You Don’t Know What You Have Until It Is Gone (#EconDev Edition)

Noted on the Economic Gardening mailing list:

GrowFL Participant Credits Economic Gardening Program for Helping Secure Major Defense Contract

Cocoa-based Coastal Steel Inc. Will Add More Than 55 Jobs as a Result of Contract with Lockheed Martin


Jul 12, 2011 – COCOA, Fla. – Thanks in part to the entrepreneurial ecosystem cultivated by the Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s GrowFL program, one Florida company will add at least 55 new positions.  Coastal Steel, a steel erection, fabrication and manufacturing company based in Cocoa, has been awarded a contract to work with Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions on its Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS).

PTDS is a large balloon-like tracking device that gives warfighters throughout Iraq and Afghanistan an eagle-eye view of the surrounding terrain, providing life-saving surveillance and reconnaissance.  Coastal Steel is responsible for building and pre-assembling a piece that represents 30 percent of the overall system and is comprised of more than 3,200 various components.

Coastal Steel was selected to work with Lockheed Martin on the project since 2006, but the defense contractor has now ramped up its manufacturing requirements, prompting Coastal Steel to add 55 to 65 additional positions to its manufacturing team.  Executive vice president of Coastal Steel Inc. and president of Coastal Steel Manufacturing Dale Coxwell credits GrowFL with providing him the resources needed to obtain the Lockheed Martin contract.

“The GrowFL team provided me with a lot of insight that has helped our company grow,” Coxwell said. “The information I obtained from GrowFL assisted in the procurement of this contract, which will put between 55 and 65 individuals to work over the next eight months.”

GrowFL has helped support the growth of more than 200 second-stage companies across the state, and is equipped to assist additional companies through the end of August.

“We are always excited to hear such positive news from our client companies,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization.  “GrowFL is proving the concept that entrepreneurial ecosystems in support of growing companies do succeed in creating jobs.  Our team of business analysts is still available to help other companies add jobs and grow their business, just as Coastal Steel did.”

The City of Cocoa and its Office of Economic Development first encouraged Coxwell to participate in the GrowFL program because of the company’s steady expansion into diverse industries such as aerospace, theme parks, green energy and defense.  The 35-year-old, family-owned business gradually became one of the City’s largest employers….

Rest of the story is here.

As I noted in June after the National Economic Gardening Conference held at the University of Central Florida, Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, cut State support of the Grow Florida economic gardening program hosted at UCF.  While I admire Gov. Scott’s efforts to reign in his state’s budget, IMHO this may be an example of penny-wise, pound-foolish.


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1 Response to You Don’t Know What You Have Until It Is Gone (#EconDev Edition)

  1. Pingback: GrowFL Adapts and Grows Itself - JC

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