Now, more than ever, Brevard needs to bring together its collective resources to ensure we put everything we have towards bridging the economic gap we’re facing as the end of the shuttle program diminishes the number of local jobs available.  As an investor in the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, I’ve been briefed by the experts on not only the challenges we face, but also the strategies we as a community can implement to lessen the impact on residents, and the businesses that serve them.  The business community must mobilize if Brevard is to thrive.

The first imperative step is toward stronger community.  Economic development is global, and right now it’s a world war.  Florida and Brevard are battling a myriad of communities from Alabama to Asia for a comparatively meager number of manufacturing and high technology projects that will keep and create new jobs.  It’s a new, fierce level of engagement that we’ve got to maintain if we want to keep the jobs we have, and bring in more to replace the ones we’re losing.

The strategies are in place, but the resources to make them happen fall short.  That’s why I have decided to lead the EDC’s resource development efforts.  Bright House Networks, which serves both residential and business customers, relies on a healthy local economy which enables our customers to purchase our phone, internet, and cable TV services.  And even though it costs a little right now, we know increasing our investment in the EDC is one important way our business can assure success in the long-run.

Manufacturing and high-tech businesses build economies, and the EDC works to attract, retain and help build them for Brevard.  The economy is bad right now, and that impacts our bottom line, so we are taking an active role to make things better for our community, for other businesses, and quite frankly for Bright House Networks.  The strength of the EDC, and the effectiveness of its job-creating business development role, is a function of the number and commitment of the investor organizations that make up its foundation.  I hope you will come to the same conclusion.

Now more than ever, we need more involvement from businesses, especially those with the biggest stakes and potential benefit as we keep and bring in local spending power through manufacturing and high tech industry businesses and jobs.  Any organization that employs local people or sells to the local markets has such a stake in economic development, and should get in now, on the ground floor of what we hope will be monumental economic recovery.

Thanks to the success of our economic development efforts over the years, Brevard’s economy has diversified beyond the high-profile space launch industry to rally one of the state’s largest manufacturing economies.  That’s good, and has helped the EDC increase investor funding year over year, except this last fiscal year, when we saw a 15 percent drop in investment during a time where we need it the most.  Most of the decrease came from real estate and finance organizations.

These are critical industry sectors for our organization, as they are the ones experiencing difficult times in a slow economy; however they are also the ones who can benefit the most from the success of our economic initiatives.  Their support of the EDC is important for the long-term goals of our community, and that is why I and the members of the EDC Resource Development Council, our executive board and staff will be reaching out to the business community for support.  We hope you enlist.

Investing in the EDC is one civic responsibility that pays countless dividends as we build our county and our own businesses. Almost half of all investors have been part of the organization for a decade or more, which is a good indicator of the clear benefits to being part of the army of dedicated successful businesspeople that have built our strength over the years.

If you’ve been involved in better times, or have never entertained the idea before, consider getting invested in the future of our economy through the EDC.  We need more existing businesses in the areas of finance, real estate, engineering, manufacturing, consulting and retail that rely on the local economic base to realize the importance of becoming part of economic development.  The community is worth fighting for – learn more by visiting the EDC’s website at SpaceCoastEDC.org.