The value of partnerships was made clear Tuesday, when under sunny skies about 80 people gathered for the official ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of Swagelok’s $45 million Global Headquarters and Innovation Center.
“As a city, you can’t do it alone,” Mayor Edward H. Kraus said during opening remarks outside the front doors of the 125,000-square-foot building at the corner of Solon and Cochran roads. “I’m so proud of the public partnership Solon and Swagelok has.
“Solon would not be Solon without Swagelok, and I believe Swagelok would not be Swagelok without Solon,” he said.
Mayor Kraus called the opening Solon’s greatest achievement and the greatest challenge and achievement of his administration.
“This represents the partnership with Swagelok and what Solon is all about,” the mayor added. “That is innovation, growth and technology.”
“We are proud to be a partner,” Thomas Lozick, chairman and chief executive officer and grandson of Swagelok founder Fred A. Lennon said in his opening comments.
Mr. Lozick was joined by his mother Cathey Lozick, daughter of Mr. Lennon, who tearfully addressed the crowd, reflecting on the company’s humble beginnings and its growth and success.
“I’m so proud you took this legacy and moved it forward,” she said to Mr. Lozick.
The center, which opened officially Aug. 2 and has an overall modern and contemporary design, began being constructed in September of 2019. It sits on the site of the company’s original global headquarters that opened in Solon in 1965 and is the 15th Swagelok building on the Solon campus.
Swagelok, which was founded by Mr. Lennon in 1947 and is a leading manufacturer of valves and tube fittings, chose the city and its property there to construct the headquarters after a three-month site selection process in 2019 throughout Northeast Ohio.
The center has space for 350 new jobs.
“This is just great for economic development all the way around,” Economic Development Manager Angee Shaker said, adding that the headquarters will serve to bring even more businesses to Solon.
“This is just a tremendous moment of pride for the entire city,” Mrs. Shaker said. “We are delighted to be part of this celebration today and look forward to the decades ahead with this wonderful company.”
The opening also represented a collaboration and partnership with the Solon Schools, representatives of which were in attendance including board members and Superintendent Fred Bolden.
“I see this as a representation of the partnership between the schools and the city,” Mr. Bolden said, adding that Solon schools were able to help with necessary tax abatements.
“We are happy to see this,” Mr. Bolden said. “As the city grows and develops, it always helps the schools.”
“It’s wonderful to see how Swagelok put a state-of-the-art facility in Solon,” said Glenn Richardson, managing director for advanced manufacturing and aerospace for Jobs Ohio.
This project is not only about jobs, Mr. Richardson noted, but Swagelok having a great impact on the industry as a whole. It also speaks to their investment and future growth, he said.
Attendees on hand also included representatives from Team NEO and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s offices, among others.
Mr. Lozick noted that plans for the headquarters took shape in 2014, with an eventual design aesthetic that honors the company’s heritage and embraces collaboration.
With nearly 5,700 employees worldwide, 4,400 of which are in Ohio, Swagelok ties with Nestle as the largest employer in the city.
Following the ribbon cutting, attendees toured the inside of the building, including the first floor Customer Collaboration and Innovation Center and 15,000 square foot lab.
“The objective was to have a world class customer experience center,” Chris Rhodes, project manager, described.
The new center will provide Swagelok’s associates with best-in-class workstations and new amenities such as work cafes and outdoor spaces and represents a strong visual representation of their brand and values, he continued.
“It’s a purpose-built space,” Mr. Rhodes said.
All of the company’s “customer-facing teams” will be located within the headquarters, he continued, with meeting rooms designed to be flexible and configured to meet the needs of clients, many of whom travel worldwide to the center.
The global headquarters is home to Swagelok’s marketing, engineering, communications and distribution support, Mr. Rhodes added.
“This is Solon,” Mayor Kraus said. “This is our future and why we are the strongest community in Northeast Ohio.”
He thanked Swagelok for being an integral part of “Team Solon.”
“We are proud to call the city home of our global headquarters since 1965,” Mr. Lozick said. “I’m honored to continue that tradition.”