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SMR cuts adozenjobs

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Schroeder-Manatee Ranch has reduced its staff by about a dozen people, including Jan Hatfield, the administrator of Lakewood Ranch Digital Village; Ron Masseo, vice president of development; and Lori Joyce, vice president of marketing.

The cuts were in response to the tough national economy and a stagnant housing market.

“We continue to monitor and react to the marketplace,” Leah Blair, spokeswoman for SMR, said when asked about the cuts.

The company did not make a formal announcement of the cuts, and none of those who lost their jobs sought to publicize their change of status.

SMR has a work force of nearly 500 and has opted to make incremental changes, rather than “drastic cuts,” Blair said.

A factor in being able to make gradual changes is that SMR is a diversified company, Blair said. In addition to its developing neighborhoods and business parks, Lakewood Ranch also has significant ranching, agricultural and mining operations.

Reached at her Palmetto home Tuesday, Hatfield was philosophical.

“I’ve been sitting back, relaxing and hugging my grandbabies. I’m not angry, I just have to move on. They didn’t make the decision lightly, and I didn’t take it personally,” Hatfield said.

In the nearly five years with SMR, she developed a reputation as a networker who worked well with local business people and the residents of Lakewood Ranch.

“I think all of us tried to do what we could do. I wanted to do my part. I feel like I left on good terms,” Hatfield said.

She was pondering her options. “I do need to get a job, if someone needs me out there. I’m kind of regrouping a bit. I might take some classes. It’s a new day, “ she said.

Masseo was also trying to regroup, saying the last few days have been tough and that he will need to find a new job to support his family.

He called SMR a “great company,” and said he would not hesitate to return to work there if given the opportunity.

“I left on good terms,” he said.

The Herald was unable to contact Joyce for comment.

As part of its restructuring, SMR announced last week that Miranda Oswald had been hired as vice president of sales and marketing. It was the first time those two functions had been combined in one person at SMR.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.