Northeast Indiana’s proximity to north and south operations attracted Sterigenics to the region.
From the pharmaceutical and medical devices used by doctors and hospitals to agricultural products used in animal diets, a local company is playing a huge part in safeguarding global health. Sterigenics, a Sotera Health Company, then operating as Iotron, opened a plant in Columbia City in 2012 and has been growing ever since.
“We are a global leader in comprehensive sterilization solutions meeting industrial sterilization needs in the medical device, pharmaceutical, advanced applications, commercial and food industries. Sterigenics uses a variety of state-of-the-art techniques to accomplish this, but here in Columbia City we utilize electron beam radiation,” explained Operations Director Jeff Blakely.
As a global company with 38 locations in 13 countries, executives said it just made sense to come to Whitley County to do business.
“Around 2009, we started looking at the market in a few locations. We looked south toward the Texas area, we looked at building a facility in Ontario, Canada, among others, and then we looked at this region in the Midwest. We liked the strategic location of Columbia City because we have both north and south connectors. We also had connections and relationships with local industry. That mix of industrial, agricultural and medical fit really well with our core competencies,” Blakely said.
An expansion is currently underway that will double the facility’s capacity and increase its workforce. The new plant should be 50 percent operational by the end of 2021, and the number of employees will grow from 35 to 60. The majority of those workers will come from within this region.
“We also had connections and relationships with local industry, that mix of industrial, agricultural and medical fit really well with our core competencies,” Blakely said.
“I think ultimately people want to work for good employers, and we are one of those,” stressed Blakely. “We’ve had a good working relationship in the community. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was very instrumental in the beginning to forge connections. Indiana is just a good place to live and work. There’s a lot of good support in place, and I think that’s continued to help.”
“It was a good fit to come here,” he added. “Our former CEO said, ‘All the stars have to align,’ and that’s kind of what happened here.”