Paul Sohl of Florida High Tech Corridor

January 21, 2024

Where Innovation Meets Inspiration: An Interview with Paul Sohl of Florida Tech High Corridor

In the dynamic landscape of innovation, leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the future. Synapse had the opportunity to interview Paul Sohl, Rear Adm. USN (Ret) and CEO, of the Florida High Tech Corridor, where he gave us his perspective on what defines innovation, the impactful contributions of the Florida High Tech Corridor, and the role he plays within this ecosystem. Sohl’s impact is evident in his endeavors to drive innovation and foster technological growth, so let’s explore the multifaceted dimensions of his contributions.

First, who is Paul Sohl?

Sohl joined The Corridor in June 2020, following more than three decades of service in the U.S. Navy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He now oversees The Corridor’s portfolio of programs supporting research, marketing, workforce, and entrepreneurship. This includes its cornerstone Matching Grants Research Program, which since its inception in 1996 has generated over $1 billion in verified downstream impacts; Cenfluence—a clustering initiative in partnership with Orange County Government; STEM outreach; and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) facilitation.

Innovation is not just a buzzword

For leaders like Paul, innovation is not just a buzzword – but a driving force that ultimately shapes a journey. Sohl emphasizes the importance of pushing boundaries, fostering creativity, being agile, and adapting to change. He uses his military background as a foundation that guides him through his own journey as an innovation enabler. He refers to a saying in the Navy, “Go to the pain and start there,” but Sohl puts a twist on it for innovators, “Go to the energy, go to the passion; start there, and it will lead the way.” Innovation is more than just technology. It’s the people behind the ideas and the outcome of those ideas. Tech with a purpose and a reason for creating, and having fun with it!

Fueled by a spirit of Florida collaboration

The Florida High Tech Corridor is deeply rooted in the Sunshine State, with a strong connection to the vibrant innovation ecosystem within its 23-county region. Anchored by three of the nation’s largest research institutions – the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF), and the University of Florida (UF) – The Corridor stands at the forefront of cutting-edge research and technological advancements. The mission of The Corridor is to converge and catalyze the capacity of high tech, innovation, and bright minds, creating a global ripple effect that positively impacts the lives of people in the communities it serves. Fueled by a spirit of Florida collaboration, The Corridor aligns opportunities and resources across academia, industry, and economic development, aiming to unleash the exponential potential of the region and propel it to new heights of innovation and success.

Where ideas converge and collaborations take shape

When Paul arrived at the Florida High Tech Corridor during the thick of the pandemic, his enthusiasm for innovation, collaboration, and community was greeted with endless virtual meetings. He looked outward to find answers and to support the people with innovative ideas. He gravitated towards like-minded leaders with similar missions in building new statewide connections, including Synapse, and he’s helped The Corridor emerge as a hub where ideas converge and collaborations take shape.


The Synapse Podcast brings you conversations with leaders in Florida’s innovation community, connecting entrepreneurs, investors, entrepreneurial support organizations, innovation enablers, talent, government, educational institutions, and corporations.  You can listen to the entire Synapse interview with Paul Sohl below and also find many other interviews with leader’s in Florida’s innovation community at The Synapse Podcast.

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