Willis Group Holdings, Quikrete® choose Hillsborough County for major expansions

December 18, 2015

Just in time for the holidays, Tampa and Hillsborough County received a gift of nearly 200 new jobs for local families. In addition, we just learned from Governor Rick Scott that the Tampa area leads Florida in new job growth, having added 40,500 new jobs over the year in November. Our unemployment rate also declined by 1.1 percentage points over the year to 4.6 percent last month. The Tampa MSA also led the state in job openings, boasting more than 52,000 advertised jobs in the area, according to the Governor. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Yesterday, Governor Scott, Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, and EDC Chair Colleen Chappell, joined the team from Willis North America Inc., a unit of Willis Group Holdings plc, to announce the selection of Tampa as the site of its new Operational Center of Excellence in North America. Willis is the world’s fourth largest insurer in terms of revenues, has approximately 400 offices in 120 countries, and employs around 18,000 people. The company will invest more than $9 million here and hire at least 157 new high wage positions in a variety of roles including management, licensed insurance, and administration.
Willis joins Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Ashley Furniture Industries on a growing list of multinational companies that have established or announced plans to establish major operations in Tampa and Hillsborough County. This project expands on the brokers’ regional presence and will help the firm meet its goal for delivering outstanding, seamless client service via a robust technology and operational platform.
“We are thrilled to establish Willis’s Operational Center of Excellence in Tampa and work together with the State of Florida to drive business development in the professional services industry. After an extensive search, Tampa was carefully selected to provide geographical diversity for our operations. It’s also home to a large insurance community from which to draw talent,” said Jeff Elliott, Director of Operations, Willis North America. “As global risk advisors, we are committed to helping organizations protect their people, property and business assets. We look forward to building on our world class customer service capabilities through our expansion in Tampa,” he added.
Earlier this month, Quikrete®, the largest manufacturer of concrete and cement mixes in North America, announced plans to build a 40,000-square-foot warehouse and hire up to 35 new employees at its property in Plant City. The Tampa Hillsborough EDC and the City of Plant City assisted QUIKRETE with expedited permitting, water use permitting, and workforce recruiting services through CareerSource Tampa Bay.
“We look forward to better serving our customers in the region and to being a positive presence in the local community with our new facility in Plant City,” said Chad Corley, director of public relations for the concrete and cement manufacturer.
Tampa and Hillsborough County are on a roll as we head into 2016. Among the industries with the largest gain in jobs locally over the year were education and health services with 12,500 new jobs and professional and business services with 8,200 new jobs. The Tampa Bay MSA was first among the state metro areas in job demand in November with 52,171 openings. According to Gov. Scott, our metro area was also first in the state in demand for high-wage, high-skill science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations, with 15,005 openings in November.