Florida Tech Partners with Sister City in Brazil; Delegates Exchange Visits to Build Relationships

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Delegates from Melbourne’s sister city of Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil visited the Space Coast Oct. 30 through Nov. 3. The visit followed a trip that Florida Institute of Technology organized last summer to promote business, create new relationships and explore future partnerships between the cities of Sao Jose dos Campos, SP, Brazil and Melbourne. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has extensive operations in both cities.

While visiting the Space Coast for four days, the Brazilian delegation toured a City of Melbourne Water Treatment Facility before paying a visit to the Florida Tech campus where they received a warm welcome from university President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese. While on campus the delegation toured The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, meeting with Mike Kelly, executive director, and Colleen Middlebrooks, director of community relations. The delegation also enjoyed VIP tours of Embraer and the Kennedy Space Center before wrapping up their visit attending the Melbourne Air and Space Show with local community leaders and Embraer executives.

For the trip last summer, John Thomas, Florida Tech assistant vice president for economic development and community affairs, represented the university on the nine-member delegation that included local business and civic leaders from the City of Melbourne and Brevard County. The delegation’s four-day visit to the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, included the formalization of a “sister city” agreement that was ratified by Melbourne in November 2012.

“We are interested in building awareness among our aviation and aerospace communities of the special relationship and opportunities between our two cities while promoting business development, education and cultural exchange,” said Thomas, who also serves as a member of the Melbourne City Council.

In March the Florida Tech Research Park, a partnership of the university and Melbourne International Airport, welcomed new tenant Archo Solutions Engineering USA. Archo Solutions’ Brazilian home is also based in Sao Jose dos Campos. The company played an integral role in helping bring the two cities together.

“Florida Tech complements the City of Melbourne’s focus on economic development. We are committed to helping companies explore with our university possible areas of cooperation whether it be research, specialized training, or evaluating their possible expansion to the Space Coast of Florida and the Florida Tech Research Park. We are here to help make the process as seamless and as simple as possible,” Thomas said.

While in Sao Jose dos Campos, the delegation toured local industries including Embraer as well as the Parque Tecnológico, Sao Jose dos Campos’ own research park.


Partnership—(left to right) David Balloff, Vice President for External Relations with Embraer North America; Rob Salonen, Director of Business Development for the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast; Bryan Lilley, Chairman of the Board for the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation; Dennis Meehan, Vice President for Meehan’s Office Products; Carlinhos Almeida, Mayor of Sao Jose dos Campos; Kathy Meehan, Mayor of the City of Melbourne; Itamar Coppio, Vice Mayor of Sao Jose dos Campos; Andy Anderson, Chairman for the Brevard County Board of Commissioners; Jack Ryals, Chairman for the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce; John Thomas, Assistant Vice President for Economic Development and Community Affairs-FIT/Council Member-City of Melbourne; Sebastiao Cavalli, Secretary of Economic Development for the City of Sao Jose dos Campos; and Lawrence Lyman, Vice President for Tactical Electronics.

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