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Move result in loss of Connecticut manufacturing jobs

Posted on September 10, 2011

C Products Defense is transitioning jobs, a move that will result in the loss of Connecticut manufacturing jobs.

The company has moved its manufacturing operation and distribution arm from Connecticut to Manatee County where the company plans to add 100 employees in the next five years, according to Sharon Hillstrom, interim
executive director of the Manatee Economic Development Council (EDC).

The move means Florida manufacturing jobs will be added.

C Products Defense (CPD) uses robotic welding units to manufacture ammunition magazines for law enforcement, military and U.S. rifle manufacturers.

The Manatee Board of County Commissioners approved $100,000 in performance-based incentives for CPD. To qualify for the incentives, the company must hire 100 employees over the next five years at an average wage that is 15 percent higher than the county average.

The county’s rapid response permitting program expedited CPD’s move to an existing 19,600-square-foot facility in south Manatee County. CPD’s sister company, LCJ Wholesale (http://www.lcjwholesalestore.com/), also has located in Manatee County and will distribute CPD’s magazines along with other manufacturers’ products.

“The state has proven its commitment to manufacturers moving to Florida, where the advantages for expansion and growth are exceptional. The state and Manatee County understand the importance of manufacturing companies locating in Florida,” said CPD President Larry Panka, Sr.

Two members of the existing management team have relocated from Connecticut, but other positions will be filled locally. CPD will hire 15 employees in Manatee County this year and 35 more in 2012. New jobs will range from assembly to management.

Job candidates may inquire via email to jwalls@suncoastworkforce.org. LCJ Wholesale also will add employees over time, Panka said. Both businesses give hiring preference to military veterans.

The company’s continuing investment in robotic welding units represents “a commitment to quality and our corporate goal to remain the leader in the industry,” said Panka. CPD plans to become ISO certified within the next few months.

“C Products Defense’s precision manufacturing business is a welcome addition to the defense and homeland security industry sector that already thrives in Manatee County,” Hillstrom said. “The company’s growth and commitment to sourcing its production needs within Florida will stimulate opportunities for local suppliers, which should lead to even more job creation.”

The EDC assisted the company in site selection and applying for economic development incentives. The EDC also worked with county government on facility permitting and connected CPD to Suncoast Workforce for employee recruitment and training resources.

“The EDC helped us with employee training, site selection, the many incentive programs, shortening the interview process for new hires, and much more,” Panka said. “The EDC and Suncoast Workforce personnel have made our move here seamless.”

Panka also credited Community Bank & Company for understanding CPD’s business and facilitating financing for the relocation.

“The C Products Defense project demonstrates how performance-based incentives through Manatee County Government can accelerate job creation in our community,” said Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator. A list of Manatee County’s economic development incentives is available at www.mymanatee.org/econ_dev.

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