Economic yearbook 2009
Still seeing strength in manufacturing and life science.
The biggest potential Pasco County economic development project is in the financial services sector. T. Rowe Price is considering relocating from Tampa to Land O’ Lakes. The county and state have already approved incentives. Should a deal come through, the mutual funds company would move 435 workers to a 150,000-sq.-ft. building starting in 2010. The company would add 1,215 jobs and build two additional 150,000-sq.-ft. buildings starting in 2012. “It will show that Pasco is serious about economic development,” says Mary Jane Stanley, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council. While the county’s real estate sector remains stagnant, Stanley says Pasco is using the time to work on a new strategic plan and look at the county’s “processes,” such as zoning, permits and other ways to serve the business sector. She says, “We’re looking at it as an opportunity to retool.”
Business to Watch
» The 26-year-old Independent Savings Plan Co. is taking advantage of the trend toward green living. It offers financing for home improvement products, particularly solar and other environmentally friendly goods. The company’s new 41,400-sq.-ft. headquarters is located in Odessa.
Small precision manufacturing businesses aren’t going to save Hernando County’s economy overnight. But economic development officials hope that available buildings and a workforce trained in part through a proposed engineering and precision-machine career academy at Nature Coast Technical High School will make the area a manufacturing center. Intrepid Machine moved into its new Hernando facility in December, and this spring Chasco Machine and Manufacturing is relocating its aerospace industry parts business from Pasco County to the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park. In all, the county has nine or 10 precision manufacturing businesses that produce parts for aerospace, medical and defense industries, says Mike McHugh, director of the Hernando County Office of Business Development. He adds, “It is an area that we have put as a top priority for the county.” Although most Hernando residential development is stalled, national retailers are starting to open long-planned stores in the area. A Best Buy recently opened in Spring Hill, with Sports Authority next on the list for the retail center. Along the Suncoast Parkway, Target and Kohl’s will open this year.
Business to Watch
» The U.S. headquarters of Germany-based R&M Ship Technologies opened in October at the Airport Industrial Park in Brooksville. R&M makes prefabricated and semi-prefabricated cabins for cruise ships, ferries and other sea vessels. The company employs 12 and is the first international company to expand into Hernando County.
The collapse of the county’s residential real estate industry has left Citrus County with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates, 11.4%. To help diversify the economy, Citrus County Economic Development Council Executive Director Randy Welker is working on developing a business incubator at the planned 64-acre business park at Inverness Airport. The county also is setting up a new transportation planning organization that will give the area more clout in funding its transportation needs, a critical component in attracting business. Says Welker, “When you go through a crisis, people have to change.” One bright spot for the county is Progress Energy’s plan to build another nuclear power plant over the border in Levy County.
Business to Watch
» Ron DeSerranno has built a successful software company, Mobiform Software, in Crystal River even though finding experienced software developers in the area can be difficult. The 12-employee company, launched in Vancouver, Canada, in 2002, specializes in products for .NET software development based on Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation, or WPF. Clients include Fortune 500 companies in manufacturing, power and utilities, automation and other industries.