Saturday, February 26, 2011


The below is another step in the growth of the our local area in the Aerospace Industry. Not only is this company supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Project, it will be used for other projects supporting our defense industry, as well as, other commercial opportunities. Having Lockheed Martin as a partner is not a bad choice either.

Fort Walton Machining opens new facility
Dusty Ricketts
2011-02-25 18:22:30
FORT WALTON BEACH — Fort Walton Machining’s newest facility is now fully operational. Representatives from Lockheed Martin attended Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for Fort Walton Machining’s new metal finishing division facility on Anchors Street. The event also celebrated Fort Walton Machining and Lockheed’s partnership in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé Program, which was instrumental in the development of the new building. Among the Lockheed projects that Fort Walton Machining’s metal finishing division builds parts for is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Fort Walton Machining joined the Mentor-Protégé Program with Lockheed Martin in June 2010. Greg Britton, chief executive officer of Fort Walton Machining, said the biggest benefit of the program has been the completion of the facility. Lockheed Martin sent employees to Fort Walton Machining during its development to make sure all of its equipment met specifications for the F-35 and other projects. “This is a state-of-the-art aerospace facility, just like our machining division, and we wanted that to be portrayed that way,” Britton said. Construction on the company’s building started in October 2009. The plant started producing parts for the F-35 last month. About 20 of Fort Walton Machining’s more than 200 employees work at the new metal finishing facility. The mentor-protégé partnership between Fort Walton Machining and Lockheed Martin started in June 2010 and is scheduled to end June 30, although Britton said it could be extended. J.R. McDonald, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Northwest Florida operations, said the mentor-protégé program benefits both companies, and that those benefits will continue after the official partnership ends. “We get to spend a lot of time with the supplier that makes a lot of parts for us and make sure their process aligns with our processes,” McDonald said. “(Lockheed Martin is) trying to make them an end-to-end supplier for us so we have a single source to go to for parts that are qualified for the airplane that we know will be exactly what we’re looking for. One-stop shopping, if you will.” In addition to the F-35, Fort Walton Machining is a supplier for several other Lockheed Martin’s projects, including the F-22, F-16 and C-130J. The Department of Defense started the Mentor-Protégé Program in 1991 to assist small businesses in competing for contracts and subcontracts by pairing them with larger companies.

Friday, February 25, 2011


MORE JOBS. MORE JOBS. MORE JOBS. The Crestview Bob Sikes Industrial Airpark continues to grow and as you read below, Dr. HSU, a very successfully Defense Contractor, is not going to stop here. As you read on, you will see he has bigger plans for the Air Park, and rightfully so, since all of the Aerospace Industry from around the country and world see this Air Park as a place to be.

New hangar open at Crestview Technology Air Park
Dusty Ricketts
2011-02-24 16:42:30
CRESTVIEW — Two years ago, the 20-acre parcel at the north end of the Bob Sikes Airport’s runway was a wooded area. Last year, it was a dirt pit. Today, it is a new state-of-the-art aircraft hangar, the first one to open at Crestview Technology Air Park. The Air Park is a joint venture between local businessmen Paul Hsu and Bob Keller. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hangar is scheduled for March 4. “To me this is really a symbol of the can-do spirit, can-do attitude of the people of Okaloosa County,” said Hsu, chairman of Hsu Enterprise Group. “This is living proof of how the local government can work with the private industry and create jobs.” Keller’s Sunshine Aero Flight Test will be the first tenant at the new industrial park. It has leased the entire 33,000-square-foot hangar. Sunshine Aero was the fixed-base operator at Bob Sikes Airport for about 30 years until it lost a bid for the job to Emerald Coast Aviation in August 2008. Since then, Keller has rented space from Emerald Coast Aviation to stay at Bob Sikes. Keller said the limited space stifled growth, but that’s no longer a concern. “It’s already had a big effect because we looked pretty small where we were and our airplanes were kind of sitting on a ramp because we didn’t have enough space,” Keller said. “Now we look like a real flight test organization, which is really nice, and we are expanding rapidly. We’re probably going to end up here in just a very short time having to build another hanger for the flight test division.” Hsu said he is talking with another company that is considering coming to the Crestview Technology Air Park. That would require the construction of a second hangar. Keller and Hsu’s long-term goal is to build four hangars, with one of them large enough to house a C-17 Globemaster, one of the military’s largest transport aircraft. “This is not only good for Crestview, but good for Florida and good for America,” Hsu said. “We are creating and maintaining jobs.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As promised, more military jobs and operations are coming to the panhandle of Florida. This will be a growing trend to streamline military operations and as stated many times before, Eglin AFB is in the cross hires where they are best suited. Still more to come. Economic growth does not stop here. Stay tuned.

