When Steeda Autosports opened its doors in 2008, they had five employees including a welder, assembler, shipper, salesman, and director of manufacturing. As they celebrate 10 years in Valdosta and Lowndes County, the company has grown to 30 employees with jobs that now include engineering and design, machinist, powder coating, shop technicians, and marketing.
Initially founded in 1988, Dario Orlando, owner and president of Steeda Autosports, chose to apply his extensive background in engineering and racecar development experience to the task of elevating Ford Performance Vehicles to levels of unparalleled performance. With many years of success, Steeda has opened several locations around the country including the Valdosta facility.
The decision to locate in Lowndes County was focused on the company’s goal to compete globally.
“Valdosta and Lowndes County has made it very competitive for manufacturing because the cost of living and working is much more affordable here,” Orlando said. “We have seen a 40 percent growth in manufacturing since being in Valdosta.”
Steeda Autosports engineers and manufactures performance and appearance products for the Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, Ford Fiesta, and Ford Edge.
Each year, more than 3,000 parts are manufactured in Valdosta related to the automotive industry.
The ability to hire a highly-trained workforce in South Georgia is an integral part of Steeda’s success. From welders and machinist to assemblers, Steeda hires dozens of employees from regional technical colleges including Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
“These employees come to us with a good foundation that we are able to tweak to the next level of manufacturing or our specific needs,” Orlando said. “They share the same passion about automotive aftermarket that we do.”