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A British aerospace company announced this month the creation of 170 new jobs and a $50 million investment in a new manufacturing facility adjacent to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County.

The facility will be the first for GKN Aerospace in Florida and will be located at the 195-acre Venture Crossings commerce and industrial park near Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

“This investment emphasizes our commitment to manufacturing in North America, as this new world-class facility will create jobs and strengthen our competitive position in the US aerospace market for the future,” said Mike Grunza, CEO of GKN Aerospace’s Aerostructures North America.

GKN will manufacture components for the 737MAX and 777X jetliners. (Boeing/Special to The Pulse)

GKN Aerospace uses advanced manufacturing technologies to supply integrated assemblies in both metallic and composite materials to the aviation industry. The company employs approximately 17,000 people in more than 60 locations across three continents.

The company will receive a $2 million grant from the Industry Recruitment, Retention & Expansion Fund (IRREF) Grant Program, which is administered by the University of West Florida. The IRREF program was designed to spur research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification and job creation in Northwest Florida.

“The University is proud to provide key support for GKN Aerospace’s expansion, which will help strengthen, grow and diversify the region’s economy,” said Brice Harris, assistant vice president for research and economic opportunity at UWF. “This project and others supported by the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund demonstrate our commitment to attracting high-paying jobs to Northwest Florida.”

To be operated on lease, the new 126,000 square-foot facility will be developed and owned by a subsidiary of St. Joe Company, and designed to meet GKN Aerospace’s specific requirements. When completed, components for the Boeing 737 MAX and future 777X jetliners will be manufactured at the facility.

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