GrowFL Participant Credits Economic Gardening Program for Helping Secure Major Defense Contract

Cocoa-based Coastal Steel Inc. Will Add More Than 55 Jobs as a Result of Contract with Lockheed Martin
By: Florida Economic Gardening Institute
July 12, 2011 - PRLog -- COCOA, Fla. – Thanks in part to the entrepreneurial ecosystem cultivated by the Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s GrowFL program, one Florida company will add at least 55 new positions.  Coastal Steel, a steel erection, fabrication and manufacturing company based in Cocoa, has been awarded a contract to work with Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions on its Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS).

PTDS is a large balloon-like tracking device that gives warfighters throughout Iraq and Afghanistan an eagle-eye view of the surrounding terrain, providing life-saving surveillance and reconnaissance.  Coastal Steel is responsible for building and pre-assembling a piece that represents 30 percent of the overall system and is comprised of more than 3,200 various components.

Coastal Steel was selected to work with Lockheed Martin on the project since 2006, but the defense contractor has now ramped up its manufacturing requirements, prompting Coastal Steel to add 55 to 65 additional positions to its manufacturing team.  Executive vice president of Coastal Steel Inc. and president of Coastal Steel Manufacturing Dale Coxwell credits GrowFL with providing him the resources needed to obtain the Lockheed Martin contract.

“The GrowFL team provided me with a lot of insight that has helped our company grow,” Coxwell said. “The information I obtained from GrowFL assisted in the procurement of this contract, which will put between 55 and 65 individuals to work over the next eight months.”

GrowFL has helped support the growth of more than 200 second-stage companies across the state, and is equipped to assist additional companies through the end of August.

“We are always excited to hear such positive news from our client companies,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization.  “GrowFL is proving the concept that entrepreneurial ecosystems in support of growing companies do succeed in creating jobs.  Our team of business analysts is still available to help other companies add jobs and grow their business, just as Coastal Steel did.”

The City of Cocoa and its Office of Economic Development first encouraged Coxwell to participate in the GrowFL program because of the company’s steady expansion into diverse industries such as aerospace, theme parks, green energy and defense.  The 35-year-old, family-owned business gradually became one of the City’s largest employers.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work with Coastal Steel and see the company grow over the years thanks to numerous business assistance organizations like GrowFL,” said City of Cocoa Mayor Michael Blake.  “Even through these tough economic times, Coastal Steel has demonstrated what a second-stage company can achieve, and we’re proud that it is growing in the City of Cocoa.  In recognition of their success and commitment to the community, we are inviting Dale Coxwell and his team to our City Council meeting to award them the Key to the City.”

The GrowFL program provides second-stage companies across Florida with advanced business tools to help evaluate competitor markets, define core business strategies, optimize Internet marketing and utilize geographical information systems to enhance business development and sales efforts.  

This customized technical assistance program is complemented by GrowFL’s other economic gardening services including CEO roundtables, CEO forums and referral services, administered in conjunction with statewide economic development partners.  

About GrowFL:
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute was created by the 2009 Florida Legislature as the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Program to stimulate investment in Florida’s economy by providing technical assistance for expanding businesses in the state.  Qualified companies must be engaged in the following sectors to receive no-cost technical assistance:  Manufacturing; Finance & Insurance Services; Wholesale Trade; Information Industries; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management Services; and, Administrative & Support Services.  Additional information is available at

About Coastal Steel:
For more than 30 years, Coastal Steel has been an innovator in steel erection and fabrication, continually exceeding customer expectations with quality service, craftsmanship and unsurpassed professionalism.  Phillip Coxwell founded Coastal Steel in 1976, building the reputation of a company with continuous, innovative solutions while focusing on construction methods, equipment and personnel.  Coastal Steel’s iconic work stands as a testament to the company’s quality and innovation.  The company portfolio includes world famous structures such as the Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest, Magic Kingdom Mission Space and the 90-foot Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  For more information, visit
Source:Florida Economic Gardening Institute
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Tags:Florida Economic Gardening Institute, Growfl, Coastal Steel, Lockheed Martin
Industry:Defense, Business, Manufacturing
Location:Orlando - Florida - United States
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