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Business Engagement promotes economic growth in Athens

Boehringer Ingelheim—a top 25 employer of UGA alumni—has benefited from hiring skilled UGA graduates. (Photo by Edwin Hammond)

Vaccine company works with UGA’s Office of Business Engagement to connect with researchers and students

When Boehringer Ingelheim decided to expand the strategy of its successful veterinary medicine business model, the company’s leaders looked to the University of Georgia’s Office of Business Engagement for support. 

“The partnership has been extraordinary,” said Cindy Edge, Boehringer Ingelheim’s business manager for global innovation. “Business Engagement is elevating our existing partnership with UGA Veterinary Medicine to transcend across other colleges and disciplines. It’s grown into a collaborative effort across business units, seamlessly looking at the disease map.” 

With an established footprint in the Athens community since the 1980s, Boehringer Ingelheim has managed a successful animal health business focused on vaccines. Boehringer Ingelheim integrated with Merial in 2017 and after the merger has looked to expand to diagnostics and align human health solutions with its animal health work.  

To support this growth, Boehringer Ingelheim invested $57 million in capital investment to establish a global innovation hub in Athens. The new facility will open this year to house its pet and wildlife vaccine work and employ about 600 people. 

As it expands in Athens, Boehringer Ingelheim has worked with UGA’s Office of Business Engagement to connect the company with researchers across disciplines as well as talented students for internships and jobs. 

Having top international corporations in Athens keeps talented young people in the community. (Photo by Edwin Hammond)

“UGA has a wide range of talent and resources available to support the growth and development of our industry partners” said Kyle Tschepikow, UGA’s executive director of business engagement and innovation. “Business Engagement is here to make accessing those assets as easy as possible for companies.” 

Business Engagement and Boehringer Ingelheim also regularly organize activities to bring representatives from both organizations together to share scientific ideas, discuss research collaboration, and build relationships.  

“Our partnership with UGA is unique. It’s very comprehensive,” Edge said. “We are hoping it will be one that keeps evolving and we find other ways to develop, cultivate, and exchange ideas.” 

In addition, partnerships like this one help companies establish a strong talent pipeline for interns, project-based learning relationships, and full-time hires. Boehringer Ingelheim—a top 25 employer of UGA alumni—has benefited from hiring skilled UGA graduates. 

“There is incredible talent crafted within our vicinity, and we take that talent and evolve it,” Edge said. “It’s an awesome way to start at the beginning of someone else’s journey.” 

Having top international corporations in Athens also keeps talented young people in the community. 

“The competition for talent is fierce, and there are companies in this area that offer outstanding jobs for our graduates,” Tschepikow said. “Our partnerships with industry help students see that there are many opportunities to build great careers right here in Athens.”