Most people would agree and acknowledge the main product we export from the Tampa Bay area is tourism. However, the unspecified, frequently anonymous industrial and manufacturing businesses in our area exports a wide variety of products throughout the state, country and the world. I attended a business gathering last evening and met an engineer and his significant other. When he introduced himself, he did not reveal where he worked. Instead, merely that he was an engineer with a company in Brandon. He thought no one would know his employer. My ears perked up, as I have probably talked or visited nearly every manufacturing/engineering firm in Brandon in the course of my industrial brokerage career. Once the company was made public, I acknowledged that I knew of the company, Chromalloy, and that they had signed a significant lease near Apollo Beach, adjacent to some property I am developing. This new facility is going to be used to manufacture airplane parts for Siemens, a German company, with a large footprint in the state of Florida. This is a joint venture for the two firms.
I met Dr. Wade Bader of Kinetic Research, Inc. about 4 years ago. He knew that he would need a new facility in 2016 to coincide with receiving federal approval for his products. His company builds carbon fiber prosthetics and orthotics, mostly for legs. A visit to his previous location was like a walk through a horror movie: there were shelves and shelves of plaster cast limbs everywhere! The company existed in very tight quarters. A favorite aspect of my work is changing the work environment for the people and the process of manufacturing for the better. For KRI, it was a solid game changer. They acquired a 33,000 SF facility north of Tampa Airport, redeveloped the building and are now producing more devices than ever. KRI is a perfect example of our exporting strength right here in Tampa Bay. KRI sells products internationally. Here is a link to their website if you’re interested in learning more.
Two years ago, I received an email through my website from the general manager at Nelsen Corporation requesting brokerage services. According to their website, Nelsen is one of the world’s leading OEM’s and distributor of water treatment components, drinking water products and well water systems. They are headquartered in Ohio, and have a facility in Arizona, as well as Tampa. Smart, to be located in two of the most water-challenged states! Nelsen needed to expand to meet the growing demand for their products, which include water quality treatment systems for hospitals, dialysis centers and stand- alone operating centers. Their systems are also popular in manufacturing environments and also beverage-making facilities. With our nascent beer brewing industry coming to the fore, Nelsen products are in demand there as well. I had one of the most fun property tours with the ownership group as we sampled many beers afterward, starting down the street at Coppertail, minutes from their new location on Adamo Drive. Nelsen serves the entire state and most of the southeast from this facility.
The last company I want to mention is Semilab SDI. I met this company over 20 years ago and helped them expand, contract and relocate during that time frame. This company was initially located at the USF Research Corporate Park. According to their website, Semilab offers a full family of scale-able, flexible solutions to help semiconductor and solar researchers and manufacturers characterize materials to reduce costs and increase yields. In their Tampa facility they assemble, test and ship their customized tools around the US. Each facility includes a clean-room, where the critical testing of their tool is carried out. Semilab is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary, with facilities in Denmark, Germany, Massachusetts and Florida.
This articulation of unsung companies in our market is far from complete. You get the gist of my thinking, that there are many companies doing great work here and more coming to our area every day.