Most of the Bradenton Herald's readers are likely familiar with brands like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Monster Jam and Disney On Ice, but they may not be aware that the entertainment company managing these events calls this region home.
Feld Entertainment, which has managed the circus since the late 1960s, consolidated operations in Palmetto and surrounding areas in 2013, relocating from Washington, D.C. The move has turned out better than we had ever hoped.
With the help of Enterprise Florida, Manatee County, the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, local schools and others, Feld Entertainment has grown locally to more than double its size in three years. The pro-business climate and organizations willing to partner with us has made all the difference in our company's success.
Local colleges, especially the University of South Florida and the Ringling School of Arts and Design, have been invaluable partners. Alongside those graduates who are ready to work with us, we have been able to introduce others to the field who were originally interested in careers in sports. These interactions have helped Feld Entertainment expand our talent pool for hire.
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The company employs a sizable digital media department, and some of that talent comes from these schools. We love that we can easily grow our team of graphic artists and mechanics locally. Our ability to hire locally is a big advantage over our former home.
In relocating our operations to Manatee County, we have grown from 148 people to more than 500 -- exceeding our goals for assistance from the state -- and we expect to add another 100 people over the next year.
With this growth, there has been a lot to be grateful for, including our ability to consolidate all operations under one roof for the first time.
That has led to a positive cultural shift, and we have become more efficient and creative. Your next visit to one of our shows is sure to leave you smiling, oohing, ahhing and happy to be there -- in part because of the team we have been able to build in Florida.
The community has shown great support in having us here, and we are glad to provide jobs in the area. At the beginning, we didn't know what to expect. However, we quickly learned Florida is a friendly state for business, and Manatee County is a great place to live and work.
Kenneth Feld, is the chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment, which is based in Palmetto.