The city of Winter Garden is hoping a new international technology company coming to West Colonial Drive will be the beginning of a new face for the major roadway through Central Florida.
On Friday, Dec. 6, representatives from the city, Orange County, Riegl and design and construction firms dug their shovels into the dirt at 14707 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, the future site of Riegl latest headquarters and training facility.
Riegl is a laser measurement systems firm that manufactures LiDAR technology for laser scanning in a variety of situations: airborne, mobile, terrestrial, industrial and unmanned.
Prior to turning the dirt, several guest speakers stepped up to the microphone: Johannes Riegl Jr., Riegl president; Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey; Commissioner Bob Buchanan and Mayor John Rees with the city of Winter Garden; Toby Walker, president of Walker Design; and Bryan Boykin, manager of DPR Construction’s special service group.
Many on the Riegl staff and management team, as well as numerous partners, advisors and local supporters, were on hand, as well.
Johannes Riegl, president of the Austrian company, said the decision to build in Winter Garden was made so employees could live in an affordable but high-quality area.
“It’s also helpful to have the ability to recruit skilled technology and engineering employees from nearby University of Central Florida and University of Florida,” he said.
Vice President Jim Van Rens calls it “a launching pad for greater things to come.”
The facility will be 18,000 square feet and will include 50 workspaces, a state-of-the-art training center, onsite calibration and service center, technical support team hub and sales support.
The company offers a number of services, including programming and space planning, concept design, 3D visualization, architecture, interior design, project management and consulting.
In Central Florida, the technology has been used for transportation design and construction of Interstate 4 and State Road 417, Florida Highway Patrol crash scene documentation and mapping for disaster response.
The systems are used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said the city is committed to bringing in more of this type of business along West Colonial Drive to create a high-tech corridor.
The Riegl website provides examples of its equipment in use.
During a training symposium at the Reunion Resort, in Orlando, the terrestrial laser scanner performed 400 scans of the resort grounds in eight hours to re-create a 3D image. Drones used for inspecting utility towers, bridges, railways and air transport infrastructure can be equipped with Riegl latest technologies. During and after a natural disaster, the company’s product can expedite the rescue mission.
The equipment can be used for land surveying, environmental monitoring and historic building management. It has measured how the Helmein Glacier, in Greenland, is moving horizontally and vertically at the same time. And it can create virtual versions of archaeological sites.
A video of Riegl’s laser measurement system equipment in use is available on youtube.com/riegllidar.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.