Brewer Science, Inc., Tuesday afternoon broke ground on a new facility in Maries County at the Rolla National Airport, which company president, founder and CEO Dr. Terry Brewer called his first, his favorite and the best choice for the firm's expansion.
A large crowd turned out for the groundbreaking of the $20 million high-volume manufacturing facility, which will produce advanced materials needed for creating next-generation smartphones, tablet computers and other microelectronic devices.
The new 25,000 square-foot building will create 65 new high-tech jobs over the next five years.
"As the Brewer Science customer base has grown and expanded around the globe, we have continued to grow and expand in Missouri, where we are proud to maintain our global headquarters," said Brewer. The corporate headquarters are located in the Hy-Point Industrial Park in Rolla.
"I believe in adding value to the community I live in," Brewer said, noting that while company officials researched other locations for the expansion, the site at the airport was ultimately chosen. It was a two and a half year process, he said. "This was my first choice ... This was the best choice, not only my favorite choice," he said.
"We are grateful to the local, state and federal officials with us today who support Missouri manufacturing and the research and development that is the lifeblood of Brewer Science," he said.
In addition to Brewer, also speaking at the event were U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Deputy Director Jason Hall of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) and Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks III.
"The expansion of Brewer Science is good for private sector job creation and economic opportunity in Missouri," said Blunt. "Brewer Science is consistently at the forefront of high-tech and advanced manufacturing fields, and this new facility continues to advance our shared goal of creating and keeping good-paying, high-skilled jobs statewide."
Luetkemeyer, who represents Missouri's Third Congressional District, where Maries County lies, said, "I am very pleased that Brewer's new manufacturing facility has found a home in Vichy thanks to the cooperative efforts of local, state and federal officials." Luetkemeyer added that rural Missouri is a "great place to do business."
Kinder called Brewer an innovator and entrepreneur who has demonstrated that high-quality products can be manufactured with a high-quality workforce in the United States and Missouri.
"Brewer Science is not only a Missouri success story, they are a technology success story and a global success story ... This gives us the market power to more success in this corner of Missouri," Kinder said.
"I couldn't be more thrilled with the construction of this new high-tech facility by Brewer Science, which will serve as a seed for future economic development and manufacturing expansion at Rolla National Airport," Jenks said.
Brewer thanked Jenks and city officials for helping to ensure that infrastructure, like roads, water and sewer lines, was in place at the airport. "I wouldn't have even started this project without infrastructure ... I thought it was the greatest thing for Rolla."
Hall said he loves to do business with a company like Brewer Science. "It's exciting for the state for Brewer Science to call Missouri home," Hall said, and complimented the company's president, saying he "took an idea and commercialized science into a pioneering startup."
Brewer recognized his managers and employees, calling them "leaders who are doers."
Doyle Edwards, director of government business development with Brewer Science, noted that this expansion was able to happen because of a public-private partnership.
Edwards recognized the Maries County Commission, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), Intercounty Electric, City of Rolla, Rolla Regional Economic Commission (RREC), Rolla Community Development Corporation (RCDC) and Rolla Airport Committee along with United Missouri Bank and Alberici Constructors, the general contractor on the new facility.
Brewer said while Alberici was the highest bidder, he said he doesn't see it as being "the most expensive ... it's the best."
On March 8, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $1,044,248 grant to Rolla for improvements at the airport. The city is contributing $1,260,271, and the RREC is contributing $50,000 along with Intercounty Electric with its $10,000 contribution and Maries County, which is making a $25,000 in-kind contribution.
The new Brewer Science building will follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines and use geothermal systems for heating and cooling. The building also will have infrastructure that meets or exceeds International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements.
Brewer Science is part of Missouri's emerging I-44 technology corridor, which spans the state from St. Louis to Joplin. Brewer Science specializes in technology that has made electronic devices smaller, thinner, lighter and more powerful since 1981.