INSIGHT ON: Economic Development – Recipe for success

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 :: Economic Development , Insight On
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer
Employees of Schreiber Foods began moving into the company’s $85 million headquarters in June. The new building on Washington Street will house 700 employees currently scattered across the city. Photo by Nikki Kallio.

Employees of Schreiber Foods began moving into the company’s $85 million headquarters in June. The new building on Washington Street will house 700 employees currently scattered across the city. Photo by Nikki Kallio

There is no secret to the latest ingredient added to Schreiber Foods’ recipe for success.

At five stories tall, with a gleaming exterior and more than 250,000 square feet of office, kitchen and research space, the new Schreiber Foods headquarters at 400 N. Washington is a landmark for all who pass through downtown Green Bay.

Employees began moving into the $85 million complex the last week of June, and all operations should be at the new facility by the middle of this month. The move, which is being staged one floor at a time, one week at a time, will consolidate operations currently scattered among 15 floors in six different buildings across the city.

Once moved in, as many as 700 people will be working on the site that was once occupied by the Port Plaza Mall.

“Everything will be significantly bigger and better for us,” Dan Puyleart, a research and development lab team leader, says. “We are all going to be under the same roof and can collaborate much easier.”

The new building represents a multi-year effort for the company, including two years of construction. Schreiber, the largest employee-owned dairy company in the world, is a leading supplier of products to restaurants, institutions, grocery stores and food manufacturers.

While the company’s global sales currently top more than $5 billion, employees moving into the new building anticipate increased opportunities now that they have the appropriate space for testing and other product development research the company’s previous facilities did not have.

A grand staircase welcomes visitors to the interior of Schreiber Foods’ new $85 million headquarters and technology center on Washington Street in Green Bay. The new building will allow the company to consolidate 700 employees spread across the city in six different buildings. Photo by Sean P. Johnson

A grand staircase welcomes visitors to the interior of Schreiber Foods’ new $85 million headquarters and technology center on Washington Street in Green Bay. The new building will allow the company to consolidate 700 employees spread across the city in six different buildings. Photo by Sean P. Johnson

When Corporate Chef Eric Scherwinski had the opportunity to show off the new product development kitchens, he couldn’t wait to share the possibilities he saw in the new space.

“Now we can actually invite our customers in to use our space so we can develop and test new products,” Scherwinski says. “We can also swap in different equipment so we could simulate an active line in a restaurant and see how we could make improvements that can help
the end user.”

The kitchen areas are on the first floor of the new building, and feature glass partitions that allow those walking through the main interior hallways to observe the chefs at work. The second floor is home to Schreiber’s technology center, where employees will have the latest equipment and specially designed labs to produce and test new products.

The third, fourth and fifth floors will be home to the leadership team and other administrative functions, as well as meeting space for both internal collaboration and client get-togethers, something that has been at a premium for many years in Schreiber’s other buildings.

The amenities of Schreiber’s new workspaces also extend to the exterior and public areas of the building as well. Limestone panels grace the exterior of the new complex, which sits adjacent to a well-manicured courtyard. A terrazzo and wood lobby greets visitors who enter through the main doors, and once inside, a five-story circular staircase draws visitors’ attention into the building’s interior.

Schreiber’s new complex is more than just a welcome new home to the company’s employees. It also represents a critical component of the city of Green Bay’s efforts to revitalize its downtown with new residential and business developments. The city demolished the old mall to make way for the new development, and used tax increment financing help pay for infrastructure improvements for the area.

Indeed, it often seems the entire downtown is one giant construction zone.

In fact, the perpetual construction season has become a bit of an inside joke among business leaders in the community. At the recent business recognition luncheon hosted by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, the theme was “breaking new ground,” and paid homage not only to the innovative work of area companies, but to the constant construction work going on around the city.

“We just figured that it fit all the things we have going on here,” says Sara Dodge, office manager with the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Dodge was particularly excited not only by massive commercial projects such as Schreiber, but also combination projects such as the expansion of the Titletown Brewery, which will include not only a new home for the brewery, but will adapt the long-dormant Larsen Cannery Co. buildings on Broadway for additional retail, office and event space.

Some components of the $3.5 million renovation are expected to open by the middle of the month, with onsite brewing operations opening up in September and the retail space coming online the following month.

The city of Green Bay contributed $500,000 to the project, which also was one of the first projects to qualify for the state’s expanded tax credits for renovating historic buildings.

The project received $800,000 from the state.

A cargo ship cruising into the Port of Green Bay. The port is finally shaking off the lingering effects of the long winter with a rapid uptick in cargo. Photo courtesy of the Port of Green Bay.

A cargo ship cruising into the Port of Green Bay. The port is finally shaking off the lingering effects of the long winter with a rapid uptick in cargo. Photo courtesy of the Port of Green Bay.

Picking up steam

The Port of Green Bay has finally shaken off the lingering effects of winter and is seeing an uptick in both traffic and tonnage since the delayed Great Lake shipping season is finally underway. Ice from the long winter had kept many shipments on the dockside.

During June, the port saw an increase of more than 77,000 tons of materials imported and exported compared to the same month in 2013. That increase narrowed the gap for year-to-date shipments which are now 4 percent below last year.

“The Port saw several healthy shipments come through in June which continues to help make up for the late start to the season,” says Dean Haen, director of the Brown County Port and Resource Recovery department. “We anticipate the remainder of the summer will produce solid results as well.”

Twenty-seven ships came through the port in June carrying cement, pig iron, petroleum products, coal and salt, according to port records.

Going West

West Corp., which specializes in managing technology and communication services for business, plans to expand into the Green Bay market.

A fixture in Appleton for more than 25 years, company leadership announced plans to open a new location on Hansen Road in the Village of Ashwaubenon that could eventually employ as many as 240 professionals.

The new offices were expected to open July 28.