On Monday, The Dow Chemical Co. unveiled its new headquarters building in Midland, soothing a swell of uncertainty that stemmed from the pending merger with DuPont Co. to create one of the biggest chemical companies in the country.
Some 500 listened to remarks from Dow executives, board members and Congressman John Moolenaar at the dedication for the six-story, 184,390-square-foot new facility off East Patrick Road that took about two years to build.
The excitement was “palpable,” Dow’s Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said.
“We’ve just been proud to call Midland home, period,” Liveris said. “I could finish the speech right there.”
The soon-to-be retired CEO went on to talk about Dow’s 120-year history and the former corporate headquarters that stood for nearly 50 years, where, he said, “I spent a fair amount of my adult life inside that facility.”
Since, Dow has moved into new buildings, markets, geographies, fields of sciences, lines of business – “and we’ve grown from this little, tiny, inorganic chemistry style in Midland into one of the world’s largest and most successful chemical enterprises,” Liveris said.
“This center is designed to celebrate that journey,” he added.
He re-centered the focus back on Midland, naming the city not as merely a headquarters location, but home.
“It’s the heart of our company, the engine that fuels our entire global enterprise. … This beautiful state of the art facility is more than a new home for a new Dow; it’s a renewal of our commitment to Midland and the Great Lakes Bay Region.
“And it will help to ensure that Midland remains a standout hub of American innovation,” Liveris said emphatically before being applauded.
Dow is also proud to be an American company, Liveris said, shifting the focus to manufacturing of American ideas and products.
“At a time when this country has seen too many big companies move their headquarters overseas, this building, in this community, sends a signal — a very clear signal — that Dow will not run. Dow will not retreat from this country’s challenges,” he said, making reference to the groundbreaking for Dow’s $100 million innovation center in Auburn that also was unveiled on Monday.
Congressman Moolenaar, a former chemist at Dow, called Monday a historic day for both Dow and the community.
“Chemistry is at the heart of everything we do, everything our country makes, and Dow has been at the center of this for a long, long time,” he said. “This Global Dow Center … was built here because Midland has always been and always will be home for Dow.”
The new innovation center in Auburn will employee 200 researchers and developers, adding to the 1,200 already in the Great Lakes Bay Region, according to Dow. Moolenaar said it fulfills Dow’s commitment to bring jobs back to Michigan and the United States.
The new headquarters has high, polygonal ceilings and walls of polished panels and slivered, large windows. The facility took 300,000 hours to complete, Howard Ungerleider, Dow’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, said in his remarks. Dow says 95 percent of the work was completed by Michigan-based contractors, the vast majority of which are based in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Also according to Dow:
The headquarters will house 470 employees and 32 meeting rooms
It was constructed with 20 percent (21,000 tons) recycled materials from the former corporate center — including 23,520-square-feet of polyurethane spray foam and 2,600 gallons of Formashield and other additives in Sherwin-Williams paints — using over 300 miles of products from Dow and Dow Corning
Compared to the building the new headquarters replaces, the center will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent and energy usage by 63 percent
A vegetative roof saves energy, mitigates heat island effects and dramatically reduces storm water runoff
There is a mile and a half of walking trails with exercise stations
An area outside the new headquarters remains unfinished, but Dow says it will include the H.H. Dow Visitors and Heritage Center, where visitors will be able to view exhibits and historical Dow artifacts and displays.