Florida Governor Rick Scott Visits Northrop Grumman

MELBOURNE, Florida -- Florida Governor Rick Scott participated in a dedication ceremony for Northrop Grumman’s Center of Excellence located on West NASA Boulevard in Melbourne this morning. 

The space and defense contractor recently broke ground on a new 200,000 square foot building at its current campus adjacent to the Melbourne International Airport.  The new building, which will accommodate program management and engineering teams, as well as integration laboratories, is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2014.

Governor Scott announced in March 2013 that Northrop Grumman was designating five centers of excellence around the country, with two of them being housed in Florida. The Melbourne location will serve as the Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence.

Northrop Grumman’s centers of excellence will serve to improve its strategic alignment with its customers’ need for increasingly innovative and affordable products, services and solutions. The company employs more than 1,200 people in Melbourne, and estimates growing by an additional 1,000 employees over the next four years as a result of the designation of the site as a center of excellence.

As reported by Brevard Times back in March, Northrop Grumman Communications Director Tim Paynter said that 650 positions are moving from Bethpage to Melbourne but 100 positions are leaving Melbourne to the San Diego area.  So Melbourne can expect a net gain of 550 positions in 2014.  The other 450 positions are a longer-term proposition.

The actual number of direct jobs that will already be filled by existing Northrop Grumman employees was marked "To Be Determined" in documents submitted to the Melbourne City Council when it voted to award the company a $1.15 million grant over five years along with an additional $474,000 in tax abatements.  So the number of high-paying open positions, if any, that existing Brevard County residents would be able apply for is also up in the air.

Although the company already stood to receive over $6 million in combined grants and tax abatements from the State of Florida and the City of Melbourne, and the company previously announced to its investors and employees of its planned move to Melbourne, the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast then asked the Brevard County Commission to give the company another $2 million grant over four years and $810,000 in tax abatements over ten years.  The County Commission then approved the request for the additional incentives.

Because Brevard County and the City of Melbourne approved the local $4.7 million in grants, the company then qualified to apply for a match from the State of Florida for four times the local grant (approximately an additional $18.8 million.)

“With Florida’s incredible workforce, low tax environment and support of manufacturing, we were able to secure a huge victory for Florida families with Northrop Grumman’s centers of excellence, Governor Scott said in a release.  "The establishment of the Melbourne facility will create 1,000 new jobs which is a huge victory for area families. While this is an incredible victory, we aren’t slowing down. This session we’re fighting to create even more jobs and opportunities by cutting $500 million in taxes and fees for Florida families and job creators.”

The EDC said in a release today that it projects that the Northrop Grumman jobs will have an overall impact of $75 million every year once hiring is complete with an estimated 869 indirect jobs created.

“We are proud to be involved in such an important, impactful project,” EDC President and CEO Lynda Weatherman said. “To help bring 1,000 jobs to the community that average $75,000 in annual salary, especially during a time of defense cutbacks and sequestration concerns, is a major accomplishment. This expansion is one of the largest economic development projects anywhere in the country in 2013 and we look forward to the deep and lasting benefits it will bring to the Space Coast.”


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