Simmons Pet Food announced this week that production plans are advancing on schedule for its new state-of-the-art canned pet food operation set to begin commercial operation this July in Dubuque, Iowa.
The project was announced in December with the acquisition of a 250,000 square foot facility in the Dubuque Industrial Center. The new operation will increase the company’s production capacity by over 400 million cans in a two-phase expansion plan with an investment of approximately $80 million.
“We are thrilled to see the progress being made over the last few months,” said Scott Salmon, president of Simmons Pet Food. “Our engineering and operations teams are executing at a high level to ensure facility modifications are complete and process testing can begin as planned.”
Staffing goals for the first phase of production are also on target, with over 120 team members hired to date. The company began recruiting for key leadership and support positions in January, followed by front-line supervisory roles. In March, job fairs were held for the bulk of the remaining positions. Later, a second phase of the expansion will bring total jobs at the site to more than 270.
Salmon added, “We’re pleased with the success we’ve had in building our team in Dubuque. The support from local service providers and development officials has been tremendous to keep the project on pace.”
Hands-on training for new Dubuque team members is in progress at Simmons’ pet food operation in Emporia, Kansas.
“This has been a great solution to help familiarize new team members with our production processes, our core values, and our safety and quality culture,” said Salmon.