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Couple want to build factory

(ran PC edition)

The proposed plant along U.S. 41 would build steel truss roof supports and employ up to 20 people. Commissioners will consider a rezoning request next month.

In a change of pace from its status as a place where people would rather live than work, Land O'Lakes is set to land one of its first industrial plants along U.S. Highway 41.

Melissa and Harold Williams, a central Pasco County couple that owns two construction-related companies on U.S. 41, plan to build a factory to manufacture steel truss roof supports.

The plant should open on the west side of U.S. 41, between the Central Pasco Detention Center and Land O'Lakes High School, by the end of the year.

The Williams' work force is expected to grow from about 5 to 20.

"As soon as the truss plant starts production we will need 7 to 9 men in the plant alone," Melissa Williams said.

The Williamses' two companies _ Creative Concepts in Construction and Contracts Consulting and Construction _ are on pace to generate about $2-million in sales this year.

In the past, the couple have bought roof trusses from other firms.

But the couple want to cut out the middleman by designing their own trusses using light-gauge steel from South Africa.

Workers would cut and assemble the steel into trusses, which then require cranes or helicopters to lift them atop stores, schools, hotels and condominiums.

The Williamses do much of their work in south Florida's Broward and Dade counties, where extra-strict hurricane codes demand wind-resistant roofs.

The couple's rezoning application is scheduled to go before the county planning commission and county commissioners in October.

In addition to the factory, the Williamses plan to build a new sales and training center west of U.S. 41.

The Pasco Economic Development Council, the county's business promotions arm, has striven to bring manufacturing jobs to central Pasco, a region strapped with a reputation as a bedroom community.

The truss factory fits the bill.

"Jobs that are now being subcontracted will come to Pasco," said the PEDC's John Walsh, who wrote a letter to the county zoning office in support of the Williamses.

"Who knows where they can grow from there?"

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