With talented workforce and new industry sectors, the future looks A-OK for East Central/Space Coast.
Plenty to Offer
Touting its new marketing campaign that recruits young professionals and promising graduates, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast was the only organization of its kind invited to present best practices in New York at the June 2007 conference of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Among Brevard County’s selling points: It’s home to Kennedy Space Center and a growing number of jobs in tech, aerospace, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, education and construction; its coastline stretches for 72 miles; and it offers nine institutions of higher learning.
Staying in place
IAP Worldwide Services, which provides support services for the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, looked at South Carolina and other areas as relocation possibilities before deciding to expand its Cape Canaveral headquarters. The private company is adding 124 new jobs with an average annual salary of $57,000 and an economic impact of $6.15 million for the area.
Land is still a hot commodity in this county known for its abundance of waterways and rolling green hills. Manufacturers are adding jobs to the local economy, spurring more business in areas such as construction, retail and healthcare.
Donuts bring jobs
When Dunkin’ Donuts was looking to relocate its Southeast distribution operations from Georgia into Florida, a region accounting for 65% of its business, the company found a food distribution warehouse in Groveland already equipped with freezer, refrigerator and dry food capabilities. Company officials recommended the move in March 2006 and started shipping from the facility the following August. “We were moving at a very fast pace,” says Ronnie Ransome, general manager and vice president of operations. Dunkin’ Donuts has since hired 40 drivers and 30 warehouse and administrative personnel, with plans to expand. The warehouse serves 475 shops and expects to double that number in the next five years, Ransome notes.
Joining the Influx - Welcome to the neighborhood
In addition to the new Dunkin’ Donuts distribution center, the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park in Groveland added another tenant in 2006. QuietFlex Manufacturing Co., a leading supplier of flexible air ducts to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, expanded from Texas to a 65,000-square-foot facility in its number 1 market (Florida), bringing 40 to 50 new jobs.
Close to Home
Osceola County is seeing a boom in new companies and expansions, mostly in the manufacturing sector. Distributors like Osceola’s central location, plentiful water resources and workforce eager to land jobs near home instead of traveling to Orlando and Orange County to earn a living. Osceola is also becoming known as a place where people are thinking and building “green.” The planned office condo ?— The Conservatory at Celebration Place ?— is one of four in the world that has received the U.S. Building Council’s “environmentally responsible” certification. The city of Harmony was built as an environmentally intelligent community with energy-efficient homes.
By expanding existing operations or adding new ones, these companies are creating jobs in Osceola:
- Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center promised 600 new jobs for the area when it built its facility in 2003. Now, with recent upgrades to its trucking area, the center employs about 1,000.
- McLane Suneast is expanding its food and merchandise distribution center for the fifth time since moving to Kissimmee in 1985, bringing the facility to 600,000 square feet and adding 30 jobs with an average salary of $32,000.
- Kohl’s Department Stores Inc., based in Wisconsin with 834 retail outlets nationwide, has established a management division in Kissimmee, bringing about 100 high-wage jobs.
- U.S. Cold Storage, with headquarters in Cherry Hill, N.J., is planning a three-phase project in Kissimmee that will bring as many as 60 high-wage jobs with more to come.