An Alexandria, Virginia-based small business owned and operated by veterans is placing its newest office in downtown Pensacola next year.
VetFed Resources is opening a new program management office to help veterans seeking medical disability services.
“VetFed is a company that’s received a governmental contract to support the department of Veterans Affairs; what they do is assist veterans receiving their medical disability,” said Scott Luth, Executive Director of Florida West, the economic development arm covering much of the Florida Panhandle.
“[VetFed] was looking for a Central time zone and southern location,” said Luth. “They had a connection with one of their board members that had been through Pensacola early in his military career, and recommended to the principals to at least take a look at Pensacola as one of their options.”
Bringing in the firm was a team effort involving Florida West; the City of Pensacola; Escambia County, and the State of Florida.
“Just like a lot of economic development projects, it takes all of those entities to convince a company that we’re the right location for them,” Luth said. “It took about two years for it to develop, which is not uncommon.”
VetFed will use a $95,000 initial capital investment to renovate existing office property. When up and running, the firm is expected to create about 20 new jobs with higher than average paychecks. All in all, says Luth, it’s a good fit for both sides.
“They were looking, obviously, for communities that support the military that had a good labor supply of departed military or retired military,” said Luth. “And Pensacola obviously fit that bill better than anyplace.”
Calls to VetFed seeking an interview were not returned. The company appears to be at the forefront of a new Veterans Administration trend, to outsource services to reduce cost and form partnerships. Scott Luth at Florida West believes that VetFed’s decision to do business in Pensacola could open some more doors locally.
“Anytime we have a company that really has the choice to locate anywhere in the United States, and they select our community, it always helps with the next one that’s looking,” Luth said.
According to an evaluation by the University of West Florida’s Haas Center, the VetFed operation is projected to generate an additional $11,000-$14,000 in local tax revenues, and pump another $1.2 million into Escambia County’s economy.