Accel International Holdings Inc., a producer of high-performance conductors, broke ground last month at the Tradition Center for Commerce for its newest manufacturing plant.
At least 125 new jobs will be created by the company's capital investment of $55 million for the 150,000-square-foot building and the manufacturing equipment. Average annual earnings per worker at the plant are estimated to be $47,000 plus benefits, 16% higher than St. Lucie County's average wage.
Originally established in a garage in 2002 and headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut, Accel operates three manufacturing facilities in Indiana and Connecticut. The company produces and distributes high-performance wire and cable products for use in aerospace, medical and telecommunications equipment.
"We are excited to expand our footprint into Florida and tap into the great resources that the city of Port St. Lucie has to offer," Accel's chief financial officer, Tim Cummings, said. "We also look forward to becoming an important part of the community,"
Sean Mitchell, chairman of the St. Lucie County Commission, praised the company's decision to build the plant in Port St. Lucie.
"Accel will be a wonderful asset for our community," he said. "The company's manufacturing jobs are exactly the type of higher-wage jobs we have been wanting for our county's dynamic workforce.
"Accel is also planning on training partnerships with our schools and that is a great opportunity for students throughout our county."
Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin commented on how the groundbreaking is another milestone in the city's economic diversification.
"In addition to higher-wage jobs, investment by companies like Accel make it possible for the city to continue to provide a high level of services and amenities for our residents while also reducing tax rates," she said.
Malcolm Sina, executive chairman of Sina Companies, the project's developer, explained how nice it is to work with city officials.
"We began our relationship with Accel over two years ago by initially searching for an exciting facility to renovate," Sina said. "Not being able to find a viable option, we considered many alternatives within the southeastern U.S. for a ground-up facility and finally chose Port St. Lucie.
"Having developed projects in over 30 states, it has been a real pleasure working with everyone in the city of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, and the state of Florida."
Also attending the groundbreaking was Florida Secretary of Commerce Mark Adler, who was making his first official appearance following his appointment on Dec. 8 to the position of commerce secretary and interim president/CEO of Enterprise Florida.
"This is what we do," Adler said. "It's exactly what we need to be focusing on, in particular a focus on manufacturing.
"Florida is open for business."
The state funded $3 million in 2017 toward the development of the road the facility is located on.
"Our focus on recruiting clean, high-paying manufacturing jobs to St. Lucie County continues to pay off," said Pete Tesch, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. "We are very proud that Port St. Lucie was selected for Accel's expansion over two sites in Connecticut and one in North Carolina."
The EDC is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic vitality in St. Lucie County through the attraction, retention and expansion of businesses in the community. The EDC works in partnership with local governments and the private sector to advance its goals of creating more and better-paying jobs for residents, broadening the tax base and improving St. Lucie County's economic quality of life. Visit www.youredc.com or call 772.336.6250 for more information.
The company's vice president of sales, Kyle Senk, told the approximately 100 attendees at the ceremony that Accel's manufacturing equipment is expected to arrive at the new site in June or July. Senk said the project is the company's largest capital investment to date, and will be its most technologically advanced.