By Erika Webb
DeBary will soon welcome its largest privately owned company and the city has laid out a $38,000 welcome mat.
Council members voted unanimously Aug. 7 to approve a Job Growth Incentive Agreement with DBK Inc., which will relocate its corporate office from Deltona to DeBary this weekend.
DBK Inc., a full-service construction company specializing in commercial, multi-family and residential properties, also has offices in North Carolina and South Florida.
Its new 14,000-square-foot operations headquarters at 398 Shell Road will result in the relocation of up to 46 exist- ing positions and add up to 17 new positions once the relocation is complete, according to the city.
The Job Growth Incentive Program was enacted by an ordinance that provides for incentives to entice and assist companies with relocating to DeBary.
DBK's chief marketing and business development manager, Kenny Bonnett, said the company's service divisions include plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical, fire and home security, drywall and painting.
"One call does it all," Mr. Bonnett said. "Let's say you have a house and suddenly you have a flood. There's elec- trical damage. You've got to call a plumber an electrician, a drywall guy and a painter, or just call DBK and we'll get four guys out there."
According to the agenda item issued by DeBary City Manager Dan Parrott, DBK, Inc. will relocate 26 hourly tech- nicians at $15 per hour average; six hourly administrative positions at $13 per hour average and 14 managers at $45,000 per year average.
Once relocated to the new facility, DBK will add up to 17 employees in the following positions: a chief financial officer, a staff accountant , a warehouse and shipping manager, two forklift operators, eight hourly technicians and four hourly administrative positions.
The city incentive offer of $38,400 includes $400 for each position DBK relocates to the city and $1,000 for each new position.
"We've been doing most of our work out of the area, in Miami," Mr. Bonnett said. "We want to come back home and service our own backyard: DeBary, Deltona, Orange City, DeLand, Lake Helen and Enterprise."
Mr. Bonnett's family moved to Deltona from Trinidad and Tobago in 1977. He attended St. Peter Catholic School in Deland, Deltona Lakes Middle School and said he was the first student to complete all four years at Deltona High School after it was built in 1988.
Upon graduating from college, he taught at Heritage Middle School as well as Deltona and Pine Ridge high schools. Sports marketing, social studies, American government, economics, sociology and world history were among the subjects he taught before his "love for marketing" drew him from the classroom to DBK.
He said the company's owner Damen Kruid, also a native Central Floridian, is fun to work for. DBK participates in community events like soccer club functions and the chili cook-off in Enterprise. Bert the inflatable superhero always is on hand to delight children.
"The kids love him," Mr. Bonnett said. "Imagine big inflatable Bert and the four and five year olds trying to score a goal on him."
DBK was conceived while Mr. Kruid worked for ADT.
"He was such a good worker that the owner of Ale House wanted him to do his house," Mr. Bonnett said. "Damen asked the owner, 'What if I started my own company and did fire security for Ale House?'"
The owner took him up on it and DBK serves every Ale House in the U.S., Mr. Bonnett said.
Over time the company grew to provide numerous services to multi-family complexes and management compa- nies throughout the Southeast.
In Volusia, Mr. Bonnett said its main focus would be on residential services with speedy quotes and service right away for electrical, heating and air conditioning, drywall and renovation.
"It's about how to continually serve the community with these needs; we are going to own this market," he said.
"Our philosophy is: We don't want to be the Walmart of the world," Mr. Bonnett explained. "We want to be more like Target -- not the cheapest, but offering mid-range pricing for quality and reliability. That's the kind of cus- tomer we're looking for. When you go cheap, customers are here today and gone tomorrow."
If customers like DBK the first time, they'll return for more services, he added. DBK is equally devoted to its employees. "In most cases we provide a company truck and a gas card. We provide uniforms and we have health insurance ... we help pay for that," Mr. Bonnett said. "The owner wants to provide a better living environment for our employees. He wants me to have a better life. He wants all technicians to have a better life."
He said the mission statement, developed by Mr. Kruid, sums it up: Grow DBK to one of the largest contracting and service companies in the southeastern U.S.; build a company where team members are proud to work, happy and can achieve financial stability for themselves and family.
Councilman Nick Koval made the motion to approve.
"This is a good indication of our economic growth development in this community," Councilman Koval said.