Panama City, FL – Triumph Gulf Coast’s Board voted to support three new projects in Gulf and Franklin Counties totaling $14.8M. These transformative investments will support the expansion of existing industries, development of new industries, and increased workforce training in coastal rural communities.
The Board also voted to support a summer job training and industry certification program for students in Bay County for $86,780.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board unanimously voted to approve an education agreement with Gulf County School District (GCSD) that will result in industry certifications in subject areas pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The request of $750,000 represents 53.5 percent of total project cost over a 5-year period. GCSD will provide $652,000 in instructor salaries and benefits as matching funds. A minimum of 200 students will obtain Small UAS Safety certifications, Agricultural Use of UAS Technology certifications or Visual Line of Sight Operator (VOS) certifications over the five years. UAS is a high demand and growing industry sector that is well-matched to the needs of the local economy.
The Board voted to provide $13,000,000 to Gulf County for the construction of a floating dry dock. The floating dry dock will be leased out by the county to induce development of a ship repair industry at the Port of Port St. Joe. The floating dry dock, ship repair and haul out facility are expected to serve as catalysts to additional business and industry for Gulf County and the region.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to move to term sheet negotiations on a proposal from City of Apalachicola for improvements to the Scipio Creek Basin boat yard, landing docks, and the historic Popham house. This proposal is expected to improve usability for the commercial shallow draft fishing fleet and to improve the boat building program and associated Maritime Museum, a foundational tourism asset. The Triumph request of $1,100,000 represents 24.7 percent of total project cost of $4,454,596 over the 15-year (2010 – 2025) implementation of the multi-facility Port of Apalachicola strategic plan. It is expected that the project will allow retention of existing jobs and creation of new ones in the shrimping and off-shore fishing sector, as well as net new employees at the boatyard and new full- and part-time employees at the Maritime Museum. Taken together, the projects are expected to create 13 to 16 new employees, with additional spin-off employment created due to fishing and tourism activity.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board approved a grant award to the Tom P. Haney Technical Center in Bay County to modernize its 40 year old HVAC training program. The program includes a pilot program requiring Haney to offer skills upgrade training to graduates using the new equipment and certification programs. The grant request is for $615,000.
A motion was approved by the Triumph Gulf Coast Board to move to a term sheet negotiation with The Bay Youth Summer Work Program. The students participating in the program will benefit from targeted intervention to encourage workplace skills and additional training as well as industry recognized certifications. The program will accept from 30 to 40 students into the summer work program in the initial year. The funding request of $86,780 represents 67.8 percent of the total project cost. The match is provided by community contributions and Gulf Coast State College.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to move forward to a grant award agreement for $8.5M in site development at Whiting Aviation Park. The project, expected to create over 200 high paying jobs, is built on the investment Santa Rosa County made to purchase 267-acres adjacent to NAS Whiting Field and a unique MOU with The Department of the Navy for “through the fence” accesses for private companies. The total project cost is $17,704,975.
Development of Whiting Aviation Park strengthens the region’s aviation cluster with the Pensacola Airport to the east and the Crestview Bob Sikes Airport in Okaloosa County to the west. It enhances the region’s growing aviation industry by providing additional industrial space adjacent to an existing airfield. The proposal supports the regional strategic initiative of expanding the aerospace and defense industry cluster, an industry with a strong outlook for growth.
Targeted investments in the aviation and aerospace cluster are expected to drive supply chain companies to co-locate in the region. Florida is currently #2 in the nation for aviation and aerospace establishments and added more than any other state in the southeastern U.S in 2017.
Triumph Gulf Coast’s 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 Allan Bense, Dr. Pam Dana, Chair Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV and Jason Shoaf. All meetings of the board are public.