New York Aerospace Company Touches Down In Jacksonville

Feb 2, 2017

From left to right: GRACE Aerospace President Steven Carlo, Jacksonville Councilman Doyle Carter, GRACE Aerospace founder Robert Carlo, JAX Chamber Board Chair Darnell Smith
Credit Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Military equipment manufacturer GRACE Aerospace is moving its headquarters to Jacksonville.

That means the New York-based company’s existing, five person, workforce in Jacksonville is set to grow sixfold.

Company president Steven Carlo said the weather was just one of a few reasons his company decided to make the move south.

“It’s 25 and snowing at home and 75 here, so it’s sort of just a given. There are some real positives — the taxes don't hurt either,” he said.

GRACE Aerospace, formerly known as Grace Electronics, began renting city space at Cecil Commerce Center a few years back. They started with five employees who did product testing at its 1,500 square foot facility.

Now he’s hiring 25 more employees and expanding the plant by 10,146 square feet, thanks in large part to more than $330,000 in economic incentives.

“We’re going to have positions from beginning level tech through experienced level tech. We’re going to have business development — all kinds of administrative functions,” he said. “So, the salary range can be anywhere from $15 an hour to $50,000 to $70,000 for the right position.”

According to the bill city council passed in November, the city is on the hook for $25,000 over the next three years, and the new GRACE positions are required to have an average salary of just over $50,000. The majority of incentive money is coming from the state.

GRACE builds harnesses and electronics for military contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

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Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.