Space Florida commences search for new CEO and President

by | Apr 14, 2023

  • Space Florida launched its nationwide search for a new President and CEO following a Board of Directors meeting. 
  • The agency stated that it will ideally select a candidate for the dual-role position with extensive experience within the commercial aerospace industry. 
  • Outgoing President and CEO Frank DiBello served in the role since 2009 and was crucial in the growth of the state’s commercial space industry following the end of the Space Shuttle program.
  • The search comes as state lawmakers are attempting to restructure the agency, separating it from Enterprise Florida and revising the makeup of its Board of Supervisors. 

Space Florida, the state’s aerospace development authority, has launched its search for a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) during a special Board of Directors meeting.

The search comes at a time of relative uncertainty for the group, as lawmakers seek to separate it from Enterprise Florida, restructure its board of directors, and solicit input from public and private stakeholders.

A recent legislative proposal by Rep. Tyler Sirois aims to establish a new composition for Space Florida’s Board of Directors that aligns with what he referred to as the “contemporary, commercialized economic landscape” of the aerospace industry.

The Representative stated that the existing board structure, formulated in 2006, was tailored to the requirements of the Space Shuttle program, which ended in 2011, believing that the proposed changes would enable Space Florida to better serve the evolving needs of the modern aerospace sector and foster the development of emerging technologies and commercial space ventures.

The agency has had a $5.9 billion impact on Florida’s economy since 2007, with projections of a $1.1 billion annual economic impact for the current Fiscal Year.

According to Space Florida’s 2022 Annual Operations Report, Space Florida had 85 total projects in development as of July 1, 2022 with an estimated value of $2.4 billion in capital investment and provided $4.3 million in funding for 30 research projects, partnerships, and grants.

“We’re looking for a visionary leader who can build on the strong foundation that Frank DiBello has established at Space Florida,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Florida has a storied history in the aerospace sector, and we believe that the right person can help us build on that legacy and take it to new heights.”

Outgoing President and CEO Frank DiBello announced his retirement in March after leading the organization for 14 years. Under his leadership, Space Florida played a significant role in the growth of the state’s commercial space industry following the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

With DiBello at the helm, Space Florida achieved a wide-ranging series of milestones and accomplishments including the development of Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Spaceport. DiBello was also instrumental in attracting new aerospace companies to Florida, such as Blue Origin and OneWeb, and has supported the growth of existing companies like Boeing and SpaceX.

In Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2023-24 state budget proposal, he recommended the allocation of $18.5 million for Space Florida. The figure includes provisions to provide $6 million for aerospace industry financing, business development and infrastructure, and $1 million to support research and commercialization projects.


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