Invention Convention

Gulf Coast State College & FSU Panama City

April 13th, 2019

Gulf Power Economic Symposium

Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Sandestin, FL

April 17th – 18th, 2019


Don’t miss Gulf Power’s annual Economic Symposium, where business professionals from all over Florida will convene to learn about the latest efforts in growing Northwest Florida’s economy. You will have the chance to network with community and business leaders from across the region. Register here.


Women’s Tech Conference

TechFarms, Panama City Beach

WITI started in 1989 as The International Network of Women in Technology and, in 2001, evolved into The WITI Professional Association, the world’s leading trade association for tech-savvy women. Today, WITI is the premiere global organization empowering women in business and technology to achieve unimagined possibilities. With a global network of smart, talented women and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI has powerful programs and partnerships that provide connections, resources, opportunities and a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. Along with its professional association of Networks throughout the U.S. and worldwide, including Hong Kong, Great Britain, Australia, and Mexico, WITI delivers value for individuals that work for a company, the government or academia, as well as small business owners.

Register here. For more info on WITI, click here.


Startup Weekend Pensacola

Pensacola Socialdesk, Pensacola, FL

February 8th – 10th, 2019


Techstars Startup Weekend was an unforgettable experience. Contestants of all sorts had to use their creativity to produce a full functioning business including a minimum viable product (MVP) under 54 hours.

Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and to be on the look out for the March issue for a complete overview of the event including pictures, winning teams, and their unique business proposals.

Tech, Talk & Tacos

TechFarms, Panama City Beach, FL

January 22nd, 2019, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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Photo Credit: Panhandle Productions – Travis Revell 

The Grand Lagoon Life Event, “Tech, Talk & Tacos,” was a huge success! During the event, local entrepreneurs started off the night with a plate of delicious tacos catered by Finns Island Style Grub – A one of a kind local taco & burrito establishment. The dinner was closely followed by presentations of local tech talent in which inspired the guests to network after hours.

Entrecon 2018

Pensacola Little Theatre, Pensacola FL

November 14 – 15

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EntreCon 2018 was an exciting and rewarding event for entrepreneurs, business owners, and employees who gathered to receive training and network with hundreds of other like-minded business professionals throughout the region. This popular entrepreneur conference has developed over the years into a learning experience where attendees receive insightful presentations from featured speakers and panelists from around the country who share their strategies for starting and growing their businesses. This year there were 8 EntreCon Award winners in 8 different categories ranging from Startup Business of the Year to Entrepreneur of the Year.

Hosted by the Studer Community Institute, EntreCon focuses on three core ideologies: better jobs, better lives, and better communities. For the Northwest Florida region, EntreCon continues to be an awesome event and is doing its part to help grow jobs and build a better community for all residents.


SOLIDWORKS Largest User Group Meeting Ever (SLUGME)


Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, 6:00 pm

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SOLIDWORKS Largest User Group Meeting Ever was fun and filled with warmth. Attendees and PCB SolidWorks User Group members had a chance to get together for the first time after the Hurricane Michael and enjoyed need to know tips and tricks via broadcast from California while having pizza.

ITEN Wired 2018

Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Resort, Pensacola Beach, FL

October 1-October 2, 2018

Executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, and educators from across Florida gathered at the Gulf Coast’s premier conference for innovation, tech, and entrepreneurship. Presenters provided intelligible lectures on trending topics such as cyber security, tech makers, start-up tech, virtual environments, simulation, and robotics.

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PCB Chamber of Commerce Meeting

ATC Building, Gulf Coast State College

Friday, September 14, 7:30am-9:00am

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Local business owners gathered for the Chamber of Commerce meeting which featured TechFarms CEO, Steve Millaway, discussing the importance of entrepreneurship and tech.


GCSC ATC Building, Room 203

Tuesday, August 21, 6:00pm

The latest installment of the Panama City Beach SolidWorks User Group meeting was family friendly as attendees brought their spouses, children, friends, and family to the event.  Dassault Systems’ guest speakers from Massachusetts, Sal and Chinloo Lama, presented SolidWorks Tips & Techniques and SolidWorks Apps for Kids to the 60+ attendees. User Group leader, Kendra Wardlow, arranged free pizza for all and awarded giveaways from sponsors SOLIDWORKS, RAPID, Xometry, DriveWorks, Kenesto, paperlessPARTS and Contour Design.

