RIVERVIEW — One of the rising stars of the Tampa Bay employment scene announced Monday that it had tripled an incentivized hiring goal, with BlueGrace Logistics adding 300 staffers a little more than a year after Gov. Rick Scott hailed a target of 100 new hires.
"We're crushing that goal," said Bobby Harris, who founded the transportation logistics company six years ago.
Scott was back at BlueGrace in Riverview for the announcement. "We were here a year and half ago, and they said they were going to add a hundred jobs. They've added 300 jobs, so it's really exciting," the governor said. "You can see there's a lot of talent here. It's a great opportunity for everybody to live their dream."
BlueGrace now has 462 employees and the job explosion is expected to continue. Three months ago, the company received a $255 million investment from New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus, and Harris has predicted the company will have 1,000 employees in Tampa in the next three to five years.
Harris said Monday he is "still very bullish" on the idea of joining a future Strategic Property Partners project in downtown Tampa with the influx of staff. The partnership of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment is planning a $2 billion mixed-use redevelopment of 40 acres surrounding Amalie Arena.
"I spoke with Mr. Vinik on his plans and his vision, and left that meeting much more excited about doing something like that," Harris said. "When they're ready for us, we're ready for them."
Last year, Hillsborough County and the state approved a combined $300,000 in performance-based incentives for the 100-job target. The continued job spurt is not tied to incentives, which required the jobs in accounting, technology and legal services to pay a minimum average wage of about $55,000.
The transportation management company customizes freight shipping for companies. Harris said in August that he expected revenue to jump from the current $200 million to $1 billion by 2020.
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