In August 2009, the University of South Florida Polytechnic announced the new Blue Sky program:
USFP hopes to bring high tech businesses and jobs to the area with a pair of operations, “The Blue Sky facilities will be the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology.”
Later in Auguest, I wrote a column about looking for an office. A way to get out of the house and sit somewhere other than coffeeshops:
Do you have a interesting business, or not-for-profit? Maybe an extra desk? Wi-Fi? I’m looking for the chance to see Lakeland’s business community from the inside.
Marshall Goodman, Goodman, VP and CEO of USF Polytechnic, gave me a call right away. He offered me space at Blue Sky West. I accepted. I’m neither a staff person with USFP nor a client of the Blue Sky program. I stand outside both groups. However, I offer my help and advice while serving as a sounding board for both groups.
Of course, I started closely watching the progress of the program….
In late December 2009, I reported on the progress toward opening Blue Sky West in Lakeland:
The paint isn’t dry, but the USF Polytechic incubator “Blue Sky West” is quickly moving forward. Blue Sky is the University of South Florida Polytechnic initiative to jump start technology related businesses in Central Florida.
In March 2010, I reported on Lakeland Local’s move into the Blue Sky West offices:
After a long wait, production of Lakeland Local has moved lock, stock, and laptop from a home office to one in downtown Lakeland. Yes, I do worry that it might mean some will start to take us seriously. However, I’m sure I’ll soon publish something that will end any such crazy thoughts.
This afternoon, Blue Sky held their official grand opening. I was there to talk a bit about Lakeland Local, Metro i4 News and my Sitesmith design work. USFP photographers were there to shoot a few photos.
8:30am May 7, 2010 This article was edited after publication.