Private aviation’s contribution to the U.S. economy is often an underreported story. However, the significance was on full display in Melbourne, Florida on Monday as Embraer cut the ribbon on a new Design and Engineering Center of Excellence. It is an area that lost thousands of NASA and civilian jobs when the Shuttle program ended in 2011. The Monday announcement brings $24 million in GDP to the area.
The center creates 200 “high tech, high wage jobs,” said Gray Swoope (right), Secretary of Commerce for the State of Florida and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Gary Spulak (below), President of the Brazilian aircraft maker said a separate upcoming announcement expands its existing manufacturing on the campus adding 600 more jobs.
For Brevard County, reeling from NASA cutbacks, the event drew over 500 happy attendees, including local media, and featured a number of Embraer engineers who previously used their expertise on the Shuttle program. Embraer’s expansion, executives said, enables the employees to stay in the area providing the local economy some needed good news.
Spulak told Elite Traveler that the Design Center provides reasons for customers to visit as part of the process of buying and building their private jet. “Customers come for several days. They come with their families. They stay in hotels. They eat in restaurants and go shopping,” the Embraer boss noted. Swoope said these visits will provide Florida an opportunity to showcase why other businesses should follow Embraer and increase operations in the Sunshine State.
The 200 jobs will generate a GDP for the area of $16.7 million per year, but that is just where the story starts. An additional $7.5 million of GDP will come to the region via increased rental demand for owner-occupied buildings, as well as banking, restaurants, professional and technical services, demand for physicians and other health practitioners and other service providers. In fact, Embraer’s 200 jobs will create more than 75 new jobs.
While the Excellence Center may well produce innovations in aerospace design and perhaps more plush amenities for elite travelers, the ribbon cutting was also a good reminder of the important contribution General Aviation makes to the U.S. economy, often times in places it is needed most.