BRIDG Monthly Newsletter | June 2019
Chester Kennedy Headshot
This month has truly been a roller-coaster for the BRIDG team. We started the month excited that our efforts to educate our elected officials about the breadth and depth of what we are doing had resulted in appropriations that were well above recent year levels. I want to personally thank the members of the Florida legislature – Representative Mike LaRosa, Senator David Simmons, and many others – that took the time to develop an understanding of what BRIDG is doing and supported that vision with appropriated funding. The dimensions to this project are varied and complex and the members of the legislature who took the time to understand the project became supporters.

Unfortunately, we ended the month in disappointment when the governor chose to veto the majority of the funds that the legislature had appropriated to BRIDG. I am confident that if we had the opportunity for the governor to visit the site and allow us to explain in-depth the various facets and value propositions, see the physical infrastructure, and meet the dedicated team assembled, that he would have reached a different decision. He would have understood the gravity of what we are doing to develop a workforce for the next generation and expand the local and state economy, all while filling critical gaps in national security. 

As a stand-alone economy, Florida has the 16 th largest GDP in the world. This positions Florida ahead of entire nations, including the Netherlands, Taiwan, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, and Israel—all of which are investing significantly larger dollar amounts into its silicon economy. These countries are making those investments because of the impact this industry has on the future. Moving forward, I ask your help as we collectively work to educate key decision makers across the state on the importance of building the silicon economy here in Central Florida as an element of strengthening the overall security and economy of the entire state and nation.

Despite the fact that the decision to veto our funds is detrimental to what we believe is the state’s most important economic development initiative, we remain committed to our role in elevating our nation’s global competitiveness in microelectronics manufacturing, ensuring our national security, and growing the U.S. innovation ecosystem. We look forward to one day having the governor and other legislative leaders visit our site to see the great work that is being produced from our facility.

On a positive note, we congratulate Space Florida and the Brevard County economic development team on the recent announcement of Boeing moving their space operations to Florida—less than an hour away from NeoCity! This news ties directly to the message we have relayed to Congress and the Department of Defense over the last two years: in spite of obstacles such as the one noted above, communities across the state are proudly building the infrastructure and ecosystems necessary to support the future expansion of leading edge technology in the United States. This development is key to ensuring our national security and our role in the global economy. I expect to see more of these announcements as the country discovers the breadth and depth of Florida’s critical infrastructure ecosystem—whether on the surface of the earth or deep in space.

Thank you for joining us on our journey. Together, we are building a stronger future here at BRIDG and NeoCity.

Wishing everyone a safe and memorable Fourth of July!
Chester Kennedy
BRIDG Announces Addition of Key Industry Strategic Advisor
BRIDG is proud to announce the appointment of Vernon Williams, Director of International Law for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, as strategic adviser. Through engagement with BRIDG leadership and its board of directors, Williams will complement the existing advisory boards by providing critical guidance to organizational challenges and opportunities. Vernon has generously agreed to donate his time and efforts to BRIDG.

With more than 35 years of technical and legal experience ranging from intellectual property law and international trade compliance to systems engineering, Vernon offers unique insights and advice that will help accelerate the growth and regional economic impact of BRIDG.

“Vernon’s generosity enables us to engage with globally recognized talent worth far more than what we could otherwise access at this stage,” said BRIDG CEO Chester Kennedy. “The ability to pick up the phone and receive expert advice is truly invaluable. It is an incredible honor to include Vernon on our journey.”

In addition to many years spent negotiating on behalf of Fortune 100 companies across the globe, Vernon’s diverse background includes in-house leadership roles with Corning Inc. Display Technologies, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Nortel Networks. A member of multiple bar associations in the United States and an Authorized House Counsel in Florida, Vernon earned his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute, his Masters in Industrial Engineering from New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, and his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards Finalist
BRIDG was recently recognized as a finalist for the Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards. Led by the Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes, the awards program acknowledges the state’s high-performing manufacturers and offers a framework for networking and sharing manufacturing best practices. The awards presentation was held in conjunction with this year’s Make More Manufacturing Summit – a daylong summit presented by hosting sponsors Florida Makes, Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Manufacturing & Logistics Council, Associated Industries of Florida, CareerSource Florida, and many others, to provide a platform to exchange ideas around how our state resources are addressing the impact of market dynamics, economic trends and policies, and new technologies in the manufacturing sector.

We are honored to be considered as one of Florida’s top manufacturing companies by organizations that we respect so highly. Thank you to the Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes for your confidence in BRIDG. We are proud to join our fellow manufacturers as we work to strengthen and advance Florida's economy by “making more” in our state.
SEMI High Tech University Students Visit BRIDG
In collaboration with the School District of Osceola County , BRIDG was pleased to host this year’s graduating class of the SEMI High Tech University (HTU) program this month. The first of its kind in the state of Florida, SEMI HTU prepares students to pursue STEM careers through hands-on interactions with industry professionals. It is a great opportunity to take part in efforts to inspire the next generation of innovators, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with local educators as we prepare the future workforce pipeline.
SEMICON West | July 9-11, 2019
BRIDG is exhibiting alongside our partners from the Orlando Economic Partnership during SEMICON West, one of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturing and materials tradeshows. Visit us at booth #1643!
  BRIDG is located at NeoCity in Osceola County, Florida.