Business Florida 2020 - The Regions
Baker • Clay • Duval • Flagler • Nassau • Putnam • St. Johns
Northeast Florida traces the roots of its manufacturing sector to 1910 when the Maxwell House “good to the last drop” coffee cup began glowing nightly atop what is today one of the world’s largest coffee plants. More than a century later, this sector remains a prominent engine for the region’s growing economy.
In 2011, France-based global battery manufacturer Saft opened its North American headquarters and a factory for the production of lithium-ion batteries in Jacksonville. Other manufactured products coming out of this region include: military aircraft from Northrop Grumman, St. Augustine; pulp and paper from Georgia Pacific, Palatka; writing instruments from Pilot Pen, Jacksonville; industrial equipment from GE Oil & Gas, Jacksonville; light attack aircraft for counter-insurgency from Embraer, Jacksonville; aircraft components from GRACE Aerospace, Jacksonville; stainless steel trash cans from Hans-Mill Corp., Jacksonville; and state-of-the-art solar panels from China-based JinkoSolar Holding Co., which opened its North American headquarters and first U.S. factory at Jacksonville’s Cecil Commerce Center in February 2019.
These Northeast manufacturers have plans to grow in square footage and/or staff:
• Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Jacksonville, adding 9,600 square feet at its Jacksonville contact lens plant.
• Gioia Sails South, manufacturer of marine canvas and upholstery opening a 30,000-sq.-ft. plant in Palm Coast.
• Cellulose manufacturer Rayonier Advanced Materials creating 79 new jobs at its downtown Jacksonville headquarters.
• Rulon International, maker of wood ceilings and acoustical wood walls adding 20 employees at its St. Augustine plant.
• Collins Aerospace, formerly United Technologies Aerospace Systems, re-purposing a warehouse at Jacksonville’s Imeson International Industrial Park to make parts for the U.S. Department of Defense and other end-users.
• School-supply company Cra-Z-Art opening a manufacturing and distribution center in north Jacksonville by the end of 2021.
KEY PLAYERS: JinkoSolar, Shanghai; Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Jacksonville; Northrop Grumman, Falls Church, Va.; Rayonier Advanced Materials, Jacksonville
Renewable / Alternative Energy
Solar: In keeping with its commitment to install 30 million solar panels across Florida by 2030, Florida Power & Light is doubling its solar footprint in the Northeast region with the addition of two new solar power plants. Northern Preserve Solar Energy Center in Baker County and Twin Lakes Solar Energy Center in Putnam County are currently under construction and expected to begin powering FPL customers in early 2020. They join two other FPL solar plants opened in this region in early 2018: Coral Farms Solar Energy Center serving Putnam County and Horizon Solar Energy Center serving Putnam and Alachua counties.
Additionally, JEA, Jacksonville’s municipal utility, is working to increase solar capacity by 350%; five new solar farms generating up to 300 megawatts of power are planned.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Liquefied natural gas — natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state for shipping and storage — is both a versatile and efficient energy source. And Northeast Florida is on track to become an international leader in its production and export. In summer 2018, Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime launched its first LNG-powered ship from JAXPORT. With an eye to meeting increasingly stricter global limits on ship emissions, Crowley turned to LNG, which is cleaner than diesel fuel. In July 2018, Crowley’s El Coqui made history on its maiden voyage from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico — the first time an American-flagged ship designed to transport vehicles operated on LNG. A second carrier — TOTE Maritime — soon followed, launching its own LNG-powered ships from JAXPORT.
Fast-forward to May 2019, and the opening of JAX LNG, the first small-scale LNG facility in the U.S. with both marine and truck-loading capabilities at JAXPORT. A joint venture of Pivotal LNG and NorthStar Midstream, JAX LNG currently has the capacity to produce 12,000 gallons of LNG per day and store more than 2 million, and there is enough room at the Dames Point site at JAXPORT to quintuple production and double storage space.
KEY PLAYERS: Crowley Maritime, Jacksonville; Florida Power & Light, Juno Beach; TOTE Maritime, Princeton, N.J.
Financial / Professional Services
Home to more than 20 institutions on Forbes’ Global 500 list, the Northeast is widely known as a banking, investment and insurance powerhouse. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Fidelity National Financial, FIS (Fidelity National Information Services), Wells Fargo, VyStar Credit Union, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank and Sydney-based Macquarie Group all have significant presence in Jacksonville, as do insurance giants Florida Blue, Aetna and Allstate.
Within the next year, VyStar Credit Union will move its 700 Jacksonville-based employees from a suburban site to the SunTrust tower downtown. In the meantime, VyStar has acquired Citizens State Bank in Perry, bringing the number of its full-service branches to 55 and total assets to nearly $8.9 billion, and purchased the rights to rebrand Jacksonville’s Veterans Memorial Arena as VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Bangalore-based business process management firm Hinduja Global Solutions has opened a customer service center in Jacksonville to serve clients in a variety of industries, including banking, consumer electronics, health care, telecom and automotive; 400 jobs are anticipated.
KEY PLAYERS: Florida Blue, Jacksonville; Fidelity National Financial/FIS, Jacksonville; VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville