“Rocket science” helping to rebuild local economy
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2011) — Rocket scientists and technicians abound in the Melbourne, Fla., region, and international aviation giants like Embraer are embracing the high-caliber work force that the space shuttle’s retirement is leaving behind. With officials from Melbourne International Airport and the City of Melbourne leading the fight, nearly a thousand of the 8,000 positions expected to be lost are being replaced by smart global companies — months before the last shuttle launches.
On Monday, Feb. 21, the first new jobs become reality when Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. – NYSE: ERJ; BM&FBOVESPA:EMBR3), opens the doors of its $41 million complex at Melbourne International Airport, initially hiring 200 highly trained workers at an average salary of $50,000. Annual payroll at Embraer’s first North American aircraft-assembly plant will exceed $10 million, translating into a local economic impact of $23 million a year.
“We’re at the starting gate of our economic renaissance,” said Melbourne Mayor Harry Goode. “We’ve got the talent, we’ve got the land, and goodness knows we have the climate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is where international companies should grow. Embraer just figured it out first.”
Embraer is one of three global aviation manufacturing and maintenance companies that have announced plans to move to the airport and take advantage of the space shuttle’s available work force.
Unlike many industrial sites with limited space to grow, Melbourne International Airport still has 500 acres of land available for development. The airport offers a true quadri-modal transportation network that includes air, land, sea and, yes, space ports.
“There aren’t many cities in the world that can claim that,” said Goode, who also serves as chairman of the Melbourne Airport Authority.
Embraer will share a ZIP code with other Fortune 100 companies in what is becoming internationally recognized as an aircraft manufacturing and aviation cluster. The world headquarters of Harris Corp. is just down the street, as are major locations for Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Rockwell Collins, DRS and others.
Florida Congressman Bill Posey, U.S. Senator/former astronaut Bill Nelson and Florida Gov. Rick Scott all salute Embraer’s decision in a video news release expected to be released today. To learn more about Melbourne, Fla., go to www.melbourneflorida.org or www.spacecoastedc.org.
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