Even as Zoetis has cut its worldwide workforce and number of manufacturing sites, its Lincoln plant continues to grow.
In the past two years, the animal health company wrapped up a 19,000-square-foot, three-story expansion on the west side of its Lincoln property at 601 W. Cornhusker Highway. It's now in the process of adding a 29,000-square-foot space to the east.
Currently, the Lincoln plant employs more than 500 workers and is hiring for the coming expansion, said Betty Mason, site leader.
At the same time the Lincoln plant is expanding -- investments will approach $70 million -- Mason said company officials are committed to reducing costs, especially those that negatively affect the environment.
“We’re not just expanding at all costs,” Mason said. “We’re insuring we’re taking care of the environment.”
Since the former Pfizer property became Zoetis in February 2013, Mason said the plant has reduced its energy consumption by more than 8,340 megawatt hours per year. That's equivalent to eliminating 3,640 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, she said.
The reductions are the result of more than 25 projects around the plant, she said, including improved steam condensate recovery, improved insulation and recovering heat from air handling systems.
“It’s also a cost-savings for us, so it’s a win-win,” she said.
The Lincoln plant is one of the largest manufacturing sites of biological and pharmaceutical products for Zoetis, according to Kristen Seely, external communications manager.
The Lincoln plant primarily focuses on products for cattle, swine and companion animals, Mason said. Some of the lines have an output of about 500 bottles a minute, producing some of the company’s flagship products and vaccines, including Bovi-Shield, for prevention of respiratory and reproductive disease in cattle; RespiSure, for prevention of respiratory disease in swine; and Rimadyl, for treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs.
Synovex, a product that helps increase weight gain and feed efficiency in beef cattle, is being manufactured in the 19,000-square-foot addition completed in August.
The next expansion is for the manufacture of the company’s anti-itch therapy for dogs. A warehouse on the north side of the Lincoln plant will eventually package and store the product.
Simparica, a once-monthly chewable flea and tick medication for dogs, is also made in Lincoln and should see growth after the drug gained approval to be sold in the European Union.
Mason said Zoetis is in a spot to play an important role in the animal health industry as the global population grows. With more people comes more demand for a healthy food supply.
Officials said the U.S. Department of Agriculture turns to companies such as Zoetis for a solution when emerging infectious diseases strike, like the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in pigs or the avian influenza outbreak that hit the poultry industry hard last year.
“That’s the environment we’re in today,” Mason said. “We need to feed the increasing population in the globe.”