Economic yearbook 2011
Jacksonville / duval County
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: Flightstar Aircraft Services — Flightstar, which repairs aircraft and converts passenger jets into cargo planes, opened a $20-million, 130,000-sq.-ft. paint hangar and repair center in January at its Cecil Airport facility, creating 200 jobs. "We're seeing a lot of activity in the aviation industry," says Jerry Mallot, president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce's Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership. "We've got a strong group of aviation-related companies that we're working with right now that would either be new or expansion. I think aviation is going to be an important business this year in terms of growth and expansion."
EMERGING STAR: Saft America — French battery maker Saft plans to open its $200-million Jacksonville plant this spring at Cecil Airport, adding nearly 300 jobs with an average salary of $45,000. Saft manufactures lithium batteries for military vehicles, aviation, smart grid support, broadband backup power and renewable energy storage. "We're beginning to build some framework for Jacksonville to be an incredible opportunity for international companies," says Ron Barton, executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission.
HEAVY HITTER: Bank of America — One of northeast Florida's largest employers, Bank of America plans to add 1,000 jobs over the next 18 months, says Mallot, positioning the financial services industry as a leader in the region's economic recovery. "I would say across the board, whether it's Deutsche Bank or Bank of America, the financial services industry is still going to be a growth sector for Jacksonville," says Barton. "A lot of our recovery is going to be financial companies." Mallot expects more announcements in the coming months. "We have an established company in financial services that's going to have a very large impact," he says.
HEAVY HITTER: Convergys Corp. — Convergys plans to add 600 customer service and sales jobs to assist clients in the communications and landscaping industries. Convergys is involved in information and customer management.
Paul Anderson, CEO, Jacksonville Port Authority — Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb says Paul Anderson, who previously served on the Federal Maritime Commission, is "coming here with marching orders to reassess where we are with moving the port forward." Anderson says he wants to continue the port's annual 6% to 7% growth rate, increase community support and work with elected officials in Washington and Tallahassee to build the port into a strategic commerce center.
Michael P. Fleming
Steve Grossman, executive director/CEO, Jacksonville Aviation Authority — Steve Grossman, who spent 17 years as director of aviation for the port of Oakland, Calif., has been on the job for about a year and a half. Many see this as a pivotal year for him. "He's doing some very good things," says Mallot. "He's making plans for a whole new infrastructure on the east side of Cecil, which will open large areas for aviation development."