October Business of the Month: MilliporeSigma Laramie Facility
A local facility of a global company with a history in Laramie is currently undergoing improvements inside and out to build its presence here in the community. MilliporeSigma is part of the international company called Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a world leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials.
“MilliporeSigma is the life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,” said MilliporeSigma Public Relations Representative Karen Tiano. “We have approximately 60 manufacturing sites worldwide and 20,000 employees across the globe.”
The Laramie site specifically manufactures certified reference materials, said Nick Hauser, product manager for MilliporeSigma’s Certified Reference Materials franchise.
“They are used in several different industries including environmental testing labs, as well as pharmaceutical quality control and manufacturing labs,” explained Hauser. “We’re focused on the characterization and evaluation of materials to ensure that we are manufacturing according to our accreditations.”
To get to this point, the company started in 1988 as Resource Technology Corporation (RTC), one of the first proficiency testing companies in the industry, said Jennifer Duhon, MilliporeSigma product manager for proficiency testing.
“How it started was a spin off from the Western Research Institute,” said Hauser. “There was a group of individuals that worked directly with the Environmental Protection Agency on developing methods on how to best analyze for contaminants.”
In the beginning, the focus was on hydro-carbons, like oil, in water and soil and to set baseline levels of acceptable contaminants. Ebb and flow of the company led RTC to the proficiency program.
“That program started in the early 2000s and RTC became a market leader in quality and what quality meant in our little sector,” explained Hauser. “Since we were doing quite well in that world in 2011 that’s what made the [business] attractive to Sigma-Aldrich.”
In 2011, Sigma Aldrich acquired RTC. Four years later, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany acquired Sigma Aldrich in 2015 for $17 billion.
“Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany had already acquired Millipore Corporation in ,” explained Duhon.
Since the Sigma-Aldrich acquisition, the life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operates as MilliporeSigma in the US and Canada, added Duhon.
Some 70 percent of MilliporeSigma’s employees in Laramie are University of Wyoming graduates. Tiano added that MilliporeSigma employs approximately 20,000 people around the world. The other businesses of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany employ approximately 30,000 people in 66 different countries around the world.
MilliporeSigma gives back on a local and national level when possible.
“We do a food drive every year,” said Duhon. “And we donate it at the end of the year to the Interfaith Good Samaritan, and we also help stock the fish ponds. A lot of our lab techs go to the University of Wyoming Science Fair as judges. We even help out with the Teton Science School.”
A national campaign the Laramie location helps with is MilliporeSigma’s Curiosity Cube™, a 22x10-foot, retrofitted shipping container that’s a mobile science lab staffed by MilliporeSigma employees. It can channel 100 visitors per hour and aims to spark 350,000 students’ interest in STEM, according to Tiano.
Currently, the site is working on annexing into city limits and gaining access to city services.
While the company could not speak to the exact plans of the future, expansion may be possible after gaining the access.
“We’ll be able to increase our capacity internally,” said Hauser. “We’ve been on top of each other here, and that’s really going to allow us to spread out in what we already have here.”
The process of the annex is finalizing, said City of Laramie Planning Manager Derek Teini, the Laramie site has been doing a lot of the work.
“They’ve been really good to work with,” said Teini. “The communication has been clear and our engineering department has been doing a lot of the leg work to get MilliporeSigma the utility extension they need.”
Teini said he hopes this gives the site the opportunity to expand its facility and eventually grow overall.
“They’re a forgotten little group over there,” added Teini. “They actually have a lot of cool stuff going on. I think they deserve a little spotlight.”