Volusia County Highlights Economic Development

Volusia County Highlights Economic Development

Consent agendas are parliamentary devices government bodies use to streamline meetings by packaging routine items in a group to pass with a single motion and usually require no discussion. But sometimes, items get pulled off the consent agenda and offer insight into the status of programs and efforts undertaken by officials. That was the case earlier this month at a Volusia County Council meeting when Councilmember David Santiago asked for more information on the county’s first quarter economic development results.

Santiago highlighted the county’s wage levels and asked about ways to attract higher-paying jobs to the community.

“I’d like to see if we can have discussions in the future or guidance from staff on what targeted industries we can look at that can raise the wages in Volusia County,” he said. “I think it should be a focus of ours.”

Cyrus Callum, Volusia County director of aviation and economic resources, was ready with the answer.

“The aerospace industry is something I’ve been working on very closely with Team Volusia, the CEO Business Alliance and staff,” he said. “We’re really looking at ways to kind of close the (wage) gap.”

Callum acknowledged that Brevard County has “kind of a stranglehold” on the aerospace industry with Cape Canaveral.

“We’ve been getting some inquiries from businesses that want to spread their footprint and look at opportunities to develop in our county so we’ve definitely been seeking opportunities to increase wages that way,” he said. “We have our partners, of course. Embry-Riddle (Aeronautical University) has been phenomenal in bringing a spotlight on that type of industry as well.”

Santiago said southeastern Volusia is a place where aerospace firms could find fertile ground for growth.

“I’ve been having conversations with Space Florida about that very situation,” Callum said. “We’re trying to be a lot more intentional. Instead of having businesses come to us, we actually do more of an outreach to let them know what we do have and we want to be in the game in terms of bringing that type of industry here. The discussions are being had and sooner rather than later we’ll start to see some results start to pan out.”

Santiago also asked about the status of Avelo Airlines, a low-cost carrier that began serving Daytona Beach International Airport in 2023.

“I am pleased to report Avelo Airlines has added another flight into our market,” Callum said. “Their loads have been phenomenal. They are doing very, very strongly.”