Hurlburt training wing to expand
Study recommends a centralized campus for airmen heading to Air Operations Centers
Northwest Florida Daily News
HURLBURT FIELD — A new study will mean more responsibility for the 505th Command and Control Wing. The wing trains airmen going to Air Operations Centers across the Air Force. “That’s how the Air Force plans and executes air power missions,” said Col. Mustafa Koprucu, the current vice commander (and the next commander) of the wing. The 118-page study recommended the wing become the home of an integrated centralized command and control campus and the major command for the training program. Researchers pooled their findings from surveys and interviews of current command and control, or C2, students and instructors. They also interviewed experts from all of the commands C2 students are assigned to, including Air Force Headquarters, Air National Guard, Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces. “We made every attempt to include representatives of all air and space command and control stakeholders. The team sought views from senior flag leadership, senior commanders at the O-6 level, field and company grade officers as well as airman and noncommissioned officers from all C2 specialties and domains,” the researchers wrote in the methodology portion of the study. The study looked at the existing system for training C2 and determined a need to consolidate some of the training. C2 training now is divided into three groups (called domains): air, space and cyber. Hurlburt Field always has taught the air domain. As the new field grew into additional domains, the training was assigned to other bases. The study found that several courses at the bases were redundant. It also identified gaps in the training program. C2 operations center commanders and division chiefs want an advanced C2 training course, or a graduate course. Also, the domains do not cover collaborating with each other, despite joint operations becoming more common. Another issue was that training each of the groups “stove-piped” students into a single specialty. Students will soon be able to train in the air, space and cyber domains. How soon is unclear. Koprucu said the training might be consolidated as early as this summer. “It was very well-received by four different four-star generals,” Koprucu said. Commanders of the Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, Air Force Space Command and Air Education and Training Command were briefed last month. All agreed with the findings and recommended implementing the plan included in the study. “But that means an increased student flow through here. What I have is a very capable cadre. We’ll need to alter that somewhat for the expertise,” Koprucu said. Current instructors might need additional training in the space and cyber domains, and additional instructors might be needed. Koprucu said any additional personnel will be decided later. Hurlburt’s training center now accommodates 1,400 students a year. The consolidation and advanced courses will add an additional 200 students. Koprucu said the campus will have no trouble absorbing the additional classes and students. The campus even is prepared for teaching all classification levels necessary for advanced courses. “The whole idea is to not shortchange the training, but to consolidate it so that everybody gets the standardized core,” Koprucu said.

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Woodbridge Homes of Florida features four completed houses in the Majestic Oaks Vineyard development north of Crestview. The homes demonstrate a modern take on the Florida cottage architecture, creating a sense of old Crestview but with today’s upgrades and standards.

Majestic Views
Crestview development incorporates natural landscape into plan
Daily News Contributing Writer

