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Business and Financial Hobart Ground Power to Relocate to Manatee County from Ohio


BRADENTON - GSE Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) that manufactures aircraft ground support equipment and accessories, plans to relocate its Hobart Ground Power business from Troy, Ohio to Palmetto in Manatee County, Florida. The move will result in an additional 42 jobs in 2012 at an expanded facility that Hobart will share with two existing GSE businesses - Trilectron Industries and ITW Military GSE, according to Sharon Hillstrom, president of the Manatee Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).

"Hobart Ground Power is a welcome addition to Florida's business community and represents further growth in the state's aircraft equipment manufacturing," said Gray Swoope, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization.  "GSE Holding's choice of Palmetto for this relocation reflects our state's as well as Manatee County's ability to attract and retain progressive corporations in a very competitive marketplace."

Hobart Ground Power designs and manufactures equipment that delivers power to aircraft on the ground. All of Hobart's functions are moving to the facility in Palmetto, which will be expanded from 83,000 square feet to almost 100,000 square feet, according to Glenn Greco, human resources manager at GSE Holdings Inc. The facility currently houses GSE's Trilectron Industries and ITW Military GSE businesses, which employ approximately 105 in Palmetto. Trilectron specializes in air conditioning systems used to cool commercial aircraft on the ground, while ITW Military GSE provides ground support equipment for military aircraft and Navy ships.

"A number of factors including economic recovery, expansion into new markets and new product development are driving Hobart's growth," Greco said. "As we reviewed our options, co-locating with our other business units in an expanded facility in Palmetto, Florida was the best business decision."

To facilitate Hobart's move and expansion, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners approved $42,000 in performance-based incentives, and the State of Florida committed $168,000. In addition, Manatee County approved transportation impact fee incentives estimated at $3,836, as well as expedited permitting from Manatee County Government to renovate the expanded location at 11001 U.S. 41 N.

"We welcome this expansion of GSE Holdings' operation in Manatee County, which further demonstrates our community's appeal as a manufacturing location for companies from the Midwest and other regions of the United States," said Hillstrom. "We are also thrilled to retain and grow Manatee County's relationship with an industry giant like Illinois Tool Works, the parent company of GSE Holdings." ITW has approximately 49,000 employees in 600 decentralized business units operating in 44 countries.

The MEDC assisted GSE Holdings in applying for state and local incentives, as well as expedited permitting. The MEDC also is working with the company on workforce recruitment and training services. The new positions at Hobart will be in office, professional, engineering and production roles, Greco said. Job postings will be available at www.itw.com.

"The Manatee Board of County Commissioners is focused on helping local businesses grow and helping them to provide high-impact jobs to local residents," said Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator. "Performance-based incentives and expedited permitting, when carefully applied and managed, are essential tools for our community to compete for good jobs." A list of Manatee County's economic development incentives is available at www.mymanatee.org/econ_dev

"The MEDC played a critical role in guiding our company to available training grants, faster permitting, and other incentives available through the state and county," Greco said. "By helping to expedite our move and facility expansion, these agencies cooperating together are also helping us ramp up to hire and train our workforce to support Hobart's growth."


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