Page 1















AROUND THE REGION nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 49

to getting back on their feet. When that happens, various federal, state and local programs are there to help, but the individual may be unaware of the assistance or unable to reach out. Thankfully, 90Works, formerly Families Count, is there to coordinate a variety of resources to help people secure employment, get housing, find a healthcare provider, and move away from dangerous situations, all within just 90 days. “90Works created a social service model that has the vision to help customers move from in-crisis and thriving to safe, stable and thriving,” said Cate Jordan, executive director of the non-profit organization. “And, 90Works values everything it takes to be self-sufficient: housing, income/ employment, transportation, health, safety and support.” The outreach’s setup is unique: leveraging their social workers’ ties to the community, 90Works is a collaborative model that gives its employees a degree of autonomy to weave together solutions from different agencies in the community. “So,





EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless, the Veterans Administration (HUDVASH), Area Housing Commission, CEII, Escambia Community Clinic, and Department of Corrections,” said Jordan. 90Works boasts a 90 percent success rate of getting people self-sufficient within three months. The team also collects data on clients six months and a year after completion of the program, to ensure they are still doing well and turning their life around.

90 Works

One of the main reasons for When


of the community fall on difficult times, the trauma of losing a job, a house or unexpected medical bills can often leave them feeling lost

50 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com 50 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com








by Josh Newby

90Works’ success is their self-sufficiency model, which takes a holistic approach and focuses on all areas of an individual’s wellbeing, including employment/income,


health, safety, support, and housing, which Jordan considers to be the most challenging problem facing the disadvantaged. “The 90Works’ model is a housing first approach because we believe that

Business Climate SPECIAL SECTION

without a roof, no one can be expected to be self-sufficient,” said Jordan. “Housing requires an income, and without a shower


and a place to stay organized, no one can get HEALTH

up everyday and be present and productive at work.” According to most banking and lending organizations, housing expenses like rent or mortgage should account for about 30 percent of household income. Therefore,


for someone making around $12,000 or

90 Works

$13,000 a year, they can afford just $315 per month for housing. It is next to impossible to find apartments to rent for even double that amount. For the extremely poor in Escambia Country, the only option is public housing


via the Area Housing Commission, but there is a two-year wait for that. “This leads to serial homelessness because when too much of the income is spent on rent and utilities, households are forced to


use emergency assistance repeatedly, don’t have enough money for transportation and

The Self-Sufficiency Model


work related expenses and even worse, cannot provide for their children, which leads to foster care,” said Jordan. Through relationships with landlords in the community, 90Works to able to convince management in housing complexes and apartment buildings to go out on a limb for the poor among us. 90Works also helps with first month’s rent and deposit. To qualify for this assistance, there are some eligibility requirements. Individuals must be at 30 percent or below the annual median income in Escambia County, which is $42,000. Therefore, a household must make $12,600 or less to qualify. This often includes homeless veterans, high-risk pregnant women and families involved in the child welfare system. Once they have a home, they are able to find work, the next step in the self-sufficiency model. “We work with area employers to often get people hired within a day,” said Rachel Reust, marketing director for 90Works. “These employers can put any one of a dozen skills to use.” When customers are housed and have a decent-paying, sustainable job, they attend budgeting life skills classes with counselors who help them spend their money wisely, use proper expense percentages on various

needs, and even save up to improve their

Marketplace (part of the Patient Protection

future lives.

and Affordable Care Act, also known as the

After they have a job, 90Works helps customers find reliable transportation needed to

ACA or Obamacare), Florida KidCare and Access Florida.

get to and from work. The organization was

“We help people understand what plan

recently given a grant for bicycle packages,

would work best for them, combined with

which includes a brand-new bike, vest, hel-

what we know about what disability or social

met and pump. 90Works also distributes bus

security benefits they qualify for,” said Reust.

passes in Escambia County.

90Works also recently added a personal

“The bikes are a great asset because

trainer to their social work team to improve

Pensacola is getting more bike-friendly and

self-esteem and self-awareness via fitness

it’s even becoming a thing that those who

and physical activity for parents and youth.

have cars choose to do,” said Reust. “It helps

“The personal trainer will actually go

keep you healthy, active and moving, and of

into customers’ homes and teach them how

course for our clients gets them where they

to eat healthy on a budget,” said Reust. “All

need to go.”

this health and fitness helps with anxiety and

At this point, many clients are back on

stress. For mental health issues, our social

their feet and enjoying their new, modest

workers have counterparts in those fields

lifestyles. But to ensure they do not fall back

and speed up facilitation of that process.”

