Florida's International Advantages:
Accessing the Globe
Seamless connections and can-do attitude give Florida unparalleled international business savvy.
DieselMist Holdings, a London-based business conglomerate, holds the patent on a technology that could significantly reduce carbon emissions and potentially save billions of dollars in fuel costs. Any industry sector that uses diesel engines could benefit from the resulting equipment that allows diesel fuel to be mixed with cleaner, cheaper propane.
DieselMist’s demo truck is powered by dual fuels. ? [Photo: DieselMist Corp.]
“We had a number of markets to choose from,” says Darryl Keys, president and CEO of DieselMist Corporation, the firm’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, “but we decided to focus on heavy trucks.” And given that the U.S. dominates the world’s heavy truck sector, he adds, DieselMist needed to establish a presence in the U.S.
Florida and California were the leading contenders; both already had infrastructure in place to encourage energy-efficient technologies and both had governors eager to stimulate the growth of “green” businesses. Ultimately, however, a prime location, previously established ties with Britain (Enterprise Florida maintains a London office) and the enthusiasm of economic development officials tipped the scale in Florida’s favor.
Says Keys, “We were amazed and impressed by the speed of their reaction and the level of professionalism they demonstrated. The data and information they sent us was staggering and so helpful.”
DieselMist decided to site its new North American headquarters in Charlotte County, where plenty of affordable land was available and transportation connections were well established. From Port Charlotte, the firm contracts with trucking companies nationwide to install equipment on their vehicles that will allow them to burn energy-efficient fuel that is 70% diesel and 30% liquid propane, plus a GPS system to track fuel consumption. The equipment and installation are free; customers pay half of the fuel savings that result ?— an estimated $4,000 per vehicle, per year — back to DieselMist.
Funding in the form of a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund and a Road Fund grant helped launch DieselMist in Florida; plans call for steady growth from a staff of just four today to upwards of 60 within five years. And although Diesel
Mist is looking to eventually open offices in California and the Northeast, Keys says the headquarters will remain in Florida.
“The enthusiasm of the people here to help has been wonderful. They’ve gone out of their way to make sure we’re looked after. We simply couldn’t be in a better place than this.”
The Right Place to Be
Brazil-based Embraer, the world’s 4th largest aircraft manufacturer, considered five sites in three states before finally choosing Melbourne, Florida, as the right location for its first U.S. manufacturing and sales facility. Key factors in that decision included the availability of skilled labor, land at an airport, room for expansion and close proximity to a seaport.
“We selected Melbourne as the location that best satisfies our operational requirements,” says Gary Spulak, president, Embraer North America. Having access to skilled workers was especially important, he adds, “because our strategy is to hire locally from the Brevard County workforce.” The facility could mean some 200 new high-tech jobs for the area.
Embraer broke ground on its new 150,000-square-foot facility at Melbourne International Airport in December 2008 and expects to deliver its first Phenom 100 jet from Melbourne in late 2011.