Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The guest speaker for Northwest Florida Military Officers Association June 6 Meeting will be Peter Bos, President of Legendary Inc. As many may know, Peter has been a part of this area for quite some time and has made a significant impact to the area with a number of real estate developments.  Peter will be speaking on his relationship with the military and his future plan, as well as, his perspective on the local economy.  Peter is  a graduate of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (B.S./Hotel and Restaurant Administration).   Following graduation, he moved to Florida where he worked for one year as the Manager of Busch Gardens’ food & beverage operations, before joining Fletcher Properties in Jacksonville where he developed, constructed, marketed and operated several residential communities including Baymeadows and Inlet Beach in Jacksonville; Inverness in Birmingham, Alabama; and Stone Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee.  He also developed and built over 3,000 apartments, condominiums and homes in various developments throughout Florida.  In 1975, he formed his own company, the Bos Group which later evolved into Legendary, Inc.  Some of the projects he developed are:  (1) Sandestin Beach Resort (a 2400-acre residential/resort) including all the related construction and operational facilities; (2) Hyatt Key West, a small boutique hotel and related restaurant facilities; and, (3) The Bottling Court, Key West, a festival shopping complex created with the renovation of Coca-Cola’s oldest bottling facility; Now based in Destin, Legendary developments are set apart by their careful planning, imagination and attention to detail, exemplified by Regatta Bay, a multi-use development that includes residential homes and condos, a golf club and office park; Destin Commons, a 670,000-square-foot festival shopping center; and HarborWalk Village, a mixed-use development featuring the Emerald Grande and HarborWalk Marina.  Legendary Marine, Legendary Yacht Club, Legendary Realty and Airport Road Storage operations are also a part of the Legendary family of companies.  Peter was recently honored when he was selected “Hotelier of the Year” for 2011 by the Florida Lodging and Restaurant Association (FLRA).  Peter and his wife Terri live in Destin, FL.  He has two sons, two daughters, and four grandchildren.  Please put this date on your calendar and give Peter a warm welcome.  All military officers, Active, Retired, or Former, are invited to attend. Information on attending can be found at www.nwfmoa.org.


It looks like Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding areas are coming alive. Tourist have been in abundance with new visitors experiencing for the first time what the Emerald Coast has to offer.

Ideas hatching for Okaloosa property
=By KARI C. BARLOW 315-4438
@KariBnwfdn kbarlow@nwfdailynews.com  

OKALOOSA ISLAND — The county has received proposals to build a fish hatchery and an adventure park on a portion of the old Island Golf Center property. Okaloosa began advertising in January for revenue-generating ventures that would benefit the public and cover the cost of maintaining the property. Up for lease are a 2.8-acre tract along U.S. Highway 98 and a 4.4-acre parcel just east of the Emerald Coast Convention Center. The Destin-based nonprofit AquaGreen said they want to build the Gulf Coast Marine Life Center on the larger parcel. Dominion Capital, a partnership of three Destin area businessmen, has proposed building Wild Willy’s Adventure Island on the smaller tract. “We’ve had great success in the restaurant industry, and we feel like we can carry that over to this concept,” said Blake Rogers, manager of business development for Dominion Capital. According to the documents submitted to the county, Dominion plans to invest about $1.5 million in the development of the “family-oriented” entertainment center. Wild Willy’s would feature an almost 300-foot zip line over a lagoon, a ropes course, a hamster ball pool, a 30-foot rock wall and a Euro trampoline. “We’d leave the (existing) golf course,” Rogers said. “We’d remove that building. … We just want to build something that’s new and fresh, make some upgrades to the putt-putt.” Dominion also would build a 3,000-square-foot complex to house a Salvati’s Pizza Factory and a separate 600-square-foot facility for Moogurts, a frozen yogurt shop. Wild Willy’s could employ up to three full-time managers, 15 fulltime staff and up to 30 part-time workers. “We want to hire locally so that theoretically all the money that’s paid out … would be spent back in the community,” Rogers said. “It’s always good to hire locally.” Dominion has proposed paying the county $65,000 a year to lease the 2.8 acres for 10 years with two 10-year renewal options and an annual 3.5 percent increase every five years. Dominion is composed of Rogers, Paul Barcus and Bruce Morriss. The Gulf Coast Marine Life Center would include a fish hatchery with a proposed multiyear, 5,000,000 juvenile fish stock enhancement program of a variety of species, including cobia, Florida pompano, flounder, mahi-mahi, amberjack, red drum, speckled trout and sturgeon. The center would construct shellfish reefs to improve water quality and sea grasses and the use of re-circulated water and fish nutrients. The facility would be open to the public, offering aquatic exhibits, classrooms and research labs. The center would work in conjunction with several leading universities including the University of Florida, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the University of New Hampshire. “It’s a huge opportunity for this area to get that kind of expertise,” said Patrick Barcus, director of business development for AquaGreen. Patrick Barcus and Paul Barcus are brothers. Barcus said the old Island Golf Center property is well-suited to a hatchery because it’s close to Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. “For a hatchery to work, you’ve got to be close to a pass,” he said. “The farther you get away … your water quality goes down.” Barcus said the 4.4-acre parcel is among a handful of properties AquaGreen is considering for its marine life center and hatchery. The project “is not contingent” on leasing the Island Golf Center land, he added. “Hatcheries, if managed properly, are job incubators,” Barcus said. “I look at the hatchery as the start of the aquaculture industry in this area.” AquaGreen has proposed paying the county $75,000 a year to lease the 4.4 acres for 10 years with two 10-year renewal options and an annual 3.5 percent increase every five years. Dominion Capital also has pledged to donate a percentage of its profits — a market value of $36,000 — annually to AquaGreen. Both development proposals must be approved by Okaloosa County Commissioners. AquaGreen and Dominion Capital representatives will make presentations to commissioners at their June 5 and June 19 meetings.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Well my folks, as noted below, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is alive and well.  I have commented many times before, the impact of this training program being headquarters here at Eglin will have a tremendous impact on our local economy.  In fact, many have not truly understand it yet.  As we receive the international pilots, their families and support staffs to the area this summer, I can assure you there will be many more eyes on this area from around the globe.  There will be delegations from United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Turkey, Canada and Norway visiting and supporting their countrymen in their quest to pilot the most advanced aircraft in the world.  This will not be something we will see for just a year or two, it will be for many years to come.  As we speak, the U.S. is in negotiations with Japan, Israeli, and other U.S. allies in selling them the F-35, who will need their pilots trained. Basically, not only will we benefit from the technology and jobs this program will bring to the area, the tourism will increase, as well, as news reports identifies this area as the home for this program.  So, in closing, all these new visitors will want to enjoy what we have to offer, so let us show them why we are the “Emerald Coast”.

