April 13, 2024
Central Moloney: Transforming Florida's Northwest
Headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with a facility in Bay County, Central Moloney manufactures and distributes a wide variety of transformers and transformer components.

Business Florida 2024

Central Moloney: Transforming Florida's Northwest

| 1/17/2024

Central Moloney began in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1949, as Larkin Lectro Products Company, makers of welding equipment and electric transformers. A modest business in the beginning, it has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, to include new manufacturing capabilities, additional product lines, even a new name. Today the firm, Central Moloney Inc., CMI for short, is one of the largest transformer manufacturers in the U.S.

The move to Florida began with a call from Florida’s Great Northwest. As the regional economic development organization for the Florida Panhandle, Florida’s Great Northwest promotes economic growth and diversification. So when Chris Hart, Central Moloney president and CEO, received their call about possibly relocating, he was intrigued. “I wasn’t looking to expand at the time,” he recalls, “and I had no intention to open a facility in Florida; however, in the end, that’s exactly what happened.”

In January 2022, CMI made its first commitment to the region by establishing a 140,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Panama City (Bay County) with the expectation of at least 200 jobs. A year-and-a-half later, CMI announced plans to build a second manufacturing facility — this one in Okaloosa County. The cost of constructing and equipping the new advanced manufacturing facility is projected to be $50 million, with expectations of 350 jobs as the company scales up to full production. In total, CMI will have committed $75 million overall.

Why so much interest in one small slice of Florida real estate? Says Hart, “We looked at some other sites and locations, but quite frankly, the opportunities and incentives right here made this a can’t-miss. Northwest Florida is the future for us.”

The transformer industry has a backlog of demand because of aging infrastructure and growth demands. The high customer demand for these products exceeds the production capability of CMI’s current manufacturing footprint as well as that of its competitors.

Tags: Business Florida, Spotlight

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