This year's Pasco Economic Development Council's Industry of the Year winners have invested well over $200 million in Pasco County and created more than 130 new jobs.
Two companies earned special recognition for their contributions to the local economy. Medical Center of Trinity, which opened in February, represented a $210 million capital investment and generated 64 new jobs.
Hyundai of New Port Richey, which opened a new 29,000-square-foot facility in January, is the nation's top selling Hyundai dealer. "One of the things we struggled with here was space," CEO Scott Fink said. "We had the capacity to keep about 100 cars on the lot, but we were selling 500 to 600 a month."
Fink said he bought a former Lincoln-Mercury dealer and relocated a certified used-car business there. Since the expansion, the company has added 46 employees and quadrupled its used-car sales. The service and repair business has grown by 70 percent, thanks to the addition of 27 more repair bays.
The winners for manufacturing industry of the year include the county's largest private employer and a business that was a start-up just four years ago.
Pasco Iron & Metal
A huge contract from NASA helped Land O' Lakes-based Pasco Iron & Metal create 21 jobs since it opened in 2008. The metal recycling company may only be a few years old, but owner Matt Goldman's family has been in the scrap business for decades.
He was able to use his connections to win the bid to resell more than 4,000 tons of steel from the dismantled launch tower at the Kennedy Space Center. The project was considered one of the largest metal recovery jobs in Florida history.
"I think the reason we were successful was because we were able to broker a deal to ship the steel directly to the mills to be recycled," Goldman told the Tribune in 2011. "We were able to eliminate the middle-man."
Goldman built on that success in 2012 by investing in excess of $1 million in capitol improvements to the metal yard, including a new warehouse and a rail spur that allows him to ship materials across the world. He also has invested in his employees and built a culture focusing on customer service.
Pall Aeropower Corp.
Located on 57 acres in New Port Richey, Pall Aeropower is a subsidiary of Pall Corporation, an S&P 500 company that was named a "top green company" by Newsweek magazine.
Pall Aeropower manufactures filtration equipment used in military helicopters, such as CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Blackhawks, F-35 Lightning II and V-22 Ospreys, to name a few.
With more than 180,000 square feet of industrial space and 552 employees, Pall is the largest private employer in Pasco County. This year the company invested $5 million for a new prototype lab, additional security and new equipment.
Pall Aeropower is a three-time Industry of the Year award winner in Pasco. The company last took home the award in 2005.
Artix Entertainment, LLC
The 10-year-old gaming company is the winner of this year's technology award. Founder Adam Bohn started Artix Entertainment when he was still a teenager. Artix was an early innovator of web-based role playing games, such as AdventureQuest. Today, the company manages six online games and has more than 150 million users worldwide.
They are in the process of developing a 3-D game and have expanded to 40 employees. In 2011, Artix doubled its office space, moving into the same complex as the Pasco EDC.
They recently added a merchandising division for fan favorites like the "Artix Action figure." They also added a "green-screen" room, which gives them the ability to produce marketing and videos in-house.
Two companies were named outstanding Service Industry of the Year:
R.J. Kielty Plumbing, Heating and Cooling
This family-owned business was founded in 1973 in Hudson and now has locations in Tampa and Orlando. R.J. Kielty has won numerous "Best Of" awards for plumbing, and this year it launched a new HVAC division that created 15 new jobs.
Kielty also started construction on a 2,000-square-foot warehouse expansion and redesigned its website.
Copperstone Executive Suites & Business Center
Established in 2004, Copperstone Executive Suites offers upscale professional office space, private and shared executive suites, conference rooms and a large training room at its Land O' Lakes campus. Copperstone recently completed the final phase of a 3,660 square foot addition to include a new reception and waiting area, a business club, conference room, 17 brand new private offices and day offices, and an additional conference room. Total, Copperstone now has three upscale conference rooms seating 6-12 and a larger event/training room which holds up to 100.