Sal and Chinloo Lama also toured the TechFarms facility where several tenants demonstrated how they’re using SolidWorks to design & build a range of interesting prototypes ranging from human carrying aerial drones to underwater human propulsion systems. TechFarms tenants have access to many of the SolidWorks suite of tools including SolidWorks Premium, Flow, Simulation, MBD, Electrical and Visualize.


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Florida 2030

July 24, 2018, Florida State University, Panama City, FL

The Florida Chamber of Commerce presented their vision of Florida’s economic future entitled “Florida 2030”. The Chamber’s presentation is the result of three years’ worth of research and feedback from more than 10,000 Floridians in each of Florida’s 67 counties as part of the Florida 2030 initiative – a multi-million research initiative that seeks to identify the challenges and opportunities Florida has between now and 2030, and to create a blueprint for Florida’s future.

The Chamber selected a panel of local business and educational leaders to provided feedback to the Chamber and other attendees. Panel members included TechFarms’ CEO, Steve Millaway, Gulf Power’s Jennifer Conoley, and Bay County District Schools’ Beth Patterson.  For more information on the Florida 2030 initiative see:

Fl 2030

TCC Student Entrepreneurs and Covalent Reality visit TechFarms

July 6, 2018. TechFarms Panama City Beach

Tallahassee Community College’s Dean of Business Industry and Technology, Dr. Stephen Dunnivant, along with student entrepreneurs and representative from Covalent toured TechFarms and presented their new product ideas. The students pitched their “Smart Brace” concept while Covalent representatives demonstrated their virtual reality service offerings. TechFarms enjoys a close working relationship with TCC and their new Center for Innovation. For more info see:

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Small Business and AFRL TH!NK Event

July 12, 2018, 8AM-5PM, Doolittle Institute, Niceville, FL

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TechFarms team members attended the Doolittle Institute’s first-ever Small Business and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) TH!NK Event for the entrepreneur, innovator, small business, scientist or researcher interested in collaborating with Federal Research Laboratories.

The open-house-style event provided opportunities to learn about collaborating with the government, meet other researchers, and for researchers to network with local small businesses or entrepreneurs. It coincided with their July TH!NK Thursday.

The Small Business + AFRL TH!NK Event was free.  It offered entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially those interested in technology transfer, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and starting or growing their businesses with federal technologies, opportunities to learn about collaborating with the government.

Advanced Soldering Class for FSU Engineering Students

July 5, 2018, TechFarms, Panama City Beach, FL

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White House STEM Education Summit

June 25-26, 2018. White House, Washington D.C.

TechFarms CEO, Steve Millaway, represented Florida at an exclusive STEM Education event hosted by the White House on June 25th and 26th. Over 200 STEM Leaders from all 50 states, all five territories, and several tribes, attended this exclusive event to discuss the importance of STEM Education and developing a 5 year STEM Education Plan.

Pictured: Michael Kratsios, Tech Advisor to President Trump; Ivanka Trump, First Daughter. Photo courtesy of TechFarms.

The Summit heard from speakers in an array of fields, most notably Ivanka Trump and Michael Krastios pictured above with their respective titles. Other speakers included officials from NASA and NSF. Key takeaways are cited as forging stronger connections for students between education and work, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship, integrating computer science principles across the educational experience, and improving access of STEM programs for all Americans.

Attendees also participated in several “breakout sessions”, in which they communicated amongst themselves the impact of the previous STEM plan and collaborated future ideas on how to further develop and bring awareness to STEM throughout the country.

It was concluded that, in accordance with the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, the 2018-2023 plan will be be compromised of a culmination of the insights gained from all Federal Agencies, educators, and industry representatives in attendance. This plan will support Americans preparing for jobs of the future and advance innovative job training programs.

