Manufacturing in the medical industry alone created $71.5 million in goods out of Tampa Bay
While Miami is considered to be Florida’s trade hub, Tampa is quickly becoming a major manufacturing hub in the state. The Tampa Bay area is home to manufacturers in the food processing, packaging equipment, security and defense products and product design and transportation industries.
Manufacturing in the medical industry alone created $71.5 million in goods out of Tampa Bay, thanks to business that came in from three medical device trade shows in 2016 and 2017: Hospitalar 2016, Medica 2016, and Arab Health 2017.
One medical device company that’s found success in the Tampa area is Infinium Medical, which manufactures and distributes patient and medical monitors, surgical tables and anesthesia delivery systems for high acuity hospitals and sub-acute care areas. This homegrown Tampa Bay company was founded in 2001 to provide high quality but affordable U.S. manufactured medical products, given international demand. Currently, 75-80 percent of Infinium Medical’s sales are exported. “Today we have a presence in 86 countries,” said Oz Ozkaya, Infinium’s president.
“We talk to other manufacturing companies constantly on where the industry is going and what they’re doing,” Ozkaya said. He considers the area to be “almost like a tiny Silicon Valley for medical manufacturing.”
Trade shows have been a huge part of expanding Infinium Medical’s business, and Ozkaya credits his company’s Florida residency to getting better access to customers.
At the trade shows Infinium attends, Florida has one of the largest and most impressive pavilions, and has historically hosted the largest exhibit of any U.S. state. That sort of presence draws customers to companies like Infinium. “That’s helped us grow,” said Ozkaya. His company attends the Medica trade show, the largest medical device show in the world, in Dusseldorf, Germany, each year, Arab Health in Dubai and FIME in Miami. “The Florida pavilion in these trade shows is one of the best,” he said. While other states also have pavilions, they are not as large as Florida’s, he said. “Visibility is important at the trade show. It makes companies like us stand out,” he said. About 45 Florida companies attended Medica out of 500 U.S. companies, with Florida representing almost 10 percent of all U.S. companies.
In addition, Infinium staff has traveled with other Florida businesses on trade missions, meeting key individuals in government. Ozkaya said he would not have had access to some of these opportunities otherwise, and they’ve paid off with major business growth and sales.
Tampa Bay is a great area for manufacturing companies to do business. The manufacturing community is friendly, supportive and helpful to one another. “We talk to other manufacturing companies constantly on where the industry is going and what they’re doing,” Ozkaya said. He considers the area to be “almost like a tiny Silicon Valley for medical manufacturing.”
The Florida infrastructure is helpful to manufacturers as well. “The tax structure is the most favorable in the country,” Ozkaya said. From an investment perspective, Ozkaya finds it valuable that there is no sales tax for manufacturing equipment.
Tampa’s location has been key to Infinium’s growth, as manufacturers with export business need to ship their product. Port Tampa Bay is vital for Infinium’s ocean freight while the company can also receive or ship ocean freight from Miami. In addition, the Tampa International Airport has direct flights to Europe and elsewhere. The interstate highway system out of Miami easily connects to the Tampa Bay area.
With several large area universities, including University of South Florida and University of Tampa, plus technical schools and other manufacturing companies, “We have a high-quality employee base,” said Ozkaya. Medical device manufacturing requires a highly-skilled labor force. “We can fill positions locally. We don’t have to relocate employees,” he said. “That’s a big help to us and any other company considering moving to the area.” While companies don’t experience a high employee turnover rate, there is a large employee pool available.
Of course, one draw for residents is Florida itself. “The quality of life is very balanced,” he said. “We have sunshine the majority of the year and beautiful beaches. It all adds up.”