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Luring manufacturing to St. Johns County

The new Economic Development Director for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce shares his thoughts about jobs for the county with a booming population.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Scott Maynard has his work cut out for him.

He’s the new Economic Development Director for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. He is basically leading the burgeoning county in finding more jobs for all the people moving to town.

"When you picture St. Johns County, there’s a large diversity of land use," Maynard said. "From the west side of the county that has a lot of agriculture to the beach."

"But we cannot finance our county just on rooftops," he added. "So we need retail to come behind the and we need manufacturing."

Retail seems to be booming already in St. Johns County with shopping centers and retail stores opening and under construction. So Maynard and county officials are turning their attention to recruiting manufacturing, setting their sights high on the companies that make parts for the space industry.

"With all the privatization of the space industry along the space coast, potentially we could attract of the tier one suppliers or spin-off companies from that area," Maynard said.

He also envisions more clean manufacturing that would leave "a smaller carbon footprint on the environment."  Maynard said, "I don’t think people want to see smokestacks."

And while St. Johns County has a great school system and a high quality of life going for it,  “There’s not a lot of land out there, a lot of available land for manufacturing," Maynard noted. "We have a lot of new development land for retail and residential. One of the areas I’m trying to educate myself on is... where is all this land we can potentially use out there?”

And all those people moving to St. Johns County may supply the workforce needed for a broadening economy.

"Besides the cost of coming into a new area, I think that the talent and workforce issue is probably the next thing on a company’s list when it is identifying a new location to move to," Maynard said.