Economic Development

First Place Partners

Available facilities for business startups and/or growth in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties are getting easier to find, thanks to a new Internet database.

First Place Partners has developed the database, offering information on sites and buildings in the two-county area. Director John Hutchinson says the organization currently has about 40 members in EscaRosa.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson welcomed about 100 students from high schools around the city, to his weekly news conference at City Hall on Monday.

Meeting in the City Council chamber instead of the Hagler Auditorium, Robinson fielded questions from the students on a wide range of issues, from economic development to preserving local historical landmarks to homelessness. On the latter, he told them he’s looking forward to following up on the “Homeless Summit” held earlier this month.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Organizations across the United States are banding together this week to increase awareness of jobs and career development programs that enhance local economic impact. Florida West is among them.

This is National Economic Development Week, with the spotlight on just what such agencies do in their community or region. It’s the third annual observance, which was begun by the International Economic Development Council -- the largest professional membership organization for economic developers.

Florida West

After a banner year in 2017, the Florida West Economic Development Alliance is looking ahead to more successes in 2018. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody kicks off a two-part report – first up -- the year past.

Chief Executive Officer Scott Luth says it was a good year overall laying groundwork. The one issue that stands out to him is the Bluffs Industrial Campus – which received $3.1 million from the state for site connectivity and infrastructure improvements.

  Florida West is teaming up with CareerSource EscaRosa to host a free workshop on Friday, aimed at helping match groups who help people, with people who need jobs.

It’s called a “Workforce Toolbox,” and seeks to do a couple of things: dispel a misconception that there are no jobs out there, and find solutions to what Florida West CEO Scott Luth calls a disconnect between workers and potential employers.

Officials from Santa Rosa County are crafting a strategy to encourage and manage retail development.  Shannon Ogletree, the Director of Economic Development for Santa Rosa County says because the county is growing so fast,  officials want to produce guidelines so retail development is planned and not haphazard. Ogletree, along with County Commissioner Jayer Williamson and Milton City Manager Brian Watkins recently attended an international retail convention in Las Vegas to begin the process of forming a retail strategy for Santa Rosa County.

“Operation Airwolf” has come to fruition in Santa Rosa County, with the addition of a helicopter repair facility in Milton’s Santa Rosa Industrial Park. The jobs created are expected to average around $60,000 per year.

“Airwolf” was the code name for Aerosync Support Incorporated, which has purchased the old West Coast Metal Roofing building. Plans call for the firm to spend about $2 million for renovations. The plant will then join other Aerosync facilities in Wichita, Kansas and Bogotá, Colombia.