A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday, August 31 for a new production facility at Nature’s Variety, a privately-held, natural pet food company based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The new 24,000 square foot building will be located just south of West” O” Street on Southwest 32nd Street. The initial capital investment will total around $17 million, and the project is expected to create several new jobs in Lincoln. The project represents the first phase of a master plan that can lead to additional expansion projects in the future.
Mayor Chris Beutler spoke at the groundbreaking, expressing his excitement about Nature’s Variety project in conjunction with the growth of the city of Lincoln:
“This is an exciting project that will create quality job opportunities for Lincoln residents as well as strengthen our economy,” said Mayor Chris Beutler who spoke at the ceremony. “On behalf of the City, I want to thank Nature’s Variety for deciding to invest in our great community.”
Mayor Beutler also thanked the City Council, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and Partnership for Economic Development for their continued partnership and support.
Nature’s Variety currently employs over 120 people at four locations in Lincoln and 250 company-wide. The company is known for producing high quality pet foods for dogs and cats, and its product can be found in over 11,000 retail stores under the Instinct® and Prairie® brand names. Nature’s Variety is the largest raw pet food manufacturer in the U.S.
Aaron Grimm, Chief Operating Officer at Nature’s Variety commented:
“We are excited about expanding in Lincoln. This is an excellent location to have a plant, as we have great employees from the community. This new facility will give us capabilities that were only accessible to us by using 3rd parties outside of the State, and will allow us to continue our strong growth path.”
With the cut of a ribbon, Hudl celebrated the opening of their new world headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the conclusion of a three-year project that moved more than 350 employees into the new structure in late November of 2017. Lincoln is honored that Hudl’s homegrown founders decided to create their international headquarters right here in Lincoln. Hudl is a leading software company that is revolutionizing the way coaches and athletes prepare for and stay ahead of the competition.
On December 19th, Hudl founders and staff were joined by Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler to celebrate the grand opening of Hudl HQ with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Hudl’s growth has skyrocketed since their inception in 2006 and now has over 350 employees in the new Lincoln facility, which was one of downtown Lincoln’s largest building projects in history, with building costs nearing $26 million. While headquartered in the Haymarket District of Lincoln, Hudl also has additional offices in Omaha, Boston, London, Sydney and Mumbai.
Growth in the Haymarket District was attractive to UNL graduates turned Hudl founders John Wirtz, David Graff and Brian Kaiser. The hub of Lincoln’s startup ecosystem lies in downtown and the Haymarket area and this new 160,000 square foot building will continue to encourage innovation, collaboration and championing one another. “With the development in the Haymarket and the addition of Hudl’s HQ we have hit a grand slam”, said Birdsall.
“I want to thank David Graff, John Wurtz and Brian Kaiser for their investment and decision to grow their international HQ here, and for also being the best ambassadors that a Chamber of Commerce could ask for.” Birdsall added.
A California startup company with some big names behind it announced Wednesday that it is moving to Lincoln.
Ink Labs, which makes a printing kiosk, moved into new temporary digs at Fuse Coworking in the Haymarket earlier this week. That will serve as the company's home base until permanent office space is ready.
Ink is the brainchild of Jonathan Manzi, its founder and CEO. Manzi, who has been called America's youngest millionaire after amassing $1 million in net worth a decade ago at age 16, started Ink while a student at Stanford University.
Ink’s signature product is the Ink Smart Station, a digital kiosk that allows people to print, copy and scan documents from any device and from anywhere.
The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development’s inaugural Internship experience MyTern was a resounding success. Three hundred interns attended, and over thirty Lincoln employers participated with connections to talent from around the globe. Workforce and talent have been a chief focus for the Partnership beginning as early as 2000 with renewed focus after the Angelou Economics report 2015. The report identified that Lincoln is a growing city and companies and the community need to continue to invest in the talent needed to grow.
Three signature events: a Lincoln Hashtag hunt, A Lincoln Reverse Pitch on Ideas and a special mentoring opportunity connected them to other interns, but even more importantly connected them to over one hundred additional community activities going on around Lincoln. Roughly 30% of the participating interns were from Lincoln, 30% were from greater Nebraska and 25% were from out of the state with the remaining and 5% from other countries.
“This new program provided interns with things that matter to them when making decisions about where they want to work and live” said Wendy Birdsall, President of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. Lincoln’s pitch to interns: mentorship, social networking, a welcoming community and a voice in the city. This program aimed to provide those things and more.
This summer immersion experience was made possible with great collaborators and some of Lincoln’s fastest growing and most innovative companies including: Firespring, Hudl, LES, Lincoln Industries, Nelnet, Opendorse, Spreetail, Swanson Russell, and the Lincoln Young Professionals Group.
Interns are the foundation of a company’s talent pipeline. Talented interns become talented employees. Every intern in Lincoln represents a potential new member of the workforce. Students with successful internships are more likely to stay with a company after experiencing its culture from the inside out. Internships give valuable work experience and exposure to local companies. One of the participating interns said they really were able to experience what it was like to be in Lincoln and made them realize that Lincoln is a place where ideas are welcomed.
Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A hosted the grand opening of the company's new Aerospace Division in Lincoln. Kawasaki has created land and sea products in Lincoln for decades. Now, the company will expand into air travel. Production will initially focus on cargo door manufacturing for Boeing Corporation 777x aircraft. This is the first aerostructures production line for Kawasaki in the United States.
