by Kevin M. Gholston
Kevin Gholston is Vice President for CVG Strategy, a defense and manufacturing consultancy. CVG Strategy is an investor in the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and a Space Coast Ambassador.
In the early 1960’s, the Space Race officially began and Cape Canaveral experienced rapid growth. This new industry had national impact and, coupled with Patrick Air Force Base, attracted numerous defense and commercial manufacturers to the Space Coast…
… who ultimately planted roots and expanded business operations. Today, Brevard County remains an active player in the defense market and boasts one of the largest concentrations of defense manufacturers in the entire state of Florida. This is prime ground for the cultivation and generation of new technological advancements.
The United States has war fighters across the world. Here on local soil, we also have a cadre of soldiers who engineer and manufacture cutting edge tools and technology that ultimately make our troops safer and more effective during combat. As new advances continue to evolve and change, we must be sure that these companies have the necessary support to enhance our global defense capabilities. Instead of establishing entire departments for process improvement, market development, quality certifications and testing programs, defense companies are able to offset these large scale operations by turning to experts like CVG Strategy (a Space Coast Ambassador).
CVG Strategy is no stranger to the defense market. This team of consultants focuses on improving products and operational processes for defense companies through the utilization of Brevard County’s inherent network of military testing labs. These resources, combined with the large presence of defense manufacturers already here,
make Brevard County an attractive alternative to companies scattered across the country.
Lessons of History
It is imperative that products manufactured for our military work properly and do not fail when exposed to the weather and other harsh operational conditions. Our defense capabilities are among the best in the world, but they haven’t always been so. Early in World War II, systems were hurried to the battlefields, such as magnetic torpedoes that rarely worked and vehicles that could not cross rivers. U.S. troops in Korea had guns that jammed and food rations that could not be eaten in freezing weather.
After this series of mishaps, the Department of Defense established standards to qualify future military products. Today we use MIL-STD-810 Department of Defense Test
Method Standard for environmental engineering considerations and laboratory tests for environmental testing. By making use of local testing facilities, six independently
certified labs in total, various methods can be applied to products right here in our own backyard. Large manufacturers such as Harris, DRS and others also use these labs to qualify their products for deployment. CVG Strategy takes on the role of educator and works with companies who provide components and systems to these prime contractors to ensure testing standards are understood and exceeded.
There has never been a more opportune time to continue to build the defense cluster in Brevard County. With the amount of testing we are able to conduct right here in Brevard, companies we encounter are quick to engage in conversation regarding the Space Coast as a top notch business destination. As part of the Economic Development Commission, it is my duty, along with the entire business community, to enhance the organization’s business development efforts by marketing the county’s unique advantages to colleagues and like companies.
I know firsthand the benefits that come from a top-notch business retention program. Several years ago, I relocated to Brevard County to become the CEO of a local manufacturer. We immediately turned to the EDC to lead the way on our efforts to expand. Ultimately, they helped the company find a permanent home in Brevard. Their work allowed us to flourish in a critical time when the war in Iraq peaked. With the rapid expansion and support of the EDC, the company was able to supply crucial materials to our war fighters, resulting in thousands of lives saved.
Brevard County remains an ACTIVE PLAYER in the defense market and boasts one of the LARGEST concentrations of defense manufacturers in the entire state of Florida.
Now I have the opportunity with my own company to pay it forward. The business-friendly environment we have in Brevard County is rare and it is up to us as local business leaders to keep the momentum alive. CVG Strategy invests in the EDC and gives our time to support their efforts to attract and retain new companies because we are here to stay. Every business in Brevard County is a Space Coast Ambassador.