Tampa Bay: Finding a Home
New arrivals and business expansions tap into ready talent pool and right sites.
Arts capital: John Ringling of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame made Sarasota his winter headquarters in 1927. Ringling’s passion for art led to the creation of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and helped cement the city of Sarasota as the “arts capital” of Florida.
Swimmers dive in: U.S. Masters Swimming, the national governing body for adult fitness and wellness through swimming, opened its first-ever national headquarters on Sarasota’s waterfront in July 2009. With nearly 50,000 registered adults as members, the organization had previously existed as a virtual network of staff and volunteers.
Moving in: GPS Industries Inc. in February 2009 chose Sarasota County for its new headquarters. The company, which designs and markets global positioning systems and Wi-Fi networks for golf courses and residential development, will bring as many as 45 additional jobs from its current headquarters in British Columbia.
Expansion planned: Medical Education Technologies Inc., the world’s leading supplier of human patient simulators, has announced plans to construct a 70,000-square-foot-facility east of Interstate 75.
Baseball returns: In July 2009, Sarasota County officials inked a long-term deal to become spring-training home of the Baltimore Orioles. The deal will spark a $31-million renovation of Ed Smith Stadium beginning in 2010.
Leaders in Job Growth
Two counties in Florida’s Tampa Bay region — Pasco and Hernando — were among the top 25 hottest spots in the nation for job growth in rankings released in summer 2009 by CNNMoney.com. With job growth at 55.9% between 2000 and 2008, Pasco was ranked 13th in the nation, while Hernando, with a job growth rate of 51.5%, took the No. 18 spot on the list.
Jeff Roth, founder and owner of Port Richey-based Chasco Machine and Manufacturing, believes businesses have a good future in Hernando County. In June, he moved his operations into a new 24,800-square-foot facility located at the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park. The company, which uses innovative robotic machines to perform around-the-clock production, has 15 employees now, but Roth expects his workforce and his sales to expand in the next several years.
Roth says Hernando County went out of its way to ensure that his move into the new $1.76-million facility was a smooth one, even fast-tracking the inspection process so that production could begin in a timely manner. “The county really stepped up to get us in here,’’ he says.
As a result, Roth is talking to other business owners and encouraging them to move to Hernando County, which is close to the beaches and a straight shot up the Suncoast Parkway from Tampa International Airport.
“Hernando offers great opportunity if you want to move to Florida,” he says. “It’s really a nice industrial area. They have plenty of workers available .... It’s a nice place to be.”