1. Opinion

Editorial: Tech Data climbs to the top

Published Mar. 16, 2018

Tech Data recently seized the throne as Florida's largest company, a result of its steady climb and adaptability in the fast-changing technology industry. The company's growth likewise elevates the Tampa Bay area's importance, both in Florida and around the world.

Founded only 44 years ago in Clearwater, the worldwide technology distributor is also a truly homegrown brand. "I think it's interesting the largest company in Florida and in Tampa Bay is not a cruise line, but a tech company," said CEO Bob Dutkowsky. Interesting, yes. But not entirely surprising considering the range of corporations with a local footprint.

Raymond James Financial, valued at nearly $12 billion, is as closely identified with the region as any brand. Jabil, the contract electronics manufacturer, employs 2,000 people locally and recently announced it will stay in St. Petersburg and expand its headquarters. And that's just Pinellas.

On the other side of the bay, Hillsborough boasts the headquarters of WellCare, Bloomin' Brands and Amalie Oil, to name a few, and global names like JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Johnson & Johnson, USAA and MetLife have office campuses that employ thousands.

There's strength in that diversity, and even more opportunity for the region to assert itself as a business stronghold. And yes, Port Tampa Bay is doing just fine.