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INDICATORS: Organization serves as voice of manufacturing in Sarasota, Manatee

Written by Nate Yoder, SAMA board member and Marketing Director at Mullet’s Aluminum, Sarasota.  Posted in Herald Tribune March 22, 2021.

Founded in 1971, the Sarasota Manatee Area Manufacturer’s Association (more commonly known as “SAMA”), under the leadership of Executive Director Rob Harris, is a member-based organization and recognized as “the voice of manufacturing in Sarasota and Manatee counties”.

The SAMA board of directors is actively engaged with local and state organizations to assist and support manufacturers in our area. We also work with and provide feedback to local government officials and state legislators regarding policies that affect manufacturers and manufacturing.

In addition, SAMA is a leading advocate and supporter of local trade schools such as State College of Florida, Manatee Technical College,  and Suncoast Technical College  where students can learn high-tech skills in robotics, computer programming and more that can help them secure a career in manufacturing. Nationally, manufacturing workers earn $88,406 annually on average, including pay and benefits, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Part of the FloridaMakes network ( – a service designed to strengthen Florida’s high-wage manufacturing sector – SAMA represents the 800-plus manufacturing companies that call Sarasota and Manatee home. Yes, that is correct.

Over 800 manufacturing companies ranging in size from are headquartered here in our area:

  • PGT Innovations ( (NYSE: PGTI) – the industry leader in impact windows and doors;
  • ASO Corporation ( – a worldwide leader in first aid products and the second largest manufacturer of adhesive bandages worldwide;
  • Mullet’s Aluminum Products Inc. ( – the largest manufacturer of architectural aluminum products in the Southeastern U.S.;
  • Tropicana Products, Inc. ( – the leading producer and marketer of branded fruit juices;
  • Niche specialty manufacturers such as Super-Sensitive Musical Strings Company  ( whose acoustical string products are sought after by some of biggest names in the music industry;
  • CAEHealth Care ( whose simulation based solutions include the most realistic patient, surgical and ultrasound simulators in the world;
  • Intertape Polymer Group ( who is recognized leader worldwide in the development, manufacture and sale of a variety of paper and film based pressure-sensitive and water-activated tapes;
  • PPi Technologies Group ( whose wide range of products include a patented, natural mosquito repellent product that biologically changes the mosquitos from a “blood sucker” to a “pollinator.”

Think about that – some of the world’s largest and best manufacturing companies call Sarasota and Manatee counties home.

And, what’s not to like about our area? The weather; our beaches; an abundance of cultural activities and a diversified and skilled workforce are some of the area’s advantages. In addition to living the Florida lifestyle, manufacturing companies also benefit from the incredible support of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation ( team under the leadership of President and CEO Sharon Hillstrom, who successfully recruited AirProducts (, a global leader in the supply of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment with over 19,000 employees worldwide to Manatee.

And, the great work of the Sarasota Economic Development ( team under the leadership of President and CEO Dave Bullock, who created incentive grants to encourage local and out-of-state manufacturers to expand here.

These economic teams represent some of the finest individuals and professionals who are vested in our region with a daily commitment to helping companies relocate from other areas of our country – or providing ongoing support to local companies – here in our slice of paradise.

And, with the Port of Manatee ( under the leadership of Executive Director Carlos Buqueras and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport under the leadership of Fred Piccolo (, SAMA members are well positioned for convenient transportation and exportation of products and goods manufactured in our region.

And, what’s not to like about Florida? The favorable tax benefits of living, owning and operating a business in Florida – and most recently thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis – granting essential manufactures the ability to follow CDC guidelines while making independent, safe, science-based business decisions to remain open and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So why is manufacturing important? Nationally, manufacturers contributed $2.33 trillion to the U.S. economy in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $2.74 is added to the economy, according to the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation)=. That is a staggering contribution to the economy, and over the next decade it is estimated that 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, says Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

When you look at the number of manufacturing companies who are headquartered here in our region – and the diversity of their products along with overall economic contributions – the importance of manufacturing and manufacturers to our region is undisputed.

Our mission at SAMA is to continue as advocates and a voice, for manufacturers and manufacturing in Sarasota and Manatee.  For additional information about SAMA or inquiries about becoming a SAMA member, visit or contact SAMA's Executive Director, Rob Harris.  Email Rob Harris.

Nate Yoder is the Marketing Director at Mullet’s Aluminum and currently serves on several industry and community committees and boards including the Sarasota Manatee Area Manufacturers Association.