EDC Update – August 2019

Highlights for the third quarter include:

  • Supporting the creation of Sun Hydraulics’ new Center of Excellence which includes their Global RAD Labs, Technology Engineering, Systems Engineering, Sales and Administrative functions. It involves approximately 120 staff positions and a $9 million capital investment in their facility.
  • Securing Project Allman with extensive services to finalize incentives and an office location. This digital marketing firm committed to create 50 new tech jobs at average wages of $50,000 or more.
  • Managing a project pipeline currently at 50 projects and includes seven new leads. Four location visits from business attraction prospects occurred during the quarter.
  • Completing marketing missions to Atlanta and New York in collaboration with Enterprise Florida resulted in visits with six site selection consultants and individual meetings with six tech companies (NY), one of which has become an active project.
  • Meeting in person with 18 local business customers to discuss their business growth and potential business assistance needs.
  • Supporting extensively State College of Floridan’s efforts to develop a regional coding academy that will help meet tech and non-tech business needs for programming talent, including facilitating 6 one-on-one visits with local companies.
  • Hosting the new CEO of Enterprise Florida, Jamal Sowell, for a business climate presentation, roundtable with business CEOs, a luncheon with civic and business leaders, and a one-on-one visit with Commissioner and former State Senator Nancy Detert.
  • Initiating the workforce attraction campaign launched on April 1, which has, as of June 30, resulted in over 500,000 impressions, 249,000 views, and 840 click-throughs to the EDC’s website ‘Jobs NOW’ page.
  • Serving 81 projects through the Film Office, with total direct spending estimated at $6.3 million. Five (5) million came from the Siesta Key MTV Series being produced here for the fourth time.
  • Hosting the Film Commission’s 5th Annual Six & A Mix talent and industry development conference which was held on April 24, in partnership with Suncoast Technical College, and which attracted 155 attendees.
  • Completing Film business attraction missions to Los Angeles and Santa Monica, as well as hosting two separate production studios for on-site visits to Sarasota County, and sharing over a dozen project leads with Ringling Soundstage and post-production facility.
  • Hosting our annual Open House and Economic Outlook luncheon with over 430 combined guests to maintain strong engagement with businesses and partners.


Highlights for the second quarter include:

  • $3.6 million Florida Job Growth Fund grant approved and received by State College of Florida for the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, an initiative that will include a downtown Sarasota location for training technology talent.
  • One retention project closed with Ultrafast Systems, a technology company providing specialized spectrometers to university laboratories around the world. The company received permitting/regulatory assistance that enabled them to open the new facilities without business interruption through the SMART program. The company projects creating 10 new jobs in their new facility.
  • Management of a pipeline of relocation and expansion projects totaling 46 projects, with 15 of these presently in an active discussion stage. Work continued on two projects requesting incentives that went before the County Commission and received approvals on April10.
  • Three site selection/business recruitment missions; two outbound missions to Washington DC and Dallas and one inbound mission from Atlanta. In all, the EDC met with 27 site selection consultants and 5 CEOs, with 2 project leads created.
  • The inbound Atlanta mission featured 5 site selection consultants, the EVP of Site Selection Magazine, and two Enterprise Florida representatives. In all, 45 community, political and business leaders participated in hosting our guests and demonstrating Sarasota County’s unique strengths.  The event showcased the Atlanta Braves first spring training game in Sarasota County and the opening of the beautiful new CoolToday Park in North Port.
  • The redesigned EDC website launched on February 19. To date the website has had 2,200 unique visitors, with average time on the website of 2 minutes 44 seconds.  The website features new workforce attraction components, increased and publicly available research capabilities, and a user interface focused on communicating the balance of ideal quality of life and business/professional opportunity.
  • Twenty-five visits were conducted with small, medium and large businesses in the County to thank them for their local presence and assess opportunities for assistance.
  • During the second quarter, video assets were finalized, targeting profiles generated, and distribution channels identified for digital marketing campaigns targeting business and critical workforce talent which began on April 1.
  • The Film Commission assisted 103 projects that spent approximately $1.6 million locally.
  • Approximately 40% of the EDC budget comes from discretionary investment from businesses and other stakeholders, and new investor recruitment materials were developed in the second quarter to continue growing that support.
  • The State legislative session began on March 5 and the EDC advocated for an EDC Board approved agenda of items important to our local business diversification efforts.


Highlights for the first quarter include:

  • Two projects successfully opened in Sarasota County – Defender Screens (Manufacturing) and Triton Advertising (Tech) opened offices and began hiring. These businesses are projected to create 45 jobs.  The EDC assisted them in site selection, business contacts, and with workforce.
  • Continued advocacy and collaboration work on behalf of a State College of Florida Job Growth Fund application that will, among other things, support development of a regional coding academy in Sarasota County to alleviate tech talent shortages and skill gaps.
  • Management of a pipeline of relocation and expansion projects totaling 44 companies, with 16 of these presently in an active discussion stage.
  • Attendance at two site selection consultant events allowing us to promote our assets and opportunities to 32 consultants.
  • Nineteen visits with small, medium and large businesses in the County, to thank them for their local presence and assess opportunities for assistance.
  • EDC Board approval of our 2019 legislative agenda that included collaboration with 15 business, educational, workforce, and other civic organizations.
  • Intense work on the complete redo of the EDC’s website which will launch in the second quarter.
  • Preparations for our first ever workforce attraction campaign which will launch in tandem with the new website.
  • The Film Commission assisted 58 projects that spent approximately $330,000, and notably hosted the world renown Robert McKee “Story” seminar at Ringling College – a multiday event that attracted 70 participants eager to improve their screenwriting techniques.
  • Completion of our annual independent financial audit with no findings.