LOGAN – The Thermo Fisher Scientific BioCenter in Logan has recently completed a massive expansion project, doubling its previous capacity and dramatically increasing its workforce. The project began in the summer of 2019 and was going to be done in phases, but since the coronavirus pandemic, the need for the facility’s completion became a priority. The Logan facility specializes in the manufacturing of single use technologies that are being used in the development of vaccines.
“Our part that we play locally, here in Logan, is manufacturing the bioprocess containers that the large pharmaceutical companies – like Pfizer, Moderna, Regeneron and quite a few others – are using to manufacture the vaccines and therapeutics to combat the COVID-19 virus,” explains Logan’s Thermo Fisher BioCenter Director of Operations and Site Lead Dustin Warner.
The expanded BioCenter adds 68,000 square feet and includes a 20,000 square foot clean room, and the project’s completion could not have come at a more important time. Since the project’s initial announcement, the company’s capacity expansion projects became even more important because of Thermo Fisher’s large role in the world of developing vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19. Phase 2, which was to complete the second floor of the expansion (which will add an additional 10,000-15,000 square feet of clean room space), was moved up in its timeline because of the rapid growth in the marketplace
“We were already on this path, given our base business and the growth that we’ve seen in the marketplace and the attraction that comes with single use technologies,” Warner says. “The impact from COVID has simply expedited all of that.”
The products the Logan facility manufactures are very custom, taking plastic sheets of film and welding them together to produce the bioprocess container, as well as all of the final assembly using tubing, filters, connectors, etc. That assembly all takes place in these clean rooms where operators are dressed in gowns from head to toe to control particulates.
“This facility locally, here in Logan,” Warner adds, “will be positioned and have enough capacity to manufacture the chamber portion of those bioprocess containers to support multiple other downstream manufacturing facilities throughout the world.”
The Logan facility has grown to employ more than 1,400 people, with more employees needed.
“Our plans were to hire 200 employees to staff this expansion. We have already surpassed 300,” says Warner. “Two-hundred-fifty of that head count hiring has taken place since COVID has impacted all of us. We have been hiring as fast as we can all summer, fall and now into the winter.
“We plan to hire an additional 200 employees between now and the middle of 2021. We are definitely hiring…and we’re growing at a rapid rate.”
The majority of those jobs are operators and technicians working on the shop floor. Pay starts at $15.50/hour plus shift differential. Warner says there has also been a change in how employees work their shifts, going from traditional five-day, eight-hour shifts to a shorter week, working 12-hour shifts. He says this gives employees more days off during the week which will be beneficial to work-life/home-life balance and help fill the demand the facility is facing.
Warner says his crew loves Cache Valley and they’re excited to be on the front lines of something so impactful as creating and distributing a vaccine for COVID-19.
Thermo Fisher has facilities around the world that serve a variety of purposes in medical sciences industries.