Four months after opening its aircraft refurbishing plant in Pensacola, ST Engineering Aerospace is getting ready for a growth spurt. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last weekend at the company’s parent firm in Singapore.
ST Engineering Aerospace President and CEO Vincent Chong welcomed the Pensacola delegation.
“With today’s milestone, our growth in the city of Pensacola will be advanced even further,” said Chong. “With funding support from the city, county and state, ST Engineering is now able to embark on this project and build the Pensacola Aerospace Campus.”
The MOU opens the door for construction of a 655,000 square-foot facility adjacent to the plant next to Pensacola International Airport. The $210 million price tag will be funded by a number of state and federal organizations, with ST Engineering Aerospace kicking in $35 million.
“I think everyone in this room will recognize [that] time moves very quickly,” said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. “And time doesn’t wait and we have to move forward, not backwards.”
Under the agreement, ST Engineering and the City of Pensacola will begin to develop the new facility in 2022. It will consist of three widebody aircraft hangars and is expected to contribute about one and a half million man hours per year.
“It is about that growth and where we’ve come in the last six years, and the growth of ST Engineering,” Hayward said. “The electronics side; the marine side, the kinetic side. What a fabulous company to be able to partner with America’s First Settlement, Pensacola Florida, and our region.”
This project could produce an additional 1,300 direct full-time jobs with benefits, as well as 3,400 indirect jobs – all of which could pump another $400 million into the local economy. Other participants included Escambia County Commission Chairman Jeff Bergosh and Scott Luth, CEO of Florida West.
Hayward said the agreement was forged by a team effort.
“There’s not one person that gets you over the finish line; it’s about collaboration,” the Mayor said. “And that’s what we’ve done here today. That future growth is going to be tremendous for our region, our great state of Florida, and [will] build up the relationship between the United States and Singapore even bigger and better.”
ST Engineering also oversees about 500 “smart cities” projects in 70 cities around the world. Chong says the new facility in Pensacola would also be a “smart campus.” He then issued a challenge to the Pensacola officials.
“Why not use the Pensacola Aerospace Campus as a showcase to the rest of the country on how you’ve embraced technology to pursue new frontiers?” Chong said. “Your work will be more efficient, [and] our customers will be happier because we will deliver improved quality and efficiency.”
The city of Pensacola had already listed the $35 million dollar commitment from ST Engineering in its grant application with Triumph Gulf Coast. Triumph will provide $56 million for the project, contingent on ST Engineering’s guarantee of the 1,300-plus direct jobs to be created.