Breakfast with a banker leads to IT firm’s corporate relocation
February 8, 2016
A conversation with Brian Lamb, Fifth Third Bank regional president for North Florida, was the initial impetus for a tech company relocation that’s bringing 100 new jobs and a corporate headquarters to Tampa.
Lamb was chairman of the Tampa Bay Partnership about six months ago when he had breakfast with top executives at Cohesion, an IT consulting and staffing firm, and made a sales pitch to move the company from Cincinnati to Tampa, said John Larson, Cohesion’s president for sales and marketing.
Larson and John Owens, Cohesion’s president for finance and operations, were persuaded. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. announced at a press conference in Tampa that the company would move its corporate headquarters here and hire 100 workers. The company is accepting job applications, a press release from the EDC said.
The new jobs pay an average wage of $76,000 a year, according to incentive agreements approved by the Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. The city and county approved a combined 20 percent local match of $120,000 — $60,000 from each entity — with the state providing incentives of $480,000. the incentives will be paid out over six years after the jobs are created.
Cohesion chose Tampa over Ohio, Maryland and Georgia, Scott said during the press conference.
“This is a business friendly community and also a business friendly state,” Larson said, citing “great colleges and universities, a great airport and transportation system, and a very, very good workforce.”
The Tampa EDC has been working to recruit corporate headquarters, which often bring higher paychecks and philanthropic and civic engagement, in addition to jobs.
Cohesion’s new Tampa headquarters are at 511 W. Bay St. The company has about 250 workers in six other offices in the United States, providing services for seven key industries that are a good fit locally, said Colleen Chappell, the current chair of the EDC and president and CEO of ChappellRoberts in Tampa.
“When it comes to recruiting IT consulting and staffing talent, and growing your customers in key segments such as financial services, insurance and health care, there is no better than place than Florida and right here,” she said.
Tampa is the fastest-growing area of the state right now, with 41,000 jobs created in the city and in Hillsborough County in the past 12 months, Scott said.
“I can promise you in the next five years you will not recognize Tampa,” MayorBob Buckhorn said. “It is changing and we’re becoming that city that we had always hoped we would be. It’s because of companies like you and the great employees you hire, you are giving that foundation, that platform, to tell our story to the world.”