AML Riverside exceeds jobs goal

Company adds to animal health presence in FD

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Dennis Plautz, CEO of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, center, watches a flag-raising ceremony as New Zealand-based Argenta celebrates its first day of business at the former Fort Dodge Laboratories Riverside plant.

The local community’s global presence in the animal pharmaceutical market grew in early 2016 with the arrival of a new company.

AML Riverside LLC, a part of New Zealand based Argenta, took over the site commonly called the Riverside plant in January 2016.

The company committed itself to creating 30 jobs there over three years. It exceeded that goal in a major way by hiring 56 people by the end of 2016.

Those workers started by making products for cattle, and plans called for adding other product lines.

Pet owners will not be seeing pill bottles bearing the AML Riverside name in their veterinarian’s office, however. That’s because the company develops, licenses and manufactures products for other companies which are sold under the names of those companies.

”We’re in the background, doing all the hard stuff,” said Doug Cleverly, the managing director and co-founder of Argenta.

The plant at 141 Riverside Drive is the company’s first manufacuturing facility in the United States.

AML Riverside bought the property from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. in July 2015 and began operations there in January 2016.

Cleverly said the company had been looking for a manufacuturing site in the United States for three years. He said the Fort Dodge site was picked for three reasons.

He said that the company received an ”unprecedented level of support and encouragement” from the state and city governments and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

The local culture, he said, was another reason the Fort Dodge site was picked.

”New Zealanders are sort of a pioneering type of people,” he said. ”We sort of went out west way back when to find a new life. And I think Iowans are sort of the same. We sort of get on very well with folk in the Midwest because there’s a lot of similiarities in our culture and our values and that sort of plays into the choice as well in terms of the location that we chose to domicile ourselves in the U.S.”

The building and the people that work there were the third key factor that drew the company to Fort Dodge, he said.

”It took about three seconds to make the decision that we needed to buy this plant,” Cleverly said. ”It was perfect. It met every need that we could have had for ourselves.”

To help bring AML Riverside LLC to Fort Dodge, the city government gave the company a $100,000 no interest loan. The Iowa Economic Development Authority provided a $500,000 loan.

The plant was built by Fort Dodge Laboratories and was used by its successors, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Pfizer Inc., and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.