New partnership helps Brevard companies rev up growth

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

It's busy at Cocoa's Guardian Manufacturing as workers craft their products.

Those products include things like energy-efficient gaseous ozone treatment systems used in water and wastewater treatment techniques. They also work in the space industry to support Atlas and Delta rocket launches. Some of their equipment measures to make sure there are no hazardous leaks during countdowns.

But even with all their expertise, they are open to even more.

"Having that door open for the experts to come in will just allow us to innovate further," said Steve Smith with Guardian Manufacturing.

Smith is talking about the new partnership with NASA and the Space Coast Economic Development Commission. The goal is to bring the space agency's resources to small and medium size manufacturing and technology-based companies in Brevard County.

In short, if they have problems, NASA can lend a hand.

"It could really help a company move past a hurdle that they've got with something. Help them test something that they can apply different processes to it," said Elizabeth Huy with the Space Coast EDC.

The end goal is for these companies to increase their revenue, hire more people and develop new technologies themselves with the guidance. That's something Smith said his growing company is all for.

"Our employment should skyrocket, so having the availability of that expertise only is the icing on the cake," said Smith.

"We get an opportunity to tweak it and make it our own. And really apply it to what our local industry needs," added Huy.

This pilot program is part of a four-year agreement. NASA will have a liaison assigned to the EDC office in Rockledge for the next year.

NASA’s newest partnership could translate into jobs along the Space Coast -- an area still recovering after the shuttle program shutdown.

It's a national pilot program aimed at bringing NASA's agencywide knowledge and problem-solving prowess to local companies -- and with that new, emerging jobs and technologies.