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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jun. 18, 2018 5 months ago

Ormond Beach director of economic development retiring after 15 years

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Joe Mannarino's accomplishments during his time working for city include the ongoing development of Ormond Crossings.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

Joe Mannarino was assigned a hefty task when he first began his job with the city over 15 years ago: develop a master plan for the land that is now known as Ormond Crossings.

As Ormond Beach's director of economic development, he would spend the next decade and a half working to annex the land from the county into the city, rezoning it from residential land to a planned development, gathering permits from local, regional and state agencies and securing tenants for the sprawling 3,000 acre property. Mannarino was recently recognized for his work by the City Commission at its meeting on June 5 and will be retiring later this month. The city has appointed Brian Rademacher from Hollywood, Florida, to fill his position.

Having grown up in a town of about 8,000 people in Massachusetts, Mannarino said he's always gravitated toward small communities, feeling like he could really make an impact there. 

“I kind of always thought, if I can work within the community and try and build an economic base prosperity, that it will grow a very strong community — and that’s a community I want to live in as well," Mannarino said.

“If the seas part and the stars align, I’ll be able to present that to the City Commission on the 26th."

Joe Mannarino, director of economic development on the redevelopment of the Food Lion building

It's why he's focused his career on building Ormond Beach's economic base by bringing and incentivizing companies to bring higher paying jobs to the area. Since the implementation of growth assistance programs, a City Commission-approved incentive program that favors business expansion and recruitment, the city has been able to retain eight businesses, such as Security First Insurance with its new headquarters in Ormond Crossings, and recruit three companies, including Duvasawko. The GAP programs have created 577 new jobs and retained 361 from 2013-2017, according to city data.

“You have to give the Commission a lot of credit because they have had the foresight to see how economic development benefits the community — and not every community is willing to spend the resources on a director or for incentives, but it pays back in many, many ways," Mannarino said.

Mannarino's favorite part about being the director of economic development for the city is the job's diversity. He liked meeting the different people involved in projects, providing economic advise for the city and getting involved in legislative matters when needed. 

One of Mannarino's early achievements was the retention of the Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil plant in North U.S. 1. Over the years, the plant has undergone $30 million-worth of capital equipment and modern manufacturing upgrades, and it continues to expand.

But he hopes he will be able to see his last accomplishment come to fruition. He is working with a grocer to occupy and redevelop the old Food Lion building in the downtown corridor of East Granada Boulevard.

“If the seas part and the stars align, I’ll be able to present that to the City Commission on the 26th," Mannarino said, referring to the City Commission meeting on June 26.

In his role, he didn't get involved with retail development very often. But he's made an exception for the Food Lion building.

Looking ahead, he said the next director will be working to add other uses to the Ormond Crossings business park as soon as infrastructure is completed. Then, the possibility of developing that land on both sides of I-95 will be available.

“That has the greatest economic impact for the city," Mannarino said.

As for him, he'll be sticking around town to watch it happen. He said he'll be around to provide advice, but he will be focusing on spending time with his wife and family, including his 92-year-old mother in Massachusetts. Mannarino also plans to improve his golf game and travel.

“It’s time to move on," Mannarino said.

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