[Tallahassee, FL] Gov. Rick Scott is sending out thank you cards and giving out free pats on the back.
Why? The U.S. Air Force just awarded a $355 million aircraft manufacturing contract to Brazilian jet manufacturer Embraer and partner companies. The A-29 Super Tucano will be built in Jacksonville by American employees with parts from American companies
A large group of national, state and local officials had a role in securing the contract for the Jacksonville area, so it is party hats all around for a job well done.
“This is an important deal for Florida’s economic future, and I’m particularly proud of Lt. Gov. Carroll’s leadership, alongside that of Senator Bill Nelson, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, and that of the Florida congressional delegation, all of whom worked hard on this deal for our state and community,” said Gov. Scott.
“The Lieutenant Governor personally testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of Embraer, and her military aviation background and strong ties to the Jacksonville community played an important part in helping to seal this deal,” he said.
On Sept. 28th of last year, Carroll testified in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington D.C. for a hearing titled “Business Jet Aircraft Industry: Structure and Factors Affecting Competitiveness.”
Carroll, a former Navy Lieutenant Commander and aircraft maintenance officer, was speaking in support of Embraer and the jobs and industry such a deal would mean to the area.
Embraer A-29 Super Tucano
Lt. Governor Carroll also wrote up an op-ed encouraging Floridians to contact their member of Congress in support of the Embraer deal. She even appeared in a video highlighting the light attack role of Embraer Defense and Security’s A-29 Super Tucano, the focus of the build up.
The Super Tucano will be used to “conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations,” according to the press release announcing the deal.
“We are ready to support the LAS mission immediately,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President Embraer Defense and Security. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Embraer, the citizens of Florida and the thousands of employees who will be part of our supply chain.”
“We look forward to working with SNC and the U.S. Air Force to provide these aircraft,” Aguiar said.
Gov. Scott points out that Lt. Gov. Carroll has “vigorously embraced her role as an economic ambassador for Florida.”
This deal comes on the heels of Embraer building an executive jet manufacturing and assembly plant in Melbourne, which figured heavily in the presentation to the Air Force.
“In May 2008, Embraer announced plans to build an assembly plant and customer delivery center at the Melbourne International Airport,” she said at the hearing. “The 150,000 square foot Embraer production facility opened in February of this year. … Just this month, Embraer opened its customer center at the same
“To date, Embraer has invested approximately $50 million in this project,” Carroll stated. “The Melbourne facility will be the headquarters for all of Embraer’s business jet operations in the United States. By the end of next year, Embraer’s employment at Melbourne should approximate 200 jobs.”
Embraer CEO Fred Curado said the Melbourne plant is designed to build as many as one hundred Phenom 100 and 300 light business jets a year, the “entry level” models in their airborne arsenal. The reality is that production will start small at less than 10 planes a year and ramp up as business, ahem, takes off.
“We have been in the United States for 32 years,” said Curado in a promo video. “This is a great place.”
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Images: Embraer. Lt. Gov. Carroll: official office photo