Anniversary of innovation: Brewer Science celebrates 35 years

It started with a scientist in a block building located in rural Missouri, forging forward on a shoestring budget out of belief in one groundbreaking idea. Since then, Brewer Science has invented multiple products and processes that have furthered the microelectronics industry, created jobs, and generated economic value to the region, the state, and national economy. This fall, the privately held firm named for founder Dr. Terry Brewer celebrates 35 years in business.

Terry_Paula1981.pngThat longevity is huge in an environment in which the average life expectancy for a privately held business is 24 years and S&P 500 companies last an average 18. Brewer Science remains both independently controlled and thriving while many others have failed to survive or have been absorbed into public companies through mergers and acquisitions.

Humble beginnings

Back in 1981, young chemist Dr. Terry Brewer set up a small lab equipped with Apple Lisa computers in a corner of a nondescript rented building in rural Missouri. That initial dream started without any venture capital. What he had, however, was faith in an idea for a multipurpose antireflective coating, an innovation that provided a foundation for today’s microelectronics. Dr. Brewer himself had so much faith in his concept that he attached his name to the company.

The way forward wasn’t always easy. Dr. Brewer says fear of failure was a constant in those early years when money and clients were in short supply. But once he demonstrated the groundbreaking technology, the company’s revenues, staff, products, and clients grew — all without investor assistance or influence.

These days, Brewer Science is headquartered on a campus in Rolla, Missouri, with a high-volume manufacturing facility in nearby Vichy at the Rolla Airport, and satellite offices in Japan, France, England, Germany, Korea, China, and Taiwan. Brewer Science is a global leader in creating cutting-edge products used in micro-devices for tablet computers, smartphones, digital cameras, televisions and LED lighting. It’s credited for the technology that makes many such devices smaller, thinner, faster, smarter, cheaper, more powerful and/or more portable. Brewer Science holds more than 90 U.S. patents, is responsible for more than 250 technical publications and has won more than 25 industry awards.

Dr. Brewer attributes much of that success to a company culture that encourages employees to push scientific boundaries. Brewer Science places a high priority in continuous investment in both its people and its facilities to foster fresh research and development perspectives.

“For the raw materials we create to reach their potential, they must be connected with creativity and imagination,” Dr. Brewer recently told the St. Louis Business Journal. “The process is reciprocal, as the products themselves can also inspire creativity and imagination.”

Some of the company’s latest innovations have involved the 3-D stacking of integrated circuits and printed electronics.

Giving back

Brewer Science has long opted for generosity when investing in the community and local environment. Some of its accomplishments include:

  • It’s one of only three companies worldwide (and the only one in the semiconductor industry) to be GreenCircle Certified® Zero Waste to Landfill, meaning it produces virtually no landfill refuse and instead combusts waste to produce steam and electricity.
  • Last year it reached 94 percent of its utility-reduction goals. Since 2002, it’s recycled some 538 tons of waste, and since 2010 it’s saved 279,000 gallons of water, 260,000 kWh of electricity and 8,800 therms of natural gas each year. External auditors continually praise its waste-eliminating lean manufacturing methods.
  • For more than 18 years, Brewer has recruited hundreds of paid interns from colleges across the world, engaging 15 to 20 students year round and 60 more each summer. An extraordinary 78 percent of those who are eligible end up joining the company full time.
  • Brewer Science and its employees contribute through in-kind contributions, volunteerism and monetary support to local K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions that support STEM. The company also offers college scholarships, stages school field trips and presentations, remains active in multiple industry trade groups, and advises the state on industry talent needs.
  • Brewer Science’s regular philanthropic efforts include sponsoring productions at local theater and a public concert by the Jacques Thibaud String Trio. Looking ahead, Brewer Science will continue to emphasize companywide innovation under the belief change is absolutely vital to the rapidly evolving world of technology.

“We believe freedom, combined with clear objectives and commitment to growth, will bring about the biggest innovations,” notes Corporate Relations Manager Loretta Wallis. “We can’t wait to see what extraordinary new inventions our team of exceptional people will bring about in the next 35 years.”

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