Triumph Gulf Coast awards $350M to 50 projects in first 4 years. What it accomplished:

The competitive development fund supports infrastructure needs, develops industry-driven workforce and education training programs and provides tax abatement for businesses in Northwest Florida.

Special to the Northwest Florida Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK

PENSACOLA — Over the past month, Triumph Gulf Coast has honored four departing board members as their terms have come to an end and celebrated the inaugural four years of investments made in the eight counties most disproportionately affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The transformational legacy left by these board members was recognized at meetings in Panama City and Pensacola.

Former state Sen. Don Gaetz of Seaside served as chair of Triumph Gulf Coast from 2018 to June of 2022. As Senate president, he was a driving force in the creation of the Gulf Coast Economic Corridor Act in 2013, which created Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. 

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig is engulfed in flames in 2010.

Triumph Gulf Coast Horizon Award:Northwest Florida State College gets award for Aviation Center of Excellence program

$1.5 million grant:Kia declined Shoal River Ranch in 2006. Now gigasite is 'no brainer for prospective companies'

Gaetz was appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board by the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Allan Bense of Panama City, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, served as the original chair of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. from its inception in 2015 to December 2017.

Bense was appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board by the president of the Florida Senate.

Ben Lee, of Lynn Haven, is the market president for Hancock Whitney Bank overseeing the Bay County region.

Lee was appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board by the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives to complete the unexpired term of Robert Bonezzi of Destin.

Matt Terry of Port St. Joe is the owner of Appraisal Group of North Florida, which provides real estate appraisals and consulting along the Gulf Coast. He has over 15 years of experience in the appraisal business.

Terry was appointed by the president of the Florida Senate to complete the unexpired term of Jason Shoaf of Port St. Joe after Shoaf was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

Triumph's effect

Since its first grant award of $10 million in 2018 to expand the Port of Panama City, Triumph Gulf Coast has awarded more than $350 million to 50 projects in all eight counties disproportionately affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

For every $1 awarded by Triumph, $19 in beneficial economic growth is created for Northwest Florida, resulting in more than $800 million in net new family income annually. 

According to Triumph, almost 30,000 national industry certifications are expected to be earned by K-12, college, university, retiring military and military spouses in the occupational categories most needed today and tomorrow in Northwest Florida’s coastal economy.

More than 16,000 net new jobs will be created, with all incentivized jobs paying 115% or more of the average wage in the area, according to Triumph.

Triumph grants have focused on job creation and workforce developments. Projects include funds to close the deal and win a significant expansion of ST Engineering’s MRO campus at Pensacola International Airport; four new, almost fully sold out industrial parks in Santa Rosa County; and a grant to co-locate Pensacola State College’s new CDL training facility at one of the new distribution parks in Milton.

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) Aviation Center of Excellence in Crestview, and the new, cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence CTE curriculum development and implementation project for the Okaloosa School District are supported by Triumph funds.

In Walton County, Sheriff Mike Adkinson has a vision to “build better people” that includes workforce training to prepare incarcerated persons to re-enter the community.  In partnership with Emerald Coast Technical College and NWF State, Triumph grant funds expand the ability do just that.

Triumph has invested in multiple projects in Bay County, including property tax reduction support after Hurricane Michael; the city of Panama City’s Industrial Complex supporting Eastern Shipbuilding’s Coast Guard Cutter contract; and FSU-Panama City’s cyber and new technologies workforce training project.

Most recently, Triumph Gulf Coast has partnered with FSU-PC to create the new charter school that provides Tyndall Air Force Base families with quality, value-added educational opportunities.

In rural Gulf and Franklin counties, Triumph is funding Career Technical Education (CTE) workforce training programs with the school districts and Gulf Coast State College in welding, unmanned systems, agricultural sciences and nursing, among others, in addition to providing approximately half the funding needed to dredge the port at Port St. Joe and infrastructure upgrades at Franklin County’s Apalachicola Airport.

Triumph’s first Career and Technical Education grant was with the Wakulla County School Board. The project’s success has resulted in three additional CTE grant projects, two of those in partnership with Lively Technical College, for third-12th graders and adults to gain industry certifications in digital tools, HVAC, unmanned systems, A&P (Airframe and Powerplant), information technology, artificial intelligence, auto repair and construction trades. 

Despite natural disasters and world events, the Triumph Board has not slowed down in making investments to meet its goal of increasing household income for residents of Northwest Florida.

Current members are Chairman David Bear; Vice Chairman Collier Merrill, Treasurer Reynolds Henderson and Jay Trumbull Sr.

Two new new members will be appointed by the president of the Florida Senate and one by the speaker of the Florida House.