20 Years of Advocacy, Expansion and Success

EDC Annual Meeting celebrates local military.

Space Coast, FL (October 24, 2018) – The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) celebrated another successful year of business investment in Brevard County, with a special concentration on the impact of local military installations, at its 2018 Annual Meeting held on October 17, 2018.

During the event, which was held at the Radisson Resort at the Port in Cape Canaveral, EDC President and CEO Lynda Weatherman presented a keynote presentation 20 Years of Advocacy, Expansion and Success. The presentation highlighted the impact of Brevard’s Military and the EDC’s mission to strengthen the local military’s economic footprint. Local military installations are a vital asset to Brevard County. According to Patrick Air Force Base, direct and indirect jobs from the base equals 13,643, with an annual payroll of $585 million.

In 2005 the EDC was instrumental in the reversal of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)recommendation to relocate the Naval Ordinance Test Unit (NOTU), saving 200 direct jobs. The presence of NOTU has since led to over 1,300 new direct jobs and a capital investment of $140 million. (Image 1 Attached)

During the meeting the EDC recognized Neal E. Johnson, Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer U.S. Bank Home Mortgage and Past EDC Chair (2005) for his contributions to the EDC’s program of work in 2005 which led to the reversal of the BRAC recommendation. Also recognized for their contributions to local military families were Brevard County Civilian Military (CivMil) Community Relations Council and The Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council (MAC).

“Sometimes we really don’t know what the long-term impact of our efforts at the EDC will bring in return. Our effort in 2005 to overturn the BRAC Commission recommendation to close NOTU has resulted in over a thousand new and retained jobs in the years since,” says Neal E. Johnon. “This is just one example of the impact this organization has had on the Space Coast economy. It is a privilege to be a small part of that success.”

“I was honored to accept the award presented by the EDC to CivMil, and even more excited to see the deep and sincere appreciation our community holds for our military, its economic impact, mission, and sacrifices made to ensure our freedom,” said Travis Proctor, CEO of Artemis and CivMil Board Chairman.

“The Chamber’s Military Affairs Council has been a staple in our community for nearly 30 years,” said Jennifer Sugarman, President & CEO of the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Assisting our active duty military and their families is at the core of MAC’s mission and we couldn’t be prouder of the Chamber partners and military partners alike that come together every year to make a difference. MAC understands and applauds the incredible economic impact our military installations have on the Space Coast and we sincerely appreciate the EDC for recognizing our efforts.”

The evening also introduced new EDC Chair Dana Kilborne, who assumed the role from Immediate Past Chair Phil Hayes. “The EDC has always been proactive in adapting and responding to anticipated challenges and emerging trends,” said Kilborne during her opening remarks. “I look forward to the next 12 months, as we ensure the EDC continues to be a champion of change, creating a sustainable environment for our community and its citizens and businesses.”

Another highlight during the event, Thomas R. Brandon, President of Brandon Development Enterprises, Inc., was awarded the EDC’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

“It is with deep gratitude that I accept this honor,” said Brandon. “Knowing that the incredibly hardworking staff of the EDC chose to honor me with their support makes this a very special honor indeed. When I think of all the amazing work done by the EDC staff to benefit our community and our businesses, I feel like my own contributions are merely a drop in the bucket! Thank you to the staff at the EDC. I am truly humbled and honored.”


About the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) is dedicated to attracting new business and investment and expanding existing industry throughout the Space Coast, influencing change on government laws and regulations affecting economic development, promoting the Space Coast to encourage new investment, supporting efforts of Space Coast military installations, and relaying new programs and procedures to assist manufacturing and high-tech companies. The EDC is a private, not-for-profit coalition whose stakeholders are business leaders committed to the economic growth and stability of Florida’s Space Coast. Visit www.SpaceCoastEDC.org.

Image 2: (Left to Right) MAC Chair Chris Drennon, Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce Vice President Sandy Owens and Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jennifer Sugarman Member accept an award from the EDC’s Space Coast Defense Alliance Chair Daniel Ciuro.

Image 3: (Left to Right) Travis Proctor CivMil Board Chairman and Bill Taylor CivMil Board Member accept an award from the EDC’s Space Coast Defense Alliance Chair Daniel Ciuro.

Image 4: (Left to Right) Thomas R. Brandon accepted his award for EDC Volunteer of the Year from EDC Immediate Past Chair Phil Hayes.

Image 5: (Left to Right) EDC’s President and CEO Lynda Weatherman presents Neal E. Johnson a certificate for his role in the reversal of the 2005 BRAC recommendation.