LARGO — An expansion of Tech Data's main campus last year brought the addition of hundreds of employees.
Since June, the technology distributor has added 270 people to its workforce in departments across the board, including sales, accounting and human resources, said Joe Quaglia, Tech Data's president of the Americas. Many of those employees are working out of the company's 45,000-square-foot campus expansion that was completed in 2014.
"We're excited we're able to maximize that space very, very quickly and put it toward the use of adding jobs and growing the business," Quaglia said.
The expansion came at a time when Tech Data, Pinellas County's largest private employer, was running out of room for day-to-day operations on its main campus. While the company has an international presence, Quaglia said the company wanted to tap into the local workforce and resources, which he sees as a win-win for his company and the Tampa Bay area.
A handful of the new hires came out of a program for college students called Exploratory Lab Boot Camp, a one-week program for college students from the University of Tampa, St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida to take classes and gain experience from technology professionals, Quaglia said. So far, 22 students graduated from the first class in March and 20 from a class in September.
"We want to have the best look at the local talent," Quaglia said.
With the expansion, the company has also tapped into a Largo program that exempts new or expanding businesses from city property taxes in return for new jobs. The agreement, recently approved by commissioners, will exempt the campus expansion from city property taxes for the next 10 years if the company agrees to hire 70 new employees with an average salary of about $53,000 and invest at least $8 million in the new building over the next five years, said Teresa Brydon, economic development manager for the city.
"Having them expand in Largo is a big deal because they could've done it anywhere in the world, but they chose our community," Brydon said.
For the city, it comes out to about $19,000 per year that won't be collected from the company in property taxes.
With the 270 new hires, the company has already met the jobs requirement, bringing the workforce at the Largo campus up to about 2,000 people. Quaglia said the company plans to continue growing, although it is unclear by how much. The company still has room on the campus to build more and with that may come more employees.
The company is also working to invest in the existing workforce. Employees can earn their master's degree in business administration through a partnership with Saint Leo University, and the company has resource groups for women and veterans and is working on a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, Quaglia said.
"Our ability to hire and educate a diverse culture and multi-generational workforce is critical for our success," he said.
Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @kathrynvarn.