ORLANDO, Fla. — In the middle of the economic downturn, the unintended consequence of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, one sector of Central Florida's economy is still flourishing.

What You Need To Know

  • Technology and simulation industry seeing job gains

  • GLESEC is a cyber security firm moving HQ to Orlando

  • Company says with more people working from home, his industry is in demand

“In this time of upheaval, where we see a lot of areas shrinking, it is fortunate that we see this one industry grow," said Laureen Martinez, with the Orlando Economic Partnership. "We’ve seen some industries within the Orlando region that have been less affected, and even seen some job gains. One of those areas is in the technology and simulation industry.”

Martinez said that companies like cyber security firm GLESEC, which is moving its headquarters from Princeton, New Jersey to Orlando, are capitalizing upon the strong simulation and training industry in the region.

“We discovered there are significant business opportunities, number one in the simulation area," explained GLESEC's CEO Sergio Heker. “We are considered a 'soft landing company,' a company that comes from another state."

Heker said another reason behind his firm's move specifically to the University of Central Florida's Business Incubator, nestled within Central Florida Research Park, is that the facility provides labs and secure operations rooms.

“The importance of them locating by UCF, and also Research Park, where we see a cluster of simulation companies, is very important to them. And right now, diversifying our economy is obviously very important," said Martinez.

GLESEC also operates in Latin America and Heker said that his firm's move to Orlando made sense: it's both geographically prime, as well as well-connected with Orlando International Airport nearby.

An engineer by trade, Heker started GLESEC in 2003. They now work with around 30 companies, ranging from the Department of Defense subcontracting to healthcare to airlines, in order to provide cyber security.

While the pandemic has challenged many industries, Heker said that his line of business is seeing increased demand, especially with many now working from home, heading online and running into phishing scams.

“Coronavirus is accelerating the need for security," he said. “The work continues to move, the hackers continue to hack and the defenses are more important than ever.”

GLESEC is also about to hire 26 new, high-wage positions, from cyber security analysts to account managers, in the next three years. 

With an average wage of $70,000, this is "almost 50 percent over the average wage in Orange County," according to the partnership.

“We'll have to move to a larger facility," said Heker. 

For now, Heker said that he's thrilled to be adding to the local economy, setting up shop in the Sunshine State.

According to the National Center for Simulation (NCS), more than $6 billion in simulation contracts flow through Central Florida each year.