Brewer Science, Inc. is getting larger while continuing to make electronic devices smaller.
On Jan. 24, the company announced plans to build a new high-volume manufacturing facility at the Rolla National Airport at Vichy, about 12 miles from its headquarters in the Hy Point Industrial Park in Rolla.
The new estimated 25,000-square-foot facility will produce materials for manufacturing next-generation smartphones, tablet computers and other microelectronic devices.
“Brewer Science is excited to be growing and expanding Missouri’s manufacturing footprint as well as its technology footprint,” said Dr. Terry Brewer, founder and president of Brewer Science. “The expansion demonstrates our commitment to our customers by providing additional capacity and capabilities to support the complex product needs of the industry.
“Brewer Science technology is a part of products such as smartphones, tablet computers, cameras, games and many other electronic devices,” Brewer said. “The new facility will provide the company with multiple manufacturing locations in Missouri and will bring additional jobs to the state.”
As part of the expansion, Brewer expects to add 65 new jobs over the next five years, including warehouse, manufacturing and technology jobs.
Doyle Edwards, director of government business development for Brewer, called the additional jobs “considerable growth” from its current employment numbers.
Alberici Constructors will construct the new building, said Michael K. Mathews, the company’s director of global plant operations.
Final “tweaks” are being made to the design of the building and construction on the facility could begin in the spring, Mathews said. According to a tentative schedule, significant completion of the facility could be done by the end of the year. By early 2014, the facility is expected to be complete.
“This will be a state-of-the-art facility and truly advanced,” Edwards said.
Edwards noted that Terry Brewer wants to continue his commitment to the environment with this new facility.
Utilizing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, the new facility will be powered using geo-thermal energy.
Designed to be energy-efficient and environmentallysensitive, with attention to state-of-the-art safety specifications, the building will have the infrastructure to manufacture high-volume products that meet or exceed International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements.
Mathews said over the past several years, the company’s operations have become more environmentally-friendly as Brewer has reduced its water and electricity usage as well as its waste.
Location, Location, Location
The site at the airport was chosen for business continuity reasons, Mathews explained, noting that company officials did not want, for instance, a natural disaster to affect operations at both facilities.
Edwards added that capacity and customer demand were other factors that led to the decision to expand.
Page 2 of 2 - Mathews said Brewer company officials considered locating a new facility out of the area and outside the state but noted that offers from the Rolla Regional Economic Commission (RREC) and the City of Rolla allowed the company to stay in the area.
Rolla City Administrator John Butz said a competitive grant application was made to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help fund the infrastructure improvements at the airport, which will include a new water tower and updated water and sewer lines.
While the grant has not been awarded yet, a letter dated Oct. 31, 2012, from the EDA to the city stated that the application has been selected for further consideration of funding, but does not guarantee final approval for the EDA to make the award. Butz said the grant, if approved, could total about $1,044,248.
Because the city refinanced some leases last year, it has about $600,000 for the water tower and the Rolla Community Development Corporation (RCDC) has agreed to lend the city funds to purchase materials to replace the water and sewer lines if the grant isn’t awarded. City crews would be used to perform the line work.
The grant, Butz said, would allow Rolla to expand the infrastructure being installed at the airport to a point that would allow more businesses to develop there. Butz said the EDA is a critical part to growth at the airport.
Brewer officials say they greatly appreciate the team effort put forth by the City of Rolla and the Rolla City Council, the RREC, the RCDC as well as the involvement of Intercounty Electric Cooperative and the Maries County Commission, all of which helped make this expansion possible.
RREC Executive Director Cyndra Lorey said Brewer’s new facility will be consistant with the Rolla brand. “It (Brewer Science) represents who we are and who we want to be,” she said.
Lorey said she hopes Brewer’s new facility will increase the interest of other businesses to consider the airport for growth and development.
Brewer also is consistent with the emerging Interstate 44 technology corridor in Missouri, spanning across the state from St. Louis to Joplin, Lorey said.
Brewer’s new facility at the airport is the company’s second expansion in two years. It previously acquired a 23,000-square-foot facility.
Brewer Science specializes in technology that has made electronic devices smaller, thinner, lighter and more powerful and has been designing and manufacturing new technology products since 1981.