AeroStar was selected to be included on a list from more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to Watch, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

AeroStar’s management team, competitive market position, and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award.

“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL executive director. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets,” he said.

Deidra Toye, AeroStar’s owner and CEO said, “We look forward to continuing to partner with the community and other aviation organizations to train world-class pilots and overcome the existing pilot shortage.”

“This list recognizes second-stage Florida companies with passionate leaders who are making a difference in growing and diversifying our economy,” said Jennifer Barrows, GrowFL chairman of the GrowFL Advisory Board and Business Development executive with WithumSmith+Brown, PC.

Second-stage companies are defined as those with 6 to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. There are many programs and incubators promoting start-up businesses; GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.

From 2015 through 2018, these companies generated $923 million in revenue and added 935 employees, reflecting a 123.9 percent increase in revenue and 131 percent increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 31 percent average annual revenue growth and 32.2 percent average annual growth in employees.

These companies projected continued growth in 2019, with a 34.8 percent revenue increase and 36.8 percent growth in employees compared to 2018. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.38 billion in revenue and added 1,541 employees over the last five years — a 201.9 percent increase in revenue and 216 percent increase in jobs since 2015.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 9th Annual Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on November 14, 2019, at the Hard Rock Live, Universal City Walk in Orlando, Florida.