The largest private employer in the Twin Counties has added to its workforce this year as it works toward opening a nearly $200 million facility.
The Pfizer Rocky Mount plant has increased employment from 2,200 to 3,000 employees, according to Samantha Reardon, manager of Global Media Relations at Pfizer. Since January, Reardon said, the 800 additional employees include 400 new colleagues and 400 new temporary positions at the plant.
She said the jobs consist of 650 operator and maintenance roles as well as 150 technical, engineering, science, laboratory and operations or project management roles. Reardon added Pfizer Rocky Mount will continue hiring through the fourth quarter and into the first half of 2019 to reach its planned staffing levels.
Each year, the plant’s staffing levels are dependent on product volume requirements and planned manufacturing levels at the site.
“For the balance of 2018, we plan to add an additional 150 colleagues and an additional 50 Manpower roles,” Reardon said. “These jobs have been added to increase manufacturing levels for many of our business units and products, staff new facilities and operations and to drive new projects and programs.”
In 2016, Pfizer Rocky Mount trimmed its workforce when it laid off about 400 workers, according to reports. Reardon said during 2017 and this year, the local plant reached out to eligible past employees to notify them that the new positions and opportunities were available at the site.
“We have been successful in re-hiring many of these former employees,” Reardon said.
In 2015, Pfizer purchased Hospira for $17 billion, which included the Rocky Mount plant. The local facility has remained an important site in Pfizer’s sterile injectable supply network. Reardon said the plant’s employees allow Pfizer to deliver critical medicines to patients each day and the Rocky Mount plant continues to provide one-quarter of the sterile injectible medicines utilized in the United States health care system.
“The Rocky Mount site is a highly valued and important part of the Pfizer global supply network, striving each day to produce high-quality critical medicines for patients around the world,” Reardon said. “Pfizer has continued to advance investments in the Rocky Mount site that have totaled over $600 million in the past five years.”
The Pfizer Rocky Mount plant’s $190 million, 65,000-square-foot new sterile injectible manufacturing facility that broke ground in 2016 has progressed as planned this year. Reardon said all facility construction has been completed and all major utilities and equipment have been installed.
She said the facility is entering a phase of commissioning and qualification, which will occur over the next 18 months.
“In general, it takes four to five years to construct, outfit, quality and gain approval for a new state-of-the-art sterile injectible facility such as the one we’ve built in Rocky Mount,” Reardon said. “We are expecting regulatory approvals of the new facility in either 2020 or 2021 with commercial operation in 2021. This new facility will ultimately be manned with approximately 350 (employees) and staff and operate 24 hours per day and seven days per week.”