- May 4, 2012
Here's a sight we never expected to see a year ago: Reinhold Schmieding, the founder of medical manufacturer Arthrex, sitting at the center-front table of the Economic Development Council of Collier County's Excellence in Industry awards ceremony recently.
A year ago, Naples-based Arthrex and the EDC were embroiled in a dispute over the EDC's push to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize The Jackson Laboratory, a Maine-based nonprofit genetic research company that sought to build a branch here. The lab's financial demands were too steep and the benefits too elusive for Collier (and, later, for Sarasota County, too), and it abandoned plans for a Florida expansion.
Now, it seems, that disagreement is ancient history and Arthrex, a hugely successful homegrown manufacturer, has announced plans to build a new facility in eastern Collier County.
Schmieding personally picked up the EDC's innovation award at the luncheon at the Naples Hilton Sept. 15, a day that turned out more than one surprise. Just hours after the awards ceremony — and some speculated in part because of the Jackson Lab controversy — the EDC board announced plans to dissolve the economic development organization.