Business & Economy

UWF combines units, expands Haas Center

The University of West Florida announces the expansion of the UWF Haas Center in its mission to support communities with market research, workforce development and industrial innovation. The Office of Workforce and Industrial Innovation along with the Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory now operate as part of the Haas Center.

Nicole Gislason, interim assistant vice president of the UWF Haas Center with team members

The Haas Center is in its 25th year and offers expert services in the collection, analysis and dissemination of data through products designed to inform strategic decision-making processes, enhance operational effectiveness and improve the tactical performance of the region’s workforce. Its services and tools are tailored to the individual needs of each client. The Haas Center operates as part of the UWF Innovation Institute within the Division of Research and Strategic Innovation. The combined team maintains offices at 212 Church St. in Pensacola’s Historic District and on the third floor of the Studer Community Institute on 220 W. Garden St.

“We are merging the Office of Workforce and Industrial Innovation, with the Haas Center—a unit that celebrates 25 years of community engagement,” said Nicole Gislason, interim assistant vice president of the Haas Center. “When you think about the existing lanes of service for the Center—demographic data and market research—these align nicely with the development of our workforce and the expansion of industry.”

Gislason said the Haas Center will form a board of economic advisers who will provide thought leadership in the areas of market research, impact analysis and data analytics. The board will enable the team to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing business environment and simplify community access to demographic information. Amy Newburn, Haas Center director of market research, will provide support for the board of economic advisers, which will be chaired by Dr. Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research, Florida Chamber Foundation.

“We are aligning existing data assets with other notable resources from the Florida Chamber Foundation and FloridaMakes. This will ensure our directed research aligns with the region and state’s needs,” said Pam Northrup, UWF Vice President of Research and Strategic Innovation.

Gislason previously served as director of the Office of Workforce and Industrial Innovation, which partnered with FloridaMakes in 2017 to provide support for local manufacturers through program opportunities, process improvement, cost reduction and innovative growth strategies. In 21 months of regional operations led out of UWF, FloridaMakes achieved $118.2 million in economic impact as measured by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

Gislason said the goal for the Haas Center is to accelerate technology adoption, talent development and business growth in an effort to expand the region’s workforce and industrial competitiveness.

“I welcome the opportunity to provide leadership and guidance to a wicked smart team,” Gislason said. “This is a pleasure and a privilege that I never anticipated. I do see the synergies and I believe in the work we’re doing. I know it makes a difference in our community.”

For more information about the UWF Haas Center, visit