Bradenton family has three-generation connection to FPL Manatee Power Plant in Parrish

cnudi@bradenton.comJuly 5, 2014 

MANATEE -- Three generations of the Cobb family will be celebrating 25 years of operating a local business next month.

Glenn Cobb started Performance Technical Services Group Inc. in 1989 after a 33-year career with Florida Power & Light.

Within a year his son, Ron Cobb, moved back to Bradenton from Georgia to work in the family business, and now three grandchildren are helping out at the full service electrical, instrumentation, and controls company in the Whitfield industrial area of Manatee County.

"I thought I had a unique niche with my knowledge of FPL, so I decided I would go after that kind of work," said Glenn Cobb, 81, who started in 1974 as the first manager of FPL Manatee Power Plant in Parrish.

His son and a grandson also have a connection with the Manatee County power facility.

After graduation from high school in Orlando in 1974, Ron Cobb started as a "blueprint runner" for the construction firm building the plant.

And recently, Ryan Cobb, 20, did some work at the Parrish plant for PTS-Group installing cables and wiring for service control panels.

"I had heard the stories from my dad (Ron Cobb) about the plant," he said, "and now I saw from myself where things he talked about were at."

Ryan Cobb and his twin brother, Aaron, are headed to the University of Florida in August, and their older brother, Stuart, 23, will join them in January.

Ryan will major in electrical engineering, and Aaron and Stuart will attend the Rinker School of Building Construction at UF.

Born in Sarasota Hospital in 1933, Glenn Cobb started working at FPL after graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1955.

After a two-year stint of active duty in the Navy from 1955-57 he worked at several FPL plants and sites throughout the state until he was given the Manatee County assignment in 1974.

According to FPL spokesman Bill Orlove, the Manatee Power Plant went into service in 1976 and took three and a half years to build.

"I was there when they started the construction, Glenn Cobb said. "I had to see to all the permitting and staffing."

When the plant finally went online, he said everyone there celebrated, but not for long.

"We had work to do running a power plant," Glenn Cobb said.

He also recruited his wife, Jackie, to help make the move for new out-of-town employees and their families easier.

"I would meet with the wives and let them know where the hospital and doctors were or where they could buy groceries," she said.

The Cobbs have been married 60 years.

PTS Group

They decided to start PTS-Group when, as Jackie Cobb put it, "the Lord spoke to me."

"We're a close family," she said, "and I felt the Lord wanted us to have a family business."

Around the same time, Ron Cobb was living in Georgia and just married his wife, Denise.

The company he was working for asked him to develop plans to modernize their processes, and he felt if they had that confidence in him maybe he should go into business for himself.

"From high school," Ron Cobb said, "I always wanted to be an entrepreneur."

He had worked his way up from a "blueprint runner" to supervisor of the instrumentation craft and eventually into sales with several major companies.

"I worked all over the United States," Ron Cobb said.

Since his father retired from PTS-Group in 1998, Ron Cobb has been running the family company, but he knows his time to retire will come.

"My sons are all going to college," said Ron Cobb, "so that they can take over the company."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service