It’s not just the traditional manufacturing businesses that County Commissioner Trudie Infantini says are the ones that are shining these days in District 3.  Rather, she says the South Brevard district is being helped by expansions and new facilities at such major local employers as Florida Tech, Palm Bay Hospital and the physician group, MIMA.

Infantini says tourism and recreational businesses also are helping – including the district’s three public and two private golf courses, the Sebastian Inlet State Park on the county’s border with Indian River County, and the niche hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments within the south beach communities.  Plus, events like the Melbourne Art Festival and the Grant Seafood Festival make this area unique.

Trudie Infantini

She says she is hoping that more businesses locate in her district.  Not only is the area a good place to establish a business, Infantini says, but it’s also “one of the best locations to raise a family.”

One business that she cites a positive economic story in her district is Honda R&D Americas Inc.’s marine engine research and testing facility in Grant-Valkaria, which opened about a year ago.  “They found Brevard County and District 3 to be the perfect location for their research facility,” Infantini says.

Infantini says, overall, she is seeing some economic indictors pointing to a recovery, but it may take awhile.  “In the future, business will return.  The economy will return.  Based on what I’ve seen, people are moving forward.” she says.  The recovery period “may last a year.  It may last five years.  But you have to move forward.  You have to plan for the future.”

Christine Michaels, president and CEO of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida Inc., also sees “slow, steady progress” on the way to recovery.  Michaels says the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and officials of individual cities are working hard to land new businesses.

She also is optimistic that a trip by some Melbourne and Palm Bay officials to China to seek new business for their communities will bear fruit in the coming months.  “We are hopeful that the local representatives will have made good connections in China that will lead to new companies and jobs coming here.”

A “buy local” push also could help businesses in the area.  “Our chamber members are looking more and more to do business with one another,” says Michaels.  “They are networking, making new connections, looking at renewing old connections.”

Globe Wireless President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Coles says he expects to see “a slow recovery over the next 12 months in both the local and world economy.  It is a typical supply-and-demand situation, where there is still a large oversupply in many areas, and demand is not going to be quick to recover.”

He adds, though, that he believes “the commercial high-tech economy will recover quicker, and continue to grow in the local economy.”

About the District

District 3 includes parts of Melbourne, Palm Bay and West Melbourne, and all of Barefoot Bay, Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Malabar, Micco, Melbourne Beach and the county’s unincorporated south beaches.

There are 71,425 registered voters in the district, consisting of 28,059 Democrats; 27,748 Republicans; and 15,618 who are not enrolled in a political party or are enrolled in a minor party.

“In the future, business will return. The economy will return. Based on what I’ve seen, people are moving forward.” – Trudie Infantini, County Commissioner (District 3)

Employers to Know

  • Beta Max Hoists
  • Carp Industries Corp.
  • Data Management Marketing
  • Fiber Science Inc.
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Globe Wireless
  • Honda R&D Americas
  • Intersil Corp.
  • MC Assembly
  • MIMA

Lee Feldman

People to Know

  • David Bell, president/CEO, Intersil Corp.
  • Stuart Borton, owner, Yellow Dog Café
  • Anthony Catanese, president of Florida Tech
  • Lee Feldman, Palm Bay city manager
  • Nancy Higgs, Barefoot Bay community manager
  • Harry Goode, Melbourne mayor
  • Dr. Joseph McClure, medical director/chairman, MIMA
  • George Moore, CEO/president, MC Assembly
  • Jack Schluckebier, Melbourne city manager

    Dr. Jack Schluckebier

  • Edgar Vanags, president/CEO, Fiber Science Inc.
  • Milo Zonka, Palm Bay city councilor/financial consultant at Zonka & Associates Inc.

Business to Watch

A star performer in District 3 is Globe Wireless, a Palm Bay-based high-tech company that specializes in marine communications and related hardware and software applications.  The company recently announced plans for a second expansion in two years, with the new expansion expected to add 20 jobs paying an average of $61,800 a year.

Globe also had been considering expanding in California, but instead chose Palm Bay, citing the local skilled labor pool and central location, among other factors.  “Brevard County and Palm Bay have been and I believe will continue to be a great place to do business,” Globe Wireless President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Coles says,  “Where else in the USA or the world is the weather great, the people friendly, the employees hard-working, the local government supportive, and the cost of doing business cost-effective?”

He says the area is “business-friendly, a source for excellent technical staff and a good environment for people to live.”  And he says, Globe’s latest expansion – which includes a new equipment warehouse and engineering test facility, as well as expanded office space – “is part of a long-term commitment to this region.”

Globe calls itself “the world’s leading global maritime communications and information-technology solutions company,” maintaining customer relationships with more than 550 ship operators and more than 9,000 ships.  It projects annual sales growth at a rate of 20 percent and local full-time employment to increase to 104 in 2010.

In the last year, Coles says, Globe also has opened a sales office in Milan, Italy; a sales office in Fort Lauderdale; and a data center in Port St. Lucie.

“Despite the global recession, we have been able to continue to grow the business services to international shipping and maintain our position as the leading maritime service integrator for communications and information-technology services,” he says.  “The outlook is bright, with more customers throughout the world understanding the value proposition that Globe Wireless offers and selecting Globe for an end-to-end solution for their ships communications and IT services.”