The dedication of a new, state-of-the-art research and development facility at Kemin Industries’ corporate headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, revealed an open-concept layout and 1,215 feet of linear research bench space as requested by the company’s scientists and researchers.
The $16.7 million, 46,300 square foot Molecular Advancement Center (MAC), includes two general labs, six shared labs, three pilot labs, a sensory lab, a test kitchen and a personal care application research lab. In addition to providing ample bench space, the building includes a café serving Starbucks coffee in an environment that encourages collaboration, creativity and innovation.
The MAC is already occupied by approximately 60 scientists, researching and developing products for the feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. The company’s existing Innovation Center continues to operate at full capacity with scientists focused on discovery research and pet food.
“This new facility is more than a building. It represents our confidence in employees, commitment to Des Moines, and vision to improve the quality of life of half the world’s population,” said Kemin President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. “The world today provides an enormous challenge for where we, Kemin, need to go in the next few years. By 2050, an estimated 9 billion people will occupy the planet. They will require 70 percent more food than we have today. Kemin is dedicated to making food available for the 9 billion people that will inhabit the planet and it is our mission and passion to do that with safe, nutritious food on a worldwide basis.”
Plans for the MAC were first announced when Kemin shared its worldwide expansion in October of 2010. At that time, the company committed to adding 98 new positions and has already exceeded that number, to date hiring 137 new, full-time jobs. When the expansion is complete, Kemin will have added six new manufacturing facilities, three new research facilities and a new corporate headquarters building—altogether a more than $40 million investment.
Nearly 150 scientists from Des Moines and around the world participated in the dedication of the Molecular Advancement Center. With 26 open positions, Dr. Nelson discussed the importance of STEM education as it relates to the company’s ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce, “As we look around this morning, the key to this building is not the building but the people who work in the building. I can’t talk to you enough about the importance of STEM education in the next five to ten years. It builds the jobs in Iowa and the jobs in the world that bring us forward in so many technological areas and allow us to feed the enormous numbers of people on this planet.”