into poverty or depression, 90Works contin-

For individuals who have been living in

ues working with them so that unexpected

unsafe or violent situations, 90Works coordi-

costs do not crop up.

nates with Gulf Coast Kid’s House to provide

For example, the staff at 90Works under-

advocacy in court. Some parents are at risk of

stands that customers must be healthy in

losing their children not because of violence,

order to work and take care of their fami-

but because the home in which they reside

lies. Therefore, the organization provides

is unsafe. 90Works works with contractors

advocacy and enrollment in the Florida

to do minor repairs and educate people on nwflbusinessclimate.com nwflbusinessclimate.com| |Business BusinessClimate Climate| |5151


came with her to all appointments and asked

by purchasing and renovating very low-

pest control and infestation treatment. The

questions that she would have never thought

income housing in needy neighborhoods for

Home Depot Foundation provides financial

to ask.

affordable housing for families that want to

assistance for structural renovations, as well.

“They provide good support behind you,”

become self-sufficient,” said Jordan. “In fact,

As time goes on and clients grow more

said White. “They push you because they

we dream about homelessness to home own-

and more independent, case managers sup-

believe in you. They were a greater encour-

ership so in our rental houses, if families pay

port them while teaching them to become

agement to me than I was to myself some-

rent on time for three years and improve their

fully autonomous. They follow up, collect


credit profiles, 90Works will sell the property

data, and follow up some more.

That was almost a year ago now, and

to the renter and reinvest both the rent and

Tranessa White is a former client of

White said she is happy in her job, her home,

sales proceeds in more affordable housing for

90Works and found them to be a great advo-

and how her son is coming along. She is just

Escambia County.”

cate in her time of need. Her seven-year-old

one of thousands of clients that 90Works

Escambia County is one of the poorest in

son was battling behavioral issues even as

has helped. In fact, the organization helps

the state, with many systemic educational,

she was about to lose her place of residence.

about 2,500 families a year in 11 counties in

racial and economic issues that need to be

She did not have any transportation and had

Northwest Florida.

addressed. For those who fall victim to the

no clue what to do. That is when 90Works stepped in.

90Works operates through federal and

cyclic downturn that it is so easy to get caught

state funding, grants and some private dona-

in, it is good that organizations like 90Works

“I was a single, first-time mom,” said

tions. They are very careful, though, with the

are there to lend a helpful, non-judgmental

White. “I didn’t know about the resources

money they are given. Just .6 percent of their


out there. 90Works gave me the strength

annual budget is from private donations.

and resources I needed to get up on my own

In the future, Jordan would like to

again. They gave me bus passes, put me on a

focus even more on the housing troubles of

voucher program and put my son in a good

Northwest Florida, an issue of huge concern

position for medical help.”

to her.

White also reported that her social worker

Photo: Baron Sekiya 52| |Business BusinessClimate Climate| |nwflbusinessclimate.com nwflbusinessclimate.com 52

“90Works wants to be part of the solution

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ith racially charged violent events like those in Ferguson, Charleston, New York and other cities occurring with seemingly more frequency, a national conversation has started about the role of race in our daily lives and what we can do to improve relations between those of color and law enforcement. There are strong opinions on both sides of the debate, but as we will learn, the issue is far more complex and nuanced than we realize. Thanks to the Tiger Bay Club, Northwest Florida Business Climate was able to have a discussion with three community leaders—two police and one clergy—that shed some light on our torrid past and the possibility of a brighter future.

54 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Tell me about your opinion on the relationship between race and law enforcement. Reverend LuTimothy May: Well I want to start by saying that by no means do I vocalize the sentiments of the black community. I am an individual who has life experience that brings perspective to this subject matter. This is a long overdue issue in our community. Sheriff David Morgan: There is nothing more tragic than what occurred in South Carolina. Even mass national disasters, these particular violent events bring violence to the forefront. We want to reject these events and these people, but we can’t when it’s placed on our doorstep. When I was in the military and I grew up in the height of

the nuclear age, I never feared the bomb. I feared others who might take the steps to launch that bomb. I feared greatly losing my country without firing a shot. I fear losing the truth in our institutions, in our politics, press and churches. I fear becoming untethered from faith, family, community and nation. I fear that today because today, in our rush to symbolism over substance, I see truth nowhere in that equation many times. We have so many self-styled experts and truth is the last item on the agenda. So I ask for truth in these times. Words matter. We can drive an uneducated individual with hate in their heart to do the most horrific things, and rhetoric matters. In our dialogue, society as a whole bears a burden and we saw that in South Carolina.

