When one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers announced plans in 2008 to construct an assembly plant in Florida — its first outside Brazil — many Floridians weren’t familiar with the company called Embraer; they know plenty about it now.
Not only did this Brazil-based manufacturer go on to open an 80,000-sq.-ft. plant for assembly of its Phenom 100 and 300 business jets at Melbourne International Airport in early 2011, Embraer added the 58,000-sq.-ft. Executive Jets Customer Center next door a few months later. Now, the firm that has found a second home and is thriving in Florida has begun construction of a third building on 13 acres at its Melbourne campus.
This latest addition — the Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA — represents a $24.5-million investment over the next five years and is part of the company’s long-term strategy to be closer to its customers in major markets.
“Breaking ground on the newest facility at our growing aeronautical cluster in Melbourne is an important milestone for Embraer on its path to becoming a truly global company,” says Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holdings Inc.
The new center is expected to open in mid-2014 and will mean 200 new jobs along Florida’s Space Coast, most of which will be filled locally from the region’s abundant pool of mechanical, structural, interior design and electrical systems engineers and other highly skilled personnel.
Work at this state-of-the-art facility will consist of R&D activities related to product and technology development across Embraer’s business lines. Initial assignments are to focus on executive jet interiors.
The Florida research center is the second such Embraer facility; the other is in Brazil. Siting this facility in Melbourne made sense for several reasons: access to a skilled workforce, availability of land for a greenfield startup, proximity to established operations, opportunities to partner with nearby universities and other educational institutions and Florida’s pro-business climate on state and local levels.
Says Spulak, “This latest achievement is a testament to the close partnership we have with the state of Florida and economic developers on the Space Coast and Melbourne, without which this aviation campus would not have been possible.”