by Ken Ibold
Updated 3 yearss ago
When the space shuttle Columbia exploded during re-entry in early 2003, controllers noted on live television that the telemetry had gone into "coast" -- and that's just what space program employment has done in the two years the shuttle fleet has been grounded.
Next month's planned resumption of space shuttle flights promises to help erase a bleak couple of years for the technicians and engineers who process shuttle components -- and for the thousands more who rely on such workers for their income.
United Space Alliance, the contractor that manages shuttle refurbishment and operations, has not laid off any workers since the Columbia accident, due mainly to the extensive checks and modifications required of the orbiters and launch facilities as a result of the accident investigation. There have been no reports of layoffs among the 400 to 500 subcontractors United Space Alliance uses in Florida, but the work has been a constant reminder of the program's failures, not its successes.
"What we do know is that even though there were not layoffs, if we do not get back up by June or so, there could be a very large negative impact," says Lynda L. Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. "We anticipate at this time that they will be successful in May."
NEW COMPANIESAvidyne Corp. plans to open a $7-million office and hangar facility at Melbourne International Airport that will employ 160 in the development of aircraft avionics.
Aircraft Engine Services opened a piston aircraft engine development and support facility at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville to support a new line of Rotax aircraft engines.
The Washington Mutual East Coast Consumer Lending Center is open and well on its way to reaching its planned 700-employee mark. The company renovated a former Wal-Mart store.
Piedmont Plastics built a 60,000-sq.-ft., $4-million distribution center in
Palm Bay is getting a boost from big box retailers, including Wal-Mart, which is planning to open a supercenter in July. The city is working with other big retailers, including Lowe's, says economic developer Chris Norton.
Harley aficionado Bruce Rossmeyer has launched Destination Daytona, a $50-million, 150-acre motorcycle-themed attraction that will include a hotel/condo, retail shops, seven restaurants, two bars, an amphitheater -- and the world's largest Harley-Davidson dealership.
EXPANSIONSDelta Group Electronics, a New Mexico-based electronic manufacturing services provider, expanded its Rockledge facility by 20,000 square feet and 21 employees.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. consolidated its fleet ballistic missile work for the Navy at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a move that preserved 200 jobs and added 30.
Ocean Design ended a two-year site search with a new 100,000-sq.-ft. corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach that will employ 200.
MC Assembly expanded into Palm Bay about two years ago with 300 jobs. Today, the maker of printed board assemblies employs 700. Plans to consolidate its Melbourne operations in Palm Bay will boost employment in Palm Bay to 1,200
Liberty Aerospace relocated its company headquarters from Montrose, Colo., to its production facility at Melbourne International Airport, bringing 64 jobs with it.
Plans for a NASCAR Hall of Fame are prompting discussion on whether government should subsidize sports facilities...
The county is committing $57 million to expand the Ocean Center's convention center space and anticipates 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance...
Hurricane-induced beach erosion has rekindled debate over beach renourishment and driving on the beach...
Gateway Center has been credited with helping push commercial real estate values up by more than 50% in the past year...
More than 40 developments along the ocean and riverfront could bring nearly 8,000 condo units.
Notable Names: Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm leads the NASCAR Hall of Fame effort...
Former Volusia County council member Pat Northey has taken over the reins at the Chamber of Commerce of West Volusia.
Downtown development is on the agenda with three different redevelopment districts: Downtown Melbourne, Babcock Street Redevelopment District and the Old Eau Gallie Riverfront Redevelopment District...
Construction has begun on an eight-story Health First Heart Institute, which will also include an obstetrics floor...
Vues Condominiums at Harbor City Center downtown will include 68 condos, plus offices and restaurants in a nine-story building that has views of Indian River Lagoon on three sides...
Harris Corp. is in the running for a $1.4-billion Navy satellite communications project to be awarded June 2006.
Notable Names: Melbourne International Airport Executive Director Jim Johnson, whose controversial decisions included allowing noisy F-16 fighters to train there, was ousted after an ethics probe. Richard Ennis has been selected interim executive director...
Travis Proctor, founder of Artemis International Technologies Solutions, becomes the youngest director of Melbourne Chamber of Commerce.
The retail sector expects significant change with the influx of a second Wal-Mart, sale and redevelopment of the Miracle City Mall and renovation of Searstown Mall...
Officials are revising a master plan for the historic downtown district to prepare for mixed-use projects...
Cartridge Source of America has donated its water purification system to tsunami-ravaged areas...
Growth is polarizing the city council amid calls for permitting delays for new projects...
Residential construction is strong, with residential property values escalating at record rates.
Notable Names: CBL & Associates Properties plans to build a 400,000-sq.-ft. shopping mall at I-95 and Palm Coast Parkway, the first major retail complex in the county...
American City Business Journals ranks Palm Coast city ninth out of 556 small cities in small-business vitality...
The city created a community redevelopment agency to turn State Road 100 into Palm Coast's "front door."
lessPOPULATION TOTALSCounty???2005Average Annual Growth
RateLeading Job SectorsBrevard260,4403.8%Services 39%
Government 12%Flagler17,0585.3%Services 35%
Government 15%Volusia187,6684.4%Services 37%
Government 13%FLORIDA9,795,0834.1%Services 39%
POPULATION BY AGE
Years of AgeCounty0-1415-1920-3940-6465+TotalBrevard17.0%6.7%21.0%34.7%20.6%514,274Flagler13.0%5.4%19.3%32.9%29.4%60,512Volusia16.0%6.6%22.9%33.3%21.2%477,148FLORIDA18.7%6.6%25.1%32.5%17.1%17,612,584
PER CAPITA INCOME
Source of IncomeCountyPer Capita
Sources: Woods & Poole Economics Inc. Washington, D.C. Copyright 2004. Woods & Poole does not guarantee the accuracy of this data. The use of this data and the conclusions drawn from it are solely the responsibility of Florida Trend. Population data include military stationed in Florida, college residents and inmates. Jobs data measure full- and part-time jobs and proprietors and include farmworkers. Property income includes rent, dividend and interest payments. Transfer income includes Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. Unemployment data are from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.