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15-Jul-2015

Nova-Tech Inc. sees growth and success through the years


Not many people are aware of what happens at 4705 Gold Core Road in Grand Island.


Nova-Tech, Inc. (NTI)  is one of the nation’s largest FDA-registered large animal parenteral injectable manufacturers for animal health in the U.S. In other words, this 50,000-square-foot facility manufactures injectable pharmaceuticals that are the foundation of treatment for acute care for animals that veterinarians all over the U.S. use daily.


To the unsuspecting passerby it is obvious that Nova-Tech’s facility is growing— with an additional 33,000-square-foot warehouse being built directly behind the current location— big things are happening. To most, that growth is just a building, not a business.


Inside the walls of NTI, however, products are being made that travel from just across the street to as far away as South Africa. It is this expansion that has made NTI impact the business landscape in central Nebraska.


Nova-Tech was incorporated in 1988 through a joint-venture. President Gloria Thesenvitz started the company and was integral in setting up NTI for the expansion and growth they see today.


Thesenvitz calls herself a “student of life.” She left the farm life to start Nova-Tech over 25 years ago. Starting, running and maintaining a company for over a quarter century as a single mother with a high school diploma, Thesenvitz is a strong, confident woman who takes family, business and her community seriously. Her passion is evident.


When you speak to Thesenvitz, the mission behind everything she does is rooted in passion, dedication and perseverance. She has cultivated that company culture since 1988.


“It’s common for startup companies to not succeed,” Thesenvitz said. “I think you guard against that by developing depth within your organization. Developing that depth you encourage your staff to pass on their knowledge to the next person. Creating that depth within each department has allowed Nova-Tech to meet some of the challenges it’s faced along the way… and to grow.”


Thesenvitz admits it hasn’t always been easy for her company. There were lean years. Initially, the company focused on manufacturing animal serums that were meant for a very specific market that didn’t need them on a regular basis. There were boom times and times when their product was not needed by vets as consistently.


Two years after its formation, NTI installed sterile manufacturing capabilities. This created a full integrated serum manufacturing facility. “Fluid therapy” products for the Animal Health market had not yet been a part of their business model, but that would change.


The business model and success of Nova-Tech pivoted in 1998 when they were approached by a customer to manufacture Dextrose 50% (a simple sugar chemically identical to glucose that is derived from corn) and Calcium Gluconate 23% (a calcium deficiency supplement). Today these fluid therapy products are NTI’s staple.


“This product has a lot of sustainability and it took away the cyclical nature of the business plan, so that was a very good move on NTI’s part,” Thesenvitz said. "At the same time, there was a significant demand in the marketplace, we were able to capitalize on that.”


Thesenvitz said that after the restructuring there was a two-year time span that they worked seven days a week for 20 hours a day to meet that market demand.


She led her company through those long, busy years with steadfast perseverance and the support of her family and company. Thesenvitz admits that she would not be where she is today if her daughter, Vice President Teresa Grabowski hadn’t joined the company 20 years ago.


“It was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made,” Thesenvitz said about asking her daughter to come work with her. “She’s very skilled and talented and has a whole set of skills that I don’t have. As the company has grown and developed she became very critical, especially as we restructured Nova-Tech.”


Grabowski joined the company after working in retail and insurance, she was able to bring her customer service knowledge and skills to help NTI. As the company restructured in 1998, Grabowski played a large role in structuring the day-to-day processes the plant uses today.


Growth happened quickly and NTI has become known for their two Level 100 “Aseptic Fill” clean room suites. According to cleanairtechnology.com a cleanroom is a controlled environment that has low pollutant levels. Particles in the air such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors can adversely affect the fluid therapy products NTI manufactures.


Typical “ambient air” in a city contains 35 million particles per cubic meter. An operating room in the hospital is generally a Class 10,000. A Class or Level 100 clean room, like the ones at NTI, have only 100 particles per cubic meter in the air. This Level 100 clean room allows  NTI to manufacture sterile products.


Nova-Tech is an FDA-registered sterile manufacturing facility. They were able to achieve this standard with the support of funding from economic development programs. Once funding was secured, the company was able to make capital purchases that have led them to where they are today.


