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150 Castlebar jobs ‘just the start’

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ALL SMILES Pictured at the announcement last week in Castlebar were Max Blomberg, Director of Operations, Meissner; Chris Meissner, President and founder of Meissner; Mary Buckley, Executive Director, IDA; Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development; Cllr Blackie Gavin, Cathaoirleach, Mayo County Council and Peter Hynes, CE, Mayo County Council. Pic: Alison Laredo

US company announces plans to triple size of Mayo plant

Anton McNulty

Meissner Filtration Products plans to create 150 jobs in Castlebar over the next five years, providing a ‘huge boost’ to the county town. The US company further plans to triple the size of its manufacturing facility, and has purchased a five-acre site adjacent to its new premises on the Breaffy Road to accommodate such an expansion.
A substantial, state-of-the-art cleanroom will also be installed within the company’s new IDA-built 34,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Building facility. This will be used for the manufacture of Single-Use Systems (SUS) for its biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical clients.  
Meissner Filtration Products’ president and founder, Chris Meissner, was in Castlebar on Friday to make the announcements.
Mr Meissner said that the company plans to be operational by the start of 2020, and to expand to 100,000 square foot after that milestone has been reached.
“The fact that the building was built was able to accelerate our timeline, and [it was] a huge part in locating to Castlebar,” he said, adding: “We can be operational in one year. We have already begun plans for an expansion. We can talk about the next five years, but we are growing extremely fast and as was hinted, once we are successful – and we are of no doubt we will be – that will be just the start.”
The new jobs will be in a broad range of areas, including manufacturing, operations, management, human resources and engineering.

Location, location
Meissner currently has a manufacturing campus in Camarillo, California, as well as a European logistics hub outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and multiple sales and support offices  around the world. The facility in Castlebar is its first manufacturing facility in Europe.
The announcement, which was made in the Breaffy House Hotel, was also attended by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, IDA Executive Director, Mary Buckley, Mayo County Council Cathlaoireach Blackie Gavin and a number of local representatives and representatives from Mayo-based US companies, such as Allergan, Baxter and Hollister.
Mr Meissner indicated that the success of other US companies in Mayo was a factor in the decision to also set up operations in the county.
“When deciding where to manufacture in Europe, it wasn’t an easy decision. We had to be really thorough and did a lot of due diligence and eventually narrowed it down to The Netherlands and Ireland. Then we had to decide,” he explained.
“There were a few things instrumental in making that decision but the IDA was a critical part of that. There is a risk for a company which is expanding for the first time far away from where their headquarters are. The IDA were able to give us that assurance that we would not be making a mistake, and they introduced us to companies who have already successfully located to Mayo. They are all successful, and that was not lost on us.”

‘Substantial opportunities’
Commenting on the location choice, Max Blomberg, the company’s director of operations, quoted Oscar Wilde: ‘Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result’.
“We are making a substantial investment in Ireland,” he said, “but with that comes substantial opportunities, not just for Meissner but for the area we have chosen to operate. We are going to create upwards of 150 jobs over the next five years, and those roles will include manufacturing, operations, management, human resources, engineering – a wide breadth of jobs.
“I have been at Meissner for 13 years and long-tenure is a hallmark of our organisation. We look forward to growing our family, not just with the folks we will be hiring, but growing relationships with the community and continued partnership with the IDA. This is an important milestone for our organisation. We look forward to creating jobs and a successful business in a beautiful country, and we could not be more excited for the future.”

IDA praised
The creation of 150 jobs by the Californian-based company was described as a ‘huge boost’ to Castlebar, which has struggled to attract major investment in recent years.
Minister Ring said that a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to find a company to move into the IDA facility in Castlebar, and he praised the role played by the IDA.
“The IDA and its CEO, Martin Shanahan deserve great credit for their work in helping to attract Meissner to Castlebar. I met with them on numerous occasions in relation to this initiative and have been greatly impressed by their approach.
“Today’s announcement sends a clear message that Mayo is open for business. We have the talent and the infrastructure, and we can offer a fantastic quality of life. I will continue to do all I can to attract employers and investors into our county in an effort to create more employment and help improve people’s quality of life,” he said.

Life-sciences cluster
Over 4,400 people now work in IDA-supported companies in Mayo, and the agency’s executive director, Mary Buckley, said that the new jobs showed that the IDA is committed to regional development.
“A global company of the calibre of Meissner represents a most-welcome addition to the life-sciences cluster in Castlebar and to the country’s supplier base in general, an important consideration in the retention and attraction of both current and new investment,” she said.
“IDA Ireland remains committed to winning investments for regional locations, including the west. Meissner will become the 17th important IDA supported multinational company in Mayo with these companies employing almost 5,000 people. I wish Chris, Max and the company every success here.”
Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes welcomed the investment, saying it came as a result of the ‘Invest in Mayo’ campaign, which was launched in February 2018.
“Todays announcement further deepens the IDA’s commitment to Co Mayo, and we whole-heartedly welcome Meissner Filtration Products to their new home in the Advanced Technology Building in Castlebar. I know that the ‘will do’ attitude of the Mayo people will complement Meissner’s excellent track record, helping them to earn further success into the future.”
Cllr Blackie Gavin said that the investment showed the county has the skills, infrastructure and available talent to allow other companies like Meissner to also embed and grow their operations in the west of Ireland.