by David Chapman, Staff Writer
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority will bring together aerospace executives and City and state officials March 25-26 for a Cecil Spaceport Development Summit.
JAA CEO Steve Grossman said the goal of the two-day event is to educate participants about the commercial spaceport goals and needs of the area.
Cecil Airport, part of the JAA’s airport system, was certified as a spaceport in January 2010.
“Florida is open to business and we want commercial space activities here in Northeast Florida,” Grossman said Monday.
Grossman said he expects about 20 representatives from commercial space companies to attend the event at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Cecil Center auditorium, tour the Cecil Airport facilities and discuss the opportunities and needs with local officials.
“The goal is to get folks from the industry with elected officials so that both can learn from one another,” said Grossman.
Grossman said elected officials can learn about “what these industries need to be successful.”
He said that can range from incentive programs, being worked on at the state level, to infrastructure needs.
“I think we (JAA) are trying to act as a facilitator to bridge the knowledge,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, state Rep. Daniel Davis, JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot, Florida State College at Jacksonville President Steve Wallace and Ed Mango, NASA Commercial Crew program manager, are listed among the speakers.
Grossman said it’s important that elected officials are part of the conversation.
“We’re competing with the whole country,” he said. “There are half a dozen airports competing that are getting help from their states.”
Grossman said JAA has a strong partnership with Space Florida, which is an independent special district in the state written into statute that fosters growth and development of Florida’s space industry.
Any interest usually funnels through it and Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private partnership for economic development, he said.
“It’s going to be our chance to sell everything we have at Cecil and everything we’re going to have at Cecil,” Grossman said.