With a staff of 50 and mandatory FDA training, the team at NTI is well versed when it comes to plant operations. It is beyond the day-to-day operations where Nova-Tech is creating an empowering company culture for its employees.


“We do a good job at rewarding the people who demonstrate their loyalty to the company,” Thesenvitz said. “We offer good benefits. We understand that parents like to go to their kids’ ball games. We will flex time and work with them to accomplish that.”


Thesenvitz said staying true to their company culture is one of the cornerstones to the success of her business. She said it is imperative to hold the entire staff to a high degree of accountability. They do this with regular employee reviews.


“We all want to know what we’re doing right and we want to know what we’re doing wrong. If you’re willing to have an open and direct line of communication, then you will have a clear understanding of what you could do better,” Thesenvitz said. “For the most part I see improvement in the employee.”


As her company continues to grow, Thesenvitz said educating the community about the jobs they provide takes significant effort. Reaching out to students early on is important to Thesenvitz. Members of her staff are a part of GI’s Junior Achievement program and they regularly present in classrooms around the community. Peaking the interest of a fifth grader during a science demonstration makes a greater impact than catching the students later in their schooling.


Quality Unit Manager Jai (Grace) Wei was recruited by Nova-Tech when she was at UNK. After obtaining her degree in chemistry with an emphasis in molecular biology, Wei began working at Nova-Tech in 2005.


Today she is responsible for quality systems and the lab control and works closely with Thesenvitz on all of the regulatory compliance.


Wei presents to classes, aiming to raise awareness about the opportunities created by businesses in central Nebraska.


“I think it’s very important, especially in a field like ours to find kids who go to school for this specific area of education [science] and after they graduate finding out how they can stay here,” she said.


She speaks with professors who often have influence on where students go after they graduate.


“Students have the options to go to medical school or go to vet school, but they can also opt to have a career here,” Wie said. “First thing we do is talk to the teachers, so they can expose industries like ours to students. Then we let those students know that there are opportunities where home is.”


Promoting industry in central Nebraska is an issue most businesses face. Thesenvitz is active in economic development. She said each organization she is a part of has workforce development as one of its goals.


“It’s something the state really needs to work on,” Thesenvitz said. “We have really great young people in the state and we really fail to catch their interest and sell them on the jobs that are here.”


She said central Nebraska has a renewable resource of great young people coming out of “our towns and our countryside and we need to do a better job of up-selling our communities and up selling our state and the jobs that are here.”


Creating awareness about the strengths central Nebraska businesses present is a mission Thesenvitz has adopted. She was named the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Board Chair this year said her company has a responsibility to the community.   


“We have been the recipient of several economic development programs. We have a strong sense of our responsibility to give back to the community and to the state,” she said.


Nova-Tech is a member of the Chamber and Economic Development where they participate actively.


Today Wei is responsible for quality systems and the lab control and works closely with Thesenvitz on all of the regulatory compliance.


She makes presentations to classes, aiming to raise awareness about the opportunities created by businesses in central Nebraska.


“I think it’s very important, especially in a field like ours, to find kids who go to school for this specific area of education [science] and after they graduate find out how they can stay here,” she said.


She speaks with professors who often have influence on where students go after they graduate.


“Students have the options to go to medical school or go to vet school, but they can also opt to have a career here,” Wei said. “First thing we do is talk to the teachers, so they can expose industries like ours to students. Then we let those students know that there are opportunities where home is.”


Promoting industry in central Nebraska is an issue most businesses face. Thesenvitz is active in economic development. She said each organization she is a part of has workforce development as one of its goals.


“It’s something the state really needs to work on,” Thesenvitz said. “We have really great young people in the state and we really fail to catch their interest and sell them on the jobs that are here.”


She said central Nebraska has a renewable resource of great young people coming out of “our towns and our countryside and we need to do a better job of up-selling our communities and up selling our state and the jobs that are here.”


Creating awareness about the strengths central Nebraska businesses present is a mission Thesenvitz has adopted. She was named the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Board Chair this year and says her company has a responsibility to the community.   


“We have been the recipient of several economic development programs. We have a strong sense of responsibility to give back to the community and to the state,” Thesenvitz said.


Nova-Tech is a member of the Chamber and Economic Development where they participate actively.








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