Eglin F-35 program beginning to take off
2 more jets arrived Thursday, another one expected next week
315-4448 | @DustyRnwfdn  dricketts@nwfdailynews.com
EGLIN AFB — Of the 25 F-35s that have been released to the Department of Defense, 11 of them have arrived and a 12th is expected early next week. Eglin Air Force Base’s latest F-35s, the fourth and fifth short takeoff-vertical landing Marine variants of the fighter jet, arrived Thursday afternoon. They will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the F-35 Integrated Training Center. A sixth F-35B was at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on Friday, but could come to Eglin as early as Monday. “It’s cleared its (U.S. Defense Contract Management Agency testing). We’re just waiting to make sure it can get down there with the weather,” said Michael Rein, director of communications for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program.        The local Joint Strike Fighters have been busy. Since the first flight March 6, they have flown 35 sorties and have logged 47.1 flight hours as of Friday, Rein said.  “We’re happy with the process so far,” he said. “We’re just really thrilled at how things are going at Eglin, and we only look for brighter and better days ahead.” This year is shaping up to be a big one for the F-35 program at Eglin. The first carrier variant of the fifth generation fighter is expected to be delivered by late summer or early fall, Rein said. Eglin also soon will host some of the program’s international partners. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Turkey, Canada and Norway have contributed to the development of the F-35 and have been involved with the program since 2002. They have committed to buying a total of about 800 of the jets. The United Kingdom’s first F-35 took its first test flight April 13 and is undergoing a series of company and government checkout flights before its acceptance by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense. When those tests are completed, the jet will be flown to Eglin, where British pilots and maintenance crews will begin their training.

Friday, May 4, 2012


A further transformation of Fort Walton Beach and the adjacent Okaloosa Island is in the works to meet the enormous tourist demand placed on this area.  Other things are in the works, such as, the expansion of  “Fudpuckers” on Okaloosa Island, a favorite of locals and visitors.  Congratulations to all concerned.  Stay tuned, more updates to follow.

Gulfarium to reopen with new name
Added attractions will take the stage when the marine park reopens Memorial Day weekend
From staff reports
OKALOOSA ISLAND — A renovated Gulfarium will reopen Memorial Day weekend with new attractions and a new name.  The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park will feature new exhibits, including the Penguin Feed, the Stingray, Bay Snorkel, Dolphin Splash Encounter and Ocean Odyssey. “People have known the Gulfarium for generations,” General Manager Patrick Berry said in a news release issued Thursday. “What we have done, with the new name and new look, is preserve the adventure and entertainment everyone has come to expect from us, but to expand and improve what we are doing. “I think people, tourists and locals alike, will find what they’ve always loved but will also be impressed with the renovations and new interactive programs.” The marine park has been closed since January while renovations have been under way. With the new exhibits, visitors will be able to swim with dolphins or stingrays, feed and pet a harbor seal, play with otters or spend five hours working side-byside with a marine mammal trainer.  The park also has an updated and more whimsical look, the news release said. “The look represents both the fun we offer while also with the color scheme and look that almost makes someone feel they are submersed in an aquatic world,” Berry said in the release.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I really don’t see to say more.  Read on.

