Business Florida 2021 - The Regions
DeSoto • Glades • Hardee • Hendry • Highlands • Okeechobee
Logistics & Transportation
Travel by air is a little easier for goods and people in Hendry County now that both of its airports have undergone upgrades: .
• At LaBelle Municipal Airport, a new $5.6-million, 6,240-sq.-ft. terminal building opened in 2019. The new facility, which features a pilot lounge and conference room, is expected to include a restaurant that will be open to the public.
• At Airglades International Airport in Clewiston, ground was broken in early 2020 for a new $2.1 million, 4,000-sq.-ft. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility, built to handle incoming perishable goods, relieve congestion at Miami International Airport, and expand shipping logistics opportunities with a less expensive option. An estimated 1,000 new jobs are expected at Airglades as a result.
The six counties comprising Florida’s South Central region are spread across 5,020 square miles and there’s no one, centrally located super-highway linking them all to fast food and gasoline. But not to worry, Wawa is coming to town. The Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain has three sites under construction across the region: in Sebring, Lake Placid and Arcadia and a fourth site is rumored to be in the works.
KEY PLAYERS: Walmart Distribution Center, Arcadia; Walpole Feed & Supply, Okeechobee
The Results Companies, a leading provider of customer experience management services — aka, call centers — has expanded its presence in South Central Florida with the opening of its Sebring Contact Center. The firm employs more than 30,000 associates in 38 locations across the U.S., Latin America and the Philippines. Up to 125 new jobs are expected at the new Sebring center.
Companies making everything from sunscreen to fertilizer have found the right sites and a ready workforce in South Central Florida. Among manufacturers with production facilities in the region are:
• PFMan (high precision parts, molds and fittings for many uses and industries), Pacer Marine Engineering (electrical supplies for boat builders) and Florikan (controlled-release fertilizer) in Bowling Green.
• Howard Fertilizer in Lake Placid.
• Stream2Sea (eco-conscious skin care products and hand sanitizers) in Wauchula.
• CitraPack (FruitPearls and other frozen real fruit healthy snacks) and Steel Blue Fabrication (customized measurement and control products, such as propane and natural gas meters and gauges) in Sebring.
• Maxant Aluminum products (buttons and buckles) in Moore Haven.
There’s new activity in this sector too:
• Bautech USA is opening a U.S. facility in two buildings at Okeechobee Airport Industrial Park where it plans to produce up to 800 metric tons of precast concrete construction products per day. The Guatemala-based company plans to hire approximately 20 managers and engineers with the expectation of generating its first precast concrete products by year’s end.
• Construction has begun at the new $240-million Nucor Florida Steel Plant in Frostproof that, when completed by fall 2020, is expected to produce 350,000 tons of rebar from scrap metal each year. Although the plant is located in Polk County, Highland County and Avon Park, in particular, anticipate economic benefits from the new arrival. Work is already underway to extend the city of Avon Park’s water and sewer lines to provide services to Nucor, and a portion of the 235 workers needed to staff the facility may well come from the city of Avon Park’s labor force.
KEY PLAYERS: CitraPack, Sebring; Entegra Roof Tile, Okeechobee; Florikan, Bowling Green; Stream2Sea, Wauchula