NEWINGTON - Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., emphasized the importance of job creation and U.S. exports to sustain a global flow of products during a Monday morning tour of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The former New Hampshire governor said she never had the opportunity to tour the 139,000-square-foot facility when she held the top post in the state and considered her visit on Monday to be a great opportunity to get a peek inside one of the state's leading research and development companies.
"This is the kind of business we like to see in New Hampshire," Shaheen said. "It's the type of company that is going to keep us competitive."
Monday's tour featured employees of the Nimble Hill Road facility delivering a brief presentation on the company, as well as a tour of the manufacturing facility, which manufactures liquid temperature control equipment, including recirculating baths, chillers and heat exchangers for laboratory use.
Michael Karsonovich, vice president of Thermo Fisher Scientific's Temperature Control Business, told Shaheen the local facility is only one part of a much larger worldwide initiative.
With 35,000 employees worldwide, Karsonovich said, the company's Newington site employs more than 200 people and is a major employer in the region. Thermo Fisher employs more than 850 people statewide.
The company generates about $10 billion in revenue worldwide and serves 350,000 customers in 150 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Major customers include the U.S. Department of Defense and Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Fujifilm, Kodak and Pfizer.
"We're also really growing in India," Karsonovich said.
Shaheen said the continued international growth points to a focal point of hers while in office, which has been to find ways to help American companies get access to better financial markets.
"Ninety-five percent of the markets are outside of the U.S., and only 1 percent of small businesses are doing business outside of the U.S., so it's a big issue as companies continue to think about growth," Shaheen said.
Shaheen said she was also pleased to learn the Newington facility created 15 new jobs in the past six months and plans to hire a few more in the coming months. Karsonovich said the company is working to expand as the market gradually comes back.
Calling it "good news," Shaheen congratulated the company for its continued growth through a difficult economy.
In addition to praising its efforts, Shaheen also questioned how the company finds and employs its workers at the local level. In addition to drawing employes from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, the company also offers internships and attracts potential employees from engineering programs at the University of New Hampshire and area trade schools, Karsonovich said.
Shaheen emphasized the importance of reaching out to high school guidance counselors in order to better prepare graduates who don't choose to attend college.
Monday's visit also gave employees a chance to let Shaheen in on a few national issues the company is following closely. Issues such as the impact of health care reform, stimulus funding opportunities and cap and trade were examined, as well as the potential for climate change legislation.
Shaheen said if legislators can come up with a bill that addresses climate change and energy, companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific will continue to prosper.
"That's the kind of policy change that would make a big difference for a company like this," Shaheen said. "It would make a very positive difference."