For businesses, public recognition is more than a feel-good moment

By Sharon Hillstrom

Who doesn’t like to be recognized for excellence? Whether in your favorite sport, school work, a hobby or at the office, praise is always appreciated. For a business, however, the value of public recognition can go far beyond a feel-good moment.

For businesses, being recognized for business growth, economic impact, employee relations or charitable works can actually feed into the bottom line with new customers and employee candidates.

That’s why we were very pleased to see the state’s GrowFL program recognize three growing businesses in Manatee County among 50 Florida Companies to Watch. Among the honorees at a ceremony in February will be RND Automation & Engineering, MotorWorks Brewing and Cruise Car Inc. – all located in Manatee County.

Cruise Car Inc. manufactures low-speed vehicles including premium golf carts, passenger shuttles, light-utility vehicles, ambulance and wheelchair vehicles. Well-established as a provider to government agencies, Cruise Car is swiftly moving into private sector sales. The company’s four-acre home is in South Manatee County.

MotorWorks Brewing, a craft brewery near LECOM Park just south of downtown Bradenton, is an entertainment destination and a functioning brewery producing beverages consumed at bars and restaurants in the Manatee-Sarasota region and beyond.

RND Automation & Engineering designs and manufactures custom automation, packaging machinery and robotic material handling equipment. The Great Recession forced RND into a holding pattern, but the company weathered the global manufacturing downturn and continues to gain ground. According to GrowFL, from 2014 to 2018, RND experienced 200 percent job growth and 446 percent growth in revenues.

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC), knows RND very well. We have assisted the company over the years as it has expanded operations, and we continue to stay in touch with RND President and CEO Sean Dotson to assist with making connections, solving workforce issues, and more.

Because RND represents the potential that companies in advanced manufacturing can realize by locating in Manatee County, the EDC showcases the company in our global outreach to bring more such businesses to the community.

In our growing catalog of industry videos, we highlight businesses operating in sectors targeted in our strategic plan. Through the words of executives and employees, these vignettes demonstrate that Manatee County has what it takes to be the business address for the South Tampa Bay Region.

Key business sectors for recruitment include advanced manufacturing, aviation/aerospace/defense, corporate headquarters, infotech, life sciences and sports performance. We focus on those key business sectors because they are growing globally, they tend to provide higher-wage careers, and they already have a presence in Manatee County.

So far, we’ve profiled four of those key business sectors by providing a glimpse into RND Automation & Engineering, SUNZ Insurance, SRQ Bio/Roskamp Institute and Radiant Power Corp. Videos are available for viewing at

According to Dotson, receiving recognition for his company from GrowFL and the EDC is more than an honor.

“We saw greater response to our open positions after GrowFL announced our award,” Dotson said. “We also have had more customers calling to inquire about our capabilities.”

We’ll be showcasing more Manatee County businesses this Friday, November 2, at our Annual Update Luncheon. Join us to celebrate local businesses and the positive impact they have in our community. For details and to register, visit

Sharon Hillstrom is president and chief executive officer of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. ( She may be contacted at or (941) 803-9036.

2019-01-23T17:11:26+00:00October 29th, 2018|News|