September 3, 2014
Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach

Photo: Shutterstock

National Solar Power

National Solar Power plans to build the Southeast’s largest solar energy farm in Gadsden County.

Photo: National Solar Power

National Flight Academy

National Flight Academy

Photo: National Flight Academy

Creek Entertainment

Creek Entertainment in Gretna

Photo: Colin Hackley

Business Florida 2013 - The Regions

Northwest Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee

| 9/20/2012

Northwest at a Glance

Northwest Florida
Demographics for the Northwest region can be found at
Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.

Universities/Colleges
• Chipola College
• Florida A&M University
• Florida State University
• Gulf Coast State College
• Northwest Florida State College
• Pensacola State College
• Tallahassee Community College
• University of West Florida

Airports
• Northwest Florida Beaches International
• Northwest Florida Regional
• Pensacola International
• Tallahassee Regional

Seaports
• Port Panama City
• Port of Pensacola
• Port of Port St. Joe

Northwest Florida is a favorite visitor destination for its sugar white beaches, natural springs and abundant pine forests. But along with a thriving tourism economy — that in 2011 generated revenue increases averaging close to 25% across many counties — Florida’s Panhandle is home to a strong aviation/defense sector and is becoming the site for solar energy R&D.

Businesses here enjoy proximity to key southeastern markets via interconnected highways, railroads and shipping lines. In fact, connections from this region to middle America are such that, in 2011, international shipping giant UPS moved its central Gulf Coast regional sorting operation from Alabama to Pensacola.

Improvements are under way at all three of the region’s deepwater ports; Port of Pensacola is looking to attract more of the high-tech vessels that service offshore oil and gas drilling rigs. Traffic at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (the nation’s first new international airport in a decade) is about 200% higher than at the airport it replaced, and tenants are moving in to nearby VentureCrossings, where 1,000 acres are available for large-scale aviation projects.

WHO LIVES HERE

Military
43,000-plus well-trained military personnel on active duty at six Air Force and Navy installations. In addition, an estimated 7,750 personnel retire from military service here each year. Typically younger than civilian retirees, military retirees often seek a second career, bringing their advanced technical skills and highly desired industry credentials to employers.

Students
60,000-plus students in the region’s eight colleges and universities, including Florida State University, Florida A&M University and the University of West Florida.

Millennials
Moving.com, a leading source for moving-related services, ranked Florida’s capital city — Tallahassee — No. 2 on its 2012 list of “America’s Most Millennial Friendly Cities,” citing affordable housing and proximity to FSU as especially appealing for Generation Y’ers looking to relocate.

Innovators
In Tallahassee, where the share of the workforce with college degrees is almost double the national average, startups find encouragement through resources like the Entrepreneurial Excellence Program sponsored by the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County. This four-week course linking aspiring entrepreneurs with seasoned business pros covers such topics as financing, marketing, ethics and everyday operations.

Tags: Business Florida, Northwest

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Disney's Hoop-Dee-Doo still serving up laughs, dinner after 40 years
Disney's Hoop-Dee-Doo still serving up laughs, dinner after 40 years

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will mark its 40th anniversary this week after more than 37,000 dinner-show performances at Pioneer Hall, tucked away in Disney's Fort Wilderness campground.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Is it time to cash out of stocks?

  • Yes
  • Maybe - need to understand market dynamics better
  • No

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe