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SARASOTA, FL-Edwards Systems Technology has broken ground on a $15 million, 110,000-sf lab and training facility at the 5,500-acre Lakewood Ranch mixed-use development here.

The Cheshire, CT-based manufacturer of fire alarm and security systems plans to occupy the building in November 2004. About 170 employees will comprise the initial staff at the EST Institute, the project’s formal name.

“This new building will help us reach our potential as the world leader in our industry,” says EST president Jay Twombly. He credits local officials for the company’s regional success to date. “The Sarasota and Bradenton area has done much to help us attract the high-caliber people that are responsible for our growth as a company,” he adds.

EST has manufacturing facilities in Owen South, Ontario, Canada; Pittsfield and Newport, ME; and Cape Town, South Africa. EST International, based in Toronto, has worldwide offices. The company recently acquired Dukane Communications, Identicard, Telaire and Ziton.

The company sells its products to industrial, commercial and institutional customers. SPX Corp. is the parent of Edward Systems.

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