April 20, 2014

Tampa Bay: Finding a Home

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

Gary Fineout | 9/24/2009

PINELLAS COUNTY

SRI breaks new ground: SRI, the Silicon Valley-based research institute that in 2006 announced its intention to come to Pinellas County in order to be near the University of South Florida’s renowned College of Marine Science, broke ground on its new marine technology R&D facility in St. Petersburg in October 2008. The 37,000-square-foot facility will provide a home for some 100 researchers and staff engaged in cutting-edge R&D in marine science and technology, port security, energy and the environment. While the new building is under construction, SRI St. Petersburg will continue to operate from its temporary location on the USF campus at Bayboro Harbor.

Sue Englander
Sue Englander’s firm was named 2009 U.S. Small Business Subcontractor of the Year.
Opening soon: New business start-up Plasma Therm LLC selected the city of St. Petersburg as its home in 2009. The company, which plans to create 70 jobs in its first year, is a manufacturer of semi-conductor equipment.

Growing in size and staff: NDH Medical Inc., a contract medical device manufacturer and Pinellas County fixture since 1995, has doubled the size of its facility over the past year. Company President Geary Havran says he is expanding in Pinellas County because a “fairly significant medical industry cluster” has developed here and there is an advantage to being close to others in the same business. Plans call for adding up to 12 additional employees in the next two years as part of the expansion. NDH began using its new space in March 2009, but Havran predicts that he will need to consolidate his operations in a stand-alone building within two to three years.

Headquarters relocation: In fall 2008, Biopsy Sciences moved its headquarters from Tucson to Clearwater. The company, which manufactures biomedical devices, qualified for state financial incentives to help offset the costs of its relocation in exchange for creating 200 high-value jobs.

On the fast track: Clearwater-based EEI Manufacturing Services has been named 2009 U.S. Small Business Subcontractor of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The company, which was started in 1993 by Sue Englander, is a contract manufacturer that does circuit board design, circuit card assembly and other services for the federal government and defense contractors. The company has grown from a two-employee firm with $700,000 in gross sales to 26 employees and more than $7 million in revenues since its founding, and in June was awarded nearly $50,000 in additional worker training grants to continue employee training programs.

POLK COUNTY

Upgrades Mean Jobs

» Colorado Boxed Beef Company in Auburndale just invested $9.25 million to facilitate a systems-wide upgrade that will result in the addition of 80 new employees. “There’s a tremendous amount of resources and tremendous amount of talent in central Florida,” says John Rattigan, chief operating officer for Colorado Boxed Beef. “We’re really looking at enhancing growth and improving our training and our skill sets.”

» Coca-Cola has spent $70 million to add new production lines to its plant in Auburndale. Opened in 2003, the Auburndale facility is Coca-Cola’s largest non-carbonated plant.

Centrally located: Polk County benefits from its location between two metropolitan areas, Tampa and Orlando, both of which boast thriving biotech clusters and research universities, not to mention some of Florida’s most famous tourist attractions. The addition of University of South Florida Polytechnic to the educational mix is a further reason more are choosing to grow in this area.

New arrival: GTECH Printing Corp., an arm of one of the world’s largest gaming companies, opened a $43-million instant game ticket printing facility in May 2009. The 100,000-square-foot facility in Lakeland is capable of printing 48,000 tickets a minute and has total production capabilities of 11 billion tickets per year. GTECH hired 221 people to work in the new facility.

Tags: Tampa Bay

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