By Charis Anderson
New Bedford is aggressively courting life sciences companies to locate and expand in the city, an effort that could ultimately pay off in the creation of well-paying jobs for the region, officials said at a life sciences forum Thursday.
“These are jobs in skilled manufacturing for our people now,” said Matthew Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
The city’s assets — what it has to offer the life sciences sector — were touted Thursday at a forum held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and co-sponsored by the city and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
The city’s recruitment efforts, aggressive though they might be, need support from state-level organizations such as the Life Sciences Center, according to Morrissey.
“This is indeed a team sport,” he said. “They” — Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Windham-Bannister and state Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki — “get what is required to create jobs in places like New Bedford.”
The Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency created by the Legislature in June 2006 to oversee Gov. Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion life sciences initiative. The life sciences field includes biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and the environment.
“We continue in Massachusetts to have a leadership role in innovation in the life sciences,” said Windham-Bannister. “We are, ourselves, part of the innovation process.”
The center invests in and supports the life sciences industry in Massachusetts in a range of ways, including funding capital infrastructure improvements, issuing tax incentives to life sciences companies and investing directly in companies, according to Windham-Bannister.
The center’s goal “is really to focus not only on good science but (also) on good business,” she said. “Job creation is our number one objective.”
The New Bedford Business Park is already home to four large medical device companies and two start-up life sciences companies, according to Tom Davis, executive director of the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation.
Morgan Advanced Ceramics, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, employs about 175 people in a 55,000-square-foot space and is looking to expand, said Brian Roznoy, the company’s vice president and general manager.
The company primarily sells its ceramic components to medical companies, but it also has a presence in the aerospace, power, and security and defense markets, according to Roznoy.
“We have a solid foundation,” he said. “We sell into strategic markets that have very good growth opportunities.”
Symmetry Medical, another company located in the business park, recently relocated some research and development activities from its headquarters in Indiana to its New Bedford location, according to Bill Frey, senior vice president at the company.
Five Star Companies is a local company that has expanded over the past decade into a 27,500-square-foot facility in the business park, according to David Cabral, the company’s vice president.
“The opportunities in the local area are tremendous,” Cabral said.
February 04, 2011 12:00 AM