BROOKSVILLE — Chasco Machine and Manufacturing Inc. will relocate during the coming year to a new 24,800-square-foot facility at the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park, the Hernando Office of Business Development announced Tuesday.
The company, currently in Port Richey, will add 10 employees to its staff of 17 full-time workers when the facility opens in mid 2009. Construction has begun on the building on Spring Hill Drive, west of the National Guard Armory.
"I think it's going to be an opportunity for us to grow our business and hire more people,'' owner Jeff Roth said.
Chasco Machine, in business for nine years, uses state-of-the-art computer numerically controlled machining equipment to produce precision-machined parts, mostly for the aerospace industry. Chasco produces parts used in the production of Boeing 737 commercial aircraft.
It will become the ninth precision-machining business at the Hernando airport.
Roth has developed numerous processes in the precision-machining industry, including software and equipment for a so-called "lights out'' operation, which is the ability to produce parts during a company's off hours.
For example, Roth said that during the recent Thanksgiving weekend, his company produced $47,000 worth of parts with minimal manpower required.
One of many draws for Roth in Hernando County is the chance to be involved with the proposed engineering academy at Nature Coast Technical High School, which will feature a curriculum supporting the computer numerically controlled industry. He has spoken with instructors for the program and visited the school.
Roth said his Pasco quarters are not large enough to accommodate a business that grew to $4-million from $2.7-million in the past fiscal year.
While Pasco's economic development officials tried to keep him, Roth said the deal in Hernando was sweeter.
The Hernando County Commission recently beefed up its incentives to lure businesses, and one of those was an incentive that would pay a targeted industry $3,000 for each job created that pays more than 115 percent of the average county wage.
Another draw was the availability of a building that was under construction by Regent Properties as part of a campus of spec industrial sites on Spring Hill Drive.
"I don't really care to own my own building,'' Roth said.
There were also a variety of other creative incentives, including lower rent in the early years of the lease and a grant from the private development group Hernando Progress Inc. to offset relocation expenses.
Also adding to Hernando's deal was support from the Precision Alliance Group, a Brooksville-based group working to attract precision-machine businesses.
Roth said he is also interested in living in Hernando, as many of his employees already do.
"Pasco is a little upset with me right now,'' he said of his decision to move one county north. "They did all they could, but they just don't have a lot to work with. ...
"It came down to dollars. We're a growing company. Capital is precious to us,'' Roth said.
Hernando officials have been talking to Roth for about two years, trying to arrange the right deal to pull him to the airport, according to Mike McHugh, Hernando's business development director.
"We're excited,'' McHugh said Tuesday. "We know these things take time.''
With each new business that relocates, there is more hope of further momentum and additional business growth.
"We hope this will cause other people in this business to look at us,'' he said.
McHugh said that it was good to see Roth's enthusiasm for the educational program at the high school, as well as his interest in relocating to the community. That speaks well of a company's long-term commitment.
"All those things lead to deep roots,'' McHugh said.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1434.