PANAMA CITY — A wall of glass windows allows for a view of St. Andrew Bay’s blue waters, as sailboats drift by.
The design of iSirona’s new offices was transfigured to create a picturesque view as a way to help inspire and rejuvenate their employees’ creative initiatives, according to chief executive officer David Dyell.
The medical software company, which has expanded into downtown Panama City, was introduced to the community Wednesday by the Bay County Economic Development Alliance (EDA). Dyell took the media and local officials on a tour of the new facility at 430 W. Fifth Street, Suite 800.
The company h
as grown from 33 to 100 employees since January and expects to hire an additional 100 employees over the next three years. Established in 2008, it provides software to health care providers.
“California can keep Silicon Valley,” Dyell told the group. “We’ll take the beaches any day.”
iSirona will share space with Applied Research Associates at the new location. Much of the glass wall to the south overlooks St. Andrew Bay.
Dyell told members of the media the company is supplying software for 140 hospitals in 40 states, which is about 3 percent of the total number of hospitals in the United States.
“We are experiencing tremendous
demand for hospitals waiting to integrate medical devices and their electric health records systems to improve quality of care, patient safety, clinician workflow and efficiency,” Dyell said.
Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki praised the new business when he spoke about the addition of iSirona to the downtown business establishment.
“This is high-tech, it’s clean, it’s on the bay,” Brudnicki said. “There is more to downtown Panama City than a broken-down marina that we are going to renovate.”
iSirona is expected to receive total incentives of $530,000 if the company meets all the criteria. Of the total, $350,000 comes from the state Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund Grant Program. The grant is part of Senate Bill 2156, which allots $10 million per year for three years to help rebuild the Gulf Coast economy.
The Bay County Commission and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Division of Strategic Business Development approved the Qualified Target Tax Refund Application.
Separately, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity approved an $180,000 Qualified Target Industry tax refund over the next six years to encourage the creation of 45 jobs at an average annual wage of $49,155. Those jobs must be created and maintained before funding can be administered to the company, according to EDA officials.
To date, the company already has satisfied its job creation commitment over an eight-month period versus a three-year period, EDA officials noted.
If the company fails to meet all the job requirements, it would be required to pay back grant funding proportional to its job creation/maintenance shortcomings.
“The iSirona project is exactly the kind of job creation initiative contemplated by the Oil Spill Recovery Act,” said state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who authored S.B. 2156.
Neal Wade, executive director of the EDA, said he wants to diversify the county’s economic base.
“We may be able to put a cluster here,” he said.
Wade said aviation and aerospace industry was still the “number one target” for the EDA, but manufacturing and logistics companies are targets for recruitment.
Wade said the company’s decision to stay in Bay County was more than just about business. “It was also a quality-of-life issue,” he said.
Bay County is known as a having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
“We don’t want to ride just one horse,” Wade said. “We want a diverse economy.”
iSirona previously had been in a small office building in Lynn Haven.
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