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Central Florida Moves Closer to Smart and Sustainable Cities after Collaborative Roundtable at Rollins College

03/21/2018 11:46 AM | Indian American Chamber of Commerce (Administrator)

Orlando, FL – March 18, 2018 Central Florida is moving closer toward implementing more green initiatives within our community.  The Smart and Sustainable Cities Collaborative Roundtable raised public awareness about important issues this past week at Rollins College.  The event focused on high tech solutions to improve services offered by the City of Orlando and cities across Florida.  The roundtable also focused on how cities can enact more sustainable policies to reduce negative impacts on our environment. 

Orlando’s efforts regarding these issues are part of a growing national and international movement.  Such examples include India, which has set a goal of creating 100 Smart Cities.  The nation is collaborating with the U.S. Government and an American company to implement the intelligent transformation of India’s first smart capital city.  Here in Orlando, Mayor Dyer has set aggressive goals to reduce environmental impact through the Green Works Orlando Initiative.

The cutting-edge discussion about planning for a cleaner, healthier, smarter and more sustainable future in Central Florida took part Wednesday evening at the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College.  The IACC hosted the roundtable in alliance with the City of Orlando and Rollins College, and VHB sponsored the event.

IACC President Yog Melwani says the roundtable moved our community forward as we work to implement more sustainable policies in Central Florida.  Mr. Melwani says, “Our panel of experts offered powerful insights about what we will be able to do in Central Florida in the coming years to improve our quality of life here.  Smart sensors and other technologies will create new jobs here, while helping to reduce negative impacts on our environment.”  IACC Leadership Team Member Mital Hall served as co-chair for this event.

The roundtable included panelists who offered expertise on smart cities and sustainable policies from several different sectors within our economy.  Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability for the City of Orlando, said the city just purchased some electric motorcycles for the police department to help reduce fleet emissions. Castro said several companies are partnering with the City of Orlando to help implement sustainable initiatives.  Castro said cooperation with companies is critical for success.

Evan Wyant, Market President of BB&T spoke about the importance of private, public partnerships to finance smart technology projects.  Truong Nguyen, Shareholder at GrayRobinson, talked about the importance of getting our citizens and community leaders to buy into the concepts of sustainable policies.  Dr. Mamta Accapadi, VP Student Affairs at Rollins College, focused on the role college students and other young people will play to shape green initiative policies for years to come. 

David Mulholland, Southeast Regional Manager at VHB told the audience that Orlando is already involved in testing self-driving vehicles and helping to develop other technologies right here.  Elizabeth Paul, Director of Strategic Planning with Orlando Utilities Commission, focused on how we can make our electric grid and street lights smarter systems, which can improve efficiency and help make our residents safer.

Alberto Vargas, Planning Manager for Orange County Government, said the county is updating its codes so we can implement more sustainable policies.  Vargas said we have to address affordable housing issues as we introduce more green initiatives.  Mike Hess, Vice President, Smart and Sustainable Buildings for Panasonic, spoke at length about the company’s efforts to build smart cities in the United States.  Hess says those projects can be profitable for the private sector, and that is an important factor moving forward. 

Dr. Naveen Eluru, with the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department at UCF, spoke about smart cities initiatives in India.  He said various states in India are introducing programs based on their priorities.  Dr. Eluru pointed out that people in India will use new smart transportation options based on their economic needs first.  

Ivan Aron, General Manager in Central Florida for Siemens, says some European countries are making steady progress toward implementing sustainable initiatives.  Aron says Siemens is already partnering with cities in Europe to implement clean energy technologies there.

The IACC- Orlando hopes to host another event focusing on smart cities and sustainable initiatives to continue our community’s discussion about these issues, at a later date.

The Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) is a strong chamber, with a growing membership. The IACC is focused on providing opportunities for the people of Asian Indian origin to network with some of Central Florida’s most successful business professionals and guest speakers, to assist in growing business locally, state-wide and internationally.  The IACC does this by“Connecting People and Fostering Business”.

The IACC leaders have facilitated strategic alliances with other Indian and Non- Indian business organizations, who want to do business with the Asian Indian American community, through networking and sponsorships.

IACC members are committed to community service, to assisting other charitable groups, and to increasing trade between the United States and India. The IACC is a not for profit 501 (C)(6).  Visit for more information.


Mailing Address:
Indian American Chamber of Commerce
670 N. Orlando Ave, Ste 1003
Maitland, FL 32751
Phone: 407.391.5151


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