2018 International RoboBoat Competition

June 18-24, 2018. Reed Canal Park, South Daytona, FL

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TechFarms tenant, Branch Networks, was selected by RoboNation to provide Internet access for this international event. Branch’s Nick Casassa and NSWC PCD’s Bill Porter, spent several months designing the elaborate lakeside network which consists of a combination of fiber runs and Wi-Fi access points that allow participants to interact with their autonomous boats during the competition. For more information see:

TechFarms’ Open House

TechFarms, Panama City Beach, May 24, 2018, 5:30pm-8pm

TechFarms Open House

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TechFarms’ annual Open House was a big success and was attended by over 200 individuals from all over NW Florida. Attendees of all ages enjoyed Artificial Reality demonstrations, networking, seeing TechFarms’ current projects, and seeing all the inventions and products being developed by our members. We’re happy everyone enjoyed all the food & drinks and gift bags. We also want to congratulate the 4 lucky individuals that won our cool raffle prizes. Thanks to everyone who came out to visit us …. we hope to have lots more to show you next year!


TechFarms, Panama City Beach, May 22, 2018, 5 pm


SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting was held on Tuesday, May 22 at 5 p.m. at TechFarms’ facility in the McElvey Commercial Park across from the Navy base.  Firehouse Subs, chips and cookies was provided for dinner and lots of great giveaways from the sponsors SOLIDWORKS, RAPID, Xometry, DriveWorks, Kenesto, paperlessPARTS and Contour Design.

Kendra Wardlow, our friendly neighborhood User Group leader, presented “Best Enhancements from Solidworks 2016 and 2017.”

Tommy Ray, Application Engineer for ModernTech, presented “Solidworks Sheet Metal and Weldments.”

Studer Workshop – Boot Camp Your Brand

WSRE- Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio, Pensacola, FL

May 4, 2018, 9am-4:30pm


Don’t miss out on what will be an incredibly informative event hosted by Hatchmark Studio, Red Iron Design, Two Headed Marketing, and Vivid Bridge Studios! Come out and learn new ways to market your brand that are sure to help your business grow.

Please RSVP via Eventbrite.

Invention Convention & STEM Open House

FSU PC & Gulf Coast State College, April 28, 2018, 1pm-4 pm


The first annual Invention Convention & STEM Open House hosted by FSU-PC, Gulf Coast State College, NSWC PCD, and Bay District Schools featured inventions created by students from all across NWFL. Attended by an estimated 800 students and industry individuals, the event was a great success. Attendees had the chance to see the demonstration of a wide variety of technology and inventions from both campuses as well as from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, TechFarms, and other local businesses.

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Pinewood Derby

TechFarms, Panama City Beach, March 2018

Cub Scouts Pack 323 is bringing their Pinewood Derby Race to TechFarms! Panama City Beach, March 2018. This annual event brings parents, mentors, and their cub scouts together to work on their own custom race cars while strengthening bonds and building confidence. Cub Scouts get to work on the car design – building, painting, and accessorizing to compete with their pack. They will be sharing a great experience and learning about teamwork, ingenuity, and sportsmanship in this race of a lifetime.

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2018 International SeaPerch Challenge  

Gulf Coast State College, March 9, 2018 

More than 72 teams of students participated in the Northwest Florida regional 2018 International SeaPerch Challenge at Gulf Coast State College. The event is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and managed by RoboNation. 

What started out as a project in a children’s book over ten years ago has transformed into an international event beloved by students  and teachers around the world. This initiative is fondly known as  SeaPerch, and was initially developed as a method of growing the Ocean Engineering Program at MIT. After realizing the potential this program could have as a learning opportunity for more than just college students and teachers, SeaPerch sought and received funding from ONR and expanded into a global outreach program within K-12 schools, teaching them robotics as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Students build their ROVs from kits using PVC pipe, circuit boards, and thruster motors and then compete to see who can best navigate them through an underwater obstacle course. In the process of building their SeaPerch vehicles, students learn tool safety and technical procedures to get hands-on experience with basic marine engineering, design and science concepts. 

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Prior to the Northwest Florida regional SeaPerch event, Daniel Flisek , Kinsey Taylor, Harryel Philippeaux and Kevin Powell from Naval Support Activity – Panama City spent many hours at TechFarms designing and building a new obstacle course for this years’ competition. two of which, according to Mr. Flisek will be the same ones to be used at the upcoming national competition. This is the third year that TechFarms and NSA – Panama City personnel have collaborated to build the obstacle courses and other items for the events. 

