Ribbon-cutting held Monday for new Brewer Science facility one year after groundbreaking
Completion of Brewer Science’s new facility at an airport in southern Maries County is like the baseball field built in the middle of a corn field in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” according to the president and founder of Brewer Science.
“A manufacturing building in the middle of an old airfield — it kind of reminds me of the movie, ‘Field of Dreams’ where they cut down the corn and build a ball field. For Maries County, we have built a ballfield in the middle of the corn field. And yes, they will come,” said Dr. Terry Brewer Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held to celebrate the completion of the company’s new facility at the Rolla National Airport near Vichy.
More than 100 people turned out, including local, county and state officials — and two U.S. congressmen — to the event held just over a year after a groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held April 30, 2013.
Brewer noted that it took a lot of dedicated organizations and people to make this facility a reality. This new center is the company’s eighth expansion. The corporate headquarters are located in the Hy-Point Industrial Park in Rolla.
The new 25,000-square-foot manufacturing center is expected to create 65 new high-tech jobs over the next five years.
These high-paying jobs will inspire people to turn them into careers, Brewer said, adding that the completion of the building was “an amazing feat.”
The new center will produce specialty materials used in the creation of advanced microdevices, including the next generations of smartphones, tablet computers and other microelectronics.
He said when people see this facility from the highway or visit the building, “they will remember when the United States was the leading manufacturing country in the world. They will remember the value of small business, which is a major engine driver for the American economy.”
The new building also is “another step forward in bringing the semi-conductor industry into mid-Missouri,” Brewer added.
Because Brewer Science does business both across the nation and around the world, Brewer said customers and businesses already know where Rolla is and now will know where Vichy is, too.
Several elected officials also spoke at the ribbon-cutting, including Rolla Mayor Lou Magdits, who expressed his appreciation for the city staff and local agencies that helped with this project, including improvements to the water and sewer lines, a new water tower and roads at the airport.
Several agencies, such as the Rolla Regional Economic Council (RREC), the Rolla Community Development Corporation (RCDC), and the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) helped contribute capital or support to the project, Magdits noted.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development and U.S. Economic Development Administration also made a $1 million investment at the airport to help see the infrastructure improvements through, Magdits added.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the teamwork and cooperation from all involved to bring to fruition economic opportunities for the Rolla and Phelps County region,” said Magdits.
Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze said when he first shared the news of the expansion to some people, he told them the group of people involved was “going to make this happen.”
When they told Schwartze that they had heard that before, he said, “No, you didn’t hear that before. You haven’t met this group of people.”
Schwartze presented a plaque from the Maries County Commission to Brewer.
Brewer also received a plaque from the company’s executive advisory board.
Rep. Tom Hurst, of the 62nd District, noted how involved Brewer Science is in the community, adding that it has earned awards for its volunteer efforts. Hurst said the company has donated over $1 million to local charities.
“It amazes me that a company like Brewer, they’re worldwide. The footprint that they have ... this physical plant could be anywhere in the world and the fact that they chose to put it right here in Maries County, I appreciate it,” Hurst said.
State Sen. Mike Kehoe also spoke, noting that the day could be summed up by a conversation he had about the expansion with his mother. After telling his mother about the project, Kehoe said his mother stated, “That’s lovely.”
During Missouri Eighth District U.S. Rep. Jason Smith’s turn, he told the crowd, “When you think about Dr. Brewer in 1981 deciding to start Brewer Science in our area, when he could’ve picked anywhere else, that’s great.
“And we’re seeing the fruits of that labor today with this plant opening ... when success comes, you just see success continue to breed success with other businesses and that’s what I hope to see from this area,” Smith said.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, of Missouri’s Third District, where Maries County lies, said while driving to the ribbon-cutting, he noticed that spring was finally here and so is the new Brewer facility. “It’s a new beginning just like spring,” the congressman said.
Luetkemeyer said he would continue to work in Congress to lessen regulations on small businesses, which got Brewer and eventually the entire crowd applauding.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, during his turn, said to the “naysayers” who say the economy is in a headwind and that American manufacturing is in a decline, “Let them to come to Rolla and Maries County.”
He said the state “salutes Dr. Brewer as a hero of American manufacturing, your entire management team and everyone associated with this success today.”
Doyle Edwards, director of government business development with Brewer Science, echoed others, when he said the project was able to be completed by different people having a shared goal and vision.
He said some people may not consider Maries County a likely place to build a semi-conductor manufacturing facility like Brewer Science, but with the combined vision of the involved people and groups, “actually it makes a lot of sense.”
The expansion at the Rolla National Airport is expected to bring new economic growth to the Rolla Airport Technology and Industrial Park.
Brewer Science’s new center will serve as the anchor business for the new Rolla Airport Technology and Industrial Park.
Environmentally friendly, energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling technology has been integrated into the new Brewer Science building.
The facility also includes a storm shelter and state-of-the-art fire suppression systems.
The expansion of Brewer Science at the airport is one example of why Missouri was ranked first in the North West Central Region, which includes, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota, for the 2013 Governor’s Cup awards by Site Selection Magazine.
More than 125 businesses either expanded their facilities or opened new facilities in the Show-Me State in 2013, an increase of 57 expansions over the previous year.