Ohio-based IT consulting company relocates to Tampa

February 9, 2016

Jerome R. Stockfisch | Tribune Staff
Praising a “business-friendly state and a business-friendly city,” the co-chief executive of a Cincinnatti, Ohio-based IT staffing and consulting company on Monday announced the relocation of the business to Tampa.
Cohesion, which ranked in the middle of Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 Fastest-Growing Companies in 2012, has acquired office space on West Bay Street and has nine employees. The company has 250 employees in seven locations around the eastern United States.
The company received $480,000 in state incentive benefits and another $120,000 from the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County. It pledged to create 100 new jobs in Tampa over the next several years with an average wage of $76,000 a year.
“What’s exciting today is that Cohesion chose Tampa for the corporate headquarters over cold and high-tax Ohio, cold and high-tax Maryland, and cold and high-tax Georgia,” quipped Gov. Rick Scott, who attended the announcement at the headquarters of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.
John Owens, Cohesion’s president of finance and operations, said negotiations with Tampa and Florida began about six months ago. “We knew pretty early on that there was an alliance, that there was a fit for us in Florida,” he said. “We see this as a great environment for us to continue our mission of navigating change by leveraging technology. It’s such a business-friendly state and business-friendly city, and that made Florida stand out head and shoulders above the rest.”
Cohesion in January announced a merger with CPSI, a leader in IT consulting in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and the Northern Virginia area. The company offers industry-specific IT specialization in seven targeted categories: communication, finance, government, health care, insurance, publishing and retail.
It is privately held, but the 2012 Inc. list put revenue at $16.6 million.
Tampa leads the state in economic development, landing 41,000 jobs in the last 12 months. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said it’s the quality of those jobs that is impressive.
“We were dead set on changing Tampa’s economic DNA to move from a call center economy, a service economy, to a place where our kids would want to stay, and we would be able to attract the best and the brightest from around the globe,” Buckhorn said at Monday’s announcement, addressing Owens and co-chief executive John Larson. “It’s decisions like yours, and your belief in this community — not just what you see now but what you will see down the road — that really tells us it’s working.”
Owens cited a “rich pool of IT consulting talent” in the Tampa Bay area as a key reason for the move. The EDC said Tampa and Hillsborough County are home to more than 20 percent of Florida’s information technology positions, luring such companies as Tribridge, Accusoft, Cognizant and other for relocation or expansion.