Basically one week after presenting the “possibility of a project” publicly to the Nevada City Council and other governing boards, Burke Corporation officials were able to announce that the approximately $150 million expansion project was indeed coming to Nevada.
“A project of this size requires a significant amount of cooperation and collaboration to get off the ground and remain viable,” said Chad Randick, president of Burke Marketing Corporation. “The state of Iowa, the city of Nevada, the city of Ames and Story County Board of Supervisors have all been very helpful in getting us to this point in the process. I cannot say enough about all the individuals and teams that came together to make this happen.”
Burke Corp. is a manufacturing facility of Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), a global branded food company. Located in the south part of Nevada right along Highway 30, the Burke facility is one of the leading providers of pizza toppings and other fully cooked meat products in the food service and prepared food industries.
This 210,000-square-foot expansion is one of the largest in the company’s history. It adds to the current 225,000 square feet of production, warehouse and offices and will bring in an expected 210 new permanent jobs.
The expansion includes production area and equipment space to produce more products, primarily fully cooked crumbles and fully cooked meatballs, Randick said.
One key element of making this project happen was an agreement from the city of Ames to help with the extra wastewater that would be too much for the plant itself or the city of Nevada’s current wastewater treatment facility to handle. Nevada had already identified a need to build a new wastewater treatment facility, which should be operational in the fall of 2023. But with this Burke project anticipating completion in early 2020, a short-term agreement with Ames for wastewater treatment was key to the project’s approval.
“The city of Ames is pleased to play a role in the expansion of the Burke Corporation in Nevada by providing waste disposal services while the city of Nevada increases its plant’s capacity,” said Ames Mayor John Haila. ” We are committed to working together with surrounding communities, like Nevada, and assisting companies in Story County to grow and prosper, knowing that it strengthens our entire county.”
Randick said water treatment and usage continue to be a top priority at Burke and Hormel Foods. “We are committed to being a good corporate citizen, and we know that an expansion in our production capacity also requires further investments in our onsite wastewater treatment facility,” he said. “This investment will add enhanced technology to our already robust water efforts.”
Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods, said the expansion of the Burke facility is a significant and strategic investment, allowing the company to continue to expand and accelerate growth in our food-service portfolio. “Burke has been a leader in the pizza topping industry, and this expansion will provide them with the additional capacity to meet the growing demand for its products.”
Hormel foods purchased Burke Marketing Corp. from the Burke family in 2007, following a successful business relationship of many years. With Hormel choosing Nevada for an expansion, Randick said, “it reiterates our company’s commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen and a desired employer in this area. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of so many teams coming together and creating solutions to make this happen.”
Construction of the planned expansion will begin in the next few months, following anticipated approvals at the local and state level.
“On behalf of the city of Nevada, I extend my sincere thanks to the many partners who came together to make the Burke expansion project a reality,” said Brett Barker, mayor of Nevada. “Burke Corporation has been a cornerstone of the Nevada business community for generations. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this project for the community and our future economic development.”
Burke will continue to provide fully cooked meats to pizza operators, food manufacturers and food distributors – along with category-leading customization expertise, menu innovation and menu ideation during the expansion process.
The company will begin recruiting additional team members as the expansion nears completion. Randick reported that a variety of positions, such as warehouse and shipping professionals, quality assurance professionals, maintenance professionals and production professionals at several starting grades, are a few of the types of careers that will be available, and that all of these positions will come with competitive wages and benefits. Currently, of Burke’s 350 team members, Randick said roughly 55 percent live within Nevada or Story County. Other’s commute in from the greater Central Iowa area.
“I want to emphasize that it is our team here at Burke, and the passion, dedication and engagement they put forth day in and day out, that has brought us to the point of making an expansion happen,” Randick said. “Additionally, the great partnerships with the city, county and state offices that helped us through this process were outstanding. We are excited to see this project come to fruition and cannot wait until the spring of 2020 when it opens.”