Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Money in the bank: Navy Federal keeps growing

Weeks after breaking ground on a $200-million, 400,000-sq.- ft. Expansion in Pensacola, Navy Federal CEO Cutler Dawson announced even bigger plans.

The Virginia-based credit union, which boasts assets of $62.5 billion, approved a $350-million second phase of the expansion and the creation of 5,000 more jobs.

"Pensacola is a great place to grow your business and a wellspring of talented people to employ," said Dawson in making the announcement.

Dawson, a retired Navy vice admiral, says construction of phase two likely will overlap with phase one construction, scheduled for completion in mid-2016.

Together, the credit union's two expansions will push the company's Pensacola workforce — now 3,850 — to just below 10,000 and its annual payroll in the range of $450 million.

Dawson says the credit union's board is also considering a third expansion.

When fully built out on the sprawling 300-acre campus in Beulah, an unincorporated community about eight miles west of Pensacola, Navy Federal's investment will exceed $1 billion.

"Navy Federal's commitment of 5,000 new jobs and $350 million in capital improvements in its phase two expansion is huge by any standard," says Scott Luth, CEO of the newly formed Pensacola- based Community Economic Development Association. "Their average annual salary and benefits for these jobs is $49,000."

The company will get state and local cash and tax abatement incentives totaling some $30 million.

Profile Whip-It

In 1989, when nearly all marine cleaners were made from toxic acids, ammonia and alcohol, a boater developed a plant-based, multipurpose cleaner called Whip-It that breaks down the chemical bond of stains. The Milton company began selling the product to businesses door to door.

One of the company's biggest customers, John Alessi, also became a partner and CEO, launching new packaging and purchasing machinery to ramp up production.

The product sold out its first show on QVC. In three years, sales reached nearly $20 million through Sam's Club alone. It is now also sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond.


Jerry Maygarden, president and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, will oversee operations of its non-proft arm, the Pensacola Chamber Foundation.

Amy D. Wilson, chief nursing officer at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, was promoted to COO in addition to her role as CNO. She joined Sacred Heart in 2012.

Lisa Munson is the executive director of the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce. She succeeds Susanne Zimmerman, who retired.

MIRAMAR BEACH — The Market Shops at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort completed a multimillion-dollar renovation. The lawn on the east side of the property has been expanded and refreshed to host festivals, concerts and other special events. Built in 1985, the center had not been renovated previously.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — United Airlines will be joining Southwest and Delta at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport with non-stop service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston beginning in early March. > Edge Aerodynamix is locating its operations at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Edge developed a product it says will result in fuel savings for all types of aircraft by reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. The project will create 120 jobs. The west end of Panama City Beach continues to add businesses. Pier Park North has a new Wayback Burgers and Aspen Dental practice, with Osaka Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar breaking ground in November. Discount tool retailer Harbor Freights Tools opened a location in the Walmart shopping center.

PENSACOLA — International Paper plans to invest $90 million over the next five years to increase energy efficiency and enhance its Pensacola Containerboard Mill. International Paper acquired the mill, which has been in the Pensacola area since 1941 And employs more than 400, in 2000. > Members First Credit Union of Florida was voted as one of the "Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in America" by the fnancial institution research website DepositAccounts.com. It is the only financial institution from Pensacola to make the list. > Footbridge Media, a provider of marketing services to the home-improvement industry, moved to a new location on Pala fox Street to accommodate a growing staff and expanded services for contractors throughout the U. S., Canada and U.K. > Pen Air Federal Credit Union has opened in downtown Pensacola. The branch is its 16th full-service office.

TALLAHASSEE — Hancock Bank opened a new financial center and regional headquarters in downtown Tallahassee.