The plant manager calls it the best-kept secret on the outskirts of town.
“It’s probably a fairly low-profile presence here in Lincoln, but it’s probably one of the biggest companies that actually does have a presence here,” said Keith Jenkins, engineering manager of wireless products at Bosch Communications Systems.
A white, rectangular building just off Cornhusker Highway, the east Lincoln facility is unassuming. The only indicator that you’ve arrived at a plant of one of the largest privately held companies in the world is a sign near the entrance.
While the global company employs more than 300,000, the Lincoln facility has about 200 employees, many of whom have been there for years.
The Lincoln plant is divided into three areas: production and manufacturing, customer service and design engineering.
“For us, it feels like a startup company because we have such a small team,” said Hieu Ninh, an engineering manager for the plant’s radio dispatch group. “We feel that we have a major role in shaping our product and work with the latest technology, so it’s (a) pretty friendly and active atmosphere for the engineering team.”
Reta Shuey, the plant manager, has been working at the facility for 39 years, but not all of those were with Bosch.
She started working as a human resources manager for Hy-Gain electronics, an antenna manufacturer. In 1978, the company was purchased by Telex Communications, which was acquired by Bosch in 2006.
“I’ve been under the same roof, but actually worked for three different companies,” Shuey said.
Today, the company’s product portfolio includes video surveillance, intrusion and fire detection, dispatch consoles and wireless microphones.
Jenkins said his engineering team works on the same wireless microphones used by performers on stage and coaches at football games.
“If you ever watch any Nebraska football or a Super Bowl or pro football (game), we made, designed, and developed and produced the wireless intercom product right here in this plant,” he said.
Ninh’s division of the engineering department works on products used in public safety, including dispatch consoles, which help manage emergency situations more effectively and help responders arrive quickly to the scene.
Ninh said he believes Bosch’s slogan, “Invented for Life,” fits the work he’s doing.
“We design to save people’s lives, so it’s been pretty rewarding,” he said.
Shuey said safety and environmental concerns are two of Bosch's core values. The latter was recognized by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in 2016, when it awarded the plant the Green Business of the Year award.
The facility began its zero waste-to-landfill initiative in the fall of 2013. It set up partnerships with local service providers for composting and one-stream recycling, and set out collection bins to upcycle materials such as food wrappers.
Since then, the Lincoln facility has set up additional local partnerships to recycle packaging materials, pallets and foam.
The efforts have paid off: the facility switched from a 40-yard rolloff compactor to a 2-yard dumpster, and has reduced landfill waste by 97 percent.
"It shows Bosch's concern for the communities that have their facilities,” Shuey said. “It doesn’t matter what country you go into, the values are the same.”
Not only is the facility leading the way in sustainability, but Shuey said it is one of the leading Bosch plants for employee satisfaction. The staff takes an employee survey every two years, and the Lincoln plant always receives positive results.
“They compare our results to not only the North American Bosch facilities, but also worldwide facilities,” Shuey said. “We're always at a very high level, at the 90 percentile. That goes to show the people at this facility are very happy."
After 39 years, three companies and six job titles, she said she still enjoys working at the plant.
“Just like any other manager, (I've) had opportunities to go other places and do other things, but I’ve always stayed here,” Shuey said. “I’ve had an awful lot of opportunities right within this building.”