CRESTVIEW — Although northeastern Okaloosa County has never been kept a secret, its beauty could not be fully appreciated by residents until the recent development of Majestic Oaks Vineyard. The new single-family home neighborhood incorporates the natural landscape into its master plan, which is just north of the Crestview city limit along State Road 85. “The goal is to leave the footprint of the home, and everything will be natural,” said Ken Wright, a realtor with Platinum Real Estate Associates of RE/MAX Southern Realty. Wright also serves as president of the Military Officers Association. His formative years as a military dependent and resident of the area, he said, have given him an insight into what current residents and incoming residents look for in both their homes and their neighborhoods. “You’ve got a very diverse community here now,” Wright said, adding that Majestic Oaks Vineyard can provide the amenities that military families seek. “We met with some of the special forces people, and this is bringing a whole different type of people,” he said. “When they come back from deployments, they like to spend time with their families.” At the same time, Wright said people affiliated with Vision Airlines and people seeking a quiet retirement also could find a home in Majestic Oaks Vineyard.
“I don’t think there’s anyone we’re not going to market to,” Wright said. “It appeals to everyone.” The property is being developed by Holiday Builders, an employee-owned company with developments throughout Florida, Texas and Alabama. The bulk of the homes in Majestic Oaks Vineyard will be built by Holiday, Wright said. The company offers about eight floor plans that range from 1,626 square feet up to 2,627 square feet. Prices could range from $173,990 to $229,990. Five homes already have been built in Majestic Oaks, with four of the five built by Greg Lorenzetti, a managing partner of Woodbridge Homes. “One of the things we wanted to do was a little different house there in the craftsman style — something a little different from your brick front,” Lorenzetti said. The Woodbridge Homes houses feature a cement-board exterior in nature-oriented colors. “I think we achieved that,” he added. Lorenzetti said that building in Majestic Oaks is exciting and added that he thinks Crestview is “on the edge of being ready to take off.” He also said that selling north Crestview is a new idea because so much of the city’s growth has been in the southeastern section. “I believe a lot in the development, but we’ve got to get people used to coming up to the north side (of Crestview),” Lorenzetti added. “What’s interesting about Crestview is almost all of the amenities that people use are on the north side of town, but a lot of people like to live on the south,” he said. Wright also noted that Majestic Oaks Vineyard offered easy accesses the shopping, schooling and entertainment on the north side of Crestview. The development lies off State Rosa 85 via Locke Lane. With one road in out of the development, no cross traffic will be expected. Each road of the phases ends in a cul-de-sac. Phase I features 25 half-acre lots. Phase II lots will be one-third of an acre, and Phase III lots will come in about a quarter of an acre. Each phase is designed with a natural buffer, retaining native vegetation. “You can look out your back door and not see the people behind you,” Wright said. A homeowners association and covenants will be in place, and association fees will be set at about $250 per year, Wright said. The fees will help maintain the planned park, nature trail, sport fields and picnic areas. The landscape itself rolls gently, with a central point of the planned amenities focusing on an existing community lake. The intention, Wright said, is to provide a place where children can drop a canepole line into the pond and pull up a fish. “It’s one of the prettiest properties in the area,” Wright said. For more information about Majestic Oaks Vineyard, visit   or contact Ken Wright at Platinum Real Estate Associates of RE/MAX Southern Realty, 217 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548; 664-2510 or 582-6442;  . For information about Holiday Builders, visit www.  .

Friday, February 18, 2011


Vision Airlines is not wanting to waste any time in getting started. As many leaders in the community have noted, this placement of the Vision Airlines HUB at the Fort Walton Beach is going to make an immediately impact on both direct and indirect jobs. I must WARN you, this is not the end of the road for economic expansion. I look forward to the opportunity to release the next great news coming our way.

Vision Airlines hiring in advance of expansion
Dusty Ricketts
2011-02-18 16:02:02
Vision Airlines is hiring pilots, flight attendants and ground crew personnel in advance of the company expanding its service starting March 25. The airline now offers direct flights from Northwest Florida Region Airport to Miami and Niagara Falls, N.Y. Starting March 25, Vision will offer flights between Northwest Florida Regional and 12 new destinations, including Atlanta; Huntsville, Ala.; Savannah, Ga.; and Louisville, Ky. On April 1, service will start to and from Chattanooga, Tenn.; Shreveport, La.; Asheville, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; and Orlando. Tickets for those flights are now on sale. Clay Meek, marketing and business development director for Vision Airlines, said the company is looking to hire about 60 employees. That number includes pilots, flight attendants and the ground crew. Vision recently held a job fair at the Hilton Sandestin specifically for flight attendants. Vision now contracts with U.S. Air to conduct all its ground crew work, including checking in passengers and loading and unloading luggage. Meek said Vision will take over those duties soon after the expanded service starts. With Northwest Florida Regional serving as Vision Airline’s hub, Meek said pilots and flight attendants will be based in this area. “We can’t force them to move at a certain time if they’re established in another area,” Meek said. “But what we do is we typically pay for their hotel for a period of time.” Meek said Vision will soon update its website,, to include a link for those wanting to apply for a job with the company.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As I have noted in the past, Crestview is not only on the eyes of the Aerospace and Defense industry; it is on the eyes of many others. The Crestview Industrial Airpark (Bob Sikes Airport) is a Florida Enterprise Zone and has received millions for improvement and offers a number of financing and tax incentives for businesses created at the Industrial Airpark. I can tell you, you should expert more announcements shortly.

