In today’s business environment, companies have to continually evolve to stay relevant. Leaders have to keep one eye on the future and another on the present. They need a workforce that is smart, motivated and eager to make a difference. They need reliable access to resources, suppliers and customers who demand solutions anytime and everywhere.
Consistently ranked one of the best states for business, Florida is committed to keeping regulatory requirements and business taxes low. That, along with a highly-skilled workforce, expansive infrastructure and zero personal state income tax, makes it a great place to do business.
All of these factors translate to a thriving economy and jobs. Statewide, the unemployment rate is 4.9 percent (November 2016) and Florida’s private-sector job growth rate of 3.5 percent (November 2016) has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012.
Since 2011, private-sector businesses in the state have added more than 1.26 million high-wage, high-skill positions across targeted industries including Finance & Professional Services, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Aviation & Aerospace.
Business in Florida Makes Sense
Most of the nation’s leading financial and insurance services firms have established large operations in Florida. From South Florida’s international banking hub to the Panhandle, companies like American Express, Verizon, Citi, Macquarie Group and USAA are all finding success in the Sunshine State.
When it comes to being a true world leader, Navy Federal Credit Union owns that distinction. The world’s largest credit union has grown from one building and 300 employees in 2003 to six buildings and 5,000 employees at their campus in Pensacola.
Photo Caption: Navy Federal: Navy Federal Credit Union’s Pensacola campus is home to more than 5,000 professionals.
“The tremendous talent pool in this area is the main reason we continue to expand here,” said Debbie Calder, Executive Vice President at Navy Federal Credit Union. “The benefits we have – with the weather, the beaches – this is just a great place to live and work, and it’s an extraordinarily giving community.”
That kind of talent pool and quality of life translate to big numbers on the ledger sheet: Florida is the #3 insurance industry and #4 financial industry in the nation, and more than 351,000 professionals work in those sectors.
Florida ranks among the nation’s top 10 states for manufacturing and is home to more than 19,000 manufacturing companies. The state had the second-largest growth in manufacturing firms from 2012-2015 with 1,378 companies added. More than 321,000 manufacturers across the state produce a wide variety of goods including aerospace products, batteries, semiconductors, communications equipment, pharmaceuticals and more.
Not surprisingly, Florida is a leader in the marine manufacturing industry. The state is tops for recreational boating so it’s fitting that some of the world’s best watercraft are produced in the state.
Photo Caption: Merritt Island Boat Works: Merritt Island Boat Works builds the Ocean Alexander 70e luxury yacht.
Last spring, Merritt Island Boat Works chose Florida for its new manufacturing facility in Brevard County. The project will bring 380 jobs and a capital investment of more than $16 million. The company builds the Ocean Alexander 70e luxury motoryacht at the facility. Conceived as an owner/operator yacht, the 70e was designed by renowned designer Evan K. Marshall and is built with the latest in construction technology.
“We found that attracting top-quality employees that can help us grow our business is much easier in a location like this,” said Justin Barnhill, Executive Vice President at Merritt Island Boat Works. “People from all over the states and all over the world look at Florida as a desirable place to go.”
Building a Healthier Business
In Florida, the life sciences industry is booming and companies are finding the highly-skilled talent they need to succeed. More than 27,000 Floridians work in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and medical device manufacturing industries, and the state’s universities are among the nation’s top producers of STEM graduates.
Arthrex has been based in Southwest Florida since 1991 and is a great contributor to the state’s #2 ranking for FDA registered medical device manufacturing facilities. Over the last 25 years, the company has grown into a global leader in arthroscopic surgery. Arthrex trains thousands of surgeons annually at its medical education facility in Naples, and more than 90 percent of its products are manufactured in the U.S. and exported to more than 100 countries around the world.
Reinhold Schmieding, President and Founder of Arthrex, said, “Arthrex is committed to reinvesting in our community, and the best investment is growing our business right here in Southwest Florida. This investment will help us expand our research, manufacturing product development and medical education to help improve the lives of people in Southwest Florida with our company and around the world with our products.”
Your Business Will Soar
Florida has long been the world’s premier gateway to space, undisputed air traffic hub for the western hemisphere, a major center for flight training and MRO, and home to manufacturing of aircraft and aviation/aerospace components. Virtually every major aviation/aerospace company in the world has significant operations in Florida – generating a robust supply chain that benefits all.
One of the most innovative aerospace projects announced in 2016 happened in Florida. OneWeb, a global communications network company, selected the Space Coast for its new home. The company will create 250 high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs in a new 100,000-square-foot satellite manufacturing facility, along with nearly $85 million in capital investment.
The company will design, build and launch an extensive network of small, low earth orbit satellites that will enable the delivery of internet services to every corner of the Earth at a low cost. These micro satellites will be manufactured at the Space Coast facility and will be mass produced utilizing fewer components thus making them lighter and easier to launch.
Photo Caption: OneWeb unveils the rendering for its new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Florida.
Brian Holz, CEO of OneWeb Satellites, said, “Florida is an excellent location for our high-volume satellite manufacturing facility. The State of Florida and Space Florida really understood our business needs and gave us an outstanding offer to locate in Exploration Park. Our high-volume satellite production uses many of the same technologies as aircraft production, and Florida has become a center of excellence for both aviation and space related technologies. We will leverage much of the local aerospace capability expanding opportunity in the Space Coast region, and we also anticipate many of our suppliers to co-locate operations near our facility. The facility will be a big part of our ability to dramatically lower satellite costs for OneWeb and other customers as we grow our business.”
Fueled by a world-class infrastructure, young, educated and diverse workforce, global gateways, a state-of-the-art high-speed technology backbone, and one of the most business-friendly environments in the country, anything is possible in Florida. For more information on why Florida is right for your business, visit www.enterpriseflorida.com/TheFutureisHere.
Visit www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/florida_ed for local economic development office directory listings.