Bay County, Florida

BAY COUNTY, FLORIDA “That paid off for us back in 2016,” Majka con- tinues. “We were able to attract GKN Aerospace. They are one of the largest aerospace manufac- turing firms in the world. They were able to win a government contract and we were able to attract them here and convince them to put their first Florida-based facility here, immediately adjacent to our international airport. They not only bring their manufacturing, but all of the outlying com- panies that supply materials or component parts to them, traditionally follow on. And we’re starting to see a lot of interest in that secondary market with industries that support them also looking to locate here. So, that is certainly something that we consider a win for the community. “We were also able to bring in a company from Mexico, Air Temp, which produces heat exchange units for the American automobile industry. Prior to them coming to Bay County, we were exporting raw material to them through our port. They were constructing these heat exchange units in accor- dance with the NAFTA guidelines, so that they could turn around and ship them back to the U.S. to be installed in American-made automobiles. But it has become more economical for them to move the operation to the U.S., so they have come into Bay County and are in the process of starting their facility. They bought an old printing company building in Panama City that was aban- doned. They’re retrofitting that to be able to run their manufacturing process and they will begin manufacturing those heat exchangers here in the United States.” Another company that has been in Bay County for decades, Eastern Shipbuilding, continues to be a significant source of local jobs and revenue. “They were recently awarded a $10.5 billion con- tract with the U.S. Coast Guard– the largest con- tract in Coast Guard history for the construction of offshore patrol cutters,” says Majka. “There will be a number of those cutters constructed here and we think that will bring somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand jobs to Bay County, whether someone gets a job at Eastern, helping to manufacture these offshore patrol cutters, or whether it’s a secondary or indirect impact from service industries, grocery stores, gas stations, or things of that nature.We expect, based on the financial analysis that was done, that over the first 10 years, it will have a $690 million increase in payrolls in Bay County.” All of this new business development has driv- en the need for additional housing. Bay County already has a robust second home market, popu- lated by a growing number of retirees looking for residences in a coastal community. More recently, the St. Joe Company, a major Florida developer, has teamed up with Jimmy Buffet’s Latitude brand to build a new, Caribbean style, active adult com- munity near Panama City Beach that is scheduled to open in early 2020. “We’re looking forward to seeing that come online,” Majka states. Regarding Panama City Beach, Majka says that in order to promote a more family-friendly brand