Ready workforce and a fertile business climate are hallmarks of Tampa Bay’s appeal.
Incentives for Growth
In mid-2007, the Citrus Board of County Commissioners approved an incentives package to attract new or expanding businesses. To be eligible, a new employer in a targeted industry must create at least 25 jobs (existing companies must add at least 12 new jobs) paying 115% of the average county wage. To qualify for ad valorem tax relief for up to 10 years, businesses must spend at least $500,000 on capital improvements.
Logistics the Name of the Game
Wayne Kline serves as SCM Institute Manager
Two Polk County colleges are developing programs in logistics management to train personnel for the rapidly expanding transportation/logistics and warehousing/distribution segment of this area’s growing economy.
Polk Community College’s Corporate College in Winter Haven houses the new Supply Chain Management (SCM) Institute, with courses focusing on logistics, transportation, warehousing, information systems and procurement. Established with input from local industry and headed by certified International Trade Specialist Wayne Kline, the Institute expects to train up to 1,000 employees in its first year of operation. Initially, SCM Institute will be a certificate-granting entity; however, plans call for offering associate of applied sciences (AAS) degrees in supply chain management beginning in fall 2008.
The University of South Florida-Lakeland will offer logistics management courses at its new Polytechnic campus, opening in 2010.
Elsewhere in Polk County
- CSX Transportation Inc.’s plans for a massive “integrated logistics center” in Winter Haven. Nicknamed “the mother of all rail yards” by state officials, the 1,250-acre rail-to-truck distribution center is the core of a $500-million deal between CSX and government to reconfigure freight rail traffic statewide and allow commuter rail in the Orlando area. The first phase — a 319-acre rail-to-truck area for shipping containers — is expected to open in two years; the second phase would include 5 million square feet of industrial, warehouse and office space. The 2,000-employee center could have a 10-year, $10-billion economic impact on the region.
- Also in Winter Haven, a $45-million, 150-square-foot Hanson Pipe Co. plant that will employ 50 people to make concrete pipes using an automated process. Hanson was aided by a $250,000 state “Road Fund” grant.
- A 37,000-square-foot addition to the MonierLifetile plant in Lake Wales, which will mean an investment of $31 million and the creation of 42 new jobs with an average wage of $35,000.