While bell boys, telemarketers and waitresses were the in-demand jobs five years ago, today in Orlando it's more about software programmers, doctors and accountants.
"Orlando has changed a ton over the last several years," said Bill Peppler, who witnessed the metamorphosis firsthand as managing partner of local staffing firm Kavaliro.
Peppler and two other University of Central Florida graduates started Kavaliro in 2010. The name of the company is in Esperanto and means knight, the UCF mascot.
The change has been so dramatic that Kavaliro moved its office three years ago from east Orlando to Central Florida Research Park, recognizing the types of companies that were being drawn to the area, including simulation, technology and governmental agencies.
"We saw what was coming and growing," Peppler said. "Orlando was reinventing itself."
Central Florida is about "a lot more than Mickey Mouse," Peppler said. "There has become a real need for skilled labor."
For instance, there are over 100 computer-based simulation companies around Central Florida, and companies are bringing their headquarters or back offices here.
Kavaliro sees most staffing demand for software developers, website designers and network security professionals who fight hackers.
Peppler attributes Orlando's change to the talent that is drawn here, well prepared students graduating from local world class universities like UCF, and governmental support in the form of incentives and a desire to alleviate obstacles to doing business here.
Even Kavaliro has benefited from the conducive business climate, hooking up with mega-bank PNC to aid its growth through lending and other services.
"Five years ago that never would have happened; it was harder for companies our size to find banks of that size willing to work with us," Peppler said.
Peppler said "things will get even more diverse in Central Florida's economy. It will be an ever evolving skill set. I expect an even greater emphasis on technology and healthcare as the population continues to age."