December 19, 2014

Tampa Bay: Finding a Home

New arrivals and business expansions tap into ready talent pool and right sites.

Gary Fineout | 9/24/2009
WellDyneRx
WellDyneRx expanded to Florida’s Tampa Bay region because Lakeland offered a central location, a ready labor pool and proximity to a polytechnic university.
[Photo: Tom Hagerty]

Tampa Bay
Demographics for the Tampa Bay Region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.
Regional Assets

Universities/Colleges
• Clearwater Christian College
• Eckerd College
• Florida College
• Florida Southern College
• Hillsborough Community College
• New College of Florida
• Pasco-Hernando Community College
• Polk State College
• Ringling College of Art and Design
• Saint Leo University
• St. Petersburg College
• Southeastern University
• State College of Florida,
Manatee-Sarasota
• University of South Florida
• University of Tampa
• Warner University
• Webber International University

Airports
• St. Petersburg-Clearwater
International Airport
• Sarasota Bradenton International
Airport
• Tampa International Airport

Seaports
• Port Manatee
• Port of St. Petersburg
• Port of Tampa

Looking to expand its operations to the East Coast, WellDyneRx, a Colorado-based mail-order pharmacy services company, chose Florida, and in February 2009, moved into its newly built 66,000-square-foot facility in Lakeland. With plans to spend up to $20 million on its new Polk County location, WellDyneRx already has 50 employees on site — mostly pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and call center professionals — and could add as many as 650 more who will make an average annual salary of $45,000.

Damien Lamendola, president and CEO of WellDyneRx, says the decision to expand in the Tampa Bay region came down to the three Ps:

Place — Lamendola says the fact that Lakeland is situated between two international airports (Tampa and Orlando) makes it extremely convenient “not only for clients but also for employees.”

People — Before making their final decision, WellDyneRx executives talked to a half-dozen employers in Polk County and came away convinced that the region is rich in skilled workers. “We knew we would have a great pool of people to draw from,’’ Lamendola says.

Polytechnic — A new campus for University of South Florida Polytechnic, the state’s only polytechnic university, is under construction in Lakeland at the intersection of I-4 and Polk Parkway. Since 1988, USFP has occupied a joint-use campus with Polk Community College (now Polk State College). However, with the growth of a high-tech corridor across Florida’s mid-section and the need for skilled workers to fill the jobs available as a result, the decision was made to expand USFP into a full-blown research university. State lawmakers supported that decision in spring 2009 when they set aside $11.4 million for campus construction.

“The fact that USF was in the process of preparing and planning for the polytechnic university will give us more of the highly skilled individuals we need for staffing,” says Lamendola.

Tags: Tampa Bay

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