So we need to pray for our country. Assistant Chief of Police David Alexander: In light of all that has transpired from Ferguson to South Carolina, dialogue has been continuous and ongoing for a long time. But this dialogue means we have to make decisions and commitments as a community and a nation. When we looked at DUIs and said as a nation that it was no longer acceptable to drive and drink, then the attitudes and behaviors of people changed. When we looked at domestic violence, we decided we would not tolerate any acts of domestic violence. When we look at where we are, it has to become a unified stand that we will not tolerate race being a determining factor on whether a person is treated right

Business Climate SPECIAL SECTION or feels safe in this country. Our country is in a position where we have been a super power for a long time, but when we fail to make decisions that are critical to remaining that super power, we put that status in jeopardy. Let’s continue the dialogue but not hesitate to take the appropriate actions. In your own community, what one or more issues would you change to enhance the relationship between law enforcement and the community? Sheriff David Morgan: What is true not only in the military but also in law enforcement is that it’s easy to develop a siege mentality. What I mean by that is, because of the nature of the work, you literally slide into this “us against them” mentality. People don’t understand the long hours and the moments of sheer terror. You never get a compliment. No one’s going to thank you for giving you a traffic citation. It’s always a confrontation situation. Young officers will get very calloused and very thick-skinned very quickly. So that separates you from your client base and from the people you serve. So you begin to hang out with other law enforcement people. You have your own dialogue. Keeping that connection to the community through the newly started Coffee with a Cop programs and expanded neighborhood watches is important. Breaking down those barriers as heads of agencies is one of the primary jobs that I have. You have to ensure that wall never gets constructed. You have to stay open with your client base. We exist for you, not the reverse. Our training is constantly changing in response to the needs. One of our big things is discussions with young people. I can’t sit and talk to teenagers because if you’re over a certain age group there’s no connection with them. They have their own language, music, and style of dress. We went through some of that too, though I think it’s more pronounced today. So that’s another barrier that we must overcome in our interactions with young people. I invest heavily on the front end of this problem with Big Brothers Big Sisters. We partnered with Pastor May for the AA Dixon School, an alternative school for young folks. I believe in prevention and the answer is solving the problem upfront.

The short version of the answer is to find the right dialogue and people to carry that dialogue, and continue to invest in those programs to pay dividends long-term. It will take many years to correct this. We need to start today. Assistant Chief of Police David Alexander: The practice of accountability has to be 360 degrees. There has to be personal, public and systemic accountability. One of the things in law enforcement is you have to deal with a lot of the failures in other systems. When those systems fail, there’s always a blame game. Those failures aren’t the cause of the crime, but they are mitigating factors. When you can’t breathe, you’re going to strain and struggle. If you need to be violent to breathe, to break free, you’re going to do that. We need to look at accountability all the way around. A lot of times, citizens are miseducated. We all have a part of this. We need to use this dialogue to see what we can do on a personal level. A lot of crises we’re facing would be solved by that accountability.

Let’s stop pointing the finger at everyone else and look at ourselves. How would you assess the relationship between law enforcement and the black community in Northwest Florida? Assistant Chief of Police David Alexander: I would say it’s strained and fatigued. In the 30 years I’ve been in law enforcement, I’ve been involved in so much dialogue and attended so many meetings that I can’t even keep track of them all. Each series of meetings comes to a point where you have to make a commitment to an action. I’ve heard a lot about calls to action. I think Pensacola has been blessed over the years to not experience things that have happened in other places. So that doesn’t mean things aren’t going good for us, but it also doesn’t mean we don’t have anything we need to work on. If we continue to have dialogue that’s not followed by action, we could easily become one of those places we hear about. When you study causation of crime, you find that when people become strained, they become desperate. Desperation makes you overreact either deliberately or as a means of survival. Crime is not predicated by race. We’ve become a society that when you hear about a crime, you want to know what color the person was. It doesn’t matter. I like to go out and see real people face to face and see a smile and see that we have some mutual trust. That’s what keeps people safe. Regardless of your race or economic situation, we both have something at stake and that’s a mutual trust and safety. We need to be proactive and

