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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Business News

Global firm boosts its Clearwater HQ

BY JOSH BOATWRIGHT
Tribune staff

Published:

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— In 40 years, Tech Data Corp. has grown from its base in the Tampa Bay area into one of the world’s leading distributors of major technology brands such as Apple, Microsoft and IBM.

A 45,000-square-foot addition to Tech Data’s Pinellas County headquarters means the $26.8 billion company plans to stay here while continuing to serve customers in 100 countries.

“We could have moved our headquarters to somewhere else. A lot of companies do that when the moment in time comes when they outgrow their headquarters, they look around at other places,” CEO Bob Dutkowsky said at a dedication for the new space on Bay Vista Drive on Friday.

“We chose to stay here. We made a conscious decision to double down in Tampa Bay.”

About 1,600 of the company’s 9,000 employees come to work at Tech Data’s home base, located in a shady office park just north of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The new two-story building is connected to the backside of an existing 240,000-square-foot facility that bears the name of founder Edward C. Raymund.

Since 1974, the business has grown from primarily selling mainframe computers to PCs, tablets, servers, software, HDTVs as well as software products.

The company posted net sales of $26.8 billion for the 2014 fiscal year and its first quarter sales this year came in at $6.7 billion, a 9 percent increase from the same quarter last year.

The Fortune 500 company consistently tops the list of the Bay area’s largest public corporations alongside other big names such as Jabil Circuit and Raymond James.

Tech Data’s footprint actually has shrunk at its Clearwater base over the years with the company selling an older office about a quarter-mile from its main headquarters.

The purpose of the recent expansion was to bring local operations under one roof, said Ben Godwin, senior vice president of real estate and corporate services.

“It was much, much smarter for us to go ahead and get rid of that and expand here,” Godwin said.

The new offices will house IT, corporation communications, investor relations, real estate and other departments with two floors with cubicles for hundreds of employees and executive board rooms for video calls with customers and managers in satellite offices.

Company executives gave no specifics about plans to hire more people locally, but Dutkowsky said the new space offers room for growth well into the future.

While Tech Data has a presence in countries around the world spread out over 7 million square feet in office and warehouse space, the Tampa Bay area has proven an ideal place to put down roots, he said.

“If we moved to Silicon Valley or we moved to Austin or we moved to Boston then we would be competing with other companies that look and feel like us,” Dutkowsky said. “Here we’re kind of unique in the ecosystem of Tampa Bay.”

jboatwright@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-1277

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