CRESTVIEW, FL – On a day of celebration and commitment, Triumph Gulf Coast Board members joined Okaloosa County and Florida Department of Transportation officials at the groundbreaking of the Southwest Crestview Bypass Project. Triumph awarded Okaloosa $64.1 million of the $199 million project in exchange for no less than 1300 new high wage jobs in the county.
Following the groundbreaking, Triumph held a regular meeting at the Northwest Florida State College Center for Aviation Excellence at Bob Sikes Airport. The Center for Excellence is funded in part by a $7 million grant from Triumph for airframe and powerplant (A&P) and pilot training to support the region’s growing aviation and aerospace cluster. Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Northwest Florida State College, has noted that the grant is the single largest grant ever bestowed on the college.
Triumph Board Chair Don Gaetz introduced the newest members of the Board, Mr. David Bear and Mr. Collier Merrill of Escambia County and Mr. Reynolds Henderson of Walton County. All three new members are successful business owners bringing many years of business decision making expertise to the board.
A $11.5 million cybersecurity and new technologies grant was unanimously awarded to Florida State University at Panama City for the Advancing Science and Career Education in New Technologies (ASCENT) program. The grant will result in at least 3,280 industry certifications and credentials for students and residents of the Northwest Florida region.
Additionally, the new Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Hub will support local industry cyber and new technology training needs as well as partner with the region’s K-12 school districts to recruit, hire, and train teachers to teach technical fields.
“We’re very excited about the ability to work with other education institutions and industry across the region to meet workforce needs in cyber security and technology” said Dean Randy Hanna, Florida State University – Panama City.
The Triumph Board moved forward staff recommendations to negotiate a $15.9 million grant with Santa Rosa County to assist with the development of the new Milton Interchange Industrial Park, resulting in an additional 454 new high wage jobs, and to negotiate a $15 million grant with the Port Authority of Port St. Joe to dredge the channel and reopen the port to commercial activity in rural Gulf County. Reopening the port is expected to bring up to 400 new jobs to Gulf and Franklin counties.
Finally, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to create the “Triumph Horizon Award” to be given to Triumph funded projects that exceed performance goals and expectations.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and presiding officers of the Legislature. The appointees to the Triumph Board are David Bear, Allan Bense, Chair Don Gaetz, Reynolds Henderson, Ben Lee, Collier Merrill and Matt Terry. All meetings of the Board are public.