Reverend LuTimothy May: We need to have a lens of transparency and honesty. A bunch of what you may or may not hear may be difficult to digest. You can’t have a truth from the perspective of those who don’t dig deep enough for that truth. You can never arrive at true liberation if you don’t start with truth. The truth is sometimes more ugly than we ever dreamed it to be. Not just in my community and the law enforcement community, truth goes beyond all that. When you ask this question, I believe the answer is truth and realizing the aggressive truth. You can look at the onion, but you have to peel back the layers. You have to look past the uniform. When you look at a 21-year-old person, you have to know there’s something deeper that’s embedded. Some of the greatest truths we have are greater than surface value. We have to take an honest look at where we are. We need to go beyond the symptoms and look at the truth of where we lie, and then each individual and system needs to assume the Photo: Fibonacci Blue responsibility of that truth.

take steps to ensure that we do whatever we can. In those areas where they have poor relationships, then the rest of the world gets to judge. When a tragedy does happen, people of all colors and background come together. That’s what we need to encourage beforehand. This shouldn’t be about politics; this is a matter of public safety for everyone in our community and our country. Reverend LuTimothy May: I think when we look at relationships between law enforcement and minority communities, we make too many assumptions. We assume. I’ve looked down the barrel of the Pensacola Police Department when I haven’t done anything wrong. And that was because the police assumed something about me. The assumption that every young black man in an area is there to do something wrong makes them believe that that population needs to be eradicated. Sometimes our experiences inform our biases. I could make the argument that everyone is biased in some type of way. But when you let your bias bleed over into injustice, that’s when we get into trouble. You can’t help if someone mistreats you, but you can’t let that permanently impact your opinion of everyone. We have some good law enforcement officers and some that aren’t good. We have some good people and some who aren’t. We cannot let our assumptions force people into the wrong category. Young black people are filling prisons by the droves. I can’t wrap my mind around teenagers in McKinney, Texas at a pool party getting an officer’s knee in their backs while

nwflbusinessclimate.com nwflbusinessclimate.com||Business BusinessClimate Climate||55 55

they’re begging for their moms. It has to be something systemically flawed when we have 51 percent of people graduating but 90 percent going to prison. Let’s not make the assumption that a child who has cultural tendencies is bad because they are outgoing or outspoken. Terms like “thug” are offensive and they’re based on assumptions, and we all need to stop making them. Sheriff David Morgan: Let me speak both as law enforcement and as a member of the community. You have to control the message with the truth. That’s how race relations is supposed to be. Problems begin when you shut off the flow of information. When you do that, you give the power to the fear-mongers and those who want to think the worst of everyone. You can never do that as the head of an agency. You have to disclose as much as possible as soon as possible so that community leaders can then convey it to their people. What concerns me the most is the collective schizophrenia of the white community. We are confused. I talk to young officers about this all the time. Why is it that in music, films and more, the most hateful, degrading, divisive and demeaning words can be uttered by minority members and not by anyone else? Why is that we have terms for words like “thug?” That is collective schizophrenia. Those

the finger at law enforcement. It’s also easy for law enforcement to say, “It’s their fault.” You have to bring in education, as well. Education has become a pipeline to prison. It’s easy to shift the blame to parents or children or law enforcement. We want to be clear. We want to say, “They’re killing each other.” I believe that if we continue to play the blame game, the stats will continue to escalate. We cannot blame the whole department for one policeman. We need to take some responsibility. We need to stop blaming everyone else for where we are and start looking at ourselves. What is your opinion on crime between races and within races? Assistant Chief of Police David Alexander: Well numbers can tell you one thing, but you can walk outside and see something different. The black community has to see crime as an important thing to deal with. Any problem that involves more than yourself, you

This shouldn’t be politics; this is a matter of public safety for everyone in our community and our country. words are not used in my home or with my family. I don’t tolerate those terms. You can call it artistry or freedom of speech, but it’s demeaning. When it’s uttered by anyone it is hateful, but when it is allowed to be uttered by a select group, they are no longer hateful words; they are privileged words. People are confused by that. That shuts down the dialogue. What are your thoughts on the blame game that is often played after a display of racial tension occurs? Reverend LuTimothy May: It’s easy to blame others. It’s an assumed behavior from childhood. It’s so easy to push it and it’s easy for the community to point 56 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

first have to take ownership. That’s why I like the idea of 360 degrees of accountability. What are you doing to address the problem from your side? I don’t like the idea of someone from outside your neighborhood coming in and telling you what the problem is. You need to get involved. There are monumental stories of success where citizens have gotten involved and addressed the problems in their communities, and that change is sustainable. Every time I pass by Belmont-Devilliers, I see sustained accomplishments that came from police-community partnerships. Sheriff David Morgan: The numbers are alarming, and we have to deal with it because you live

