*by Karen Lustgarten
“The City of Deerfield Beach is in a resurgence” according to October’s State of the City report. It is home to some 388 companies within the Advanced Industries Sector, manufacturing one of them — a robust sector with more than 200 companies here. Meet two of them, very different members of the South Florida Manufacturing Association that located in Deerfield Beach for the same reasons.
Have you heard of auto-injectors? They look like oversized pens that people with chronic illnesses use to self-inject a dose of prescription medicine on a regular basis. For example, the EpiPen is for self-injecting the drug that counters life-threatening allergic reactions. Auto-injectors give patients a safe alternative to injections with a syringe or going to the doctor for regular shots.
Did you know that the largest manufacturer of auto-injectors in the world is a privately-owned company located in Deerfield Beach?
SHL Pharma, a division of the SHL Group, relocated from New Jersey to Deerfield Beach in 2010 with two employees. Today 120 are employed at the sleek Deerfield Beach headquarters on Jim Moran Blvd. and 3,500 more work in Taiwan. Final assembly, labeling and packaging services of the drug-delivery devices are also done here for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Eight of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world are customers of SHL Pharma’s FDA-approved, prescription-based auto-injectors. Some 700,000 devices are manufactured each year just in Deerfield Beach. Here 39 custom-designed auto-injector formats are manufactured for different drugs developed and produced by pharmaceutical companies to control such diseases as multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, acute allergies and others.
“We can barely keep up manufacturing with demand,” said Michael Hudak, director of Human Resources. About 55% of work at the Deerfield Beach headquarters is devoted to manufacturing the 39 auto-injectors on the market and 45% to design and development of 44 new types. “The next gen unit we are designing will be a smart injector,” he said. It will record each injection so the doctor will have an accurate readout.
Why Deerfield Beach? Several reasons: “Our customers from Asia, Europe and across the U.S. love coming here. They love staying at hotels with good accommodations and beach access, a big draw. And they are attracted to the warm weather, especially in winter,” said Hudak. “The city’s location between I-95, the Turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway and Tri-Rail provide transportation advantages for our customers and employees. It’s easy to get to three major airports within an hour’s drive that have many direct oversees flights.”
He also cited the city’s proximity to four universities with mechanical engineering programs. SHL Pharma recruited six engineers from local universities in the past four years. “We see Deerfield as a desirable place for our customers, employees, families and young millennials,” said Hudak.
Thirteen years ago, Craig Tanner was searching for the perfect spot to start a local printing company. Uppermost, he wanted a safe location because his type of business requires opening up early and closing late. Then he rejected the risky warehouse districts. He wanted a pleasant ambience for employees, one with a water view for enjoying lunch breaks. He sought a facility with enough space to grow and add large printing machinery that accommodates wide format posters and banners. He wanted proximity to major transportation hubs — I-95, the Turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway–to be accessible to clients and vendors. Mr. Tanner found that perfect spot on S.W. 30th Ave. in Deerfield Beach.
Since 2005, Print Basics has grown from two employees to 45 and from 1,400 to 15,000 square feet. It is ranked third largest commercial printer in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal. “Unlike most print shops, clients can feel safe walking into the showroom in a beautiful office environment,” said Tanner, while the printing machines hum in the backfilling orders.
When the economy took a dive and his competitors closed and left Deerfield Beach, Tanner rode it out. “If you are honest in business and perform well for your clients, they will stay with you,” he said. Tanner says the company fills about 2,000 print jobs a month, everything from business cards and promotional items to 1500-page books. Among his clients are Whole Foods, Hard Rock Café, Broward Sherriff’s Office and Jet Blue.
Occasionally a call comes in to fill emergency printing needs — 5,000 brochures in less than 24 hours — and it’s done. Or calls following the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School from clients requesting show-of-support banners. Print Basics designed, printed and hung them gratis and donated $20,000 worth of static cling decals that were sold to raise money for the family of Coach Feis, one of the victims.
After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Jet Blue marketing called requesting a quick turnaround of promotional support items: $100,000 worth of T-shirts, bracelets and 50,000 message buttons, an order that normally takes 10 days to fill. They were printed and delivered within 24 hours. “We make the impossible possible when our community and clients are in need,” said Tanner.
In the big picture at the top: Print Basics donated banners
*Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author. www.multi-mediaworks.com