Northwest Florida Roundup
Growing Pensacola video brochures company taps market
A Pensacola company taps the growing video brochure market.
Pensacola startup Video Brochures Direct produces video brochures that can be accompanied by music played from stereo speakers built into the book. The video books range from about $70 to $130.
The company is the brainchild of Aaron Ball of Pensacola and Australian-born Brendan Farrugia. Ball says the company can produce a video book for customers within days of receiving photos and videos. Every personalized book comes with a USB drive that archives the photos and videos.
The company’s goal is to sell 10,000 units in 2019, Ball says.
In addition to individual customers, Video Brochures Direct also is building its corporate customer base.
The company recently sold 700 video brochures to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Minnesota Twins. The team plans to use the video brochures to promote sale of its season tickets.
- Air Force officials say they are committed to spending $3 billion over the next five years to rebuild Tyndall AFB, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael last October. Assistant Secretary John Henderson says the funding plans will be submitted to Congress this spring. Bay County officials say the rebuilding plan likely will create between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs over five years.
- Florida State University has been approved for $8 million from Triumph Gulf Coast, the group that dispenses funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, to launch a 10-year project to restore Apalachicola Bay and rehabilitate Franklin County’s declining oyster industry. The grant will be administered by FSU’s Apalachicola Bay Systems’ marine research department. Florida State is contributing $1.5 million toward the project.
- International non-profit Casa Laxmi Foundation is establishing a boarding school for K-12 students in Bay County. The Bay Economic Development Alliance and the Bay County Commission announced the foundation’s plans in February. The project represents an investment of approximately $117 million and will bring 300 jobs to Bay County, says Bay EDA President Becca Hardin. The average wage for the new jobs will be more than $50,000 annually.
- Bay County commissioners recently approved a $100-million bond issue to pay for Hurricane Michael recovery work. Proceeds will cover the cost of removing debris and fixing damaged infrastructure and stormwater systems. The bond issue comes on top of a $50-million bond issue for hurricane recovery approved in November.
- Sales of single-family homes in Bay and Gulf counties — hit hard by Hurricane Michael last October — fell 36% in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to data from Orlando-based Florida Realtors. Sales of townhouses and condos fell 30% during the same period.
- Ken Ford, CEO and cofounder of Pensacola-based Florida Institute of Human & Machine Cognition, has been appointed to the newly formed National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Created under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, the independent federal commission is charged with developing strategies in artificial intelligence that will strengthen national security and global commercial competitiveness. The commission is led by Eric Schmidt, formerly of Google and now a technical adviser to Google parent company Alphabet. In addition to Ford and Schmidt, the 15-person commission also includes Eric Horvitz, director of Microsoft Research, and Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz.
- Pensacola has secured the $210 million it needs to expand aerospace giant ST Engineering’s aviation maintenance overhaul repair campus at the Pensacola International Airport. In February, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson announced the Florida Department of Transportation had agreed to fund an additional $20 million for the project, on top of its previous commitment of $25 million. In addition to FDOT’s funding, Triumph Gulf Coast has committed $64 million. Local funding by Pensacola and Escambia County, coupled with ST Engineering’s investment, brought the total to the needed $210 million. The money will fund construction of three large maintenance hangars at the airport. ST Engineering executives say the expansion will create 1,325 jobs over the next several years.
Read more in Florida Trend's May issue.
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