Space Coast Blasting Off!

By Robert DeVries

When the Space Shuttle Program ended in August 2011, uncertainty surrounded the economic future of the Space Coast, but Brevard County has risen to the challenge. The team at our wealth services firm in Melbourne has heard success story after success story from companies announcing plans to expand here, and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of this growing community.

Most recently, the amazing comeback of the Space Coast continued with the announcement from Blue Origin. Created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is a privately funded developer and manufacturer of spacecrafts. In September they announced that not only will they launch spacecrafts from Brevard County, but they will also manufacture the vehicles here, creating 330 jobs with the average pay of $89,000. Blue Origin also announced the plan to contribute $100 million in capital investment in the county.

Several other high profile announcements have been made in the last couple of years.

  • Boeing Space Exploration announced 300 jobs in spacecraft manufacturing.
  • Lockheed Martin is adding 130 jobs to its Trident Missile program.
  • Project Magellan, a plan by Northrop Grumman, will add as many as 1,800 jobs averaging $100,000 in pay and $500 million in capital investment.
  • Embraer announced in December 2014 another $75 million in investment, resulting in 600 new jobs in the local economy.
  • Embraer’s Aero Seating Technologies moved its operations to Titusville, adding 150 new jobs.
  • Oakridge Global Energy Solutions will expand its operations to Palm Bay and create 1,000 new jobs.

While the new job announcements are still below the total number employed during the shuttle program, it shows the resilience of our amazing community. Led by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and supported by local and state politicians, Brevard County has used its attractive natural resources, existing aerospace industry and competitive tax packages to add some of the most prestigious corporate relocations in the entire country.

Other communities have not been so lucky when faced with a decline in their central industry.  Detroit still struggles decades later with the decline in the automotive industry and in 2013 filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.

We are thankful at FirstWave Financial to be part of such a strong and growing community and proud to be a Chairman’s Level Sponsor of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. If you are looking to get involved in the community, check out some of the organizations we work with here.