Central Moloney Incorporated will set up a shop in the Shoal River Ranch Gigasite for manufacturing east of Crestview. The president of the Company, Chris Hart, and One Okaloosa (The economic development corporation of Okaloosa County) president Nathan Sparks announced the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College.
The Shoal River Ranch Gigasite is a large piece of land between Crestview and Mossy Head which the county has worked to prepare for about a decade to bring in hi-tech manufacturing jobs for Okaloosa County residents. This process included running water and sewer out to the site, which had no infrastructure, at the cost of millions – and buying parts of the site.
Central Moloney makes and distributes transformers (those cylindrical power thingies that go on the tops of poles and the big green boxes on the ground). They are based in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and have between 500-1000 employees in several locations around the southeastern United States, including Panama City, Florida.
Initially, the company was to choose between its current site in Panama City and the Shoal River Site. The company decided to go with the Panama City site, which had buildings ready for the company’s needs. “The CEO told us, ‘we are extremely impressed with your community and the site. Don’t be suprised if we call you back very soon with another opportunity.”
Ultimately, Okaloosa County got a call back – and has a pledge from the company to build a $50 Million facility the size of five football fields (302,000 square feet) which will employ 350 people. “This economic development project came about because of vision, perseverance and partnership,” Sparks said.
“We are going to passionate about what we do. We are going to be passionate about what we bring to this community, passionate about what we mean to the communities we serve,” said Central Moloney CEO Chris Hart, “I promise you this much: We are going to bring benefits, we’re gonna bring big payrolls and we going to bring empowered people.”
Three of Okaloosa County’s Commission members, who approved the agreement, were on hand to celebrate the announcement at the College. Mel Ponder, Paul Mixon, and Carolyn Ketchel had front-row seats to the announcement – as did Florida State Representative T. Patt Maney. “We all who have grown up here have heard our whole lifetime that something was coming to the Shoal River Ranch,” said Commissioner Paul Mixon with a wry laugh, “this company has a track record of high wage jobs, a track record of building a product that is needed. It’s a secure industry that we will benefit from every time we turn on a light switch.”
The county and company have struck a deal – the next step will be groundbreaking. No announcement on that – but we’ll let you know when it’ll be when we find out!