Economic development insights found at northwest Gainesville office space
Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:57 p.m.
The second-floor office space over the Bank of America at 2627 NW 43rd St. provides a case study into economic development in Gainesville with one company leaving, the arrival of one new to Gainesville and one growing into a larger space. The reasons for the coming and going also touch on some of the issues companies face in deciding whether to grow or contract here.
Reserveage Organics, a natural supplement company, moved recently to Boca Raton so its founder and sales team would have access to more direct flights from nearby airports. The company started relocating about a year ago, and the remainder of its 54 employees moved out last week.
As the local office contracted, Corizon Prison Health Management moved into part of Reserveage Organics' space last year. Corizon provides health care services in prisons and decided to open the regional office in Gainesville for its central location from which to serve North Florida prisons.
Now LogistiCare is moving its growing Gainesville office into the building to have more space for its Florida operations and national information technology support operations. The company manages nonemergency medical transportation for state governments and managed care organizations.
Reserveage Organics' founder Naomi Whittel moved to Gainesville in 2005 so her husband could practice law here and decided to stay to form her company because of the opportunity to hire young, bright college graduates.
In a 2012 interview, she said about 85 percent of the company's employees graduated from UF in fields such as communications, advertising, systems analysis and engineering, accounting and law, although the company had to hire from outside Gainesville to find experienced management.
Whittel moved the company to Boca Raton for a couple different reasons, mainly for more convenient air travel, said Irina Lorenzi, the company's chief marketing officer. The company is now within 45 minutes of airports in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Reserveage Organics continues to work with scientists at UF, she said.
Corizon, based in Brentwood, Tenn., provides health care at 530 prisons in 28 states. The company started offering services in state prisons in North and Central Florida last year through a five-year, $1.2 billion contract with the Department of Corrections after the state moved to privatize prison health services.
The local office has 22 employees in administrative positions and operational and clinical leadership, spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern said.
LogistiCare was founded in Gainesville in 1987. The company moved its headquarters to Atlanta, but founder and former CEO John Shermyen kept the IT office here.
"The VC firms usually want the senior management of their companies in a big city," Shermyen told The Sun in a 2002 interview. "A lot of it has to do with the airport. Gainesville is a great place to live, but we're saving a lot of money by flying people into Atlanta."
Now the local IT office is growing to support the growing company, which manages more than 50 million medical transports a year in 40 states, said Chuck DeZearn, senior vice president of operations.
The new office will house about 30 employees, said Paul Thur de Koos of Nalbandian Properties, the property owner.