The Faces of Economic Development - Mario Cimmino
Apr 13, 2021
The purpose of economic development is personal. Each of us has a slightly different reason to pursue business growth in our rural community.
For the business owner, economic development means more qualified and trained workforce. For the grandparent, it means quality careers for the next generation. For the child, it means more of a tax base to invest into education and amenities. In each of these perspectives, economic development can be summed into one word, opportunity.
For Mario Cimmino, a Hardee County native, the opportunity came with the expansion of Innovar Structures. The company, whose name is spanish for Innovate, modifies shipping containers into luxury homes, schools and apartment complexes. They have transformed the vacant Winn Dixie property into a functioning manufacturing center, a hub of employment opportunities for welders, roofers, plumbers and other construction trade jobs.
Cimmino has earned the General Manager position which comes with stability and a competitive salary. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” Cimmino explains. He has spent his lifetime mastering the craft of construction, owning his own business. Now, managing a growing facility he comfortably delegates tasks, teaches and encourages his staff.
“Having grown up in Hardee County and now being a part of Innovar Structures, I see first hand how much this company brings to our community,” explains Cimmino. “We currently employ 68 people at this facility and are continuing to hire additional employees Not only do we hire talented tradesmen, we allow employees on the job training to become proficient in high demand skills like welding.”
Innovar Structures has a lease agreement with the Hardee County Industrial Development Authority. Their lease can go toward the purchase of the building if they maintain 25 jobs in Hardee County.
“We took a vacant grocery store that sat empty for quite some time,” explains Bill Lambert, Hardee County Economic Development Director and “we’re now leasing this building to a successful company that is hiring twice as many people as we had anticipated. Taking an empty grocery store, bringing in an innovative company, and watching a manufacturing facility come to life; that is economic development!”
Economic development is personal. For Mario Cimmino, economic development in Hardee County meant the opportunity to return home!