Hernando County Airport offers alternative to Tampa, Orlando

The new Brooksville Air Center has the feel of a hotel lobby, with leather chairs, granite counters and wireless Internet access.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The new Brooksville Air Center has the feel of a hotel lobby, with leather chairs, granite counters and wireless Internet access.

Come see our 7,000-foot welcome mat.

Whether you're flying a little Cessna from Atlanta or a fancy corporate jet out of Detroit, the message is the same: Our runway is your runway.

The new, glossy brochures — to be mailed soon to corporate prospects — are part of a new campaign to spread the word about the Hernando County Airport.

Airport manager Don Silvernell and his new marketing and property coordinator, Kimberly Poppke, want companies to see Hernando as an alternate gateway to the thriving Tampa and Orlando markets.

"We're not a city; we are different," Poppke said. "We have a low-key lifestyle while still maintaining the access."

For marketing purposes, they've merged the Hernando County Airport, Airport Industrial Park, Hernando County Rail Park and Hernando County Corporate Park under one banner: the Hernando County Airport and Business Complex.

It's within easy reach of Tampa and Orlando, and includes access to the 155-acre industrial park, the 250 acre corporate complex, and the rail park, Poppke said.

And new companies have begun setting up shop.

Some, such as Woodco Truss, like the space and location. Others — Neubert Aero Corp., Global Jet Care, AirDyne — have aeronautical business models, serving clients connected to the industry.

Brooksville Air Center has built a facility on 11 acres as a fixed-based operator, offering a full range of support services to those who operate planes.

It joins American Aviation, which has operated such services at the Hernando airport since the 1970s.

The new facility has a hotel-lobby feel, with granite counters, comfortable leather chairs and wireless Internet access.

"It has a hometown feel on an executive scale," said Michelle Elferdink, customer service manager for Brooksville Air. "Customer service is going to be key."

In exchange for a lease discount, the company paid to have water, sewer and a road extended to the site.

That investment will also bring the county a growth engine, said Jim McManus, Brooksville Air general manager.

McManus said the company has positioned itself to help those looking to save money. There won't be any ramp fees, and fuel will be about a dollar a gallon less than in Tampa.

While its facility is plush, the company isn't just aiming for corporate jets.

"Let's talk about the little guys," McManus said. "They are just as important to us. We do not intend to let their needs or desires go lacking."

Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at slmarshall.sptimes@gmail.com.

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Hernando County Office of Business Development 2009 projects

(New or expanded businesses)

Project type of work # of Jobs
AME International tire-changing equipment manufacturer/distributor 5 jobs
Woodco Truss truss manufacturer 30 jobs
Airdyne aviation products 5 jobs
Neubert Aero aviation products 25 jobs
Brooksville
Air Center
fixed-based operator 20 jobs
Global Jet Care air ambulance services 20 jobs
Zymol car wax manufacturer/
distributor
10 jobs
Better Mix Plant cement manufacturer 10 jobs
Mejor Foods food product distributor 5 jobs
HETA technical training provider 4 jobs
HealthSouth Central Billing Center back office operations
billing center
5 jobs
Excalibur
Manufacturing
plastic injection molding
manufacturer
N/A
Flagstone Pavers decorative paver
manufacturer
5 jobs
Accuform safety sign manufacturer 5 jobs
Chasco Machine precision machining 31 jobs
Sparton Electronics electronics manufacturer 175 jobs*


* Retained jobs

Source: Hernando County Office of Business Development

Related content:

Hernando County Airport offers alternative to Tampa, Orlando 02/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:54pm]

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