TAMPA — A Clearwater-based military contractor has big plans for 2017 which include hiring about 800 people worldwide, doubling its annual revenue and moving its headquarters to Tampa's Westshore area.
CWU, Inc. is relocating its 30 Clearwater employees to a $2.5 million office space in the Westshore Technology Center, off of West Laurel Street near Tampa International Airport. The government contractor will add about 20 people to the Tampa office by the end of the year, with hopes to more than double its $32 million revenues from last year.
Company president Chuck Jenkins said that the business was able to thrive in a period of military funding cuts while Barack Obama was president and anticipates that doing even better under the new administration. President Donald Trump has called for a 9 percent boost in military spending.
The company's main revenue stream comes from working with the military to provide fluent translators that can help provide support services in about 50 different languages.
As the company grows, Jenkins said the move allows an easier commute for local veterans he hires from MacDill Air Force Base, plus easier access to the airport. He also commended Hillsborough County's "productive and healthy" business environment.
CWU did not receive public funding or incentives for the move or expansion. said Michelle Bauer, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Economic Development Center.
A retired U.S. Army Special Forces medic and team sergeant, Jenkins, 55, founded the company in Chicago in 2004 and relocated to the Clearwater office in 2008.
CWU has about 400 full-time employees and more than 250 part-time personnel, with offices in Germany, Cuba, New Jersey, Georgia and Maryland. It was listed as a one of the area's fastest-growing private companies by Inc. magazine after its revenues reached $10.2 million in 2012. Since then, the company has grown to $22 million in 2014 and $32 million in 2015 revenue, Jenkins said. An admitted optimist, he said he thinks the company will reach $100 million in revenue this year and balloon to 1,700 employees.
"If you don't set lofty goals and don't create the infrastructure and the environment to be successful, we won't be," he said.
CWU, which stands for Contracting Worldwide Unlimited, is constantly hiring translators. On Monday, the website had job postings for Arabic, Flemish or Kurdish speakers to work with American government forces. In addition to translation services, the company trains government employees on counter-terrorism and security.
Contact Alli Knothe at email@example.com. Follow @KnotheA.