EDC Annual Meeting Highlights New Space Coast Branding Initiative, Honors Johnson and Neal

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Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast Treasurer Travis Proctor, left, presents the EDC’s Volunteer of the Year Award to Angela Neal, Senior Manager, Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. (EDC image)

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast hosted its 2021/2022 annual meeting on Feb. 2  at the Brevard Zoo Nyami Nyami River Lodge in Melbourne.

During the meeting, the EDC’s new major branding initiative “Our Next Giant Leap” — one prepared by history and poised for the future was revealed. Game-changing pioneers and legacy powerhouses are reinventing the Space Coast into the high-tech hub of the 21st century.

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, a community coalition, is the official economic development organization for Brevard County and is committed to helping businesses locate and expand on Florida’s Space Coast.

Featured speakers included EDC President and CEO Lynda L. Weatherman, and Brevard Zoo Director of Philanthropy & Campaign Ellen Winter.

The EDC’s new branding effort will ask residents the question, “If you could define the Space Coast to someone, what would you say?” and will include three phases, Discovery, Define, and Activate and Repeat.

“A quality brand will give the Space Coast a location identity apart from Central Florida and an awareness that will reflect our heritage, business and unique assets,” said Weatherman.

“We work collaboratively to support companies in their exploration of Florida’s Space Coast with the goal of attracting and growing quality businesses, creating jobs, encouraging new investment – and helping shape Brevard County’s economic future.”

“A quality brand will give the Space Coast a location identity apart from Central Florida and an awareness that will reflect our heritage, business and unique assets,” said EDC President and CEO Lynda L. Weatherman. “We work collaboratively to support companies in their exploration of Florida’s Space Coast with the goal of attracting and growing quality businesses, creating jobs, encouraging new investment – and helping shape Brevard County’s economic future.”

The “Discovery Phase” will include unlocking insights to provide a strong foundation for a brand platform, create ownership, affinity and support amongst partners and stakeholders.  Via a reporting board and focus groups, a survey will be developed to solicit public input.

The “Define Phase” includes reporting the results of the survey and then selecting the best ideas to create a logo or slogan that best portrays the Space Coast will a goal of enticing employers, visitors and new residents to Brevard County.

The annual meeting program also included recognition of EDC Volunteer of the Year, Angela Neal of Hiring Our Heroes; and Gary R. Cunningham Distinguished Service Award for Economic Development honoree, Neal Johnson of  Union Home Mortgage.

“The EDC draws strength from its investors and volunteers and the contributions of this year’s award recipients were particularly strong,” said Weatherman.

“Whenever the EDC asks for his help, Neal Johnson stands as a ready, willing and able community leader. The Space Coast is a better place because of him. Angela Neal, too, exhibits a solutions-oriented attitude that makes our community more military-friendly and improves our ability to tap the talent brought here through service to our country. Thank you both for your efforts.”

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast Chair-Elect Kirk Hall, left, presents the Gary R. Cunningham Distinguished Service Award for Economic Development to Neal Johnson, Branch Manager, Union Home Mortgage, Neal Johnson Mortgage Team. (EDC image)

The Gary R. Cunningham Distinguished Service Award for Economic Development was established in 2006 and is presented to an individual who has made long-standing, consistent, and highly valued contributions to further economic development through community efforts on the Space Coast.

Johnson joins individuals such as William Potter, Bjornar Hermansen, Eugene McCarthy, Robin Fisher, Fred Sutton and Bill Ellis in receiving this prestigious award.

“It is truly an honor and very humbling to receive this award named after Gary,” said johnson.

“It has been a privilege over the years to get to know so many people that share his vision, which I intend to continue. I want to thank the officers, Board of Directors and staff of the EDC for this tremendous recognition, and I hope this serves as an inspiration to the many others that support this great organization.”

The EDC’s Volunteer of the Year award is presented annually to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment of the Space Coast.

Neal, Sr. Manager, Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, played an integral role in the EDC’s military advocacy efforts during the organization’s 2020/2021 Fiscal Year.

Neal, a military spouse living on the Space Coast, assisted with valuable content, and actively recruited other military spouses to bring even more valuable feedback to help the EDC produce a military-friendly guide on SpaceCoastSalutes.com.

In her professional capacity, Neal worked with the EDC to establish the Space Coast Military Spouse & Veteran Working Group and later the Space Coast Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone, which will launch later this spring.

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The impact of these efforts will not only help talented individuals who have served our country fill openings in our workforce but help Brevard County retain and attract a larger military footprint.

“It is humbling to receive the volunteer of the year award from the EDC,” said Neal.

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by people that are making significant strides in local and national communities daily so when I received this award it took me by surprise, and I do not take it for granted. The work I have done for the military community on the Space Coast is not done alone as I have strived to be the spark that ignites the fire.

“I’d be remiss if I did not thank Shelby Kenny, Katie Garcia, and Jaime Rhude for sharing their most valuable commodities—their time and talent; as well as Julia Williford, Pamela Davis, John Roy, and Michelle Goldcamp, Rockledge Rotary, LEAD Brevard and my husband and kids for being part of this journey. Thank you to the entire EDC team for this recognition and support, I look forward to continuing these efforts on the Space Coast.”

All Points Sr. Vice President of Business Development Kevin Brown, left, and All Points Sales Director Ray Corriveau during the Annual Investor Meeting of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast at the Brevard Zoo. All Points is working with the EDC to both grow its local Space Industry footprint and help attract talent for the new positions the All Points’ expansion will bring.

 Sponsors included Parrish Healthcare– Exclusive Hospitality, Alpha-Omega Training and Compliance, Inc. – Gold, Sidus Space – Gold, Embraer – Silver, Rapid Prototyping Services– Silver, Space Coast Association of REALTORS – Silver, Space Foundation – Silver, and RSM– Silver.

To learn more about the EDC, visit SpaceCoastEDC.org.

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