on Friday December 4th. Nearly 350 people registered to log on and watch the Post-Election Economic Outlook live webcast event featuring the keynote presentation from Dr. Sean Snaith, as well as the presentation of two annual EDC awards.

The 2020 Clyde Nixon Business Leadership Award was presented to Allen Carlson, Regional Director of the University of Florida Innovation Station in Sarasota. The award is given annually to an individual in Sarasota County who embodies the personal and business values that were so clearly demonstrated by Sun Hydraulics’ founder Clyde Nixon.

Allen “Al” Carlson, retired CEO of Sun Hydraulics, joined the UF Innovation Station Sarasota County as its regional director in May 2016. In this role, Al is responsible for oversight and leadership of UF Innovation Station Sarasota and all its programs to serve the industry, citizens and community of Sarasota County and the surrounding region. Al’s community involvement includes, Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Gulf Coast CEO Forum, Ringling Town Hall, Junior Achievement, Florida Advanced Technical Education (FLATE), and Talent 4 Tomorrow.

“I am honored to have been named the 2020 Clyde Nixon award recipient. Having worked with Clyde for 20 years, I learned firsthand how important leadership is to an organization’s success. Leadership lessons are most often gained by working with (and observing) a great leader.”

The 2020 Ringling College Innovation by Design Award was presented to Gary Hoyt, CEO and Dorian Vee, CTO of IMERZA. This award is given annually to an individual or company who has used creativity in design to successfully solve market problems.

IMERZA is a fast-growing technology company that has rapidly expanded its market penetration and client base. IMERZA grew out of HOYT Architecture Lab [HAL] in 2016. HAL was created as it established a multidisciplinary design studio specializing in virtual reality, 3D visualization, and interactive applications for urban design and urban real estate development. IMERZA was created to transform the real estate development process in real time.

“We are setting new standards in visual and experiential communication while transforming our clients’ businesses processes and efficiency. At our core, we are problems solvers, continually exploring bleeding edge software and hardware technologies to create impactful solutions to meet industry needs,” said Gary Hoyt, CEO.

He adds, “Creating a tech company around the architectural design and development process made for an interesting challenge, and we appreciate the Ringling Award acknowledging its innovations.”

Dorian Vee, CTO gave credit to Ringling College and Sarasota community for their recognition. “Sarasota has been an excellent location to start a tech company, and Ringling has a lot to do with that. We are grateful to the EDC and Ringling College for selecting us for this award.”

The virtual event was powered by S-One Holdings and presented by Shumaker.