EDC director: Okaloosa must expand economy beyond military, hospitality

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa County Economic Development Council Executive Director Nathan Sparks says the county seat is "a strong partner” for business development.

Sparks says the city already has what he calls "the four P's of economic development."

People: Sparks praises area school STEM and CHOICE programs for preparing students for technical jobs.

"Those are the types of things that resonate" with businesses seeking to relocate, he says. "Fifteen years ago, it was all about incentives. Now, more and more, it's the people."

Product: Infrastructure, including "shovel-ready" sites, buildings that can support technological businesses and multiple transportation modes are available in Crestview, Sparks says.

"We do have product, and certainly I would like to see us have more product," he says. "You have an opportunity to capitalize on those assets."

Partnerships: Cooperation from business and civic leaders is strong in Crestview.

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