PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – The Pasco Economic Development Council (Pasco EDC) hosted its 35th Annual Awards event Thursday at the Pasco Hernando State College Instructional Performing Arts Center (IPAC) with hundreds in attendance.
The evening was presented by AdventHealth, Florida’s Sports Coast, USF Corporate Training & Professional Education, and Greater Tampa Realtors.
“It is always such an honor to recognize the companies who have made such an immense impact on our local economy and in our community. We had 20 finalists, and all were extremely deserving,” said Bill Cronin, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “It was a wonderful celebration, and we congratulate the five businesses who won and of course, a vital leader in our community, Ray Gadd.”
This year’s award finalists included companies that exhibited exemplary growth through job creation, capital investment, technology, innovation, and community service.
The winners were announced with stunning videos created by the evening’s Video Production Sponsor, JL Video.
The Award Winners For 2023 Are:
- Pasco Establishment Award: nfant Labs
In March 2022, nfant Labs expanded their business to Pasco County adding a 2,000 square foot product assembly manufacturing location in Port Richey. nfant Labs is a medical device and digital health company dedicated to improving the standard of care in infant feeding by providing objective, evidence-based feeding products. The product line helps Neonatal Intensive Care Units determine how premature babies are feeding so they can learn to feed on their own and navigate home safer, healthier, and sooner.
- Economic Excellence Award (small category): Florida Avenue Brewing Company
Recently investing $900,000 in new equipment, Florida Avenue Brewing Company increased their brewing capacity from 40,000 to 70,000 thousand kegs, added eight new jobs in manufacturing and sales, including a full-time lab manager now providing them the ability to run full testing on all products as well as help other smaller breweries with troubleshooting issues. The company also increased its footprint by expanding to the Destin area in the Florida panhandle and is looking to expand its presence overseas after participating in Enterprise Florida’s 2022 Trade Mission to Panama.
- Economic Excellence Award (large category): Global Electronic Testing Services (GETS)
Experiencing rapid growth over the last year, GETS invested $1.6 million dollars in the purchase of an 8,600 square foot facility in West Pasco Industrial Park, and over $3 million dollars on new automation equipment, while hiring over 100 new employees. Since 2022 GETS has added over 209 new customers globally, 9 new services bringing the total to 27, and they have increased their Aerospace and Defense market from 10 to 60 percent.In addition to their testing services, GETS has developed an AI Counterfeit Vision System (patent pending) to continue to improve their efficiency and serve more customers at a faster pace.
- SMARTstart Entrepreneur of the Year: Alexis C. Bell and Paul Dunlop, Fraud Doctor
Providing robust anti-fraud solutions, Fraud Doctor works to safeguard businesses from fraud threats, ensuring trust, integrity, and security within the marketplace. Their services are integral to creating a transparent and fair business environment. The FinTech’s founders, Alexis C. Bell and Paul Dunlop, joined SMARTstart in August of 2021 and are based at the SMARTstart at the Grove Entrepreneur Center in Wesley Chapel. Additionally, they actively participate in entrepreneur roundtables as well as classes and workshops. Fraud Doctor launched their new Šóta Signal Analytics product less than two years later at the Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena in early 2023
- Special Recognition: AmSkills
As a vital provider of hands-on training for high-demand trade skills, AmSkills is a non-profit shaping the future of American manufacturing. Their programs are instrumental in bridging the skills gap, ensuring a well-equipped workforce for the industries of tomorrow. In 2022, AmSkills has grown from 5 to 9 employees and has helped launch more than 200 new careers into the local manufacturing industry. They have recently invested $1.3 million in 4.5 acres and $2.2 million in a 13,600 square foot facility in Holiday, and an additional $1.3 million dollars in Advanced Manufacturing Training Equipment for Mechatronics, Robotics, Machining, 3D Printing, Laser and Metal Fabrication.
- Leadership Award: Ray Gadd
Ray Gadd has worked with Pasco County Schools for over 30 years and has served as the Deputy Superintendent of Schools since 2012. He is involved in several education and human service organizations, including serving on the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Pasco Planning Commission, Pasco Pediatric Foundation, and several other local nonprofit organizations. Ray worked to help pass the first Penny for Pasco referendum in 2004 which benefits schools, economic development, infrastructure, and more. Some of his recent successes he was heavily involved in include Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, Angeline Academy of Innovation, and Starkey Ranch K8.
The event concluded with a dessert and networking hour following the award celebration giving guests the opportunity to connect and further develop business connections with almost 400 local professionals and leaders in attendance.
We can’t do this without your help; visit our GiveSendGo page and donate any dollar amount; every penny helps