Fall 2014 E-News

Projects in the Works

    SRC's EDO continues their marketing efforts through partnerships with Enterprise Florida and Florida's Great Northwest. Staff has met with over 40 site consultants this year and will continue to spread the word of our incentives, workforce and business friendly county. 

    Santa Rosa County currently has several active projects in the works:

    • Project Cast - a distribution/logistics company that is interested in 30-40 acres at the Northwest Florida Industrial Park @ I-10. This lead came via site selector. 
    • Project Polly - a company out of the northeast that is looking to relocate to the sunny beaches of Florida. Company is a manufacturing firm with an estimated 30-40 jobs. 
    • Project Airwolf - is an aviation maintenance company that is interested in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park because of its availability of a skilled workforce and location to military facilities.  The commission approved designating the project as a qualified target industry which will allow the company to apply for state and county performance-based incentives.
    • Project Extreme - an expansion of an aviation and oil field related manufacturer expected to add 25 jobs at a wage rate of over 150 percent of the annual average wage rate for Santa Rosa County.    
    • Project Hot Tub - is a manufacturing company from a neighboring southern state that would like to relocate to Santa Rosa County.
    • Site Certification - Santa Rosa submitted Phase III documents in September as part of a three-phase intensive process used to certify industrial park sites through Gulf Power's site certification program. We anticipate hearing a response from the consultant in the next two to four weeks. The public properties are the Northwest Florida Industrial Park @ I-10 and an additional 160 acres on Jeff Ates Road. The process began in the spring of 2013 and helps eliminate risk factors - including information on utilities, access, environmental concerns and potential development costs. Currently there is only one certified industrial park in Florida, located in Jacksonville.


Gulf Power Economic Symposium Recap

Gulf Power Company conducted its 18th Annual Economic Symposium Oct. 13-14 at the Sandestin Resort Conference Center. More than 585 leaders from business, government and education attended to hear the 21 speakers address a wide range of topics on our regional, state and national economy.

Some take-a-ways from the symposium include:  

  • Florida is growing jobs faster than the nation - more than 600,000 new jobs since 2011 - and it's expected to continue.  
  • The cost of doing business in Florida overall is lower than other states. That's a plus we can build on. Quick permitting, easier regulatory networks all help get products to market faster.  
  • The military is an asset when it comes to workforce talent. More than 6,000 men and women complete their military service every year in Northwest Florida and gives our area a great talent pool from which to pull.  
  • Government employment is decreasing throughout the region, due mainly to sequestration. This makes it that more important that we diversify our economy and attract new advanced manufacturing type jobs.  
  • NWFL's senior population (65+) is expected to double over the next 10 years. This age group will soon account for approximately 22 percent of our region and means a major change in our economy and new opportunities.

 John Hutchinson
Gulf Power thanks the Santa Rosa commissioners who attended in full force, along with county administrator Hunter Walker and Shannon Ogletree. That support demonstrates a strong commitment to economic development.

John Hutchinson
Community & Economic Development Director
Gulf Power Company




Santa Rosa Industrial Park Update

The walls are up! Goldring Gulf Distributing Holdings, LLC is rapidly building their new 190,000 square foot refrigerated beverage distribution warehouse (pictured below) in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park. Plans are to be in operation the second week in January. Goldring will eventually employ 250 and will combine their Escambia and Okaloosa County facilities to the Santa Rosa County site.



Gulf Cable/WTEC continues with the expansion of their manufacturing facility (pictured below) in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park. A rail spur is being constructed using an EDTF grant from the FDOT. They are expected to have a grand opening in the next few weeks. Gulf Cable has been hiring steadily and is expected to have 110 employees total.


Map Stories Show Commercial Development Projects

A new online mapping tool is now available  - Story Maps. Story maps use geography as a means of organizing and presenting information. They tell the story of a place, event, issue, trend, or pattern in a geographic context. They combine interactive maps with other rich content-text, photos, video, and audio. For the most part, story maps are designed for general, non-technical audiences. Many story maps are aimed at everyone, that is, anyone with access to the Internet and a curiosity about the world. However, story maps can also serve highly specialized audiences.

Santa Rosa County's first story map contains commercial development projects that have been approved in 2014. The map has the name of the project, address, site plan number and type of project on a searchable county map with photos of the site. You can click on the thumbnails at the bottom, the numbers on the aerial photo or just simply scan through the photos.






Innovation Coast Innovation Awards

Lars Perkins will be the featured speaker at the Innovation Coast's Innovation Awards. This prestigious event will be held at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Nov. 6-7.

Entrepreneur, explorer, filmmaker, inventor, pilot, NASA advisory board member and CEO are a few of the many roles Lars Perkins has performed. In 1994 hebecame CEO of Webhire and would later become the CEO of the image organizer and image viewing website, Picasa. The innovative software would catch the eye of Google, who acquired the program in 2004.

The Innovation Coast Innovation Awards is the biggest innovation awards program in the state of Florida. Companies selected as finalists are competing for cash and prizes worth more than $215,000, making this the largest business plan competition in Florida's history. Microsoft is awarding qualifying companies and start-ups with software, support, development tools and more to help build the local businesses. In addition, Microsoft will award the three most promising software development entries a "Microsoft BizSpark Plus" subscription, $60,000 value in Microsoft software and Azure services.

Innovation Coast is proud to be the organizer of this landmark event. If you are an investor, business leader or just interested in seeing the talented and innovative local companies competing for the largest prize in the state you will want to attend this event.

For more information about the event visit www.innovationcoast.com



Newly Created Tourism Development Office Welcomes Morgan

In August, the Santa Rosa County Commission brought the function of tourism development in-house under the Economic Development Office. Previously,  tourism development was led by Kate Wilkes as a non-county department, though all budget items were approved by the county commission. When Ms. Wilkes retired, thecommission felt it was the right time to make the change that gives the commission greater oversight and checks and balances of tourist bed tax dollars.

Julie Morgan will head the TDO starting Oct. 31. She was selected out of 39 applicants by a four-person selection committee. Morgan has an associate degree in business with a major in tourism/hospitality and her bachelor's degree in organizational management from Tusculum College. She has spent her entire career in different positions within the tourism industry with the latest being the executive director of tourism for Monroe County Government in Tennessee. Over the last nine years, Morgan spent an extensive amount of time developing and implementing new tourism programs that would benefit tourism stakeholders and increase revenues and return on investments. She begins Oct. 31.


October is Florida Manufacturing Month!


Students Tour Taminco

Santa Rosa County along with the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and the Manufacturing Association of Florida have declared October 2014, Florida Manufacturing Month.  Manufacturing remains a corner stone of the economy for both the United States and the State of Florida. It is a key economic driver in Northwest Florida providing 14,370 direct jobs generating $783 million in total wages with average wages of $53,111 per worker.


To raise awareness of young adults about the high-skill, high-wage careers available in Santa Rosa County and Northwest Florida in the manufacturing industry, students from Pace High School's Biotech Academy will tour the Taminco methylamines facility later this month. 2013 student tour of Taminco pictured right.