Mine Defense System Production Facility Opens Near Airport

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ITT Exelis Electronic Systems has called Panama City its home for several years, but they're business relationship with the United States Navy goes by much further.

"We've literally worked for six decades together to keep freedom and the movement and the ability for our team to move around the world at will in a safe waterway," said Rich Sorelle from Exelis.

The company builds and maintains life saving mine defense systems.

"It's deployed in the water. It simulates a ship going over a mine. The mine thinks there's a ship up there and it detonates," said Brian Fish from Exelis.

The company's new facility is located near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.
This new building consolidates about 100 employees, who'd been working in separate buildings, all under one roof.

Exelis officials considered several options, but they say Bay County won them over.

"We really like Bay County and it is very close to our customer. So that was our first option. When the airport opportunity came available we thought that was our best option," said Fish.

That's something Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas is excited about.

"That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to keep people here. The infrastructure of Bay County, I think, is set up to where we have room for many more businesses like this. And I think they're coming," said Thomas.

Exelis' management plans to add more jobs as they continue to add projects all over the globe.

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