Spring 2015 E-News
Often times it is asked why the Santa Rosa Economic Development Office and Florida's Great Northwest target aviation and defense companies, and does that industry sector fit the Northwest Florida region. To answer those questions, here are some basic facts on why they are targeted and why they fit.
Large Retired Military Presence
In U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller's Florida 1st District, which encompasses Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa County, and part of Walton County, it is the number one district in the United States for retired department of defense personnel with approximately 34,000 individuals. The community with the second highest concentration in the U.S. is located in the 2nd District of the Commonwealth of Virginia with around 31,000 individuals and includes cities such as Newport, Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk or better known as the Hampton Roads MSA with an estimated population of 1.7 million. As we are meeting with aviation and defense companies, one of the top ten questions asked is concerning the labor force and if we are able to meet current and future demand for their company. Having this built-in labor force that understands the mechanics of working for a large organization and having the familiarity of working on aircraft becomes a major draw for employers. In addition to the current retired military population, more than 6,000 highly skilled personnel exit from the military each year to our area, the average age for these individual's is early 40's.
Cluster of Companies
Like minded companies tend to migrate toward each other and to their customers, in Northwest Florida this is no different. In the region we are home to six military bases with over 500 aviation, aerospace, and defense companies that employ more than 60,000 workers. Throughout Northwest Florida we have aviation companies such as L3, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and Lockheed Martin. Companies want to locate to areas where risks are reduced and having a cluster of similar companies shows outside industries that they can be successful and profitable here in Northwest Florida.
Proximity to Aviation OEMs
With valuable industrial property located close to Interstate 10 and Whiting Aviation Field, our Santa Rosa sites are in close proximity to five major Aerospace OEMs assembly facilities. The new Airbus A320 facility in Mobile, AL is an hour drive from our industrial parks, which will allow suppliers to serve Airbus's just-in-time production schedule, but also allows them to compete in a different market for labor force. We are also within a day's drive to Boeing, Gulfstream, and Embraer, all which are located along the east coast stretching from Charleston to Orlando.
These factors, including many others, are why aviation, aerospace, and defense companies are our top target for business recruitment. It is also easy to see why these types of companies fit in the northwest Florida region with our high concentration of military retirees.
In an effort to further promote Santa Rosa County, Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County Economic Development Director, recently attended the Pacific Northwest Aviation Alliance conference with partners from Pensacola and Florida's Great Northwest to attract new investments and jobs to the area. During the visit, he met with top OEM aviation companies and many of their suppliers. Santa Rosa County's message to this close knit group of companies was, "we understand you are current suppliers to Boeing and you have a strong connection to the community, but if you are looking to expand to the east coast, consider Northwest Florida and Santa Rosa County".
This message was positively received and many companies stopped by to learn more about the area. Three leads were also received from companies looking at expanding elsewhere in the Southeast that were not considering Northwest Florida area until hearing about it. These three leads are only in the beginning stages of learning more about the region, but it's a positive step in spreading the word on Santa Rosa County. To learn more please visit SantaRosaEDO.com or contact the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office at 850.623.0174.
What do ceramic coating for buildings, 3D printing, and check scanning software have in common? They are all products or services offered by Northwest Florida companies that have taken advantage of a unique program to help their companies expand into foreign markets - the Export Marketing Plan,or EMP, program.
On Jan. 22, Enterprise Florida, Inc., or EFI, and the Florida Small Business Development Center, SBDC, Network signed a memorandum of understanding that solidifies ongoing efforts to help Florida-based companies tap into overseas markets. This memorandum of understanding revolves around the creation of customized EMPs, which include an export readiness assessment, industry analysis, competitive analysis and ultimately a list of top target market and recommended market entry strategy.
Few small businesses have the time or in-house skills to develop such a plan on their own, which takes an average of 120 hours to develop. Fewer still have the resources to pay for an outside contractor to do that kind of research and compose a company-specific plan, an approximate $10,000 value.
But the partnership between EFI, the Florida SBDC and the U.S. Commercial Service, makes it possible for qualifying companies to get a plan done at a subsidized cost of only $500. The support continues with consultations and action steps such as tapping into additional export promotion programs with EFI's Target Sector Trade Grant and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Gold Key matchmaking program.
Enterprise Florida conducts trade missions and stages state pavilions at prominent global trade shows in target sector industries. These include, but are not limited to aviation, aerospace, defense, IT and life sciences. Small enterprises, defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration as having less than 500 employees, would do well to explore this program. Reach out to your local EFI or SBDC to learn more about this exiting opportunity!
For more information, contact Andrea Moore, Regional Trade Manager with Enterprise Florida, at email@example.com or Julia Montgomery, International Trade Specialist with the FSBDC at the University of West Florida at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Manager, Int'l Trade Development
ICT & Computer Industry Specialist
Greater Pensacola Career Pathways is a collaborative campaign outlining the local career opportunities, anticipated wages and training programs in the Pensacola area. The campaign is led by the Community Economic Development Association of Pensacola and Escambia County and Gulf Power Company, in partnership with Escambia and Santa Rosa County School Districts, George Stone Technical Center, Locklin Technical Center, Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida.
Far too often, disheartened stories are heard of recent graduates unable to find work in the area for which they were trained or studied. Why so? It's a complex answer-lack of tangible skills, an ever-changing economy, applicable experiences, and on and on.
Students needs to know what they enjoy doing, what their strengths are and what their goals are before they select a training program or degree so that they will choose the right program of study that leads to the right pathway for them. It's just that-a pathway; with many opportunities to enter into a career or continue an education throughout their life.
There is no one size fits all approach to starting that path. The job market has experienced radical changes and the blueprint for success is far different from what it used to be twenty-five years ago. Students need informed, data driven, information about the many career opportunities in the community and the correlating training programs that feed those. They need to understand that planning, preparation, skills, the right attitude and a good career match are what lead to success, not a piece of paper.
As such, a collaborative network of partners have joined together to bring data-driven outlines of career opportunities in industry sectors within the Pensacola metropolitan area. Each career outlined is considered "in demand" - that is, they are experiencing above average job growth and the likelihood of finding employment in them is high.
Business intelligence is at your fingertips with Santa Rosa County's Economic Development Office's suite of free online tools. With the business analysis tool found at www.SantaRosaEDO.com/intelligence.html you can compare your business to your industry competitors, find the best places to target your next advertising campaign and map competitors, customers and suppliers. The demographic tool found at www.SantaRosaEDO.com/demographic.html offers instant access to demographic data, consumer expenses and labor force information. Lastly, the industry mapping tool found at www.SantaRosaEDO.com/industry-map.html allows you to map any industry by type, name, revenue or number of employees.
Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree comments, "After hearing the need to assist more small businesses, the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office is now offering these local business intelligence tools that will provide small businesses answers to potential questions such as, 'How do I compare?' and 'Where are my customers?' or 'Where should I advertise?," he continues, "Together the new tools allows our residents access to on demand customizable demographic information and an overall scorecard of how the business is performing. The data can also assist our citizens when looking for general information and when applying for grants."
For users looking for more in-depth information, SantaRosaSites.com is available and allows users to view, create and print maps, find available commercial or business property, and develop custom demographic radius reports online. Together, these tools offer a powerful asset to businesses looking for immediate access to critical business intelligence needed to make an investment decision.