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Embraer Ascends to New Heights in Florida’s Perfect Business Climate

Names can be powerful, prophetic things. Take Bandeirante. It means "pioneer" in Portuguese - a fitting name for the first aircraft that Embraer would sell in the United States.

Embraer’s Global Vision Takes Flight in Florida

The year was 1979, and at only a decade old, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer was still relatively young. But under the intrepid leadership of Brazilian pilot Newton Berwig and American entrepreneur Robert Terry, Embraer opened its first U.S. office in Dania Beach, Florida. Armed with only a few engineers and the sole mission of introducing a new turboprop to the American market, the pair had no way of knowing that the move would mark the beginning of an auspicious 35-year relationship with Florida as well as Embraer’s ascension to its current position as the world’s leading producer of small commercial jets.

High-flying Achievements

Today, Embraer joins the more than 2,100 aviation and aerospace companies calling Florida home. With several operations across the state, Embraer’s story has become representative of the climate of success that Florida offers all facets of the industry, from sales to manufacturing to R&D. In addition to Embraer’s U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, the company has a significant presence on Florida’s Space Coast. In 2010, Embraer continued its pioneering tradition when it opened a new production and sales facility for its popular Phenom series in Melbourne, Florida, making history as the first foreign company to open a greenfield production facility for business aircraft in the United States. Recently, the company added another first to its list, expanding the Melbourne campus to include Embraer’s recently inaugurated Engineering and Technology Center (EETC)—the first of its kind outside of Brazil.

Embraer Legacy 500 controls.

Embraer Legacy 500 controls.

Touch Down in New Markets

When Embraer made the strategic decision to become a global company, expanding into the United States—the world’s largest market for private aircraft—was an obvious choice. According to Marco Túlio Pellegrini, President and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets, the decision to locate in Florida was equally self-evident. “As you can see, all the requirements to build and operate an industrial operation as we intended were conveniently found right here,” said Pellegrini, citing the region’s abundant greenfield land, comprehensive infrastructure, skilled workforce and global access as its major advantages. Ultimately, Florida’s favorable business climate sealed Melbourne’s fate as the perfect location for Embraer’s $50 million facility. In addition to a 5.5 percent corporate tax rate and no personal income tax, the state also offers a sales and use tax exemption on manufacturing equipment, aircraft components and aircraft sales—all of which contribute to Florida’s ranking as the second top state for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).


Soar with Global Connectivity

Leveraging Florida’s top-rated infrastructure, Embraer has been able to streamline its supply chain and bring Phenoms to market at record speed, earning the Phenom 300 the title of “Most Delivered Business Aircraft” in 2013. How? More than 50 percent of the components of Phenom jets are actually manufactured in the United States, in addition to 200 Brevard County suppliers supporting operations in the area. Another contributing factor is Embraer’s location at Melbourne International Airport’s Business and Industrial Park, which is also home to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Rockwell Collins and Harris Corp. World Headquarters. Strategic advantages include access to one of the country’s largest Foreign Trade Zone networks as well as close proximity to Port Canaveral, which moves nearly three million tons of cargo each year. With 15 deepwater seaports and 20 commercial airports across the state, this nexus of rail, road, air and sea is only one example of the multimodal infrastructure that has characterized Florida as an international gateway and undisputed global hub for business.

Florida is a great place to do business from every perspective.

Marco Túlio Pellegrini
President & CEO of Embraer Executive Jets


Find Phenomenal Talent

With the opening of the EETC, access to a highly educated, tech- savvy workforce was particularly imperative. “In our search for the ideal site to manufacture business aircraft in the United States, we looked beyond industrial installation capabilities,” Pellegrini reported. Thanks to Florida’s nearly 89,000+-member aviation and aerospace workforce, Embraer had little trouble filling the state-of-the-art facility. “We found an impressive concentration of high- skilled talent on the Space Coast,” said Pellegrini. The new Center of Excellence, which features a 3D virtual reality center, prototype capabilities and numerous sophisticated laboratories, is staffed by some of nation’s brightest engineering minds. In fact, former NASA employees and contractors make up more than one-third of Embraer’s current workforce. Embraer also benefits from its proximity to several prestigious mechanical and aerospace engineering programs offered by universities in Florida, including Embry Riddle—the world’s largest university specializing in aviation and aerospace.

Embark on New Frontiers

Embraer continues to prove that no goal is too lofty for this Brazilian aviation giant. In partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation, Embraer landed its first Department of Defense contract in 2013. According to Gary Spulak, President of Embraer Aircraft Holding, the $427 million contract marks “an important first step in establishing our firm presence in the U.S. defense and security market.” This time, Embraer chose Jacksonville, Florida, known for its military aviation prowess, to manufacture its Super-Tucano aircraft, the first of which was delivered in September 2014. With an impressive badgeable talent pool and additional tax refunds for qualified defense contractors, Florida has also established itself as one of the country’s most competitive locations for defense manufacturing.


Embraer broke ground on its new Aero Seating Technologies facility, which will house the design, development and production of its executive jet seating solutions.

Most recently, Embraer broke ground on its new Aero Seating Technologies facility in Titusville on Florida’s Space Coast, creating 150 jobs and making a $3.5 million capital investment. The new facility will house the design, development and production of its executive jet seating solutions and marks the manufacturer’s fourth expansion in Brevard County. Clearly, they’re happy—and so is Florida. Embraer’s continued investment in the state isn’t an isolated event. As Florida’s reputation as a global hub for business grows, an increasing number of competitive, international projects are touching down in the state.

Dominate International Aerospace

From aviation to defense and everything in between, Florida has an incredible amount to offer any international company looking to establish a foothold in the United States. “Having led other manufacturing site searches around the globe, what I can share is a confirmation of what we experienced here and come to expect,” Pellegrini affirmed. “Florida is a great place to do business from every perspective: a strong pro-business environment, a skilled workforce and an important mix of industrial capabilities to run a global operation.”