Toni Garrard Clay

Steritec partners with ‘integral’ AEDC

By Toni Garrard Clay Special to the Review Athens Daily Review

Charles Jenkins’ business, Steritec, was the very first to be located in the Athens Industrial Park.

Though, in point of fact, there was no industrial park in 1992 when Jenkins broke ground on the land given to him by the Athens Economic Development Corporation.

The park and the city’s medical device manufacturing industry, grew up around Steritec soon after.

“AEDC was integral in getting the industrial park going, and they definitely made it easier for us to be here,” said Jenkins, president and CEO of Steritec.

In fact, Jenkins spoke at length on the “crucial” role of the economic development corporation.

“The AEDC is absolutely vital for Athens,” he said. “They are necessary for elevating our status as a city, and we need them.”

The original partnership between AEDC and Steritec resumed last year when Jenkins approached the economic development corporation’s leadership about the addition of another sterilization unit.

As a result of the agreement reached, the economic development corporation in July presented Jenkins $42,000 for the company’s completion of the million-dollar project.

Steritec spent $200,000 to renovate their facility in order to acquire and install a state-of-the-art sterilizer for $800,000.

Steritec can earn up to an additional $7,250 if they add additional jobs over the next two years.

“The services provided by Steritec help to keep Athens at the forefront of the medical device industry,” said AEDC Executive Director Lisa Denton. “They are an asset to the community, not only in this way, but also with the quality jobs they provide for our citizens.”

Steritec sterilizes single-use, disposable medical devices through the use of ethylene oxide gas and steam. They currently employ 16 people.

“Our new sterilizer will bring us more business, which means our tax base will expand,” said Jenkins. “Eventually, we should also be able to hire more people, and we pay well.”

­Jenkins also noted that the announcement last week — that his industrial park neighbor and client, FutureMatrix, will be expanding into the former Biotech Manufacturing Center building — comes as good news not only for Athens in general, but for Steritec.

“The new device they want to build for dialysis is exciting,” said Jenkins. “We sterilize for them, and if they grow, we’ll grow with them.” In other words, a rising tide lifts all boats.

FutureMatrix Interventional, a medical device manufacturing company established in 1993, employs approximately 300 people.

The company will be purchasing the former BMC building, which is owned by AEDC.

The building will be leased for 10 years at $6,500 a month in addition to a $6,500 deposit.

FutureMatrix has also agreed to complete $600,000 in capital improvements to the building. West Pharmaceutical Services also resides in the building, and leasing negotiations are underway.

“I’ve said this many times, and it remains true,” said Denton. “Good things are happening in Athens. The FutureMatrix expansion is very positive news, and Stearate’s investment in their own facility and equipment is an excellent development. We’re proud to be a part of this growth, and we look forward to helping them prosper.”