February 25, 2024

Economic yearbook 2009

Space Coast Yearbook 2009

Taking care not to neglect existing businesses.

Diane Sears | 4/1/2009

Melbourne-Titusville / Brevard County

Who's Hiring
» Palm Coast Data magazine fulfillment house expanded its operations in Flagler County and has hired 100 people so far, with plans to add 700 jobs.
» Military component manufacturer AO Precision in Daytona Beach is looking to add employees this year.
» Advanced Composite Solutions, which employs about 20 in New Smyrna Beach, plans to expand its workforce by 20% a year for the next three years based on contracts it is receiving from military and theme park customers. The company makes composite prototypes for everything from executive jets to theme park doors.
» Germ Free Laboratories, which makes mobile labs that can be set up for drug detection and medical purposes, has received millions of dollars in new contracts and expects to hire this year.
With the future of the aerospace industry uncertain as NASA changes administrators and updates its mission, the county has been vigilant in recent years about diversifying. There’s still a heavy reliance on tourism, which has slowed, and defense contracting, which could stall during peacetime. Economic development leaders are cultivating companies in five areas — advanced security, aviation/ aerospace, communications, electronics and emerging technologies — that employ the same skills used to launch rockets and build military equipment. In the meantime, Brevard will fill two positions this year that will have a major impact on its future: A county manager and a superintendent of schools.

Business to Watch

» Northrop Grumman has started a $1-million endowment at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne to support an annual student competition in engineering and science — an event formerly financed by bake sales, car washes and other events by students. Tom Vice, who stepped into the role of sector vice president and divisional general manager of the company’s battle management and engineering systems in 2008, vows to cultivate more potential employees at FIT, saying 427 of the company’s employees hold degrees from the 6,400-student private university.

Person to Watch

» Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, began serving a three-year term in January on the board of directors for Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Jacksonville branch. The prominent position is expected to give Brevard County added recognition in economic discussions at a crucial time when the future of Kennedy Space Center is uncertain.

Palm coast / Flagler County

With the highest unemployment rate in the state at 14.2%, the county of 93,000 residents is focused on growth, actively bringing in businesses that create jobs, especially in retail. Along the eastern boundaries of Palm Coast, population 75,000, the city plans to realign and expand Old Kings Road, creating a major thoroughfare where a super Wal-Mart with a planned 2010-11 opening will bring in hundreds of jobs as well as other retail and support businesses.

Business to Watch

» DeLand-based Epic Theatres plans to break ground this year on what will be Flagler County’s only movie theater, a 14-screen facility expected to boost development of restaurants and other forms of entertainment at Town Center at Palm Coast. The company operates 39 screens at six sites in three states and is expanding by 100 screens, including in Clermont, St. Augustine and Deltona.

Person to Watch

» Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts ran on a pro-green platform in 2007, vowing to make the city’s operations more environmentally friendly. This year, the city was awarded a silver certificate for LEED standards just 19 days after applying to the Florida Green Building Coalition, and it’s now going for gold. Netts also is championing efforts to build a desalination plant in Flagler County that could supply fresh water all over the region.

Tags: Space Coast

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