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Melbourne Airport Board, Executive Director Honored

12/4/2013  |  Melbourne, FL

Melbourne Airport Board, Executive Director Honored

Dynamic growth, jobs earn airport team “Business Leaders of the Year” Award

MELBOURNE, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2013) — Melbourne International Airport’s dynamic growth into one of the Space Coast’s most significant economic engines and one of the world’s fastest growing aviation manufacturing and maintenance centers has earned its leadership a prestigious local award.

Spacecoast Business Magazine named the Melbourne Airport Authority and airport Executive Director Richard A. Ennis its 2013 Business Leaders of the Year at its annual awards dinner Tuesday.

The winners were lauded for helping build the regional airport into one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation manufacturing and maintenance hubs, chalking up major development coups and generating millions of new dollars for the Space Coast economy.

Since 2008, Melbourne International has lured major projects from aviation giants Embraer and Northrop Grumman and built a significant aviation maintenance operation with the addition of AAR Airlift Group and MidairUSA. The resulting jobs and development have been significant boosts to the Space Coast economy.

  • More than 2,400 new jobs created
  • $183.5 million invested in capital projects
  • More than 1 million square feet of new development added to the airport

The keys to the airport’s success were the vision and leadership shown by the seven-member Airport Authority board and sound fiscal practices that enabled the airport to build infrastructure that helped lure big-name tenants, Ennis said.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without those keys,” Ennis said, adding that a dedicated professional staff was crucial to carrying out the vision set by the board.

Today, the airport’s tenant list reads like a Who’s Who in aviation and aerospace including Northrop Grumman, Embraer, Harris Corp. and Rockwell Collins

“We recognized that we needed to more than just position the airport as a convenient alternative to Orlando for Space Coast travelers,” said MAA Chairman Harry Goode. “We had to promote Melbourne International as a prime location for the aviation and aerospace industry. We have succeeded in doing that and then some.”

Indeed, the airport continues to land major aviation projects. In 2013, its additions included Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Design Center of Excellence and an aircraft assembly facility for Embraer’s new line of twin-engine executive jets, the Legacy 500 and Legacy 450. Those projects alone will add as many as 1,500 new, high-paying jobs to the region.

The airport’s success is linked to strong partnerships with state and local agencies, primarily the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. EDC officials recognized Ennis’ contribution earlier this year, when he was named the agency’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

In announcing that award, EDC Board Chair Debbie Goode praised Ennis’ work as a longtime member of the EDC board and executive committee.

“He has worked tirelessly to assist the EDC and other community partners in developing and carrying out strategies that have lead to significant and numerous successes,” she said.

The MAA Board is made up of Chairman Harry Goode, John Thomas and Molly Tasker, who are Melbourne City Council members. Goode is the longest-serving MAA board member and a former Melbourne Mayor and Florida House representative from Brevard County. Thomas is currently assistant vice president for Economic Development and Community Affairs at Florida Tech. Tasker worked as an attorney for the Central Intelligence Agency before retiring and returning to Brevard County, where she currently is in private practice in Melbourne.

Board member Scott Mikuen, who represents the airport’s tenants on the board, is vice president and general counsel at Harris Corp.  Jack Ryals, appointed by the Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida, is a commercial real estate broker. Vice Chairman Bill Potter and Michael Fischer are at-large members who represent the overall community. Potter is an attorney and retired Florida Air National Guard colonel. He previously served as legal counsel to the MAA for 26 years and retired as a partner in the law firm of Holland & Knight in 2002. Fischer is the managing partner at P.A.V.C.O. Contracting Group.

The airport’s Deputy Executive Director is Richard Cloutier. Pat Howlett, Ennis’ executive assistant, serves as MAA recording secretary. Legal counsel for the MAA is provided by GrayRobinson attorneys Don Nohrr and Alec Russell.

About Melbourne International Airport

Melbourne International Airport serves east Central Florida, including Brevard and Indian River counties, and is responsible for generating more than $1 billion per year in economic activity. It is among the nation’s fastest-growing aviation manufacturing and maintenance hubs, and is the closest international airport to Port Canaveral, one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. Led by Executive Director Richard A. Ennis and Melbourne Airport Authority Board Chairman Harry Goode, the airport operates three runways, a 200,000-square-foot terminal and offers multiple FBOs. Melbourne International Airport is home to more than 75 tenant businesses including Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Rockwell Collins, LiveTV, Embraer and Harris Corp. The airport currently serves Delta Air Lines and its affiliates, US Airways and Baer Air. For more information, visit

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