Crestview call center doubled staff
By Brian Hughes
2011-02-17 09:10:09
NEW Customer Service Companies were the new guys in town in 2004. Since then, the company has doubled its staff at its Crestview location. “When NEW first came to look at its site at the end of 2003, beginning of 2004, they said if you can provide us an enterprise zone at this site, we’ll bring you an operation,” said Larry Sassano, president of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council. “At that time they had projected to hire about 250 people for that site. They’re over 500 people now. They grew beyond their expectations.” Sassano said of the company’s 22 call centers around the U.S., as well as a handful outside of the country, NEW ranks its Crestview facility among the best. “They say this is their best-run center,” Sassano said. “They really give the credit to the people that work there. There is a high-caliber group in Crestview, with a low turnover rate and a good work ethic. That says a lot about Crestview when a company this big says that.” Missy Dalrymple of the Crestview NEW office’s human resources department was flattered by Sassano’s comments, but hastened to acknowledge the efforts of the company’s other locations. “All of our sites are very productive and performing at a high level,” Dalrymple said. Employees like Chris Brigham give the company high marks for caring about the people who there. Brigham, who recently separated out of the Navy and is now attending Pensacola Junior College, has worked for NEW in Crestview for six months. “I love it,” Brigham said. “The work is easy and the people are real nice.” NEW provides and services product protection plans for “a large percentage of the majority of retailers,” said Laura Lechner, communications specialist at NEW’s Sterling, Va., corporate headquarters. Cell phones and consumer electronics are the company’s specialties, she said. “Really, it’s trouble-shooting products, taking claim information, and servicing products like electronics, appliances, sporting equipment and even jewelry,” Lechner said. Clients include Walmart, Sam’s Club, JCPenney, DirecTV, Sony, and international giants such as Germany’s Media Markt and Britain’s TESCO, according to the company’s website. NEW’s employees go through a vigorous training program to become experts in the products offered by the client. “It’s amazing how much they learn,” Lechner said. “That’s why the training lasts six weeks.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Financial markets have their eye on the Northwest Florida Regional Airport (Fort Walton Beach). This is just another indicator of great things to come. If only we could get the local financial institutions to free up lending to accommodate this massive growth coming our way.

Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4438  

In a routine bond review, Standard & Poor’s has described Northwest Florida Regional Airport as “a small hub airport that has demonstrated continued strong financial metrics” and has a stable outlook. The review, released Feb. 10, also upgraded the airport’s bond rating — from “BBB” to “BBB+” — at a time when many local governments are seeing downgrades. “It’s a pretty exciting thing for us,” said Gary Stanford, the county finance officer. S&P identified reserves, liquidity and debt-service coverage as three of the airport’s major strengths. “Another element they’re really impressed with is that all the construction and expansion we’re doing is being done without having to go borrow money,” said Greg Donovan, the county airports director. “We’re not going out to get loans or get further bonds to pay for improvements here.” One way the airport avoids borrowing is by winning aviation specific grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Florida, Donovan added. The airport presently is paying off bonds issued in 2003 for the terminal building and in 2007 for the rental car facility. The passenger facility charges — a fee assessed on customers flying through the airport — are used to pay down the debt on the terminal building. The customer facility charge — a fee assessed on vehicle rentals — is used to pay down the debt on the rental facility at the airport. The airport is an enterprise fund, which means it does not use ad valorem tax revenue. “If you don’t use the airport, it’s not costing you as a taxpayer,” Donovan said. The airport’s high air carrier concentration — with Delta Air Lines and its contracted carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines representing approximately 58 percent of total enplanements in fiscal 2010 — was listed as one of the airport’s weaknesses. Other drawbacks identified by S&P included proximity to Pensacola Regional Airport. Donovan said he is encouraged by S&P’s findings and expects next year’s report to be even better after analysts factor in Vision Airlines’ presence at the airport. “We’re going to have service to a Shreveport or a Little Rock that neither Pensacola nor Panama City has,” he said. “The plan is not to take customers from Delta and put them on Vision Airlines as much as it is to grow markets where we had nobody flying at all.” Donovan said the airport is “poised to have a rebound year.” “Vision Airlines is going to be a conduit for recovery,” he said.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


