Seven Florida Manufacturers Recognized with 2017 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

Seven Florida companies received statewide recognition as the 2017 winners of the first Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards. The awards, recognizing high performing manufacturers in six categories, were announced and presented June 2 at the Governor’s Sterling Awards Banquet in Orlando.

The Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes collaborated on these statewide awards. Companies were judged on leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce and operations.

The 2017 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence winners are:

Companies with less than 40 employees:

  • Winner: GloFX, Tallahassee, which manufactures dimensional eyewear, LED, glow products and other flow arts equipment for EDM, festival and rave markets.
  • Runner Up: Shurhold Industries, Palm City, which manufactures premium detailing supplies, brushes, innovative handle system, chemicals and polishers.

Companies up to 100 employees:

  • Winner: EEI Manufacturing Services, Clearwater, which designs and manufactures hardware for military applications.
  • Runner Up: Dyplast Products, LLC, Miami, a manufacturer of insulation products.

Companies up to 200 employees:

  • Winner: Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., Tampa, which makes custom, precision machined components for the aerospace, aircraft and defense industries.
  • Runner Up: Aerospace Technologies Group, Inc., Boca Raton, a manufacturer of aircraft window shade systems, composite components aircraft interior panels, structural and acoustical liner kits and panel upholstery.

Companies with more than 200 employees:

  • Winner: Nautique Boat Company, Orlando, which designs and manufactures competition towboats for the waterski, wakeboard and wakesurf markets.
  • Runner Up: Beaver Street Fisheries, Jacksonville, produces seafood products, meat items, protein combination meals and condiments for retail and food service customers.

National companies with up to 500 employees:

  • Winner: Rayonier Advanced Materials, Fernandina Beach, a global leader in highly purified softwood cellulose specialties products.
  • Runner Up: UTC Aerospace Systems – Engineered Polymer Products, Jacksonville, which designs, manufactures, services and tests composites and urethanes for the defense and aerospace markets.

National companies with more than 500 employees:

  • Winner (TIE): Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc., Jacksonville, which designs and manufactures medical devices to correct vision disorders; and
  • Winner (TIE): Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Ocala, which produces seekers and guidance sections, fire control optical/mechanical pods, power supplies, and electronic ground support equipment for Department of Defense customers.
  • Runner Up: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, St. Augustine, which designs and manufactures high performance wire and cable, fiber optic cable, RF/microwave connectors, avionics trays, racks and integrated system and complex cable assemblies.

The winners were selected from among 28 award finalists; 120 manufacturers were nominated. FloridaMakes will feature the finalists in plant tours, webinars, and events that share best practices to benefit Florida’s manufacturing sector.


Florida Chamber-Backed Manufacturing Bill Passes Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee today for passing a Florida Chamber-backed manufacturing bill by a 6-1 vote.

SB 98, sponsored by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) will ensure a permanent reduction of the state’s Sales Tax on Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment and allow companies to more easily invest in additional equipment.

In 2013, the Florida Chamber, thanks to efforts by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, led the charge with the Manufacturers Association of Florida to help create a program that would reduce the Sales Tax on Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment for three years. But Florida’s manufacturers need a more permanent solution. In order to provide Florida manufacturers with predictability and certainty and help continue growing Florida’s manufacturing industry, the Florida Chamber will continue to support permanently eliminating the Sales Tax on Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment.

Learn More:

Did you know manufacturing contributes more than $40 billion to Florida’s economy? Learn how you can get involved in the Florida Chamber’s efforts by contacting us today at

Shaking the Title as the State’s ‘Best Kept Secret’

By VALERIE GARMAN | The News Herald


MARIANNA — Business leaders from across Northwest Florida gathered in Marianna on Monday to discuss ways to shake the region’s unofficial title as the state’s “best kept secret.”

The need to attract new manufacturing, develop a skilled workforce and better market the area were major themes to come out of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s regional rollout of its statewide Trade and Logistics Study, a strategic transportation plan to grow trade, freight, manufacturing and logistics industries in the state.

Foundation vice president Tony Carvajal presented an overview of the study, noting $20 billion worth of goods transported in and out of Florida each year are not even made in the state.

“If all we want to be is great seaports, airports, if all we want to do is move things on rails and trucks, and all we want to do is be a pass through for the rest of the world … we know how to play that game,” Carvajal said. “If we’re going to grow this state, if we’re going to grow particularly Northwest Florida , this is one of the things we’ve got to focus on.”

The statement was one repeated several times through the half-day event, as several regional transportation and economic development experts took to the stage discuss the day’s themes. Port Panama City Director Wayne Stubbs agreed new manufacturing should be a major focus in the coming years. One of the study’s primary recommendations was to leverage the state’s port investments toward attracting new port-related manufacturers, he said.

“What’s been mentioned is that we need to make more things in Florida , and we’re a believer in that,” Stubbs said. “Supporting the industrial development side of our mission, I think it pays the most bang for its buck.”

At Port Panama City, 2,600 jobs are directly dependent on the port, and another 8,200 are indirectly related. The port’s major manufacturing tenants include Berg Steel Pipe, Oceaneering International and Green Circle Bio Energy.

“I think that’s the future we need to be focused on,” Stubbs said. “A regional port like Panama City is a good testament to that.”

Neal Wade, director of the Bay County Economic Development Alliance, said to compete for manufacturing projects, the area first needs to change its perception as a tourist economy and develop a skilled workforce, something that is becoming increasingly important for companies.

Wade also is part of an effort to lure a major economic development project to a 2,200-acre “mega-site” in Jackson County , with automobile manufacturing poised as the target industry.

However, increased competition with Mexico ’s rapidly growing auto industry has officials instead looking toward original equipment manufacturers, which supply parts to larger automotive companies. Other opportunities could stem from involvement in moving parts between the U.S. and Mexico from Port Panama City.

“I think we’re going to become, in Northwest Florida, the manufacturing center of Florida ,” Wade said.

Ultimately, Carvajal said for every 10 jobs in export-related manufacturing created, 30 more are produced.

“The whole I-10 corridor is a growing part of the trade and logistics story across Florida and across the Southeast; it’s a global game-changer,” he said, calling on the leaders in the room to ensure the region plays a major role in Florida ’s future trade lines. “There’s one phrase I really, really hate about Northwest Florida : ‘it’s the best kept secret.’ If we can get rid of that phrase and never have it spoken in Florida again, I think we’ll make some huge advances.”