The Laker/Lutz News is among those honored
More than 600 people gathered at Wesley Chapel’s Saddlebrook Resort at the Pasco Economic Development Council’s 29th annual Banquet and Industry of the Year Awards.
The Sept. 3 event attracted a who’s who in Pasco County, including movers and shakers in government and industry, as well as leaders of community organizations.
Awards were presented to eight companies making their mark in Pasco County, and the winners were:
- The Laker/Lutz News: Service/Distribution, category 1 (1-25 employees)
- Applicant Insight: Service/Distribution, category 2 (26+ employees)
- SAHM Co.: New Business Award
- Big Storm Brewing Co.: Manufacturer of the Year, category 1 (1-25 employees)
- Preferred Materials: Manufacturer of the Year, category 2 (26+ employees)
- Easy Business Software: Technology Award
- Veterans Alternative Therapy: Special Recognition Award
- Florida Hospital Zephyrhills: Special Contribution Award
The companies honored during the banquet were nominated in late spring and then interviewed by members of a Pasco EDC awards committee.
The committee considered a total of 23 nominees. Winners are selected based on exemplary growth in job creation, capital investment, technology, innovation and community service.
The awards committee used a specific grading scale to select the winners.
“It is tremendously gratifying to be recognized by Pasco’s business leaders for our commitment to give readers a top-notch newspaper every week,” said Diane Kortus, publisher of The Laker/Lutz News. “This past year, my team embraced the vision to take our papers to its larger format, and their talent, determination and hard work is reflected in this honor.”
Other finalists this year were: Aviation Instrument Technologies Inc.; Can Can Concealment LLC; Covanta Pasco; Electro Tape Specialties; Fifth Third Bank/New Port Richey Branch; Freedom Scooter & Supply LLC; Habitat for Humanity of East & Central Pasco; Manufacturers Distributor Inc.; Morton Plant North Bay Hospital; Oasis Pregnancy Center; and Retail Process Engineering LLC.
Pasco EDC is a nonprofit organization that promotes economic development in Pasco County.
Besides those receiving Industry of the Year awards, John Hagen, the outgoing CEO and president of Pasco EDC, also was honored for his years of service. He expects to retire within the next few months.
The banquet program also featured an update on Pasco County’s economy from Lex Smith, the outgoing chairman of the Pasco EDC.
Smith noted that the council completed 14 new job creation projects since October 2014.
Those job creators include the attraction of three Fortune 500 companies: Leggett & Platt, Ortho Technologies (which is part of Henry Schein Inc.), and Tru Simulation and Training (part of Textron). Those 14 projects are expected to yield more than 900 jobs and $118 million of investment.