ConnectWise, which sells information technology software, support and expertise to other IT companies, plans to invest $1.28 million to add 112 jobs to its Tampa operation by 2016.
That news brought the bipartisan trinity of high-tech job evangelists — Gov. Rick Scott, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Mark Sharpe — out to the company's headquarters Wednesday to celebrate the news with ConnectWise's founding brothers: chief executive officer Arnie Bellini and chief operating officer David Bellini.
"It's always wonderful to be any place where you see a lot of jobs, and today is a great day to announce more jobs," Scott said.
Scott, who is running for re-election this year, spoke in front of more than 100 people and several TV cameras during a news conference Wednesday. Behind him stood dozens of ConnectWise employees in blue company T-shirts.
Public incentives will aid ConnectWise's plans to expand its workforce, which will also require the company to add 10,000 square feet of workspace to its headquarters in the West Shore business district.
Officials said the company will receive up to $560,000 in incentives. That will take the form of $448,000 in tax refunds from the state, plus an incentive package of $112,000 jointly offered by Tampa and Hillsborough County. In all, that's $5,000 per job.
The salaries of the new positions in sales, human resources, accounting, marketing and software engineering will average about $52,000.
The brothers founded ConnectWise in 1982 in Tampa in their parents' spare bedroom. The CEO said his company employs about 600 people, most of them in Tampa, but about 30 work in a Seattle office. ConnectWise bills itself as the world's No. 1 "business management platform" for IT firms and says its software is used by more than 6,000 businesses and 80,000 people.
"Everyone gives Silicon Valley the credit for high-tech jobs," Arnie Bellini said. "We're bringing Silicon Valley here to Florida."
Bellini said he has 50 openings right now. Anyone who wants to apply for a job with the company can check out its hiring website — www.connectwise.com/careers.php — or send an email to [email protected]
Buckhorn congratulated the entrepreneurial brothers, then challenged them to create even more high-tech jobs in his city.
"That's what our future looks like," Buckhorn said. "That's what this governor has been focused on. That is what this commissioner's been focused on. That's what our (Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.) has been focused on and, most importantly, the guys who have skin in the game, who had the guts to go out and start this company in 1982 and are here now to celebrate their success, these two brothers.
"So, boys, a little bit of advice for you: I want more. I want it faster. … Let's get to work. I want to be here for three more announcements."