Florida, like most of the nation, has experienced a devastating blow to its economy over the past few years. With the housing market implosion and a recession gripping the nation, unemployment and home foreclosure rates have soared. Job prospects have been dismal.
Despite a long recession and record high unemployment, THAT! Company Internet Marketing and Advertising Agency, an information technology start-up in Leesburg, FL, is defying state and national trends by creating, rather than shedding, jobs. For the employees who work there, the company offers security, competitive wages and a fun and unique, yet challenging, work environment.
THAT! Company’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by state and local officials.
On Tuesday August 31, 2010, Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership serving as Florida’s primary organization devoted to statewide economic development, announced that THAT! Company was chosen to receive The Governor’s Business Diversification Award in the major market Entrepreneurship category.
It’s the first Lake County-based company to receive the award. Start-up company’s with less than five years in business and that demonstrate entrepreneurship and creativity are eligible for the Entrepreneurship award. The awards will be presented Sept. 22 during Industry Appreciation Week by Governor Charlie Crist at a luncheon in Tallahassee.
“I want to thank Enterprise Florida and Governor Crist for this award in recognition of the hard work that our employees have put into building this company over the last three years,” said THAT! Company CEO Ken Knorr. “It hasn’t been easy and, without their hard work and dedication, this company wouldn’t be the successful, growing company it is today.”
Knorr was also honored on the local level in April with the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2010 Lake County Community Service Awards.
Out of 85 companies competing for this year’s awards, only Eighteen Florida Companies representing 12 counties received a diversification award. The award goes to companies who demonstrate successful job creation and distinctive community involvement and investment efforts. Many companies who are recognized fall into Florida’s target industries that bring economic diversification and high-wage job growth: aviation/aerospace, cleantech, financial/professional, homeland security/defense, life sciences, manufacturing and information technology.
Although THAT! Company planted its roots during the run-up to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, when it opened its doors in May 2007, the company has managed to grow from five employees in Dec. 2007 to 25 employees in June 2010.
Knorr said the company will continue to grow; however, it’s difficult to project the future growth of the company when there are so many variables involved. Regardless, Knorr is optimistic that it will be positive growth. More than a year ago, Knorr projected in a year that the company would triple in size. Those projections have come true, which prompted Knorr to relocate the company from its small headquarters in Mount Dora to a larger office building in Leesburg.
“If we’re doing this well now during a downturn in the economy,” said Knorr. “How well will we be doing when we see a financial turnaround and businesses start doing better?”
THAT! Company offers global marketing solutions by combining an advertising agency with the world’s leading and number one ranked SEO Company in Google, Yahoo! and Bing; the nation’s leading PPC Management firm; and digital applications and measurable analytics. Buildtelligence Web Solutions, LLC is the parent company of THAT! Company. Since 2007, Buildtelligence has recruited a team of analytical experts from the information technology, advertising and media industries to form THAT! Company. The company’s brands include ThatCompany.com, SEOCompany.com, CalltraxPlus.com and PPCManagement.com.