International company a great addition to Wauconda
By Long Hwa-shu For Sun-Times Media October 6, 2013 12:43AM
The Irish flag, the American flag and the Illinois state flag fly in front of the Synergy headquarters in Wauconda. | TINA JOHANSSON~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Updated: December 6, 2013 2:34AM
Sweet smells filled the air as Synergy Flavors Inc., a world leader of flavors extracts and essences, officially opened its expanded 145,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Wauconda.
The sparkling $20 million facility on 15 acres, built on an existing structure as the cornerstone for the expansion, is complete with offices, laboratories, manufacturing plants, a warehouse and above all, an innovation center.
The occasion was celebrated last Friday with a VIP guest list including Irish Consul General Aidan Cronin, corporate officials of Synergy’s parent company from Ireland, and Wauconda Mayor Frank Bart.
“This is an exciting milestone for Synergy, and we are pleased to be able to commemorate it with the board of directors of our parent company, Carbery Group, our employees and a group of distinguished guests,” said Roderick W. Sowders, president and chief executive officer.
Carbery is an international food ingredients and cheese company in County Cork, Ireland. In addition to Ireland and the United States, the company has facilities in the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia and South America. Synergy, as a subsidiary of Carbery, has grown both organically and through acquisitions. It has a repertory of over 75,000 formulas and 4,000 flavors in sample library from which clients can order custom-made flavors.
Donal Tobin, chairman of the Carbery board, called Synergy “the first and key investment in the United States” by Carbery which has since “grown rapidly.” New markets have been opened up for Synergy in Brazil and Thailand, He said. Carbery is owned by 12 dairy farmers in southwest Ireland who are the board members. Eleven of them were present at the ceremony.
Sowders said he sees a 30 percent annual growth for Synergy, a private company, both organically and through acquisitions. Among its recent acquisitions were VanLab in Rochester, N.Y., which makes vanilla extracts; and Sensus in Hamilton, Ohio, a maker of coffee and tea essences, according to Greg Bach, general manager of Synergy Ohio.
Mayor Frank Bart said he was happy that Synergy has decided to stay in Wauconda and expand its facility, pointing out there were times the village wasn’t sure whether the company would stay. The company employs 100 people, mostly from the Wauconda area.
“This is a great thing that has happened to Wauconda. We’re looking forward to work with you,” he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
U.S. Flavors and Fragrances, Synergy’s predecessor, located the company in the village some 20 years ago. Synergy acquired U.S. Flavors in 2002.
Sowders took pride to stress the new headquarters is green enough to meet the LEED(leader in energy environment design) certification standards. He called sustainability a top priority in the company’s expansion.
A special component of the expansion is a new innovation center for creative activities complete with a demonstration kitchen and sensory and analytical labs.
“The space fosters creativity and provides the team of flavorists and application specialists a more progressive environment to communicate daily on projects, and importantly to interact with customers,” said Paulette Lanzoff, technical director.
Synergy has increased its manufacturing capacity for dry blending, spray drying, liquid extractions and emulsions at the new facility. The plant is certified for Safe Quality Food designation.
The expansion, Sowders stressed, is “just a beginning.”
With the 15-acre site, he pointed out, there is plenty room for future expansion. “We’ve allowed for substantial expansion on the campus in coming years — expansion that will be needed to support our customers and our continued growth,” he said.