One of the nation’s largest chemical companies is taking a firmer hold in the Delaware Valley. Dow Chemical Company has signed a long-term lease for a new research facility in Collegeville, Pa.
The Michigan-based company, which has a hand in everything from paint coatings to carpet adhesives to makeup, already develops a lot of its products in the Delaware Valley, employing about 2,000 people. Most recently, Dow acquired Rohm & Haas in Philadelphia in 2009, building on its four other area sites in Bristol, Pa., Newark, De., Pennsauken, N.J. and Spring House, Pa.
But over the next year and a half, the approximate 800 employees from Dow’s Spring House facility, located in the Upper Providence Township, will move into a new facility, leased from Pfizer, in Collegeville.
“They could have moved anywhere. Dow is a Midwest company,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who joined Dow leaders and employees for a ribbon cutting at the new facility on Wednesday. “I think it’s a tribute to the people in Pennsylvania.”
While Dow was looking to find a new place for their Spring House research, CEO Andrew Liveris said a big factor in staying close by was retaining its local talent.
“Indeed we are setting down roots,” said Liveris. “We intend to grow, and this [facility] is a cornerstone of those roots.”
Corbett said he hopes Dow’s presence will help breed a future generation of scientists from the region.
Nilesh Shah, research director for the facility, hopes it will breed even more new products. In contrast to the Spring House campus, comprised of 16 separate buildings, the new space will bring everyone under one roof.
“If a person is a floor away, you probably didn’t see them,” said Nilesh, let alone if they’re in another building. He said the new setup lends to more interactions and, in turn, more opportunities for new ideas to emerge.