Space Florida CEO wants to triple regional aerospace jobs

03.29.2012


Space Florida's CEO recently told locals that his company intends create a surge in aerospace staffing in the state.
Space Florida's CEO recently told locals that his company intends create a surge in aerospace staffing in the state.

Aerospace economic development agency Space Florida's chief executive officer Frank DiBello recently told attendants at a local meeting of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce that his organization intends to engage in robust aerospace and aviation staffing, tripling the number of these positions in the state over the next 10 years.

DiBello, who runs a corporation granted with the responsibility of expanding Florida's aerospace industry by the state's legislature, said at the meeting that the location of the region makes it appealing to employers in the sector, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

He stated that the closeness of Volusia County to Kennedy Space Center and the fact that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is in Daytona Beach both make the region appealing to aerospace firms, the news source reports. The official met with representatives of the university when he visited.

"Volusia will continue to be an important center of excellence for Florida's aerospace industry," DiBello stated, the media outlet reports. He said that that constant supply of skilled workers generated by Embry-Riddle serves to attract firms in the sector.

The corporation's official said that the state's aerospace industry is looking bright since more than three-quarters, or 78 percent, of the sector's activity comes from private investment in commercial space exploration, according to the news source.

The southern state's aerospace economic development agency is a private-public partnership that is based in Brevard County, the media outlet reports. DiBello stated that the entity has the authority to invest in research and development, provide firms with economic incentives and also contribute to the expansion of infrastructure that is related to the industry.

Phil Ehlinger, Volusia County economic development director, told the news source that Space Florida can be very effective in terms of creating jobs in the industry and motivating employers to locate to the region.

"They have some really neat tools in their toolbox," he stated in reference to the organization, the media outlet reports.

He added that the economic development agency has the authority to purchase a facility for a manufacturer or invest funds into a startup entity.

An example of aviation staffing that could occur in the U.S. is Chandler Airpark in Arizona, which officials expect to be responsible for the creation of 35,000 positions by 2040 from the 125 employees it has now, according to an opinion piece in the Arizona Republic.

The airpark has been dormant for years, after city officials contacted developers during the economic downturn and told them to halt the projects they were working on at the time, The Associated Press reports. The municipal representatives made this decision as a result of the region's real estate market plummeting and their concern that this development could result in a buildup of vacant buildings around the airport.

The transportation infrastructure surrounding the location has been bolstered since then, and a new Santan Freeway has made it easier for people to travel to and from the transit hub, according to the Republic.

The proliferation of roads around the airport has made the location more appealing to employers, The Associated Press reports. The airport has recently become a focus for Chandler's economic development division.

Christine Mackay, the city's economic development director, anticipates that she will announce the airport's latest project within the next few months, according to the news source. She expects that several developments will begin in the coming years, stating that "arguably, aviation was hit harder than any other sector in this country, and it will take the longest to recover."

Airport administrator Lori Quan told the media outlet that the city has been promoting the location to corporate executives as a means of saving time and hassle by avoiding the major airports.