An open house and special celebration at Liberty Pumps Thursday meant as much to employee Dylan Mackey as it did for any of the top brass speaking on stage in the newly debuted Link Building.
Mackey, 27, has been with the company since 2013, going from part-time in fabrication, earning his degree at Genesee Community College and eventually moving into a full-time information technology position as supervisor.
He is one of the 330 people who not only work at the Bergen company but claim part ownership in it as well. Liberty Pumps is family and employee-owned.
The announcement of another expansion — an 80,000-square-foot warehouse and 30,000-square-foot Link Building — was good news for everyone, Mackey said.
“Working at Liberty Pumps is wonderful. Everybody is very kind. There's no arguments in the workplace. Everybody knows we're all on the same team. We're all doing the same thing,” he said. “Tonight … it’s definitely a celebration for sure.”
Employees watched a video about the company’s growth along with an audience of several hundred visitors and local officials. Mackey said that not everything goes smoothly with each attempt, but seeing this expansion “and seeing the changes made to it and seeing the new parts of the company added into that, it’s a sense of pride, right?”
“It's a hey, I'm part of that, there's a ton of us that are a part of that,” he said. “That's really what it is.”
This is the third expansion for Liberty, located at 7000 Apple Tree Ave., Bergen. The last one was in 2016, when it “literally felt like we had a sea of space that was going to meet our needs for a very long time,” President and CEO Robyn Brookhart said.
“But as we introduced new products and expanded existing lines, and have been ultra fortunate to experience steady and solid growth, our building was busting at the seams,” she said. “So the building expansion team was assembled, and the planning began. And here we are 18 months later in this beautiful and seemingly enormous new space.”
The cavernous Link Building temporarily featured tables and chairs for guests, a photo booth, serving stations for beverages and hors d’oeuvres and a stage for the speakers and musical entertainment. Other open house activities included a self-guided tour with a map and QR codes to learn more about several areas, such as accounting, the cafeteria, customer support, product engineering, a fitness center, machine shop, purchasing, sales and marketing, shipping and technical customer support.
A few guests were late to the special presentation, and staff member Jenna graciously seated them in a golf cart to zip them through the spacious plant, zig-zagging left and right down lanes, to party central — the Link Building.
Genesee County Economic Development Center was given a nod for having been involved in the early inception days of Liberty Pumps, and CEO Steve Hyde asked, “where would you rather be but right here right now, celebrating your guys' collective success?”
“This has just been a great story. I’ve been working with (Board Chairman Charlie Cook) now, and our paths have connected in so many ways. He was the chairman of the GCEDC board for a few years and did a great job. I worked with him on the Regional Economic Development Councils, and we’re nothing but thrilled to be a small part of participating in their ongoing growth,” Hyde said. “And you see a company like Liberty Pumps just growing like they have. I’ve been in this position 20 years now, and I’ve been here for three of those major expansions. When I got the role Charlie, you just finished your first 60,000 square feet. And now look at it today. You’re five times bigger … six times larger employment than back in 2003.”
When the company broke ground for the project, the employee total was at 300, with an expected 30 more to be added. At that time, Cook said it will “relieve congestion in our current structure and free up much-needed manufacturing space for large pump systems. That’s become a significant part of our business, and we’re pleased to better support our customers with this addition.”
Since opening in 1965, Liberty Pumps has become a leading manufacturer of sump, effluent, and sewage pumps and systems for residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial applications.
The 185-acre business park developed by the GCEDC has approximately 350,000 square feet of facilities at Apple Tree Acres.
“Your success is going to continue to roll, and we look forward to being there for you the next time you're ready to expand,” Hyde said. “Thank you, Robyn. Thank you, Charlie. Thank you, team. We're thrilled to be here tonight.”
Genesee County Legislators Christian Yunker, Shelley Stein and Gregg Torrey attended the event. Torrey took a tour of the massive facility and saw nothing but positives everywhere.
“It just means a tremendous amount for just the jobs it creates. It’s a homegrown company that’s created 350, 330 jobs. It's amazing. And I see all these employees here at this event, and it’s like 600 people here for this cutting edge facility, and they’re on a continual path to increase the square foot and growing the company, it’s just a great local story for Genesee County,” he said. “It’s really impressive. Everything is state of the art. It’s probably the cleanest manufacturing facility I’ve ever seen, it’s just beautiful.”
Top Photo: President and CEO Robyn Brookhart welcomes guests and announces the expansion project during an open house at Liberty PumpsThursday evening; guests tour the facility in Bergen, watch demonstrations, and enjoy refreshments, and live musical entertainment. Photos by Howard Owens.