by stats. You may not like it, but you do. That’s just the reality, and the numbers are alarming. Ninetythree percent of black homicides are black on black. About 6 to 7 percent involve Hispanics. About 1 percent is white on black. Those are numbers we need to know when addressing what our problems are. When we hear those numbers, we want to back up and point fingers. But this is a community problem. This is not a black or white problem. In the United States, we make approximately a million arrests a year with all the agencies, local, state and federal. Of those million, 1 percent involve any use of force, other than putting handcuffs on someone. That includes openhand techniques: a weapon, tasers, pepper spray, etc. That’s a pretty good average, but what you see in the news repeatedly is that 1 percent. Dealing with those numbers, you don’t say that you’re doing a good job, though, because it only takes one Charleston. You have a thousand great interactions, but people will only talk about the one mistake. What one thing as citizens or as a community can we take on this issue? Reverend LuTimothy May: We have to own up to our own responsibility. When we leave here, we all have our various lives. So have a dialogue and be aware of your own behavior at work, at home, in school, etc. Sheriff David Morgan: You are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. You set the standard. We are a mirror of our

community. We set the acceptable level of interaction. Assistant Chief of Police David Alexander: You have to continue to build trust and respect. The quality of your relationship determines how you resolve your crises. When trust is low, the cost is high. What steps can law enforcement take to rebuild trust with minority communities after events like Ferguson and so on? Sheriff David Morgan: The problem today is social media, and there’s no controlling that. The message can’t be defined by the truth because you’re competing with everyone. Young people with Facebook and the grape vine take over. We work so many cases that we will roll out with something of “this is what happened” and the public dialogue is the opposite. So we want to get out there quickly with the facts that we know with the case to get in control of that. What occurred in Ferguson is a great example. “Hands up, don’t shoot” never happened. But that is now a mantra throughout the United States, especially with black people. That’s morphed into “black lives matter.” Well whoever said that they didn’t matter? But the message spins out of control and now they are in control of the message. Then you spend all your time cleaning up the mess they have created.


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nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 57


finished the competition after

900 four-wheeler, exiting the

its last step up to a

completing all eight tasks, one

vehicle, opening a door, turn-

small platform, where

of only three robots to do so, in

ing a valve, cutting a hole

it turns to the crowd, raises

50 minutes. The accomplish-

through a section of drywall,

its hand, and waves, claiming

ments of IHMC and the other

a random task, walking over

second place in the DARPA

competitors prove that inno-

rubble, and walking up a stair-

Robotics Competition (DRC)

vations have and can be made

case. The random task on day



to program robots such as

one of the competition was to


Running Man to one day assist

push a lever down to shut off

Cognition (IHMC) on June

in emergency situations where

a power box and on day two

6. Team members congratu-

human lives may be at risk.

was to unplug a cord from an





Pensacola’s Human



electric outlet, then plug it into

of hard work paid off as the

from all over the world to pro-

another nearby outlet. The

crowd cheers them on, amazed

gram a robot to perform eight

most difficult tasks, according

to see Running Man achieve

tasks that may be needed in

to IHMC team manager Peter

a comeback from a poten-

an emergency situation where

Neuhaus, was exiting the vehi-

tially disastrous first day of

humans would not be safe

cle and walking up the stairs.

competition. The Atlas robot

entering. These tasks included

The robots had to move around


driving a Polaris Ranger XP

the environment with their

late each other on two years

BY KAITLYN PEACOCK PHOTOS BY WILLIAM HOWELL | BusinessClimate Climate| nwflbusinessclimate.com | nwflbusinessclimate.com 5858| Business






Business Climate SPECIAL SECTION

In addition to it being about the research and development of walking manipulation, we had all the infrastructure to talk to the robot, then actually attend the finals.

operator(s) in a garage away

worried about what this meant

upon egress (exiting vehicle),

from the competition grounds

going forward.

one of the hardest maneuvers of the competition,” he said.

and without a tether, mean-

“It was tough to watch and

ing that there was interference

we had no idea if Atlas would


from distance and walls block-

survive a fall,” Neuhaus said.

vehicle was a huge relief and

ing signals from the robots

“It’s never fallen in our lab.

showed just how robust all of

and operator(s) and that the

We survived the fall but things

our walking algorithms are.

robots could potentially fall if

weren’t exactly right.”

While I still had to take it very




not stabilized properly while

Despite being unsure of how

slowly because of the extensive

walking or performing tasks.

