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Updated: July 30, 2018 Fact Book 2018

Centralizing R&D, marketing, manufacturing and an HQ — in Maine

Photo / Courtesy Idexx
Jonathan Ayers, chairman and CEO of IDEXX Laboratories Inc., leads a company with annual sales of more than $1.97 billion and growing.

In late spring, IDEXX Laboratories Inc., lead by Chairman and CEO Jonathan Ayers, broke ground on a $62 million expansion of its Synergy East facility in Westbrook. The project, expected for completion in 2019, calls for a multi-level, 135,000-square-foot space that will include a large conference center and modern workspace for up to 600 workers, as well as parking and improved outdoor spaces. The city of Westbrook has agreed to extend its tax increment financing deal for 10 years.

It’s been a bright time for IDEXX, which makes diagnostic tests for pets, poultry and livestock, plus quality and safety tests for water and milk, and employs more than 7,500 people worldwide.

In February, IDEXX announced that 2017 revenues had reached $1.97 billion, up 11% over the previous year. The company boosted its financial outlook for 2018, saying revenues are expected to increase 14%, to $2.2 billion, reflecting expectations for continued strong operating performance, a lower effective tax rate related to federal tax reform and benefits from foreign exchange.

This year the company made its debut in the Fortune 1000, ranking No. 961.

The company announced that it would share the benefits of federal tax reform with employees by paying more into their retirement plans. The company will do a dollar-to-dollar match for the funds each 401(k) participant contributes, up to 5% of an employee’s salary.

“IDEXX is a company defined by our innovation, fueled by engaged employees who are passionate about our purpose and serving our customers,” said Ayers. “Combined with the fact that people love their pets worldwide — with millennials loving their pets even more than previous generations — that focus is the basis for IDEXX’s sustained success.”

Ayers discussed the company’s local expansion plans with Mainebiz.

Mainebiz: What were the forces driving the need for expansion of your Westbrook headquarters?

Jonathan Ayers: IDEXX’s continued employee growth is the main reason we need to increase our physical space — we’ve maxed out of the space we have for employees so it’s time to expand beyond our current walls.

MB: You have clients and employees all over the globe. Why invest in Maine?

JA: The city of Westbrook and state of Maine have been great partners to IDEXX. Moreover, we believe in the power of one central campus, purpose-built to foster collaboration and innovation. For example, we find co-locating teams — such as R&D, product marketing and manufacturing — leads to faster and higher quality product launches.

MB: What types of positions are most challenging to recruit and retain workers?

JA: To give you an idea of the skills we look for, more than one in 10 IDEXX employees have DVM [Doctor of Veterinary Medicine] or Ph.D degrees. We also need engineers of all types, including software engineers. Recruiting this type of advanced-skill set is a unique challenge — as is recruiting other highly-skilled functions. We find that our purpose — to enhance the health and well-being of pets, people and livestock — is very compelling and that helps us successfully attract and retain talent. Our technologies speak for pets who can’t otherwise communicate about their health issues.

MB: What strategies have been most effective in recruiting and retaining talent?

JA: We have found that our continued growth and ongoing innovation to advance veterinary medicine attracts talent.

MB: What has not worked?

JA: Because of Maine’s limited talent pool, it’s critical to keep an eye on our three-, five- and even 10-year workforce planning so that we have the internal resources to meet our growth objectives. And many of the specialized skills we need we have to bring in from out of state.

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