Holdrege’s Largest Employer Selected For PCDC Award
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
In the mid-1960s, Phelps County leaders had the vision to grow Holdrege.
They heard about a company that wanted to expand in Nebraska, and they took action to recruit Beckon-Dickinson to Phelps County.
BD started its Holdrege operations on October 16, 1966, in a 12,000-square-foot building with 66 employees. Today, BD’s facility spans close to 400,000 square feet, and it has grown to become the county’s largest employer with more than 600 workers in a variety of well-paying jobs. The Holdrege BD plant is the world’s largest producer of insulin syringes, manufacturing more than 2 billion syringes each year and millions of other devices that are distributed around the world.
In the past 10 years, BD has invested more than $300 million in plant upgrades and expansions in the Holdrege plant. In October, BD announced an additional $40 million investment that will create another 35 new jobs, which will bring the total local employment close to 650.
Because of those recent investments, along with BD’s strong community support through donations and volunteer work, its support of economic development efforts and its dedication to providing scholarships and apprenticeships to area students, PCDC has selected BD as a 2020 Business Hall of Fame honoree.
BD will be honored at the PCDC Annual Meeting on March 19. The theme of the event is “Do Epic Stuff: Never Underestimate the Power of Thinking Small.”
PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said the leaders who recruited BD to Holdrege 54 years ago were big thinkers who weren’t afraid to “do epic stuff.”
“I know only fragments of BD's history and how they came to select Holdrege, but I'm guessing civic leaders took a leap of faith to win the project,” he said.
That kind of big thinking is what it will take to grow Holdrege into the future, Tillery said.
“The payoff may not be fully realized in our lifetimes, but what we do today will sculpt the community that Holdrege will be in 50 years,” Tillery said. “We can't afford to think small because that's what we will get.”
Tillery said that BD has been an excellent partner in economic development efforts. In 2017, BD was recognized nationally by the “Trade & Industry Development” magazine with a CiCi Award (Corporate Investment and Community Impact). It was one of 15 companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, to receive the award.
BD also supports local students. The company recently started offering scholarships and an apprenticeship program to give area students a chance to earn a college education and to help BD in efforts to recruit a talented local workforce.
“Our goal is to help students who live in this area to start their careers and get going,” said BD’s Human Resources Manager Brian Deakin. “I’m passionate about keeping our kids home and giving them great opportunities and growing our area.”
Deakin said the recent investments in the Holdrege plant show the confidence that BD has in the local operations and employees.
BD also is a leader in the Central Nebraska Manufacturing Area Sector Partnership, a coalition of regional manufacturers, schools, Central Community College and other agencies formed to overcome challenges to growing the local economy, such as transportation, workforce development and training. Deakin helped organize the group and is excited about the progress made so far.
BD will be recognized and inducted into the Phelps County Business Hall of Fame at PCDC’s annual meeting on March 19. The event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased for $35 each in advance by calling PCDC at (308) 995-4148. Tickets will be $40 at the door.