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Baxter commits to community involvement

Baxter International representatives Erika Williams and Ian Mclaurin spoke to Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus students and staff on Wednesday during the Daffodil Festival. Williams is the human resources senior manager who focuses on recruiting employees for the company and Mclaurin is a production engineer who will work to prepare the medical products to be shipped from the manufacturing campus being built in Stanton Springs. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

Baxter International representatives Erika Williams and Ian Mclaurin spoke to Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus students and staff on Wednesday during the Daffodil Festival. Williams is the human resources senior manager who focuses on recruiting employees for the company and Mclaurin is a production engineer who will work to prepare the medical products to be shipped from the manufacturing campus being built in Stanton Springs. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

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Construction continues at the Baxter International manufacturing site. This photo taken in January shows progress being made on the administrative building. Construction is to be completed by 2015 or 2016. (Special photo)

COVINGTON – Baxter International is not only building a $1 billion manufacturing campus in Newton County, but the company is investing time into the community, according to Human Resources Senior Manager Erika Williams.

Williams shed light Wednesday on Baxter’s progress to Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus students and staff during the Daffodil Festival. As construction continues onsite, the human resources department is beginning to recruit some of the 1,500 full-time positions.

Williams said Baxter has partnered with Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and Emory to begin searching for potential employees. The positions will vary in fields from science to accounting and administration.

“Besides the field of expertise needed for each position, we also look at three qualities before hiring someone and those are communication, flexibility and ambiguity,” Williams said. “Our focus is to hire within Newton County because we want to give back the community.”

Williams noted Baxter currently employs about 130 people. While she’s unsure how many live within the Covington area, she said many drive no more than an hour to go to work.

Baxter is also taking part in building a training center so employees will be able to learn the specific processing conducted at the manufacturing center.

“We’ve partnered with the state to build the bioscience training center because it’s a field that’s not well-known in the southern region. So we’re not just searching for those who are familiar with bioscience, but recruiting those willing to learn about the process,” Williams said.

Besides hiring and training locally, Williams said Baxter employees are encouraged to get involved with the communities of Social Circle and Covington. Whether it’s reading to students at various schools or collecting non-perishable items for the community food bank, Baxter offers employees a paid work day to spend time volunteering in Newton County, Williams said.

Due to the size of the manufacturing campus, Baxter Production Engineer Ian Mclaurin said the company is focused on saving as much energy as possible.

“Being a green company that Baxter is, we’ve tried to embed a lot of energy-saving tools such as using LED lighting, smart HVAC systems and other areas in order to reduce power consumption,” Mclaurin said.

Baxter’s power consumption is the same as providing electricity to 6,100 residential homes and its heating and cooling system could provide air conditioning to 1,900 homes, Mclaurin said.

The size of Baxter’s manufacturing campus is needed to produce two different medical products: Gammagard and Flexbumin. The products made are part of immunoglobulin therapy for patients with immune deficiencies and albumin products, which are primarily used as plasma-volume replacement therapy in critical care, trauma and burn patients.

More information about Baxter International and the jobs offered can be found at its website, http://www.baxter.com/covington.