Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Middletown site celebrates 40 years

By The Winchester Star

Thermo Fisher Scientific has tripled in size and scope since Jeffrey Vaughan went to work there in July 1978.

“It’s a good opportunity for locals,” the Luray resident said on Thursday during a 40th anniversary celebration at the facility on Valley Pike (U.S. 11).

Vaughan was one of the plant’s first employees. He retired in March as manager of environmental health and safety. “It was a good place to work.”

Thermo Fisher is a Massachusetts-based biotechnology product development company that makes medical products and laboratory equipment, with revenues of $18 billion and more than 55,000 employees globally. It became Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2006 with the merger of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific.

The Frederick County facility, just south of Middletown, began as Technicon Instruments in 1978. It has changed names several times over the years through various transitions. The local facility currently has 370 employees.

“Even 15 years ago, it was just half that,” plant manager John Schuler said.

The 325,000-square-foot Middletown plant, located on 18 acres, makes in vitro diagnostic testing instruments, which are used to detect diseases, infections and other conditions.

Schuler said worldwide demand for the products is increasing, especially in Asia. Thermo Fisher is prepared to expand its Middletown site, having purchased an adjacent 9-acre lot for $640,000 last year, according to county tax records.

Thermo Fisher also invested $9.5 million in the Middletown facility in 2017, creating 57 new jobs.

Schuler said there are no immediate plans to expand, but the company wants to be prepared. He said the regional workforce makes the Middletown site a prime candidate for expansion. “The commitment and dedication of all the employees here … is really special,” he said.

Mona Simpson started working for Thermo Fisher in Pittsburgh updating sale listings on the internet. After five years with the company, she has been moved to the Middletown plant for five months as a manufacturing supervisor.

“I enjoy it,” she said of the area. “There’s a lot of interesting people.”

Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV attended Thursday’s picnic celebration.

“Thermo Fisher is absolutely vital to out town’s economy,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to 40 more years.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.