East Central / Space Coast: Building on Strength
Simulation and life sciences join aviation/aerospace as anchors for this region's diverse economy.
Transportation Rules: As home to Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral, Brevard boasts some of the world’s most unique transportation options. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched manned and unmanned vehicles from the north end of this county since the 1960s; today, the aerospace industry contributes some $4 billion annually to the Florida economy, according to the Space Foundation. Port Canaveral adds an estimated $2.6 billion each year to the state’s economy.
Flying High: Brazilian company Embraer, the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer behind Airbus and Boeing, is investing close to $50 million to open its first U.S. assembly plant at Melbourne International Airport in early 2010. The facility will handle Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets and is expected to create 200 skilled positions with an average annual salary of $50,000 by 2011. The company, which received about $12 million in local and state incentives, is encouraging its manufacturing suppliers to move to the area as well, says the airport’s executive director Richard Ennis.
Diverse and Growing: This county’s diversity of industries includes everything from tourism to technology to transportation. Osceola is piggybacking on the “medical city” development just to the north in Orange County by trying to attract research projects and clinical trials. It’s recruiting proposals for amateur sports facilities. And it’s still building on proven staples like manufacturing and distribution, especially among companies that want to keep their business in the United States instead of outsourcing.
Osceola County claims the first “green” industrial park in Florida: the Yeehaw Transportation & Distribution Center, a 430-acre site under development at State Road 60 and Florida’s Turnpike, where 700 trucks pass through daily.
Staying in Place: E-commerce software company Channel Intelligence, founded in 1999, has grown from fewer than 50 employees in 2004 to about 200 today, with plans to create 420 jobs within the next five years with average annual salaries of $55,400. The company provides technology for more than 6,800 retailers worldwide and has offices in Geneva and London. Osceola County officials say they’re thrilled CEO Rob Wight and his team chose to stay in Celebration, where the company is spending $33 million to expand its headquarters. “The creation of 420 high-wage jobs is exciting, especially during these challenging economic times,” says County Commissioner Paul Owen.
FASTEST GROWING COUNTY
|41.4%||Osceola’s population growth between 2000 and 2006, making it the fastest growing county in the East Central/Space Coast region.|