"We've got to convince site consultants and target companies that northwest Florida is open for business and is business-friendly."
— Neal Wade
» VentureCrossings Prospects — "Northwest Florida has two major building blocks, military and aerospace — seven military installations and 1,900 aerospace and defense contractors. In addition, if EADS succeeds in building tankers in Mobile, their suppliers will be looking in Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida — and that's another chunk of business for us to go after. What's important for the region is the ripple effect. The more that happens in the region, the more the region is going to benefit."
» Strategy — "We'll focus on additional target industries and on-site consultants. We've got to convince site consultants and target companies that northwest Florida is open for business and is business-friendly. I don't think now we're getting as many prospects and looks as we need to be getting. We'll also focus on logistics; transportation infrastructure is important in the economic development process."
» Missing Links — "We need balance and diversity in our job base. We should look to growing jobs in aerospace, life sciences and technology as well as tourism. I grew up in southwest Alabama when the textile industry was primary — it's not there anymore."
» Bottom Line — "There's no question that VentureCrossings is very important to St. Joe, and as a regional catalyst.
St. Joe owns 300,000 acres within 40 miles of the new airport — that's enough opportunity to last for a long time."