EDC of Florida’s Space Coast, Embraer Collaborated to Re-Energize Space Coast Economy at Critical Time
By Maria Sonnenberg // May 17, 2021
Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast Spotlight
WATCH: Take a glimpse inside the private jet experience at Embraer’s Melbourne, Florida campus on Florida’s Space Coast. Explore the Embraer executive jet campus in this video, where the company designs and manufactures revolutionary private jets — including the most successful business jet of the decade, the Phenom 300E. See the world-class experience that customers are treated to as their private jets are tailored to their taste. Get a glimpse of the U.S. Engineering & Technology Center, where these disruptive airplanes are designed by the industry’s brightest talent, and see for yourself how the aircraft are built and painted with precise attention to detail — all this, and much more! It’s happening in Melbourne, Florida.
When Embraer selected Brevard after closely examining a host of other possible locations for its North American manufacturing facility, the company set the stage for the Space Coast’s rebirth. “The timing could not have been better,” said Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast President and CEO Lynda Weatherman. “It was our own economic stimulus at a time when we really needed it.”
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – At 11:29 a.m. on July 8, 2011, Space Shuttle Atlantis rose from the launch pad one last time, marking the end of the program. A few months later, “60 Minutes” prophesied the Space Coast’s upcoming “crash landing.”
Boy, were they wrong.
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, led by president and CEO Lynda Weatherman, would not accept the doomsday scenario, redoubling efforts to re-energize the area with corporate newcomers.
Literally flying to the rescue was Embraer, a conglomerate that is third-largest aircraft manufacturer of commercial aircraft in the world, while also producing military, executive and agricultural aircraft.
Over the last five decades, Embraer has designed, developed and certified close to 50 aircraft models, delivering over 8,000 aircraft to 100 countries.
When Embraer selected Brevard after closely examining a host of other possible locations for its North American manufacturing facility, the company set the stage for the Space Coast’s rebirth.
“The timing could not have been better,” said Weatherman. “It was our own economic stimulus at a time when we really needed it.”
Not only did the $53 million commitment and 200 jobs Embraer promised materialized, but its presence in Brevard has since bloomed to approximately 1,000 jobs, a 236,000-square-foot facility and a robust and exciting product line and spinoffs.
“The Space Coast is an area enveloped in aerospace innovation, engineering and technology, which is why Embraer decided to build our Melbourne campus, the home of the executive aviation business unit,” said Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO of Embraer Executive Jets.
“We are inspired by the vibrant environment around us and since 2011, we have produced the industry’s most technologically advanced and disruptive aircraft from right here in Brevard.”
Embraer’s commitment to the area also paved the way for others to follow. Corporate giants Northrop Grumman, Lockheed and Boeing have since also significantly expanded their footprint in Brevard.
In December of last year, Aerion, the leader in supersonic technology, joined the group by breaking ground in Melbourne for Aerion Park, a $300 million capital investment on state-of-the-art global headquarters that will add at least 675 new jobs to the area.
“Embraer helped to create the wave,” said Weatherman. “These are major business decision for these companies.”
When aeronautical businesses establish major presences on the Space Coast, they also create a circle of support jobs that stretch beyond engineering and manufacturing jobs.
A major reason companies such as Embraer selected the Space Coast for expansion is its skilled workforce, together with the manufacturing talent pool being nurtured through programs such as the Certified Production Technician Program, the 10-week training program that the EDC sponsors at Eastern Florida State College.
Embraer has embraced the CPT workforce development program, opening its facilities to students and hiring its graduates. The partnership is expected to continue in the months ahead as Embraer continues growing in Brevard.
The company’s Brevard assembly line produces the Phenom 100EV entry level jet, and the Phenom 300E light jet, the fastest and longest-ranged single-pilot business jet which has been the most delivered aircraft in its segment for 9 consecutive years, as well as final assembly of the best-in-class Praetor 500 mid-size jet and Praetor 600 super mid-size jet.
The workforce that assembles these state-of-the-art aircraft includes graduates of another manufacturing training initiative, Eau Gallie High School’s Aviation Fabrication Program.
“While the industry faced some headwinds this past year, business aviation fared particularly well as we experienced more first-time buyers entering the market, a quick recovery of fractional and fleet operators, as well as corporations rethinking the benefits of the use of private aircraft,” said Amalfitano.
“Our product segments are continuing to grow, which means many more aircraft produced in Melbourne for our customers to travel the world.”
Growth continued when Embraer unveiled EmbraerX, a Brevard-based market accelerator subsidiary that collaborates with global innovation communities to develop solutions that transform life experiences.
“Our presence here inspires us in numerous ways, and we envision many more exciting opportunities ahead,” explained Amalfitano.
“For instance, the future of advanced air mobility is rapidly progressing and will continue to play an important role in our dynamically growing business. We are always looking forward to what’s coming next in our industry and how we can help reshape the future air travel ecosystem.”
In October 2020, EmbraerX announced Eve Urban Air Mobility Systems, Inc., or Eve, a new, independent company dedicated to accelerating the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) ecosystem.
Eve is developing a full portfolio of mobility reimagined solutions to enable the UAM market and ultimately benefit people’s lives, including the progression and certification of the company’s electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL), the associated comprehensive services and support network and the creation of urban air traffic management solutions.
“Eve stands primed to create a new frontier in transportation with intelligent, environmentally friendly, autonomous-ready aircraft and the associated ubiquitous support and urban air traffic management solutions,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, President and CEO of Embraer.
“We value the vast potential of the UAM market, as it represents a new business segment in which we foresee significant opportunities for Embraer,”
With innovative entities such as Embraer, EmbraerX and Eve firmly positioned in Brevard, the vast sky above remains the limit for the Space Coast.