Larry Sassano has served in leadership roles in the economic development field for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Florida’s Great Northwest, a 16 county regional economic development organization. His skills in helping the region become a globally competitive location for business growth has allowed Northwest Florida to diversify its economic base and maintain a low unemployment base. His management style is straight-forward and his ability to build team support through effective communication skills has proven effective throughout his career.
Larry has worked with hundreds of domestic and international firms in helping evaluate business sites and opportunities throughout Florida. He has worked for four Governors, and seven Florida Secretaries of Commerce as the Supervisor of Industry Development, for the State of Florida and has successfully helped locate targeted industries throughout the state.
He has worked as a private consultant assisting entrepreneurs, in the planning and development of their business concept including research, marketing strategies, and completion of written strategic plans. Larry also provided consulting work for several large aviation, aerospace and defense companies, including BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, and DRS, Defense Services. over his 35 year economic development career, he has worked with many of the major OEM’s and their suppliers in the aviation industry, providing them the data they required to make effective decisions regarding their planned expansions.
Larry has conducted numerous presentations at workshops and seminars for large and small businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, information technology, and the aviation industries. He is experienced in working with local, state and federal agencies and has a thorough understanding of business incentives and their application to companies evaluating business sites.
EXPERIENCE WORK HISTORY
* President of Florida’s Great Northwest, a 16 county regional economic development organization that markets and recruits targeted industries to the Northwest Florida region. 2012 to 2015
* President of the EDC of Okaloosa County, Florida, a county best-known for its heavy concentration of defense contractors (300 plus), and home to Eglin Air Force Base, the Air Force’s Largest land base in the World. Worked with many of the aviation contractors from 1997 to 2012. Responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan for business development and economic diversity for Okaloosa County.
* Executive Director for the Bay County Florida EDC, a community also heavy in military/defense contractors and home to Tyndall Air Force Base. Helped locate a 500 person, The Trane Company manufacturing/assembly facility. 1994 to 1997
* Supervisor for the Florida Department of Commerce. Responsible for overseeing the recruitment of targeted industry sectors for the State of Florida. Targeted industries included: Aviation/Aerospace; Information Technology; Life Sciences; Headquarter and Regional Financial Operations; Distribution Centers; Logistics Operations; and Manufacturing. 1981 to 1994.
* Business Consultant with The Emerald Consulting and Management Group, LLC. A locally-based Northwest Florida consulting group experienced in regional planning initiatives, including visioning and strategy consultation. The ECMG also worked with governmental entities including military and defense consulting, community redevelopment, public policy, and broad policies.
* Owned and operated a Mens’ Clothing store in the Tallahassee Mall from 1973 to 1981.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
* Graduate of Ohio University; received Bachelors Degree in Business Administration
* Graduate Degree work at Baldwin Wallace University
* Economic Development Institute (EDI) Graduate, University of Oklahoma
* Attended several workshops and seminars throughout his career.
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES & MEMBERSHIPS
* International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
* Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC)
* Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC)
* Past President of the Northwest Florida Economic Development Coalition
* Past President of the Northwest Florida International Affairs Commission
* Business Council and Board Representative of the following;
* United Way
* Community Development Corporation Board
* Workforce Board Member
* UWF Advisory Council
LEADING INDUSTRIES WORKED WITH OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS
* BAE Systems
* The Boeing Company
* DRS Defense Solutions
* General Dynamics
* Lockheed Martin
* Northrop Grumman
* Crane Aerospace Electronics
* ITT Exelis
* L-3 Crestview Aerospace
* Dassault Aviation
Personal Values: In today’s highly technical world people matter most. People will follow leaders who care about them, especially if they possess character in the form of honesty and integrity.