Koch prioritizes Brandon with new administration building

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After a nearly two-year delay, Koch Fertilizer Canada celebrated the opening of its new $30 million administration building on Wednesday.

Brandon is Koch’s only facility in Canada. The new administrative building will bring together operations, logistics, sales and marketing as well as more than 100 employees under one roof.

Premier Heather Stefanson, Mayor Rick Chrest, provincial ministers and other dignitaries were on hand Wednesday to celebrate the grand opening of the new administration building and tour the facilities.

“This building represents a $30 million investment in our Brandon community,” said Kelly Simonson, General Manager of Koch Fertilizer Canada. “Our people have made this investment possible. By applying Koch’s market-based management culture combined with the exceptional skills, knowledge and experience of our team, we have been able to build a world-class operation.”

Although originally promised, the Sun was denied a question-and-answer session, as well as a scrum with the prime minister and a tour of the facilities.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 2019 for the new building, but it faced construction delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-story building was originally scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The office building measures 54,000 square feet and accommodates 288 employees, consolidating employees from five buildings into one.

The $33 million project, one of the largest investments ever made at the Brandon site, is the first of several significant improvements designed for expansion, efficiency, environmental improvements and performance in matters of health and safety. Koch Fertilizer plans to invest nearly $130 million in overall site improvements over the coming years.

Horizon Builders Ltd., established in Brandon 40 years ago, was chosen as the general contractor for the project.

“Supporting Brandon’s local economy is central to our philosophy,” said Simonson. “We are committed to being a good corporate citizen, a preferred supplier and a good employer for our team.”

Koch Industries, Inc. is a privately held company with 130,000 employees, operating in 60 countries around the world. The company provides materials to strengthen plants and potentially improve crop yield. The Brandon location has been in place for 55 years and in continuous operation since 1966.

Stefanson praised the new building for the potential impact it will have on all of Manitoba. The Koch Building represents a significant investment in the province, complementing the economic recovery and growth outlined in Manitoba’s 2022 budget.

“That’s exactly the type of investment we want to attract here in Manitoba,” Stefanson said.

She hopes the province will continue to attract future businesses to grow Manitoba’s economy and pay for social services, including health care and education.

“It’s an important part of our economic development and growth strategy.”

Sandy Trudel, Brandon’s director of economic development, described Koch as “the blood of our economic activity” in the Brandon area.

Westman is an agriculture-based economy and a critical partner. She appreciates the confidence shown in the local and regional economy through Koch’s investment in Brandon.

“Thank you for placing your trust not only in Brandon, but also in Manitoba,” said Trudel.

Many Brandon residents have ties to the Koch fertilizer plant, Mayor Rick Chrest said.

He grew up in the east of the city and witnessed the construction of the factory in the 1960s. He then worked at the establishment for a short time in the old administration building more than 30 years ago years.

Koch’s commitment to constructing a new administration building showed that the company is deepening its roots in the community, Chrest said. The investment ensures that hundreds of residents will continue to be employed at the plant in the future, while supporting numerous suppliers, industry partners and customers.

“There are few nobler endeavors than making inputs to grow food in our world, and this plant that we are so proud of does just that,” Chrest said. “We are very, very proud to have Koch in our community for so long.”

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