St. Cloud-Based Microbiologics is a Unique Manufacturing Company
Central Minnesota is home to a robust manufacturing industry—so naturally, Microbiologics fits right in. “We’re a manufacturing company,” said Microbiologics CEO Brad Goskowicz. “Only we’re a bit unusual in that we work with biomaterials.”
Biomaterials, by definition, are substances engineered to interact with biological systems intended for medical purposes, whether therapeutic or diagnostic. Goskowicz continued, “bacteria, yeast, fungus, parasites, viruses, they’re all microscopic organisms. We work with [biomaterials] to develop quality controls for testing, and for research and development for pharmaceutical companies such as vaccine manufacturers, anti-virals, and testing companies developing new methods.”
Microbiologics’ standard-setting microbial controls are sold in more than 150 countries and the company partners with the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies to bring new life-saving anti-infective drugs, vaccines, and therapeutics to market safely.
As a science, biomaterials is about 50 years old.
And it just so happens Microbiologics is celebrating its 50th year in business in 2021. Talk about a true central Minnesota-based pioneer.
The People Behind the Petri Dish
Headquartered in St. Cloud, Microbiologics has additional facilities in California, Kentucky, and Michigan. The company of 200+ employees was founded in 1971 and originally named Environmental Protection Laboratories, providing lab testing services for detecting microbial contamination in water sources, the environment, and food products.
“We’re a manufacturing and distribution company that operates on the cutting edge of science,” Goskowicz said. “From blue collar to PhD, our team comprises every role in packaging, shipping, production, maintenance to research and development. Our employees have wide variances in experience, background, and education.”
When asked about Microbiologics’ culture, Goskowicz said, “the key thing for us is to have a culture of trust and collaboration. Those are the key pieces. That’s where we get that innovation and the reason we’ve been successful and growing rapidly for the past 10 years. And, it’s how we’ll get to the next level.”
50 Quiet Years
What’s surprising about this company, from Goskowicz’s point of view is that Microbiologics has been here for 50 years. “I think it’s a pretty well-kept secret. I like to say it took us 50 years to become an overnight success. I think people would be amazed at the cutting-edge technology and science we use every day, both in our research and production of biomaterials. And finally, people would appreciate the fact that we’ve been on that frontline dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We partnered with many of the warp speed companies that were developing testing and we’re also working with a number of vaccine companies to develop vaccine surveillance. Our community might not realize they have some of the frontline talent working on the science side of it right here in St. Cloud.
Goskowicz said he’s worked in several parts of the U.S. including both coasts, other Midwest metropolitans, and Minneapolis. “Because of my background, I have a pretty good feel for what different areas offer, and I really like St. Cloud the best. I’ve lived in St. Cloud (proper) for 10 years and worked here for over 12. Yes, we have our issues and things we can do better, but it really is a good place. It has great people, there’s a lot to do, it’s very vibrant, the universities keep it young, there are unique restaurants and entertainment. It’s close enough to Minneapolis if you wish to attend a football game or big concert. I just really like the St. Cloud area and have a pretty good perspective to judge that.”
“I think of things that will grow St. Cloud and make it better is—how do we integrate the people who live here and how do we capture that talent that’s so abundant here?”
Connecting & Capturing Talent
As far as opportunities go, Goskowicz said ensuring we’re able to integrate our entire population is crucial. He explained, “we have several immigrant groups who’ve made St. Cloud home over the past 20 years and they’re a critical part of our community. How can we integrate them to ensure they feel welcome—and that they stay here. The young people in those groups, and across the entire population, leave Central Minnesota because they’re under the impression that the opportunities for them are elsewhere—like the Twin Cities metro.”
He continued, “we need that talent and energy here. Our local colleges like St. Cloud State, St. Cloud Community and Technical College, and Saint John’s and College of St. Benedict have rivers of talent that flow through St. Cloud and we have to be able to capture more of that talent as well. I think of things that will grow St. Cloud and make it better is—how do we integrate the people who live here and how do we capture that talent that’s so abundant here?”