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January 5, 2016 10:20 AM, EST
Ohio-Based Integrity Express Logistics Expands in Tampa
Integrity Express Logistics

Ohio-based Integrity Express Logistics has opened a branch office in Tampa, Florida, with 20 employees and plans to hire 50 more in the coming months.

The freight brokerage company, which matches freight with the trucks to haul it joins those firms that have recently relocated or expanded in Hillsborough County, including Amazon, BlueGrace Logistics, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Cody Talbert Distribution and Dart Container.

The company is hiring. Those interested can visit ieljobs.com. Pay starts in the mid-$40,000 range, but Pete Ventura, one of the company’s three owners, said most positions are in sales, so salaries could climb in to the six-figure range within a few years.

Integrity Express Logistics ranks No. 38 on the Transport Topics 2015 top brokerage firms list.

The company, which brokers freight transportation for everything from produce to plastics and timber, received $150,000 in incentives through the state’s Qualified Targeted Industries program, with Hillsborough County paying $30,000 of that and the state kicking in the remainder of the incentives for the 50 jobs. The company has to show proof that it hired positions paying about $49,000 each before it receives the incentives.

The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. worked with Enterprise Florida to finalize the deal. EDC is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City. The partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors works to attract and retain companies and arrange incentives for expansions as well.

Integrity Express Logistics, based in Cincinnati with satellite locations in Georgia and California, has moved into a 5,000-square-foot suite on Eisenhower Boulevard South, northwest of Tampa International Airport. Gov. Rick Scott was in town Jan. 4 to announce the expansion and the additional positions the company plans to hire.

The governor called the jobs announcement another example of how the state is diversifying its workforce and its economy and putting people back to work. “We see success all around our state.”

Air Force veteran James Steger, Ventura and his uncle, Matthew Ventura, own the company and are seeking self-motivated employees. “We didn’t come from anything, not a dollar to our names,” when the business launched in 2007, he said, adding that self-motivation has made the company successful.

Steger told Business World Magazine last year that the company already is doing more than $50 million in sales annually and his goal is to reach $400 million to $500 million in revenue within the next five years.

EDC Chairwoman Colleen Chappell said Integrated Express Logistics is an example of what entrepreneurs can accomplish and that the company will be inspire other local entrepreneurs. “It all started in a basement with an idea. Every entrepreneur in this region can see that focus.”

The family-run company decided to expand in Tampa because of the “sense of warmth” the owners felt here when searching for an expansion spot, Ventura said.

Hillsborough County Commission Vice Chairman Victor Crist, who spoke during the jobs announcement, said a big part of what makes this area so desirable is Port Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport. Hundreds of miles of CSX tracks and 53 million potential customers also make the Tampa region ideal for business expansion and relocation, he said.