The Year in Review
Increasing Florida’s High-Tech Footprint Beneficial to State Economy, Job Market Says Taxwatch
In May, a report by Florida TaxWatch, the state’s independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute & government watchdog, found that the growth of high-tech manufacturing is beneficial to Florida and that investing in the industry now can put us ahead of competitor states in enticing companies to the state.

Governor Scott signs Florida budget with $3.1 Million for The Bluffs Infrastructure Improvements
May: FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance   announced  The Bluffs, Northwest Florida’s Industrial Campus  had received $3.1 million in funding for site connectivity and infrastructure improvements as part of the 2017-2018 State of Florida budget signed by Governor Rick Scott.

FloridaWest Announces the Launch of the Cybersecurity Strategic Plan for Greater Pensacola
October: FloridaWest and UWF, in partnership with public and private organizations, officially launched the Cybersecurity Strategic Plan for Greater Pensacola at a standing room only event in the UWF Commons Conference Center.  

Our existing cybersecurity industry cluster, combined with a national need for cybersecurity services and development, presents a unique opportunity to grow. Experts in the region’s cybersecurity industry have provided valuable feedback to formulate this strategy to grow a regional cybersecurity footprint in Northwest Florida. 
The Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Rebrands as CO:LAB
At the start of the year, the CIE changed its name to CO:LAB, launching a new website and a fresh new look. The rebranding reflects both the evolution of Pensacola’s incubator as well as its vision for the future. 

CO:LAB is a program of FloridaWest EDA in partnership with Pensacola State College. The program targets early-stage, high­-growth companies to increase their chances of success by providing shared office space, support services and business coaching.
Jupiter Celebrates 10th Anniversary & Nacelle 20,000
I n February, FloridaWest joined Jupiter Bach as they celebrated a great milestone for Jupiter Group and the environment.
On February 3rd 2017 Jupiter Group rolled off the line nacelle number 20,000.
Nacelle #20,000 is a GE 2.3MW unit built in Pensacola Florida, which was celebrating the 10 year anniversary of that facility during the same month.
VT MAE Hosts Information Session, Job Fairs
In November, Bill Hafner, president of Mobile-based VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, held a Career Information Session which set the stage for two successful November hiring events. Another hiring event is scheduled for January 12th. Details

FloridaWest launches expanded website
In July, FloridaWest EDA launched a  new economic development website  highlighting The Bluffs Northwest Florida’s Industrial Campus as well as resources and expanded content on targeted industries, workforce data and access to market. The new website targets site selection consultants as well as new and existing businesses looking to explore growth in the Greater Pensacola market.  

Career Recruiting Videos
FloridaWest, working with Escambia County School District Workforce Education, and with great help from companies and partners such as Jupiter Bach, Ferguson Airport/Brown Helicopter, GBSI, Argo, UWF and PSC created a series of recruiting videos this year. Aimed at Middle and High school students and their parents, the videos are being used by Guidance Counselors and teachers and are available at greaterpensacolacareerpathways.com to increase awareness of career and educational opportunities. 

In October, FloridaWest and IT Gulf Coast hosted ITEN WIRED 2017, the Gulf Coast’s premier tech conference, featuring tracks in Cybersecurity, Mobile/Wearable devices, Tech Maker/ Incubators, and Professional Development for IT. Over 150 jobseekers attended the Job Fair held in conjunction with the conference on Pensacola Beach. 

FloridaWest Celebrates Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies
In August, we celebrated two of our innovative companies—  Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) and  AppRiver  —who have been named to  Inc. Magazine’s  2017 list of the 500/5000 fastest growing, privately held companies in America.  These companies account for 275 jobs headquartered in our region and represent over $75M in sales.
Ascend Dedicates Technology Center
In June, FloridaWest celebrated with Ascend Performance Materials as they marked their 8th Anniversary and also dedicated the new Frederic M. Poses Technology Center at their Cantonment Facility.
Photo: Scott Luth FloridaWest CEO, Jim Hull, Vice President Nylon Operations at Ascend Performance Materials, Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry and Phil McDivitt President and CEO of Ascend Performance Materials.
VetFed Resources, Inc. Brings Jobs to Escambia County 
In December, FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance announced that VetFed Resources, Inc. will open a new location in Pensacola, creating 20 new jobs. Commissioner Lumon May, PEDC board member Dave Hoxeng and FloridaWest board member Karen Sindel spoke at the event.

The 20 new jobs and 2 retained jobs, with above average wages, and the $95,000 initial capital investment put into this existing office property will have positive impact on our economy.
Department of Homeland Security Hosts Cybersecurity Expo at UWF
In October, The Department of Homeland Security hosted a Cybersecurity Roundtable and Career Information Expo at the University of West Florida Conference Center.

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