Almost a year after opening its new headquarters in Johnson City, LabConnect executives were joined by state leaders to celebrate the company’s rapid growth. 

In September, Gov. Bill Lee paid a visit to LabConnect, which provides clinical trial central lab services, to celebrate the relocation of the company’s headquarters from Seattle, Washington, to Johnson City and the expansion of the company’s biorepository. The move is scheduled to take place in April 2020, according to the company. 

On Wednesday, the company celebrated the further growth of its Johnson City plant with U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn and U.S. Representative Diana Harshbarger. Since the announcement in 2020, the company’s footprint has increased from 55,000 square feet to 88,000 square feet. “Upper East Tennessee really has the workforce that can support this,” Blackburn said, “and because of that, there is the growth potential.” 

Driven by market demand, the company opened a 20,000-square-foot complex one year ahead of schedule and created 71 more jobs in Johnson city than originally expected in the same period last year. 

On Wednesday, Blackburn and Harshbarger toured the company’s complex in Johnson City and cut a ribbon to commemorate the company’s rapid growth. “I’ve always said I want this to be the model district for not just the state — for the whole country,” Harshbarger said, “and you all have a head start on that.” 

LabConnect services include coordinating laboratory tests, providing toolkits for storing samples, and organizing the transmission of data and samples around the world. 

The company said in a press release that it is currently expanding its sample accessioning and preparation areas, on top of a “significant” expansion to the company’s kit division and biorepository that was completed in 2020. The company expects to have tripled its capacity once those projects are completed at the end of September. 

According to Alicia Summers, vice president of business development for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, LabConnect has a payment instead of taxes agreement with the Johnson City Industrial Development Board that provides a scaled abatement on personal property taxes associated with newly purchased machinery and equipment over a five-year period. 

The agreement provides a 100% property tax deduction for the first year and a 20% annual reduction. The agreement expects LabConnect to create 211 jobs at its local facilities within the five-year period of the agreement. The company must reach 90% of its job creation target by the end of the fifth year. The company also needs to submit a performance report to the Johnson City BID every year. 

The company has committed to creating approximately 200 jobs through its agreement with the local IDB, which is the same job creation goal attached to an incentive package with the state of Tennessee. LabConnect CEO Tom Sellig stated that the company is already halfway to its goal of 200 jobs after only 18 months. Currently, the company employs nearly 500 people across the country. 

With the growth rate we’re having and the continued success on our business development team, we’re looking to well achieve our goal probably by the end of next year,” Sellig said. 

Source: Johnson City Press