Photo: Moore Communications GroupFormer pilot Peter Ireland founded Edge Aerodynamix.
Northwest Florida Roundup
Wings: The Aerospace industry takes flight in Northwest Florida
Northwest Florida adds another aerospace company.
Edge Aerodynamix is the latest aerospace-related company to set up shop in northwest Florida. Founded by New Zealand native and former commercial pilot Peter Ireland, Edge, which has a faclity in Australia, early this year located its U.S. operations adjacent to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County. Longrange plans include construction of a $78-million plant that will house up to 120 employees.
The company’s 25 current employees manufacture a material that’s applied to aircraft wings and helicopter rotor blades to reduce surface drag, protect against erosion and improve fuel efficiency, says Ireland, Edge’s CEO.
“It’s a conventional, polyurethane material that we shaped in such a manner that it acts as an aerodynamic device,” Ireland says. “The product itself is very simple, but it achieves a very complex aerodynamic effect.” Ireland says the company is in talks with major U.S. airlines.
Besides Edge, Aero Sekur and VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering have also set up shop in northwest Florida recently.
Sandy Sims has been named Gulf Power’s new eastern district general manager. Sims will be responsible for Gulf Power’s customer service and sales operations in Panama City, Panama City Beach, Chipley and other areas in the region. Also at Gulf Power, Rick Byars has been named general manager of the company’s Community and Economic Development Office
BAY COUNTY — Massachusetts-based Hawkins Point Investors has closed on the $7.75-million sale of a 35-acre lot at the southwest corner of State Road 77 and 23rd Street in Panama City. Plans call for a retail center. Southwest Airlines has begun daily nonstop service from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport to Dallas. United Airlines also began non-stop service to Houston earlier this spring. Both flights are scheduled through the summer tourist season.
CRESTVIEW — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed First National Bank of Crestview earlier this year. The bank’s assets were transferred to First NBC Bank of New Orleans.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Houston-based ZT Wealth has purchased Quality Imports and will manage its four local dealerships. The $80-million purchase includes Quality Imports’ BMW, Mazda, Mercedes- Benz and Toyota- Scion dealerships.
GULF COUNTY — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit to Port St. Joe Port Authority to dredge the port’s navigational channel to 37 feet.
JACKSON COUNTY — The Marianna Airport Commerce Park recently became the first Jackson County industrial site to receive certification through Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites program. The 237- acre site is owned by the city of Marianna and is adjacent to the Marianna Municipal Airport’s two 5,000-foot runways and 214 developable acres.
PENSACOLA — Sacred Heart Health Systems plans to build a children’s hospital on its Ninth Avenue main campus. Ken Ford, director and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, is the 2015 recipient of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s Distinguished Service Award. AAI recognized Ford for “extraordinary and sustained service” to the artificial intelligence community. > Gulf Power is partnering with the Navy and Air Force to build solar energy farms at three facilities across northwest Florida.
SANTA ROSA — Santa Rosa County saw $150.6 million in residential construction during 2014, the most in a single year since 2006.
WASHINGTON/HOLMES COUNTIES — New Media Investment Group recently completed purchase of Halifax Media Group, which owned the Washington County News and Holmes County Times-Advertiser.