By William M. Brown, Chairman, President and CEO of Harris Corporation
Many have wondered about the long-term benefits of a pro-business environment, such as the one fostered by state leaders and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Bringing in new businesses makes headlines, but what happens over time?
Harris Corporation, which is celebrating 65 years in Florida, is proof that such an environment can not only lure businesses to Florida, but lead to even greater gains as those companies thrive and mature.
Like many companies, Harris’ Florida presence began small – fewer than 50 employees in a single Melbourne, Florida operation. By continuing to invest and innovate, the company grew to become a top-10 defense contractor and one of the state’s largest companies with approximately 6,000 Florida employees operating in 22 locations.
Nearly 40 percent of Harris employees are engineers and scientists – highly sought after, high- paying positions. Harris’ average Florida salary is $95,000 and our total annual state payroll is nearly $600 million – excluding more than $200 million the company pays to Florida-based suppliers.
The benefits of our growth extend well beyond real estate, salaries and supplier support. During the past five years alone, Harris and its employees contributed more than $13 million and donated thousands of hours to Florida community and academic organizations with a special focus on STEM initiatives. In addition, over half of our college recruiting activity comes from Florida-based universities.
Our growth in Florida – and the benefits it provides – would not be possible without the pro-business environment that state leaders and the Florida Chamber fight to preserve every year.