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Sending a signal: Aluma's mobile towers and antennas travel the world

Decades ago, an antenna salesman asked Vero Beach-based Aluma Tower, which made towers for ham radio operators and TV antennas, to mount a tower on his van so that he could show customers what the antenna atop it would do for their TV reception. That marked Aluma’s entry into the mobile tower business.

In the ensuing years, Aluma has branched out as its towers have gone up. It makes telescoping towers and support trailers that can be deployed rapidly by the cell phone industry (“cell on wheels”), along with military, emergency management, natural resource companies, scientific researchers, event and entertainment groups and others.

Its products have been put to use in more than 45 countries, including some in the Middle East where the Defense Department wanted armored trailers supporting towers that could be transported on C-130s and erected in less than 15 minutes. Last year, Aluma towers did duty in areas stricken by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The 35-employee company has a foot in all the definitional camps for clean manufacturing. It works with sustainable, recyclable materials — aluminum, stainless steel and steel — runs a clean shop, recycles scraps left after manufacturing, sources a green recycled packaging material and has solar and wind options for meeting the power generation needs of tower buyers.

Aluma President and General Manager Angela Ledford says customers are showing more concern about sustainably designed products, but the industry could do a better job highlighting clean manufacturing’s pluses.

“It’s an important topic,” she says.

Business Briefs

BOCA RATON — American Medical Supplies closed its store and laid off 40.

BOYNTON BEACH — City commissioners decided against making Boynton a “sanctuary city.”

CORAL SPRINGS — Arriva Medical, a sister medical supply company to American Medical, closed its plant and laid off 142.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Insurance tech industry company Patriot National filed for Chapter 11 protection. The state Office of Insurance Regulation also placed Fort Lauderdale-based workers’ comp carrier Guarantee Insurance, which provides coverage in 31 states and is controlled by Patriot majority owner Steve Mariano, in receivership for failing to meet reserve requirements. Authorities will rewrite specs for a three-mile, downtown streetcar line called the Wave after bids to build it came in $74 million to $104 million over estimates. Miami-based Banyan Street Capital spent $81.5 million, or $360 per square foot, to buy the 200 East Broward office building from an affiliate of TA Realty in Boston.

HOLLYWOOD — The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino began a $1.5-billion expansion that will include a guitarshaped hotel tower, a casino nearly doubled in size with 3,267 slot machines, 178 table games such as blackjack and baccarat, more restaurant, retail and poker space and a 7,000-seat concert hall.

MIRAMAR — The American Tennis Association leased a site at Miramar Regional Park from the city to develop a facility that will house its headquarters, a center court seating 3,000, 20 auxiliary courts, a clubhouse, a 125-room hotel and the Black Tennis Hall of Fame. The association is raising funds. Construction isn’t expected for several years.

POMPANO BEACH — Aspire Real Estate Development plans to break ground in March for its condo Arya Oceanside Residences, a 19-unit, seven-story project with prices starting near $650,000. Minnesotabased Supervalu bought retailer owned cooperative Associated Grocers of Florida, a distributor in Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South American and Asia, for $180 million.

PORT ST. LUCIE — PGA Golf Club reopened its famed Ryder Course, completing a $10-million property-wide investment that included modernizing its clubhouse. The city chose Avison Young to market and sell the former headquarters of bioscience research recruit flop VGTI Florida. The 5-year-old, 101,000-sq.- ft. building now is known as the Florida Center for Bio-Sciences.

WEST PALM BEACH— Atlanta-based Cox Media Group put the Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News, known also as “The Shiny Sheet,” and newspapers it owns in other markets up for sale. PEO Oasis Outsourcing acquired Dallas-based Staff One HR. The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, supported by JP Morgan Chase, launched a workforce study analyzing the area labor force.

Players

  • Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale appointed Ronald C. Brandenburg II, formerly CFO at Broward Health Coral Springs, vice president and CFO.
  • Management company Trust Hospitality appointed Kara Lundgren, a member of its operations/ system management task force, general manager of the new, 111-room CIRC Hotel in downtown Hollywood.
  • Hospital company Tenet appointed Tara McCoy, a service line administrator for Tenet’s Florida region, CEO of Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Innovation: Customer and Part-Owner

Real estate investment manager behemoth Blackstone employed a small Broward County company’s software to manage energy consumption and drive efficiency at assets such as Park Avenue Tower in Manhattan and Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles. It liked the results from Entic so much that it invested in the Pembroke Pines company. The software-as-a-service company does real-time analysis of major energy-using systems and water consumption for commercial property owners. The 44-employee company ended 2016 with $2.3 million in revenue.

 

See other stories from Florida Trend's February issue.

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