AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - H2OH Sports is expanding it's operation by 30 jobs.
The company manufactures 50 different boats. The head of the company says Sumter County provides a lot of materials for the boats.
While it's no longer boat cruising weather here in the states, he says overseas, his boats are in demand right now.
"Every night when I go home, Australia is waking up and I"ve got dealers ringing me and emailing me straight away because they're coming into their season. They're wanting boats, they've got sales sold. And it's really warming up," said Tim Catanese.
The Americus-Sumter Economic Authority provided this release-
Sumter County business and civic leaders joined members of the Americus Sumter Payroll Development Authority, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and H2O Sports Manufacturing today to announce the creation of 30 new jobs for the community. H2O will begin hiring over the next month, and continuing to grow as the market expands.
Mr. Chuck Baker of the US and Mr. Tim Catanese of Australia are partners in H2O, bringing their expertise and backgrounds in business management and boat manufacturing together.
Tim Catanese has worked in the boating industry for many years, particularly with Stejcraft boat designs. Celebrating 42 years, Stejcraft began with Tim's father and continues to be a strong line of boats in Australia. H2O will assemble a manufacturing team at the facility in the Ted Baldwin Business and Technology Park, producing initially a boat a day, and then shipping the boats through the Savannah port to the Australian market. There are many advantages to manufacturing in GA and the US, particularly the business friendly climate in Georgia with tax credit opportunities, and the different seasons of production for the Australian market.
According to Paul Hall, Chairman of the Payroll Development Authority, "the future of H2O is bright for the company and bright for Sumter County. The community extends our welcome to H2O, and looks forward to continuing our partnership as it grows, employing our citizens. Additionally, the ability to export the Stejcraft line is a positive in the trade balance with the US and other countries."
Barbara Grogan, Executive Director of the PDA, introduced other attendees who represent the network of support and resources for business and industry in Sumter County. Per Grogan, "This is your network too, the Chamber of Commerce, the PDA, South Georgia Technical College, the City of Americus and Sumter County Board of Commissioners, GA Departments of Economic Development, Community Affairs and Labor, are all ready and willing to assist as H2O evolves, expanding your boat into other markets internationally. "
According to Baker and Catanese, they visited the community multiple times, had an opportunity to meet with leadership, members of the workforce, and always felt a welcoming presence in the community. "The efficiency, professionalism, and patience exhibited by the community as the project developed is what made the venture successful."
According to Catanese as he elaborated on experiences in the industry, "Stejcraft boats are one of the top Australian fiberglass models. The skilled workforce available in the community provides an opportunity to manufacture the boats at a rate that is much more competitive than the Australian market."
Initially, H2O will build one to two boats per day, with exports beginning in November. Along with Stejcraft, H2O will begin producing a skiff line, focusing on the opposite seasons of marketing and production for the Australian market, and providing a stable business environment.