Kawasaki mentioned they are honored to continue this strong partnership in Lincoln. They look forward to being a strong and trusted partner on the 777x project and hope to continue to develop the relationship on future projects. Taking this opportunity to establish an assembly line for the Boeing 777x's cargo doors, Kawasaki designates the Lincoln factory as its aerostructure manufacturing base in the U.S. and will actively pursue the expansion of its commercial aircraft business as well as the growth of KMM.
Mike Boyle, vice president and plant manager in Lincoln, explained that Kawasaki invested about $12.6 million in the new production line, and the work will eventually lead to about 50 new positions at the plant, which currently employs about 2,000.
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Partnership for Economic Development president Wendy Birdsall said, "We are excited that Kawasaki has created this new division in Lincoln. Kawasaki has been not only a great corporate innovator, but also a long-time Partnership investor and employer providing quality jobs for the city of Lincoln."
When Molex came to Lincoln in 1977, it had 31,000 square feet of space and 27 employees. The Lincoln location was the company's first manufacturing plant outside its home state of Illinois. In 1999, then-plant manager Iain MacDonald told the Journal Star that the company chose Lincoln for expansion because the area had a good technical and education base.
Fast-forward 40 years later, and the maker of electronic cables, connectors and switches for automobiles, cell phones, appliances and other products now has more than 700,000 square feet of space in three plants in west Lincoln and more than 1,000 local employees.
Wednesday marked the company's 40th year in Lincoln, and both company and local officials held an event to honor employees and celebrate the company's local growth and success. “Reaching 40 years of operations is quite a feat in today’s business climate. It’s a testimony to our dedicated employees, who continue to embrace change and pursue the innovation that has made Molex successful,” Molex CEO Martin Slark said in a news release.
Getting to that point hasn't always been easy, though. Molex, like other manufacturers, was hit hard during the late-2000s recession. From 2007 to 2008, the company went from having more than 800 employees in Lincoln to less than 700. But unlike many other manufacturers, it rebounded quickly. By 2011, its local workforce had swelled to more than 1,000 people, where it has since stayed stable. In 2013, after more than 40 years as a publicly traded company, Molex shareholders approved a $7.2 billion sale to Koch Industries. Molex now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch, but little has changed, including in Lincoln.
“Molex has been an instrumental part of Lincoln’s economy since it began operations in 1977,” said Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall. “The success of the company is a tribute to the quality and high performance of the entire Molex organization, the leadership of the local management team and the incredible work ethic and productivity of their employees."
LINCOLN, Nebraska—Norland International Inc. broke ground on its $1.25 million building on Wed., April 26, demonstrating its continued growth. The new 18,000 square foot warehouse will expand the Lincoln, Nebraska based corporation to just short of 90,000 square feet of space for manufacturing innovation.
To date, Norland Intl. has a total property investment of nearly $6 million. Norland Intl. was founded in 1993 to help water bottling companies in smaller communities achieve a competitve edge over larger water delievery companies.
Due to the rapid growth of the industry and the company’s successful approach, Norland Intl. constructed its ﬁrst 33,000 square foot building in 2004. Since then, Norland Intl. has been providing state-of-the-art water bottling equipment to entrepreneurs around the globe, helping start or expanding their own bottled water operations.
And growth didn't stop there. In late 2011, Norland Intl. made the strategic decision to design, manufacture and engineer craft beer production equipment leading to its next Division, American Beer Equipment (ABE). In a few short years, ABE has become an industry standard for innovation, quality and service to craft brewers around the world.
In 2013, Norland Intl. continued to drive company growth, by establishing its most recent Division, Norland Pure. Norland Pure is dedicated to delivering premium distilled and enhanced bottled water to Lincoln and surrounding areas with a key focus on customer service and support. Once again, in early 2016, industry demand propelled Norland Intl. to build a 28,000 square foot building for around $2 million for its second expansion.
“Our company has grown exponentially over the past several years and we continue to believe in the strong domestic and international economies. We believe in a strong midwest work ethic and we see this as a wise investment for the future,” said Bruce Kucera, vice president of Norland Intl.
Starting with four managing partners almost 25 years ago, today the business is expanding to three buildings and more than 100 employees, and continues to grow.
Story and photo by Kate Bowling, creative marketing manager, Norland International.
Silverhawk Aviation began in 1991 as a charter operation in Seward, Neb., with one airplane and one pilot. Today Silverhawk Aviation is a full-service aviation company providing aircraft charter services, fractional ownership services, maintenance, avionics, and line services. Silverhawk Aviation has been a fixture in Lincoln for the last 20 years and continues to grow and invest in the Lincoln community.
On November 10th, Silverhawk Aviation broke ground on a new 28,375 square foot hangar and workspace that will house the Avionics Department as well as 10 light to mid-sized jets earmarked to service 50-100 businesses in Lincoln and the Midwest through a fractional ownership program. “We’re very excited to make private travel more accessible to local businesses and individuals by providing all of the advantages of aircraft ownership without any of the hassles,” said Mike Gerdes, President of Silverhawk Aviation. Silverhawk held a ribbon cutting with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce to celebrate this groundbreaking.
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development President Wendy Birdsall said, “We are thrilled to see Silverhawk Aviation expanding here in Lincoln. Our city is successful because of innovative companies like Silverhawk.”