Winter 2013 E-News
Construction in Santa Rosa County is on the rise. Residential and commercial structure dollars spent in our county for calendar year 2012 totaled $131,363,266. This is an increase over 2011's total of $89,745,024. Over the last five years, the construction dollar amount was only higher in 2009 when totals were $222,643,827 as a result of the construction of the Blackwater Correctional Facility and the H.T. Hackney distribution center. The panhandle also saw an increase in construction in 2005 after Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
Governor Rick Scott announced on Dec. 31 that Florida ranked first overall in U.S. aviation manufacturing attractiveness in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP "Aviation's Second Gold Age: Can the U.S. aircraft industry maintain leadership?" The U.S. aviation manufacturing attractiveness index ranked Florida's talent first, Florida's industry ninth, and Florida's cost sixth for an overall ranking of first in the nation. The PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study used a weighted average of the following variables: costs, workforce, and number of aerospace companies. Texas was ranked second and Washington ranked third.
Florida's manufacturing sector is a leading industry with more than 17,500 manufacturing companies employing 311,300 workers around the state. This past spring, Governor Scott worked with the Legislature to eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, helping to facilitate the growth of the manufacturing industry.
The Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office now offers site selectors and expanding businesses SantaRosaSites.com, which allows users to view, create and print maps, find available commercial or business property, and develop custom demographic radius reports online. The new website provides immediate access to critical business intelligence that decision makers need in order to make an investment decision.
Using geographic information system software, the website provides immediate access to in-depth Santa Rosa County information that previously could take weeks to research. SantaRosaSites.com visitors can view available properties, along with size, use and cost. Corresponding demographic reports such as labor force, education levels, consumer spending and age can be customized, created and printed. In addition, businesses are mapped by industry showing their distribution and concentrations throughout the area.
Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree comments, "With over 97 percent of initial site selection screening completed online, it is crucial that our county provides the data businesses need in a comprehensive, online format. SantaRosaSites.com meets that need by gathering economic, planning, infrastructure, geographic and demographic information often sought by businesses looking to relocate or expand into a 'one-stop-shop' business portal on the Web."
Santa Rosa EDO contracted with GIS Planning to develop the site. The GIS-powered website is built upon Google Maps technology, and offers state-of-the-art site selection mapping capabilities. The new website is also integrated with GIS Planning's national site selection search engine, www.zoomprospector.com, which allows visitors to conduct national searches of cities and commercial properties that match their unique criteria. GIS Planning is an exclusive partner of the International Economic Development Council, and has been on the Inc. 5000 list for the past four years.
Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office Director, has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer, a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development from the International Economic Development Council. The CEcD recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession.Candidates must have at least five years of experience, complete extensive economic development training requirements and pass a rigorous and comprehensive three-part, two-day examination administered by the International Economic Development Council. The exam tests a practitioner's knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the key areas of economic development, including business retention and expansion, marketing, finance, workforce development, community development, technology-led economic development, real estate, strategic planning, and management. There are currently over 1,000 active CEcDs in the United States..