SEBRING - A Florida metal roof manufacturer plans to open a manufacturing plant at the Sebring Regional Airport and provide as many as 50 jobs over a period of time, officials said Tuesday.
Jonathan Sherrill, executive vice president of GulfCoast Supply, headquartered in Horseshoe Beach, about 70 miles from Gainesville, plans to finalize the lease for Building 50 at the airport this week.
"Our goal is to be open and fully functional by the first of 2014," Sherrill said.
GulfCoast plans to hire 15 to 20 employees initially, Sherrill said. He declined to specify a pay range for the jobs, but said the company pays higher than minimum wage.
The company has been planning to expand selling residential metal roofs in south Florida on both coasts and Sebring is a central location to do that, Sherrill said. The roads that connect Sebring with cities further south, and those to the west and the east, such as Tampa and Orlando, are suitable, he said.
Those interested in working for GulfCoast Supply in Sebring can visit the company's website at www.gulfcoastsupply.com and download an application.
Sherrill said the person's attitude is a major part of whether they will get the job.
"We are looking for people with a great attitude, who are willing to work and to whom customer service comes naturally," he said.
Sherrill said the company is appreciative of the assistance he received from the Sebring Airport Authority and the Highlands County Economic Development Commission.
Stephen Weeks, director of the commission, said he and Mike Willingham, executive director of the airport authority, showed the facility to representatives of GulfCoast Supply and "the location seemed to work," he said.
The Economic Development Commission provided GulfCoast with demographic information and maps, and details of possible incentives that included possible tax credits for providing jobs in rural areas, a sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment purchases and possibly assistance in worker training.
Weeks said he hoped to have all the details of that worked out by the end of the week.
Even though the incentive package is incomplete, Sherrill said, the company wanted to move froward.
GulfCoast has been in business since 1995, Sherrill said, adding that manufacturing is done at the Horseshoe Beach headquarters. The company, which does not install roofs, also has sales centers in Alachua and Stuart.
Sherrill said the company has plans to open more sales centers in south Florida.
Although new construction only is slowly recovering, Sherrill said, that "a very large part of our business is the reroofing market."