In the heart of the Mississippi Delta sits the small town of Cleveland, Miss., embodying a historic culture and lively community. Named Smithsonian Magazine's "Number 2 Small Town to Visit" in 2013, Cleveland is home to 13,000 residents and a Baxter International manufacturing facility that has long been recognized as a leader in the production of quality medical products.
Baxter's Cleveland facility is the company's longest-operating manufacturing site in the United States, starting its initial operation in 1949, and now employing more than 600 local residents. The recipient of multiple quality awards along the way, this site exemplifies the evolution and growth that has occurred in the medical products industry over the decades.
The Cleveland facility focuses on the company's major device platforms, including IV solution containers, administration sets and reconstitution devices.
"When I started back in the 70s, Cleveland was the sole manufacturer of glass IV containers, becoming a major player in the market," says Glenn Burney, now a plant manager who has worked at Baxter since 1971. "We've since developed a diversified product line and continue to support our manufacturing operation with technical innovation."
Known for its strict adherence to quality standards and commitment to technological innovation, the Cleveland site has cultivated a highly effective workforce that continually produces an array of critical healthcare products.
"I remember the very first portable PC we had in the facility - it was about the size of a sewing machine," says Cynthia McCool, an Information Technology project manager and 44-year Baxter veteran. "There's never been a chance to become bored at Baxter. With the constantly advancing technology, we're always being challenged."
Employee pride is widely visible around the Cleveland facility. Walking down the hallways, visitors will get a glimpse into a 20-year history of Quality Pledge boards signed by employees to illustrate an annual commitment to quality product creation. Employee enthusiasm, however, doesn't just live at work, but extends to the community as well. Baxter has shown an unwavering commitment to supporting the Cleveland community, welcoming multiple generations of families to be a part of its innovation.
Baxter has been a part of my family for many years with my mother, aunts and uncles having all worked here. I have stayed with Baxter because I have been given opportunities to grow and advance in my career
Cynthia McCool, an Information Technology project manager and 44-year Baxter veteran
"Baxter has been a part of my family for many years with my mother, aunts and uncles having all worked here," says Cynthia. "I have stayed with Baxter because I have been given opportunities to grow and advance in my career. I am grateful to work for a company that encourages involvement in the community through volunteering and would not change anything in my journey with the Baxter family."
Baxter Cleveland employees are highly engaged, contributing the highest percentage of United Way donations in Bolivar County. Giving back is important to employees, with many playing integral roles on the United Way Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Relay for Life committees, Boy Scouts, Cleveland Fire Department, Junior Auxiliary, and others.
"It's really the people that make the success of the facility." says Glenn. "That part hasn't changed."