Space Florida is deeply saddened to share news of the passing of James “Jim” Kuzma, USN (Retired) a dear friend and respected colleague.

In his role as Senior Vice President and General Manager, he was responsible for handling industry and spaceport development for the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. But more than that, he was a friend, colleague and mentor who poured his heart and selfless style into the Space Florida team and its vision.

Jim was a proud sailor, having served more than 20 years in the United States Navy, finishing his career as the commanding officer of the Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) based in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He also served as a division chief for the U.S. Strategic Command in Washington D.C., and as a deputy director for Submarine Forces in Norfolk, Virginia. Jim’s decorations from his naval service include a Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medals and various unit and service awards. He never talked about them. He didn’t need to.

Jim will be remembered for his leadership and strategic perspectives both in the military and at Space Florida. He never wavered in his commitment to Florida’s ever-changing aerospace industry and Space Florida’s mission, and he always had a Navy yarn or nicknames to give his colleagues a laugh. If you spent any time at all with Jim, you knew his stories from his experiences on or under the high seas and down into the bowels of the Pentagon.

Family was at Jim’s core; he was a devoted husband and father, and absolutely adored his grandchildren. He was also a passionate supporter of United Way and the Navy League and other community causes. His, was truly a life rich in family, friends, and adventure.

Jim’s insights, collaborative style and sense of humor will be deeply missed, though his dedication and commitment to his life’s work will endure.

Space Florida extends its sincerest condolences to the Kuzma family and to our industry for his loss.