Running Man would perform

damage, once I was out of the

A fall resulted in a 10-minute

the next day, the team contin-

car I knew we were in a good

time penalty.

ued on and after minor tweaks

position for placing top three.” After



On day one of the compe-

to the software and operator

tition, Running Man faltered

interface, Running Man was

the course, taking things just

twice, resulting in two falls,

ready for day two of the DRC.

a little slower than they had

one on the rubble course and

Tension ran high as the com-

the previous day, team IHMC

the second on the stairs, knock-

petition started on Saturday.

guided their robot up to the

ing team IHMC out of the time

No one knew how well, or how

winning platform and into a

limit of one hour and resulting

badly, Running Man would

second place win.

in them only earning seven

perform. Team member John

points for the day. During the

Carff, who was the sole opera-


falls, Running Man was dam-

tor of Running Man, steered

arena, the team went through

aged. Boston Dynamics, who

the robot carefully through the

nearly two years of developing

had originally built the Atlas

driving course, then prepared

and testing software that gave

robot, attempted to repair the

to exit the vehicle.

the robot life. There were two

robot before the competition

“With the state the robot

the next day but team members

was in, I fully expected it to fall

Before Running Man could into



major components to making Running Man move. nwflbusinessclimate.com nwflbusinessclimate.com| Business | BusinessClimate Climate| 59 | 59

“The control of balancing

“Running Man was a good fit

a bipedal robot and the other

for this goal, and also gave

area was the operator inter-

competition, similar to the

change the movement. the

DRC, that will be hosted by

us new expectations to work

robot was the final key to

NASA that they hope to work

face,” Neuhaus said. “How

toward, all of which we were

the success of Running Man.

with. IHMC’s focus for that

to talk to the robot and have

able to achieve in the two

“There’s a ton of data com-

competition will be the walk-

good communication, how

years we’ve had him. Except

ing back in various forms and

ing software for the robots in

to control it in a way that

running and jumping.”

at various rates,” Neuhaus

the competition.

you get what you expect out

The second part of the




said. “You could overload

Most of team IHMC is on a

and know when things aren’t

software, the user interface,

the operator and some teams

well-deserved vacation after

going right and provide the

focused on the communica-

had six operators and tons

their second-place win at the

right information.”

tion between robot and oper-

of screens.” For team IHMC,


ator, in this case John Carff.

they had Carff, a co-pilot, and

“It was a huge effort for

one screen with which they

our lab,” Neuhaus said. “In

controlled Running Man.

addition to it being about the

Only when both the movement of the robot and the

“So besides operating the


robot, my main job [was]

robot worked together was

figuring out the best way to:

Running Man able to perform

a) communicate to the robot



of walking manipulation, we

the tasks assigned to it for the

what I want it to do, b) find

Carff said, “It was a pretty

had all the infrastructure to


the best way to visualize

exciting experience. Though



Describing his experience Running

research and development

Walking wasn’t as simple

and understand the robot’s

a little stressful, it was mostly

as putting one foot in front of

intentions, and c) put those

fun and a bit of an adrenaline

the other. Running Man had

features into the interface to

rush. I work very well under

to have dynamic movements

allow anyone operating the

pressure, which is probably

that adapted to the task at

robot to easily tell it what to

why I am so good at operat-

hand, whether it be simply

do, and then the robot can

ing the robot.”



easily tell the operator what it

The future of IHMC looks

stepping out of the vehicle or

is about to do,” he said. The AI

bright as they turn to new

walking over uneven terrain.

developed for Running Man

projects, as well as a pos-

“When we first started the

allowed it to communicate

sible opportunity to continue

talk to the robot, then actu-

project, we were working on

with Carff, and anyone else

working with Running Man.

ally attend the finals.” They

making something that was

operating it, where and how

The main focus of the team

plan to return to work in early

very robust to walking on

it was going to move, allow-

is to continue to improve the

July, ready to tackle new or

various terrains,” Carff said.

ing its operator to approve or

walking movement of the

old projects.


To find out more about

robot. “We hope to do more dynamic



reliable locomotion, until the robot can walk around without a safety tether and us not cringe,” Neuhaus said. Neuhaus



that there will be another

60 60| Business | BusinessClimate Climate| nwflbusinessclimate.com | nwflbusinessclimate.com

IHMC and its team, visit their website at www.ihmc.us

competitive. committed. connected.

www.portofpensacola.com • 850.436.5070 nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 61