The winners of 2018’s NWFL regional SeaPerch Challenge are: 

High School
Teacher:  Tami McConnell
School:  Navarre HS, Santa Rosa County
Students:  Miguel Homar, Tiara Winbery 

Middle School
Teacher:  Jay Buddhi, Morgan Sansbury
School:  Surfside MS, Bay County
Students:  Samantha Persons, Lena Ottinger, Chritina Kennedy, Taylor Winterich 

Teacher:  Julian “Trey” Paul
School:  Poplar Springs School, Holmes County
Students:  Joseph Godwin, Bryson Potts 

TechFarms congratulates the winners and all the students that participated in this years’ event, and wishes the winning teams good luck as they go on to participate in the International SeaPerch Challenge finals to be held this year on June 2nd at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 


TechFarms, February 27, 2018, 5 pm – 7:30 pm

TechFarms and SolidWorks hosted PCBSWUG’s (Panama City Beach SolidWorks User Group) first meeting of 2018. This event led by PCBSWUG leader, Kendra Wardlow, was a success with over 30 members attending. Several industry representatives spoke, including representatives from Dassault Systems who previewed the many new features of SolidWorks 2018. The event was live streamed and can be viewed on YouTube at:

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Girls’ Night 

ATC, Gulf Coast State College, February 21, 2018, 5:15pm-7:30pm

Gulf Coast State College, Bay District Schools, TechFarms and other local industry partners hosted “Girls’ Night” in conjunction with National Engineers Week. The event is designed for middle school girls to come together and learn more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. The event was a huge success as girls from all over Bay County spent the evening exploring GCSC’s Advanced Technology Center and experienced hands-on activities in Engineering, Robotics, 3D Printing, Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS), Digital Design, Cyber Security, and Computer Science.  

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Digital Marketing Power Tour

Palms Conference Center, November 15, 2017, 3:00pm-5:00pm

If you own or operate a business, you will want to be present for this special training session presented by James Clemens, a Google Top Contributor and owner of Mica Specialties, a Google certified advertising agency. Learn how to utilize today’s most-effective tools to accelerate your digital marketing success. We will also cover exclusive information presented by Laura Nelson, A-List Accounting owner, covering smart tactics for business purchases during the holidays. Allison Smith, V.P. of Herbafex and founder of Simply Self Esteem, will reveal some very useful info on networking and building your personal connections for business success. This is an RSVP event and all attendees will leave empowered for excellence. Special gifts, food, drinks, and more are all included in the $95 cost. Seating is limited so sign up now to lock in your attendance. The $95 fee will be donated to Simply Self Esteem on your behalf, so you will be building your digital marketing intelligence while also building the self esteem of local teens.

EntreCon Pensacola 2017 by Studer Community Institute

Pensacola, November 14-16, 2017 – 8 am – 4:30 pm
Pensacola Little Theatre – 400 South Jefferson Street, Pensacola, FL 32502

EntreCon is a business conference for local entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders to come together, network, and learn from each other.

In the third year, EntreCon 2017 was even bigger and better than ever. This business conference provided an opportunity to learn from local and national entrepreneurs who shared the lessons they have learned in launching and growing startups, how to create great cultures and engagement, as well as ways to raise capital.

A third day of learning has been added and the Studer Community Institute Entrepreneur Awards was presented at a special event on the second evening of the conference. The presenting sponsor of the Entrepreneur Awards this year is Cox. Here is EntreCon 2017 award winner list.

Check our Blog for EntreCon 2017 photos.

Marketing Wonderland (A Livestream Google Workshop)

Palms Conference Center, November 1, 2017, 10:45am-1:15pm

Marketing Wonderland is a very special livestream event featuring Google, Facebook, the Small Business Administration, Square and Constant Contact. This free livestream workshop is RSVP only and will take place on November 1st from 10:45 AM to 1:15 PM. Seating is filling up fast so reserve your space now to attend.

Marketing Wonderland will help you grow your business online in time for the holiday season. Learn from the leaders in digital marketing and experts of business success. All attendees will receive valuable gifts from Google and Mica Specialties, including tutorials and special resources for businesses. Food and beverages from Domino’s Pizza will be provided.

This event is brought to Panama City Beach by James Clemens, a Google Top Contributor and owner of Mica Specialties, a Google-certified advertising agency. James is also a Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and a valued member of Panhandle Strategic Alliance.

