Policy

STERIS spending $11M to build customer solutions center, renovate

STERIS Corp. (NYSE: STE) is investing $11 million in an headquarters expansion to create an interactive showcase for its health technologies that it hopes will change the way it works with customers. The Mentor, Ohio maker of infection prevention, decontamination and health science technologies will use more than $5 million in city and state tax […]

STERIS Corp. (NYSE: STE) is investing $11 million in an headquarters expansion to create an interactive showcase for its health technologies that it hopes will change the way it works with customers.

The Mentor, Ohio maker of infection prevention, decontamination and health science technologies will use more than $5 million in city and state tax incentives to build a Customer Solutions Center and renovate existing buildings to improve organizational efficiency and enhance team communication, coordination and collaboration, STERIS said in a release.

The project also will enable the company to transfer to its Mentor headquarters most of the 240 research and development, equipment planning and design, customer service, training and finance jobs from an Erie, Pa. facility it is closing. STERIS now employs about 800 people in Mentor.

“This investment will not only transform the Mentor campus, it will transform the overall experience for our customers of doing business with STERIS,” said Walt Rosebrough, the company’s president and chief executive officer, in the release.

“This interactive environment will facilitate collaboration between healthcare providers and STERIS experts, and enable decision makers to plan and achieve optimal facility solutions for their projects,” Rosebrough said. “We will combine our best technology and our brightest people to help design projects that specifically meet complex healthcare facility requirements and seamlessly incorporate the sophisticated technology being used in today’s operating rooms and surgery centers.”

“Collaboration” has been a growth concept for STERIS in recent years. The company works with GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and Siemens, among other companies, to create hybrid operating rooms for hospitals and surgical centers. STERIS makes the lights, tables, booms and communications equipment for the rooms that accommodate surgical and imaging procedures at the same time.

STERIS project design professionals custom design hybrid rooms for hospitals and plan equipment layout for streamlined installations. After completion of the Customer Solutions Center — a 55,000-square-foot building expected to open in February 2011 — the design pros will be able to invite clients to the center to show off their design skills.

Collaboration between the Ohio Department of Development and Mentor put the building project — and its tax incentives — together. “We are working every day to lay a foundation for Ohio’s growth, and a cornerstone of our plan is to make strategic investments in high-growth industries such as bioscience,” said Gov. Ted Strickland, who joined STERIS employees and government officials at a Tuesday afternoon unveiling of the project.

“Our partnership with STERIS is creating good Ohio jobs that are hard to outsource and strengthening Northeast Ohio’s leadership position in the bioscience industry,” Strickland said in a written statement.

That partnership extends to Mentor. Several years ago, Mentor’s economic development director, Ron Traub, and his colleagues identified a biomedical cluster in their city from a list of companies published by the Food and Drug Administration.

Since then, the city has been trying to cultivate the companies, bringing their leaders together for informal discussions, advertising the cluster in regional publications, and developing a novel incubator program for biomedical and other companies. The city has granted STERIS a Mentor Incentive Grant — a 50 percent income tax rebate for 10 years, Traub said.

The local partnership could go both ways. While STERIS customers are visiting, they will need places to sleep and eat. “STERIS is going to be bringing in dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people to its Mentor campus to view its technology,” Traub said. That offers the city a “positive secondary effect” of hotel, restaurant and entertainment income, he said.

And it was collaboration that started STERIS. “Few people may realize that in 1986, STERIS technology was initially sported by a grant from the Thomas Edison program, a precursor of the Ohio Third Frontier,” said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of the Ohio development department. “It helped STERIS launch its first product, and since then, the company has grown significantly, showcasing the success of public-private partnerships.”