BY JOSH NEWBY photos by guy stevens 6262| Business | BusinessClimate Climate| nwflbusinessclimate.com | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Starting a small business is a daunting task for anyone, even those who have business experience or have started one before. An independently owned and operated business is usually an expression of oneself, almost an artistic endeavor, but it is also fraught with legal hurdles, tax decisions, financing obstacles, and complex decisions like location, marketing, target demographics, business plans and more. If you are considering going into business for yourself, you are not alone. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Northwest Florida sees hundreds of clients a year and provides each and every one of them with the tools and resources they need to bring their dreams to life. Most important to any small business, as with any life decision, is a plan. That plan eventually includes securing a loan, deciding on what type of business to be legally filed as, where to locate, whom to serve, how long it will take to make a profit and more. Fortunately, most of those issues are down the road but it is important to be mindful of them. The SBDC offers workshops at the beginning of each month for aspiring business-owners so they can understand basic planning steps, as well as licensing and taxes. These classes cover how to write a business plan and assess feasibility, which are among the very first

things to worry about. You will be given a checklist of paperwork that will eventually need to be completed, but the core idea at the beginning is putting the concept on paper. That concept can be just one page long, but should include a basic assessment of future goals and current resources. Once that is done, you should make a free appointment with one of the SBDC’s consultants to build on that concept and eventually turn it into a business plan that you can present to a lender for startup capital. “We have experts ready and willing to help with a variety of needs,” said Sharon Triplett, a consultant with Florida’s SBDC. “We offer these services free in order to help build a healthy economy.” Triplett said that once the concept plan is done, individuals should officially file their company with the County Tax Collector, Department of Revenue, and the IRS. It might be helpful at this point in the process to meet with an attorney so that you understand the legal guidelines of the particular business you are filing as. An attorney can also help create your articles of incorporation. “We also recommend operating agreements and an exit strategy, especially if you have partners, so that everyone understands their role,” said Triplett.

Business Climate SPECIAL SECTION While having an exit strategy so early in the process may seem like putting the cart before the horse, experts recommend it so that plans do not change to inconsiderately favor one person above another once the company is up and running. Everyone should be on the same page. At this point, you should also open a business account at your local bank so that you can keep track of all expenses for both tax purposes and financial projections. It is that financial projections portion, Triplett said, that is crucial to securing your loan. “Bottom line, lenders want to know how operations will lead to cash flow,” said Triplett. For at least the first few months of your business, you should expect to not get paid, or even break even. It will take a little while for your revenue to exceed your expenses, so take that into consideration. “As a general rule, the larger the scope, the longer it takes to plan and typically to see a return,” said Triplett. While all this paperwork and behind-thescenes action is taking place, you will want to learn as much about your industry and your target market as possible. The process can proceed as slowly or as quickly as you feel comfortable, but nothing should be rushed. “Know the details of the industry,” said Triplett. “Understand the entire process from sales to marketing to the tangible goods, including logistics of delivery.” By now, probably a month or two into the process, you are likely getting pretty excited. You’re confident in your financial projections, so you will want to create the much-rumored-about and much-feared business plan. A business plan is basically a aggregation of everything you have done and plan to do, and should include an executive summary, company description, product or service description, market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing/sales strategy, and management details. Check out sba.gov for more details on finessing this important step. Now, your new business just needs money and a location, and of course lots of time, resources and a strategic attitude toward risk. “You can reduce risk through planning, understanding the industry and

having the capabilities to actually run the company,” said Triplett. Of course, all along the way, the SBDC provides classes from experts concerning how to successfully navigate these waters. It is time to apply for a business loan. This is where the rubber hits the road. On the application, you will find such questions as: how will loan proceeds be used?; what assets need to be purchased, and who are your suppliers?; what debt do you have and who are your creditors?; and who are the members of your management team? You should also be prepared to turn over personal income tax returns from the last three years, a statement of the business’s current financial standing, details on collateral, and legal documents like articles of incorporation, business licenses, franchise agreements, etc. If your loan goes through, congratulations. Now it is time to spend some of that money. First and foremost, assuming you are not aiming to operate a home-based business, you will need a building. Leasing commercial space and can be different than residential real estate. Commercial leases often vary regarding maintenance and repair costs, sublease availability, co-tenancy and so on. It is recommended that you negotiate a one- or two-year agreement with option to renew. You will also want to work with your realtor to find the best location/cost balance and ensure you are falling in line with zoning laws. If need be, work with local, BBB-trusted contractors to make customizations to the space. You will want to make sure the flow of customers

