Economic yearbook 2011
Big Bend - Yearbook
TALLAHASSEE / LEON County
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: High Performance Magnetics — Tom Painter, an engineer with 20 years' experience at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, founded this enterprise in 2008 to provide high-quality superconducting magnet components to the commercial market. Superconductivity is becoming more commercially practical as the technology develops, he notes. The business employs six and could add three to 15 more employees within 18 months. Among his projects: High Performance Magnetics will be providing specialized high-field magnet cables to an international fusion experiment in France. Says Painter: "Fusion is a safe, clean, carbon-free and virtually inexhaustible energy source if it can be made to work cost effectively in an electrical power plant."
EMERGING STAR: Red Hills Surgical Center — The center, scheduled to open last month, will fill a need for strictly outpatient surgical centers and address a shortage of operating rooms overall. It also will be unique, says its president, Dr. Duncan Postma — by providing an observation corridor where high school, nursing and medical students can watch surgical operations through a glass viewing window, aided by close-up cameras showing details.
Dr. Duncan Postma
HEAVY HITTER: Capital Health Plan — Capital Health Plan put Tallahassee in the national spotlight when its Medicare Advantage Plan was ranked best in the country for 2010-11 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The non-profit healthcare provider is also an economic leader, with 430 employees working at two clinical locations and administration offices in Tallahassee. The health plan serves nearly 120,000 members — up 6,000 from last year — in Leon and five other nearby counties. Key to its growth and high rankings, says CEO John Hogan: "Be a well-organized, well-run system of healthcare, focus on what are your overall populations' needs and make sure treatment services are the kind of care folks really want."
Danny Langston [Photo: Flightline Group]
Ron Conry, founder, Danfoss Turbocor — In 2007, Danfoss Turbocor Compressors, a manufactuter of ultra-efficient, high-speed, oil-free compressors for HVAC systems, relocated to Tallahassee. The firm has since grown to employ about 170. Ron Conry, who developed the firm's technology, has now incorporated Verdicorp, currently employing 20 but with prospects for 100 employees within three years. "We generate electricity from heat that would normally be wasted — heat from biomass, solar, engines, a variety of sources," says Conry. "We buy components from Turbocor, assemble in different ways and sell them to another market."
Kim Williams, entrepreneur — (photo below) Kim Williams has a knack for creating jobs — whether as owner, majority shareholder or partner in a half-dozen businesses or as chairman of Leon County/Tallahassee Economic Development Council. Among his enterprises: Marpan Supply, a heritage hardware firm; Marpan Recycling, an innovative spinoff that last year recycled nearly 72 million pounds of material, from concrete to mattresses; and leasing and industrial parks. He employs 90, including 12 added last year. And at the EDC? "We spend a lot of time growing businesses."
Entrepreneur Kim Williams is chairman of Leon's economic development council. [Photo: Marpan Supply]