WEAR-TV3 reports the Army 7th Special Forces movement. For a detail look at the news story, you can visit my Facebook Page, “Platinum Real Estate Associates, and watch it in detail. Also, keep in mind, they are reporting for duty. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE MOVING INTO A HOME. First of all, WE DO NOT HAVE THE QUALITY OF HOMES IN THE NUMBERS THEY NEED NOW. Call for details.

OKALOOSA COUNTY - Moving thousands of people and hundreds of tons of equipment, while staying combat-ready. That's the challenge facing the Army's 7th Special Forces Group as it relocates to Eglin Air Force Base. Channel three's Laura Hussey tells us how the plans are coming along. Laura Hussey "We're at the 7th Special Forces Group complex off of Highway 85 near Duke Field. That's the headquarters building behind me. There are 43 buildings under construction here, many of them are ahead of schedule" The move from Fort Bragg is being handled with the planning and precision of any military operation. Soldiers start arriving in May, at the rate of 150 a week. SSG Jammie Knapp "So it's going to be a six-month phased operation. We're not going to see 1800 people showing up at Eglin's door". Equipment, like humvees, zodiac boats, guns and ammunition, will be moved by hired companies. SSG Knapp "Basically because 7th Group has to move their families at the same time they're moving the unit's equipment". LTC Marty Schmidt "Lots of concern for family members. School districts, what are the best schools to go to, child care services, where do I take my dog to the veterinarian?" The 7th is working closely with Eglin Air Force Base to inform families about their new home. They're also working on the best ways to share resources. LTC Schmidt "There's the Air Force terminology, and the Army terminology, and right now we're translators between the two, to figure out what systems are in place". Laura Hussey "Right now they're finishing up on the Parachute Readiness Facility. Look at that tower....parachutes will be hung to dry inside, more than a hundred at a time. They're also finishing work on a unmanned aerial vehicle facility, and a dog kennel. The 7th Special Forces Group should be fully moved in by mid-September. This week, leaders from 7th Group and Eglin are holding a conference on the transition.7th Special Forces Relocating Weekly

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


As I have noted in the past, the Perfect Storm has begun to happen. We are just in February and the military transfers have yet to begin in full force. Throw that with the movement of 7th Special Forces Group, F-35 Training Squadron, Vision Airlines growth, Crestview Industrial Airport growth, and the migration of folks wanting to make Northwest Florida a home, and you have the makings of a dynamic real estate market. So, stand ready, and prepare yourself for some heavy seas and long days.

P.S. - Didn't I mention, the local military housing inventory was reduced by over 1500 homes in the last year or so. SUPPLY LOW - DEMAND HIGH. Easy as that.

Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4448

Local real estate markets are off to a strong start in 2011, with sales of single family homes and condominiums greatly outpacing last year’s numbers. Metro Market Trends recently released January sales figures for Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties, and all three areas posted large increases in the real estate market. “This is very good news and it’s even a little better news than I thought (it was going to be),” said David Goetsch, a local economist and Northwest Florida State College’s vice president for community relations. “I’m out there talking with builders and I’m out there talking with the condominium folks. I knew it was going to be up, but I didn’t realize it would be as up as it is.” Total single-family home sales in Okaloosa County were up 35.88 percent in the first month of the year compared to January 2010. Walton County was up 18 percent, while Santa Rosa County was up 59.68 percent. Condominium and townhome sales for each of the three counties also showed double-digit increases, with sales in Okaloosa County jumping 41.38 percent, Walton County up 21.67 percent and Santa Rosa County 66.67 percent. Goetsch said the primary reason for the large increase in sales is the early arrival of the first soldiers from the 7th Special Forces Group and personnel related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. He also credits a return in consumer confidence for people buying a second home and others who are taking advantage of low prices brought on by the recession. “What is happening is consumer confidence is coming back enough that people are buying up the inventory, and until that inventory is cleared out, you’re not going to see a lot of new home sales and new home building,” Goetsch said. While the majority of the Metro Market Trends report was positive, foreclosures continued to rise in most areas. Foreclosures in January 2011 rose 300 percent compared with January 2010 in Okaloosa County, and Walton County had a 94.12 percent increase. Santa Rosa County was the exception in the area, with foreclosures dropping 45.65 percent.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Bob Sikes expansion to land new business - and larger planes
Brian Hughes
2011-02-04 20:35:59
As you will see below, Crestview Industrial Airpark (Bob Sikes Airport) continues to grow and make improvements to either address the needs of the present tenants of the Airport, the needs of the new businesses moving to the airport or planning to move to the airport. Yes, we have the 7th Special Forces and the F-35 Training coming here, however, I am pretty confident this airport is on the radar screen of a number of aerospace companies, especially since the World’s Largest Airport is just around the corner. STAY TUNED, MORE TO FOLLOW, AS ALWAYS.

CRESTVIEW — Upgrades planned for Bob Sikes Airport will help boost the economy, local officials and business representatives say. Improvements will include widening the taxiways up to 75 feet to accommodate Federal Aviation Administration Group IV aircraft with wingspans between 118 and 170 feet. “Any aircraft in the world will be able to land here in the future,” Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan said. “Today is the beginning of future prosperity for our community.” Large planes such as the Antonov An-124 cargo jet that landed at the airport in October not only can use the 8,000-foot runway, they won’t need airport tugs to help them turn around. Funding for the project came from a combination of federal and state sources. The FAA provided $5.1 million and the Florida Department of Transportation put up $3.6 million, said county airports Project Manager Tracy Stage. The remaining $3 million came from a state infrastructure bank loan. Friday’s cold, drizzly weather forced the groundbreaking into the cavernous BAE Aerospace Solutions hangar. “I commend the vision, foresight and leadership of your community,” DOT District 3 Secretary Tommy Barfield said at the ceremony. “We are excited for the opportunity to grow the county’s and the state’s economy.” Gordon Eldridge, BAE’s vice president and general manager, also was confident. “We believe we are going to grow in the (Crestview) area and projects like this make that possible,” Eldridge said. Derek Lott, president-elect of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed.“It’s raining and cold outside, but the future is bright at Bob Sikes Airport,” Lott said.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Just another reason folks are making their home in Crestview. Quality of Life continues to rise, which put the City of Crestview in the crosshairs for a place they will call home. Great job to all concerned.

Crestview earns A grade
School grade changed after miscalculation was corrected
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4440   CRESTVIEW — Crestview High School went from being a B-school to an A-school on the state grading scale late last week after a calculation error was corrected. The Okaloosa County school was given a B grade by the Florida Department of Education back in December because their graduation rate of at-risk students supposedly fell below the mandated 75 percent. The school decided to appeal the grade after realizing they had a 76 percent graduation rate for at-risk students, said Principal Ed Coleman. “We all felt we were an A-school. We saw the error and we pointed it out,” Coleman said. Only a few days after submitting the request for the state to reconsider the grade, Coleman received good news. A calculation error, in fact, had occurred and the school actually was an A-school. The issue arose after the school was penalized for dropping slightly in their graduation rates, Coleman said. Instead of applying the penalty to the final score, the state applied it to the at-risk graduation rates and that put it at 71 percent, thus making the school ineligible for an A, said Guyla Hendricks, the chief officer for quality assurance and curriculum for the district. Four other schools in the state faced a similar issue. Schools across Florida are graded each year by the state. In previous years, the grades were based on how well students performed on the FCAT, but the most recent scores were based on more comprehensive criteria. In addition to FCAT performance, high school grades now also are based on graduation rates and student participation in accelerated courses. This is the third year in a row Crestview has been an A-school. “I am extremely proud of our faculty and staff. I am extremely proud of our students and parents,” Coleman said. “I think it (the A grade) just speaks volumes about the quality of our education.”