ITEN Wired

Pensacola Beach, October 9-11

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The 2017 Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship Network (ITEN) conference. This is the Gulf Coats’s premier conference for executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, and educators working in technology. Discussion topics will include cyber security, tech makers, start-up tech, virtual environments, simulation, and robotics.

This conference will be a great way to network with other investors and entrepreneurs and is the perfect environment to breed new ideas, along with forging new partnerships. All presenters are experts in their field and offer unparalleled information to attendees.

For more details see:

21st Annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium

Sandestin, October 1-3, 2017  at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

The 21st Annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium is a renowned event among
industry professionals that focuses on the current efforts to grow Northwest Florida’s
economy. People from across the region came together in this two day event for a
chance to network with other business leaders, learn what has been accomplished over
the past year, and to hear what the future has in store. Numerous notable speakers
shared their knowledge with the crowd, including Stan Connally, the Chairman,
President & CEO of Gulf Power, Florida Governor Rick Scott, and Geopolitical
Strategist Peter Zeihan.

Notable panel discussions included presentations by Randy Hanna, Dean, Florida State
University in Panama City, Dr. Martha Saunders, President of the University of West
Florida, and a site selection panel hosted by Kim Wilmes, President & CEO, Florida’s
Great Northwest.

TechFarms Capital was a sponsor of this years’ event and its booth was visited by
numerous individuals representing entrepreneurs, investors, and other Northwest
Florida business leaders.

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2017 TeCMEN Industry Day

Ft. Walton Beach, August 29 – 7:30am – 5:00pm 

The 2017 Technology Coast Manufacturing and Engineering Network (TeCMEN) Industry Day conference was held in the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Here, representatives from the manufacturing, technology, and engineering sector showcased their companies capabilities with booths open to conference registrants. Industry peers had the chance to network and experience influential content from dozens of high profile speakers representing government, defense, and the private sector. Notable speakers included Stephen Berthold from Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City Fl and Daryl Taylor with Airbus in Mobile, AL.

For details see:

Leadership Conference: Creating a Winning team and Culture

Panama City, Thursday, June 8, 2017, 8:30am – 4:00pm

Event will be held in the Advanced Technology Center @ Gulf Coast State College, Panama City, Florida

The 2017 Panama City Leadership conference will feature local and national speakers who will share actionable strategies to improve performance and get results, including how to:

  • Define values and ingrain them in everything you do.
  • Perform a culture audit.
  • Create an environment of trust.
  • Focus on results and build accountability.
  • Explain “the why.”
  • Be a storyteller and communicate with clarity and consistency.
  • Be able to work effectively with others.
  • Drive negativity out of the workplace.

Startup Weekend

March 31st – April 2, 2017

The fourth annual Startup Weekend was held March 31st – April 2, 2017 at Gulf Coast State College’s Advanced Technology Center in Panama City, Florida. Entrepreneurs gathered in Panama City, FL to participate in this exciting weekend event where ideas are pitched and then voted on. After the most popular are chosen, teams are formed and the competition begins! What follows is a 54-hour marathon comprised of business model creation, designing, and presentations, all providing critical feedback for creative and entrepreneurial growth.

(Re) Start Business Expo

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
TechFarms partnered with the Panhandle Strategic Alliance to host the (Re) Start Business-to-Business Expo and networking event. Read the press release to learn more about the Alliance and guest speakers from the event.


November 3-4, 2016

After a wildly successful first year in Pensacola, 2016’s second annual EntreCon had to change venues at the last minute due to the unexpected increase in attendees. Sessions included how to maximize strengths of a multi-generational workforce, finding the right funding for your business, creating a better business culture, attracting and retaining talent, and much more. Keynote speakers for this event included, John Allison, founder and chairman of Home Bancshares & Centennial Bank; Julie Weber, vice president of people for Southwest Airlines; and Emily Ley, author and creator of the Simplified Planner. Our own Steve Millaway, owner and founder of TechFarms, sat on a discussion panel.

Gulf Power Economic Symposium 2016

Sunday, October 2nd to Tuesday, October 4th, 2016
TechFarms was a sponsor of the 2016 Gulf Power Economic Symposium. Read the press release to learn more about this event.

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Thursday June 23rd, 2016
Read the press release to catch the highlights from this event.