Northwest Florida Manufacturing News Monthly
Member Highlight: International Paper
International Paper, headquartered in Memphis, TN with operations across five continents, is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper products. The Pensacola Mill, located in Cantonment, FL, has been in operation for over 75 years and employs over 500 people. Pensacola’s containerboard is sent to facilities that create corrugated cardboard boxes; fluff pulp is distributed to worldwide customers who produce baby diapers, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products. The Pensacola containerboard mill is part of International Paper’s Industrial Packaging Group. For more information, contact Janice Holmes, Director of Communications, at 850-968-4203 or
Welcome to New Board of Director, Dan Velazquez
Dan’s team is responsible for overseeing the St. Joe’s Company's commercial, industrial, office, and multifamily portfolios. Currently, they are building a 138,000 square feet GKN Aerospace facility at Venture Crossings Enterprise Center. Dan holds a Bachelor of Architecture from LSU, an MBA from the University of Utah, and has over 17 years’ experience in real estate and economic development.
Crisis Communications: A FloridaMakes Webinar
Sara Brady, former Orlando Sentinel Reporter, gives manufacturers a framework for effective and responsible crisis reporting to the media and the public.

This webinar will be held on April 20, 2017, from 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM. Register by April 19, 2017.
Radioactive Roaches
Ben Shuman, Niceville High School robotics educator, developed a robotics team for Okaloosa County high school students 11 years ago. The team dubbed their rookie robot “Raoul the RoboRoach” because of its resemblance to the insect. The next year, the team deployed an active networking radio control system, leading to the developing of the Radioactive Roaches. The Roaches have excelled and competed nationwide, recently reaching the semifinals in a West Palm Beach tournament. Additionally, Shuman was named a Woodie Flowers Award Finalist at the 2017 Rocket City FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional robotics competition. The Woodie Flowers Award celebrates effective communication and recognizes mentors who are strong, inspiring, and empowering leaders. The team’s next stop is the FIRST Championship in Houston, TX.

Since its inception, the team has dedicated itself not only to competing, but also to inspiring younger engineers and problem solvers. With the support of Shuman and institutions such as the Doolittle Institute, American Elite Molding, and Fort Walton Machining, this project makes learning fun. The Council hopes to use this program as a regional model and to get younger students excited about learning manufacturing skills.
Building Florida's Cyber Coast
On March 28th, FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance brought together cyber and technology professionals for a strategic planning session and SWOT analysis of the cyber industry. The data collected in the session will be used to create a strategic plan and a vision for the cybersecurity landscape of the future. "The energy we saw Tuesday indicates that the cyber industry has a unique opportunity to grow in Northwest Florida," remarked FloridaWest CEO, Scott Luth.
Register for Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Registration
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training teaches participants how to support and be involved with Six Sigma Improvement Teams. This class will be held on Tuesday, April 25 through Thursday, April 27 at the UWF Innovation Institute in Pensacola. Limited seating is available, so learn more and register today.
MAF Updates
Business Rejects Senate Workers Comp Proposal and Embraces House Proposal
Despite adamant opposition from MAF and more than 15 business groups, the Senate Banking & Finance Committee approved SB 1582, Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
On April 6, the House Commerce Committee met and debated HB 7085 and its seven amendments offered for approximately 2 hours; the committee passed the amended bill. MAF had spoken in support of the bill and its industry-approved amendments, and urges its members to voice support to their representatives.
On April 6, the House Commerce Committee passed HB 1107, which protects the privacy of injured workers; MAF spoke in favor of this bill.
House Committee Passes Tax Package
On April 5, the House Ways & Means Committee introduced WMC 6. The bill reduces the state sales tax rate on commercial real estate rental from 6% to 4.5% for two years, beginning January 1, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2020, the bill maintains a permanent tax reduction from 6% to 5.5%. Additionally, WMC 6 increases the maximum amount of corporate tax credits for research and development for 2018, from $9 million to $20 million.
On April 3, the Senate Community Affairs Committee passed SB 484, reducing the sales tax on commercial leases and rents by 1%.
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
On April 6, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 76, which caps non-homestead property tax at 10%. The House passed its companion bill, HB 21, and referred it to Senate committees.
Pollution Notification Bill
On April 6, the Senate Appropriations committee unanimously approved SB 532. MAF supports this bill; it clarifies that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, not the regulated entity, is responsible for reporting pollution to the public.
New CPT Recipients

Caleb Parker is a junior at Freeport High School and was one of the first in his class to receive the CPT manufacturing certification. Caleb plans to pursue a career in manufacturing management within the automotive industry. One of his favorite quotes is, “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S Lewis  

Jackson Schubert, junior at Freeport Senior High School, was one of the first students in his A&P class to obtain his CPT. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of Northwestern Ohio’s High Performance Motorsports program. Jackson enjoys hands-on work and performs maintenance at his family’s tool and equipment rental business, and hopes to own his own hot rod shop one day. His favorite quote is by Mike Finnegan, mechanic and editor of Hot Rod Magazine: “Some people want to go fast, some want to look good, but I say going fast is looking good.”

April Calendar
FloridaMakes Webinar - Crisis Communications
Thursday, April 20
8:00 - 9:00 AM
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, May 18
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Rutherford High School
General Membership Meeting and Tour
Thursday, April 20
Networking, 2:30 - 3:00 PM
Meeting, 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Tour following meeting
Rex Lumber, Graceville, FL
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training
Tuesday, April 25 - Thursday, April 27
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
UWF Innovation Institute
Have an event you would like to add? 
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  This newsletter was developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida.