Tampa Bay: High Tech Hotbed
» With the growth of online and mobile banking, ATMs and electronic trading/brokering, technology has become the backbone of the financial services industry, which employs more than 74,000 in the Tampa Bay region. The industry got its start in the Bay area in 1969, when MetLife decided to build an office in Tampa, and has grown to include Raymond James (Florida’s largest home-grown financial services firm, headquartered in St. Petersburg) and operations of powerhouses such as Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, T. Rowe Price, Franklin Templeton Investments and Morgan Stanley. The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC), which opened a Tampa office in 2004, has also been adding to high-tech job growth in the region. The company, which handles the behind-the-scenes processing of trillions of dollars of stock, bond, mutual fund and options trades, currently employs more than 530 and is adding another 255 high-wage jobs by the end of 2015.
Other financial service vendors in the region include Tampa-based Fintech, which provides data and payment solutions for alcohol distributors and retailers; EFX (Electronic Funds Transfer Experts) Financial Services, a Clearwater company that provides electronic payment processing services and technology; and PSCU in St. Petersburg, which provides traditional and online financial services to credit unions.
» With IT services firms like Tribridge and Indelladon, which Tribridge recently acquired, the Tampa Bay metro area has the highest concentration of IT workers in the state — and needs more. A recent survey of Tampa Bay area companies noted more than 3,500 IT job vacancies. The most in-demand workers desired by local companies are developers, Java programmers, mobile application developers and application architects. Another area of opportunity is the region’s small but growing cyber-security industry. In 2011, Sypris Electronics opened a “Cyber Collaboration Center” at its Tampa headquarters to serve as a “training ground” and “test-bed” for the company’s security engineers. Another Tampa-based cyber-security and technology services firm, Cybrix Group, was 55th on Inc. 500’s list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies in 2011. Cybrix CEO Tim Jones says local industry leaders are pushing to establish a cyber-security institute in the region to provide training and serve as a business accelerator for cyber-security firms. “We need more (firms); we can’t handle all the situations that exist. It’s a key area we’d like to see blossom here in Tampa Bay.”
» St. Petersburg-based Plasma-Therm manufactures etching equipment used to make semiconductor chips for cell phones, Wii controllers and other devices. It employs about 125 in the Tampa Bay area.
» Lighting company LumaStream of St. Petersburg, founded in 2009, manufactures low-voltage LED lighting systems. The company recently teamed up with St. Petersburg College to offer hands-on manufacturing training at its new Midtown manufacturing facility and expects to hire up to 1,000 workers over the next five years.
» With 175,000 workers in more than 30 countries, Jabil Circuit is the region’s largest global employer. The St. Petersburg electronics manufacturer employs 1,600 workers locally at several locations scattered around Pinellas County. It is looking at consolidating its operations at a new worldwide headquarters along the western edge of downtown St. Petersburg near Tropicana Field.