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Tech company in FWB named a Fla. best is expanding

OKALOOSA COUNTY - It's been a good year for a Fort Walton Beach company called Bit Wizards. They were recognized for creating jobs, and for being one of Florida's best places to work.

When you walk into Bit Wizards new headquarters in Fort Walton Beach, you know right away this isn't an ordinary company. For example, we're not walking into the Creative Department....we're stepping onto the Holodeck.

So what does a Bit Wizard do? If terms like application development and cloud infrastructure aren't familiar, CEO Vince Mayfield makes it simple.

"The easiest thing to say is that we solve business problems using software," said Vince Mayfield.

Clearly, they do it well. The Governor's Office recognized Bit Wizards for their recent expansion, creating ten new jobs this year, with ten more in the pipeline.

The people that snag those jobs will be part of a family that works and plays together. Four years running, they've been named one of Florida Trend's best companies to work for. Instead of a receptionist, they have a "Director of Morale." She has a line item in her budget for keeping people happy.

"They're always thinking of something they can do to make our work experience and our lives a little easier, and so it makes you really want to work harder for them," said software engineer Chris Duffy.

While planning the expansion, Mayfield says Okaloosa County almost lost out to Austin, Texas. The balance tipped back with a 250-thousand dollar grant made possible by the Oil Spill Recovery Act. He says staying here helps preserve the family feeling that's building their success.

"Every decision that he and I make has an impact on the forty people that work for us, and their families, and so we want to make sure we don't make a misstep," Mayfield said.

Laura Hussey "I figure I might as well soak up a little corporate culture. This is a small gun, but I figure....(shooting starts)....I can take these guys....clearly this is perfect for the newsroom."