Business Florida 2022 - The Regions
Baker • Clay • Duval • Flagler • Nassau • Putnam • St. Johns
With an ever-growing workforce, lower-than-average leasing costs for industrial space and easy access to multiple markets via air, sea, rail and road, this region is well-equipped to ensure long-term manufacturing success.
Recent developments in this thriving sector include:
• Record demand for Boston Whaler’s award-winning line of fiberglass boats has prompted Brunswick Corporation to reopen its 225,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Flagler County with the expectation of 400 jobs.
• S2A Modular, a manufacturer of electrically self-sustaining and clean-energy home and commercial structures, has purchased land in Baker County for its first East Coast mega-factory to manufacture luxury smart residences and smart commercial buildings. The anticipated facility is expected to create some 250 new jobs in the region.
• Johnson & Johnson Vision, maker of Acuvue disposable contact lenses, has signed a 10-year agreement with JEA, Jacksonville’s community-owned utility provider, to ensure that 100% of the electricity at its global headquarters comes from solar power. The deal is part of J & J’s commitment to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
KEY PLAYERS: Johnson & Johnson Vision, Jacksonville; Pilot (Pen) Corporation of America, Jacksonville; Rayonier Advanced Materials, Jacksonville
The region’s K-12 public educational options include five of the top 25 Florida school districts offering career-focused academies and career and technical education (CTE) programs. Three Jacksonville high schools were among the nation’s top 215 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools, 2021,” and St. Johns County school district received its 10th consecutive “A” grade from the Florida Department of Education in 2019. (Note: school district grades were not assessed in 2020 due to the pandemic.)
With a combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment topping 17,000, University of North Florida has for the second year in a row been named among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges — National Universities, 2021” at No. 272 and remains among “Top Public Schools” at No. 136. In 2021, UNF’s Coggin College of Business was recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best business schools for the 14th consecutive year.
Also making headlines: Edward Waters College, Florida’s first independent and historically black institution of higher learning, newly renamed Edward Waters University, offering its first graduate-level program — a master’s degree in business administration; Jacksonville University, partnering with Baptist Health Jacksonville to create a 12-month “bachelor’s in nursing program” for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field; and Flagler College in St. Augustine, ranked No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Regional Colleges South.”