The Economic Development Council
of Okaloosa County, Florida
Kay Rasmussen kayr@florida-edc.org
VP Community & Economic Development www.florida-edc.org
January 2012
Okaloosa County 2011 Economic Position
With a population of 180,822, and housing the largest military installation in the United States,
Okaloosa County’s primary economic generator is the military; #2 is tourism supported by our
sugar-white beaches and endless water-sports activities. These two industry sectors are
supported by a strong service sector infiltrated by the technology-based industries. Okaloosa’s
population is projected to top 198,000 by 2015.

Military Impact
Joint Strike Fighter Initial Training Center
59 F-35 Aircraft
· $375 Million in MILCON
· 1,563 Personnel
o 1,716 dependents
· $2.1 Billion total 2010-2016
· $593 Million sustained in 2016 and beyond
· First Plane: 2011
· Last Plane: 2016
JSF Economic Impact
Cumulative Impact (2010 – 2016) 59 Aircraft
Gross Regional Product (Millions $) $1,668.9
Associated Population 4,432
Associated Employment 4,104
Year 2016 Impact and Beyond
Gross Regional Product (Millions $) $399.4
Associated Population 225
Associated Employment 11
7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
2011 Beddown
· $332 Million MILCON
· ~2,200 Personnel
o ~3,867 dependents
· First Battalion Arrives April 2011
· Last Battalion Arrives September 2011
7SFG(A) Annual Economic Impact
· 2011: $506,300,000
· 2016: $566,300,000

Okaloosa County and its neighboring counties offer a desirable workforce supplemented by the
retiring and otherwise separating military personnel that have chosen to stay in the area.
Okaloosa County Veterans and Total Population Comparison
Veteran % of
2007 34,470 184,250 18.7%
2014 32,469 193,804 16.8%
2019 30,330 202,501 15.0%
Source: UWF Haas Center, EDC Retired and Separated Targeted Transition Study, 2009
County Veterans Retirees Annual
Santa Rosa 21,642 5,843 645
Okaloosa 34,634 10,401 2,711
Walton 6,415 1,694 34
Total 62,691 17,938 3,390
Source: Dr. Rod Lewis, UWF Haas Center 2010

Okaloosa County 2011 Defense Impact
Defense Spending ($Millions)
Procurement $ 1,431.0
Salaries 677.3
Pensions & Transfers 645.7
Total Defense Spending $ 2,754.0
Average Earnings Per Military Job $87,300
County Economic Impact1 $ 5.2 Billion
Employment 58,811 Jobs
Sales Activity $ 4.0 Billion
Consumption $ 3.3 Billion
Capital Investment $ 495.1 Million
Source: UWF Haas Center January 2011
Eglin AFB
Active Duty Military 9,283
Civilians 5,710
Hurlburt Field
Active Duty Military 8,000
Civilians 700

Northwest Florida Defense Impactlions)
Procurement $ 2.4
Salaries 1.7
Pensions & Transfers 2.1
Total Defense Spending $ 6.2
Average Earnings Per Military Job $83,168
Regional Economic Impact1 $ 14.3 Billion
Employment 178,758 Jobs
Sales Activity $ 12.8 Billion
Consumption $ 10.7 Billion
Capital Investment $ 1.9 Billion
Source: UWF Haas Center January 2011

Florida received 82.3 Million visitors in 2010 with 10% of those visiting Northwest Florida's
Emerald Coast. Okaloosa County is in the Top-Five destinations for auto visitors; we are a
drive-to community.

Technology-Based Industry Sector
In August 2011, Forbes Magazine ranked Okaloosa County, the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-
Destin Metropolitan Statistical Area, in America’s Top-Twenty “Geekiest” Cities. The current
definition of “geek” is any worker with a bachelor’s level of knowledge and education in science
or engineering-related fields or workers in occupations that require some degree of technical
knowledge or training. The Science and Engineering Indicators utilized by Forbes, ranked the
top 20 cities in the United States by the percentage of workers with jobs in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics; the STEM industries.
Okaloosa County is the technology hub in Northwest Florida with over 275 technology-based
companies in centralized areas of Crestview and Fort Walton Beach; and growing! The highgrowth,
high-wage STEM industries are targeted for Okaloosa’s growth and recruitment. These
high-growth, high-wage industry sectors for the next five years include manufacturing,
information technology, professional business services, medical sciences, and financial based
industries.Despite the national economic condition and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, Okaloosa
County, located on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, has experienced significant growth in its existing
technology-based industries, as well as the recruitment of new companies into the area. In the
last year, Okaloosa has incurred new job growth of over 500 with a retainment of almost an
equal amount providing a median wage of $53,000.
On the horizon is a planned research and development center outside Eglin’s West gate which
will garner thousands of new jobs in a professional mixed-use development servicing hightechnology
commercialization. The ripple effect that will result from this development will
include service and supply industries contributing to the STEM clusters within Okaloosa County.
Future 100 acre Emerald Coast Technology & Research Center to be built in Shalimar, Florida
adjacent to the University of Florida Research and Engineering Education Facility.
Adjacent to this research center is a planned autonomous vehicle research, development and
testing facility. This innovative collaboration will sustain hundreds of jobs and facilitate
multiple spin-off industries; both horizontally and vertically.