Niagara Bottling keeps growing in Frederickson
The Niagara Bottling Frederickson plant just completed a $35 million dollar expansion that adds another line and more jobs to the local economy.
It’s the third expansion since the plant opened in 2014 and the latest chapter in a Pierce County business recruitment triumph that keeps on giving.
Big economic win, great community fit
Niagara, a leading beverage manufacturer in the U.S, has been part of the Pierce County landscape since 2012 when it announced plans to build its 311,000-square-foot state-of-the-art bottling facility in the Frederickson Industrial Center. The project initially represented a capital investment of around $50 million and created 36 jobs. When it opened its doors two years later, it was Niagara’s first bottling facility in Pacific Northwest and one of only 14 in the nation.
The Niagara facility was a huge economic development win for the South Sound. The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County Washington State Department of Commerce, Pierce County, WorkForce Central and other local partners helped make it happen. And the unified voice that welcomed Niagara to Pierce County in 2012 remains loud and clear.
“When Niagara choose Pierce County in 2012, everyone involved knew this dynamic, environmentally-conscious manufacturing company would be a great corporate neighbor and an excellent community fit,” said EDB Vice President for Business Retention Maddie Merton. “We are pleased to offer continued support through their growth and expansion.”
“The EDB and other community partners have provided great support from the start,” said Niagara Bottling Senior Plant Director Ron Thalheimer. “The response is always immediate for whatever we need, from face-to-face meetings to grant incentives to access to talent across industries.”
Focus on people
Workforce assistance has been particularly valuable, Thalheimer said. When the right people are hired, he said, Niagara has a plan to ensure their success within the facility and beyond.
Niagara’s management development program has been especially fruitful in Frederickson. Individuals are hired full time for an 18-month stretch and exposed to all the plant’s departments. At the end of the program, workers are placed where they fit best, often right in the Frederickson facility.
There have also been several entry-level-to-management success stories. For instance, the current human resources manager and production manager both started at the plant as production operators. Last year alone, 15 individuals were promoted from within, while others (including a current plant engineer) have launched careers through the facility’s internship program.
Part of a booming neighborhood
Niagara is one of several familiar players in the Frederickson Industrial Center, a major hub for manufacturing and distribution. Notable neighbors include James Hardie, Toray Composite Materials America, Inc., IKEA, Whirlpool Corporation, Medallion Foods, Oldcastle Infrastructure and more. (Fun fact: Each of these companies represents a successful EDB recruitment case.)
There are now more than 5,200 jobs in the Frederickson center and more on the way with the development of FRED310, a huge commercial and industrial property suited for large manufacturing, distribution and logistics operations.