is easy, that payment stations make sense, tables and chairs are in places that make sense, and that there is a clearly marked entrance and exit. If the entrance is the same as the exit, make sure that area is clutter-free and welcoming. So, now you have your location. All that is left is to buy the equipment, hire some employees and start making money, right? Wrong. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply here. “Most new businesses forget to market themselves,” said Triplett. “Sometimes marketing is seen as optional, but it absolutely is not. Work with our SBDC consultants for free to identify your market and target them. Your customers don’t find you; you need to find your customers.” If you decide to hire employees, you will want to be aware of the required employment benefits and the optional employment benefits. You may wish to work with a staffing agency that can handle the human relations and background portions so that you can focus on what you do best. Then, without any further ado, it is time to open your business. Partner up with a local chamber of commerce to host a ribbon cutting and drive free traffic to your company. Throughout the life of the company, the SBDC will be there to help, so Triplett said to not be a stranger. “It is often not realistic or feasible to have a CFO or marketing person on staff,” said Triplett. “So we offer a free auxiliary to that. I’ve had some of the same clients for 10 years. We’re here for them throughout their small business’s life.”


nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 63

around the region

Pensacola Chief of Police Simmons to retire; Alexander to be nominated as next Chief Pensacola Chief of Police Chip Simmons plans to retire in August after 29 years of service with the Pensacola Police Department. Hayward also announced on June 12 that he will nominate David Alexander III to serve as Pensacola’s next Chief of Police. As a department head, Alexander’s appointment is subject to the approval of the City Council. Alexander will become the first AfricanAmerican Chief of Police in the 194-year history of the Pensacola Police Department.

Foo Foo Fest grant recipients announced Art, Culture and Entertainment, (ACE), Inc. announced on June 11 the recipients of $250,000 in grant funding for the second annual Foo Foo Festival (Foo Foo Fest), the upcoming fall festival of arts and cultural events to be held November 5-16, 2015. Foo Foo Fest, the tourism marketing program of ACE, promises to be bigger and better in 2015 as the area works to attract cultural tourists to Escambia County, Fla. Foo Foo Fest, a 12-day celebration of the arts, acts as a “marketing umbrella” for the period of time to help leverage the breadth and depth of the overall selection of events, which are comprised of programming provided by 21 grant recipients and many more pre-existing events. Full list of grant recipients: • Pensacola Opera • Vinyl Music Hall • Ballet Pensacola • Pensacola Museum of Art • SOAR Pensacola • Legal Services of N. Fla. • Pensacola Civic Band • Japan-America Society of NW. Fla. • Pensacola Choral Society • African-American Society

• Frank Brown Int’l Songwriters Festival • First City Alliance • Pensacola Symphony Orchestra • Pensacola EggFest • Truth for Youth • Pensacola Jazz Society • 350 Pensacola • Pensacola MESS Hall • UWF Historic Trust • Pensacola Bay Concert Band

Local financial expert places on national list Rodney L. Rich, President of Rodney Rich & Company, was recently listed with the Financial Times as an elite member of The Financial Times Top 401 Retirement Plan Advisors. The list recognizes the top financial advisors who specialize in serving defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. The Financial Times Top 401 Retirement Plan Advisors is an independent listing produced by the Financial Times. The FT 401 is based on data gathered from financial advisors, firms, regulatory disclosures, and the FT’s research. The listing reflects each advisor’s performance in eight primary areas, including: DC plan assets under management; DC plan assets as a percentage of overall AUM; growth in DC plan AUM; growth in DC plans advised; DC plan employee participation; professional designations; experience; and compliance record. Neither the brokerages nor the advisors pay a fee to The Financial Times in exchange for inclusion in the FT 401.

UWF to help veterans get back to school The University of West Florida’s Military and Veterans Resource Center, in collaboration with Complete Florida Military, helps active duty service members, veterans and their families return to college. Recent funding from the Florida Defense Support Task Force has enabled Complete Florida Military – a new State of Florida initiative – to offer scholarships and support for Florida military, veterans and dependents of up to $2,000 for those with at least a 2.0 GPA.

850.429.0002 | info@nwfl.bbb.org 64 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com




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Warren Averett Members Gary Tringas, CPA; Scott Warren, CPA and Kathleen Baldwin, CPA, CCIFP

BOLDLY GO, KNOWING WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK When clients work with Warren Averett, they’re a client of the entire Firm. That means more people with more experience looking out for them. This talent sharing mindset means clients work with the Warren Averett team member who can make the most valuable contribution at the right time. Whether clients need industry expertise, technical proficiency or business know-how, our team will be there when they need us. Let’s thrive together. www.warrenaverett.com 66 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Florida l Alabama l Georgia

Profile for Ballinger Publishing

Northwest Florida's Business Climate July 2015  

Northwest Florida's Business Climate July 2015