Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Space Coast Yearbook 2009

Space Coast

"We’re trying to be there for all our companies. ... We have to take care of what we have." — Phil Ehlinger, interim economic development director for Volusia County

Daytona beach / Volusia County

See population, income and job statistics from this region.
Volusia County added more than 5,000 jobs in 2008, but job losses meant the unemployment rate rose. A cluster of auto parts manufacturers has taken the hardest hit, and tourism, retail and restaurant sales have been off. But there are signs of promise: Simulation, defense and medical device manufacturers are growing or holding steady; the number of Bike Week visitors was up last month; while the grandstands were only half full at Daytona International Speedway for the July 2008 Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race, the Daytona 500 earlier this year was sold out, partly because locals took advantage of deep discounts on tickets; and commercial construction continues to grow, especially in Port Orange, where 2 million square feet of mostly shopping and dining complexes are coming out of the ground.

People to Watch

» Larry McKinney, president and CEO of the Daytona Beach/Halifax Area Chamber of Commerce, is gathering business owners to bring ideas for a cohesive feel to “The Box,” a five-mile-long area that runs between Interstate 95 and the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach. Organizers are looking at everything from public transportation to economic development to environmental conservation. >> New DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus and Assistant City Manager Dale Arrington are gaining notice for their efforts to revitalize the historic downtown and encourage industrial development around the DeLand airport, bringing in new jobs.

Phil Ehlinger
Volusia County is making sure it doesn’t neglect its existing businesses, such as Raydon (background), says interim economic development Director Phil Ehlinger. [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]

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.

MSA Jan. 2008 Jan. 2009 % Change Jobless Rate
Deltona / Daytona / Ormond Beach
170,100 161,700 -4.9% 9.9%
Palm Bay / Melbourne / Titusville 211,500 200,800 -5.1% 9.5%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Single-family, existing-home sales by Realtors
MSA Jan. 2009 Sales 1-Year Change Jan. 2009 Price 1-Year Change
Daytona Beach
419 +31% $131,800 -26%
Melbourne / Titusville/ Palm Bay 377 +46% $118,300 -32%
Source: Florida Association of Realtors

 2.4% or higher  1.0% - 2.4%  1.0% or less
COUNTY 2009 Average Annual Growth
2005-2009 Trend
548,208 1.00%
93,816 5.61
Volusia 515,255 1.45
Florida 18,898,835 1.60%

Years of Age (2009)
County 0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+ Total
15.4% 6.0% 23.4% 34.4% 20.8% 548,208
13.1 4.6 27.7 29.4 25.1 93,816
Volusia 15.5 6.2 25.1 32.9 20.3 515,255
Florida 18.0% 6.3% 25.8% 32.7% 17.2% 18,898,835

COUNTY Per Capita Income 2009 Source of Income
Labor Property Transfer
$37,940 70.2% 18.7% 11.1%
31,212 50.0 31.2 18.9
Volusia 32,928 59.6 24.2 16.2
Florida $40,331 67.6% 23.6% 8.8%