MAPEI Corp. recently announced the expansion of its existing Wildwood, Fla., location with a groundbreaking ceremony for the addition of a new 260,000-sq-ft (24,155-m2) powder production and distribution facility. "The existing facility has proven to be such a tremendous asset as a distribution center that the construction of additional distribution space, along with four powder production lines, will greatly increase our ability to meet our customers' demands," said Luigi Di Geso, president and CEO of MAPEI North America. "Now we will be even better able to bring product and services to our customers in the surrounding states, as well as throughout North America, with the increased powder production."

MAPEI has contracted with Geis Construction for the expansion. "We are thrilled to have been selected for this exciting and challenging project where we are once again able to demonstrate the strength of our team," said Jeffrey Martin, president of Geis Construction. "MAPEI will continue to operate and not be affected by our construction activities as we prepare space inside existing buildings for support areas and add the foundations, utilities and infrastructure to support the 75-foot-tall [22.9-m-tall] powder-line systems."

Not only will the expanded powder line facility increase production, it will also increase MAPEI's need for various roles and positions from the local area. Currently, there are 14 full-time MAPEI employees working at the existing facility. However, "when the expansion is complete and the four powder lines are up and running, we anticipate the need for 160 full-time employees. This is not counting the truck drivers and other staff who also service the facility," Di Geso explained.

"The City of Wildwood is excited to have MAPEI located within its community and is looking forward to their expansion," said Mayor Ed Wolf. "MAPEI will provide valuable employment opportunities to residents in the years to come and provides crucial economic diversity necessary for a healthy local economy."

According to Frank Calascione, director of Economic Development with the Board of Sumter County Commissioners, "MAPEI is an industry-leading multinational company and Sumter County was delighted when they chose Wildwood, FL, for their distribution operation in 2018. As they move forward with their facility expansion and will begin manufacturing locally, we welcome them as another valuable addition to our county's diverse manufacturing community."

Members of the county and city boards joined with MAPEI staff at the groundbreaking event. After remarks by DiGeso, Bradley Arnold (county administrator for Sumter County), Wolf, and Martin, it was time for the ceremonial "turning of the soil." The men were joined by MAPEI's director of Operations, Carlo Mandelli, and MAPEI's corporate Engineer and Maintenance manager, Leonardo Verniani. However, given Geis' aggressive construction schedule, their efforts were indeed ceremonial, as the site has already been cleared for construction.

"This has been a fast-tracked project from the beginning," Di Geso said. "In spite of any challenges from the pandemic, everyone from the design team at C4 Architecture, to the county and the city, to the project team at Geis Construction, to the project team here at MAPEI in Wildwood, everyone has pulled together to meet deadlines and source materials. I am looking forward to the grand opening of this facility later this year."

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