PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Stryker Corporation could have picked anywhere in the world to build its new state-of-the-art research and development facility. It chose to stay close to home.
The medical equipment company will build its new facility on a 75-acre lot off Portage Road south of E. Milham Avenue in Portage — only about a mile from Stryker World Headquarters. Though construction crews have already started moving dirt to prepare the site, construction on the new building actually begins Wednesday.
“This is really exciting,” Stryker CEO and Chairman Kevin Lobo said. “I love the sight of dirt. It means we’re growing.”
There was plenty of dirt to go around Monday as Stryker broke ground on the 485,000-square-foot facility.
“This is huge,” said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
It’s what will sit on top of the dirt that has people talking. Stryker will move about 1,000 employees currently spread across five Kalamazoo locations to one central building.
“Which helps strengthen the culture, helps strengthen innovation and collaboration critical for the success of a business,” Spencer Stiles, the president of the Instruments Division for Stryker, explained.
He said the employees will specialize in the design, creation and development of products used in orthopedic surgery.
The new facility will have a customer experience center and showroom, as well as research and development and bio-skills labs.
“People know about the automotive research and development that happens (in Michigan), but what I love about this … is it’s been such a long-term, important part of the economy, this really secures that future,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said.
Calley said Stryker’s new facility will keep jobs in Michigan.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “We’ve been blessed in Michigan to have a lot of companies that have been here a very long time. But we should never assume that they will always be there.”
“We’ve actually built it to allow for additional capacity over time, as we’ll continue to grow and attract talent from all over the globe here to Kalamazoo, Michigan,” Stiles added.