Company Expansion Expected to Bring 250 Jobs to Manatee County
A Pennsylvania company is expanding to Manatee County with a second manufacturing facility.
A Pennsylvania company is building a new manufacturing facility in Manatee County and plans to bring 250 jobs to the area over the next five years.
Air Products, based in Allentown, Pa., plans to build a 300,000 square foot liquefied natural gas heat exchanger manufacturing facility on 30 acres at East Port Industrial Park near Port Manatee.The facility is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
The expansion is designed to help the Fortune 300 Company stay ahead of increasing demand for its liquified natural gas technology and equipment. The company, which has a similar facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., will use Port Manatee to ship the large machines worldwide.
The company chose Manatee based on its deep water port, government incentives and regional workforce training providers, said Sharon Hillstrom, president and chief executive officer of the Manatee Economic Development Corp.
“The number of potential LNG projects in the pipeline is at an all-time high due to the strong demand for cleaner fuels in growing economies worldwide," said Jim Solomon, director of LNG at Air Products. " Additionally, several of the projects on the horizon will require the largest heat exchangers we have ever built and the new location does not face the same shipping constraints of our current location.”
The capital investment the company will make in its facility and equipment, combined with the potential for job creation, qualified Air Products for state and county economic development incentives. The state has committed $1.75 million.
Manatee County Government approved up to $680,000 in performance-based incentives. The county also approved a transportation impact fee incentive estimated at $46,876. To qualify for the incentives, the company must create 250 jobs over five years with an annual average wage that is approximately 25 percent higher than the county average.
In addition to the government-funded incentives, Air Products qualified for FPL's new economic development rate, designed to help attract new companies to the state of Florida, as part of the incentive package. The program reduces Air Products' base electric rate for four years and could generate significant savings for the company.
“Air Products investigated potential locations in the East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, looking for the right combination of deep-water port access and workforce availability,” said Sandy McLauchlin, general manager at the company’s Wilkes-Barre facility. "Both local and state government officials have also been very supportive of our efforts in Manatee County. They offered a number of programs to assist Air Products in assessing possible sites and supporting a tight schedule for construction.”
CareerEdge pledged $100,000 for Air Products’ new employees to receive customized training in welding at Manatee Technical Institute. CareerEdge is a private, non-profit, regional workforce funders’ collaborative that works to align training with the needs of employers in selected industries, such as manufacturing.
“This is one of the most substantial job-generating projects the Manatee Board of County Commissioners has considered for economic development incentives,” said Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator. “The scope of investment the company is making in our community, the jobs to be created, the higher wage level and the company’s ongoing need for Port Manatee’s services will make Air Products a valuable addition to our economy.”
With annual sales of approximately $10 billion in fiscal 2011, Air Products has more than 18,000 employees in over 40 countries. The company produces semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, coal gasification, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives.
The new LNG manufacturing facility, which will employ approximately 250 employees in a four year ramp-up period, is to be complete and begin operations in late 2013.