Biotech firm rebrands with focus on cutting-edge industry services

A fast-growing professional services firm that has found a fit serving the biotech industry has a new name that reflects its niche.

Nelson Engineering Inc. is now Nelson Baker Biotech Inc., which brands itself as an innovative engineering, procurement and construction firm in the industrial biotech space.

The company serves in many biotech industries, including fuel ethanol, biochemicals, ag processing, advanced and renewable biofuels, bioplastics, biomass and algae.

“I feel like the rebrand and name change is just catching up to who we are today,” said Tiffany Trottman, business development manager.

“After 12 years in business, it’s time for a new, fresh take that shows that we do more than just engineering and how our focus surrounds the biotech space.”

“Aligning our name with our capabilities better communicates the services we provide,” CEO Jerry Baker said. “It’s been energizing to see how the team’s skill sets and expertise have evolved over time, and now we have a name that better suits our company mission.”

Nelson Baker’s 26 team members work mostly out of the Sioux Falls office near the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

Their work takes them into multiple states, however, as it provides support to biotech clients from concept through construction.

The ethanol industry has been a significant driver of business. “We just completed our biggest project ever, so that was very exciting,” Trottman said. “And we continue to look toward renewable chemicals and value-added processing of biomass, as well as exciting opportunities in biogas.”

The emerging biogas industry involves production of natural gas from renewable materials.

“Natural gas utilizes crop residue that otherwise would decay on a field or manure from hog and dairy operations,” Trottman explained. “So it’s a really cool approach to sustainability. We’re able to bring value to these bioindustrial projects as they’re beginning to move from concept into reality, which is a really exciting place to be.”

Nelson Baker Biotech is beginning to roll out its new brand to the broader biotech industry, with a presence at several large trade shows, including the upcoming BIO World Congress next month in Des Moines.

“It’s specifically for the industrial biotech sector, and historically it’s on the coasts, so to be able to bring this conference to Iowa is awesome,” Trottman said. “We’ve attended in the past and have had great meetings come out of that. People are so eager to connect, and there’s a lot of energy about the event.”
Many of Nelson Baker’s meetings will be with startups or companies pioneering new technologies, she said.

“They’re trying to look for commercialization partners, and those are the people we’re really interested in engaging with. They have a process or technology demonstrated in the lab or at pilot scale, and we can come alongside and get them to commercial scale. That makes for some really exciting conversations and interesting topics because it’s all so cutting edge.”

South Dakota Biotech, the state affiliate of BIO, also will have a significant presence at the World Congress July 8-11.

“It’s so significant that this event is being held in the Midwest for the first time, and we’re excited Nelson Baker Biotech will be helping represent Sioux Falls,” said Joni Johnson, South Dakota Biotech’s executive director.

“Nelson Baker is exactly the sort of business we want to highlight because they’re based and growing in South Dakota and able to offer their services locally as we grow our biotech sector, and they’re also successfully growing their business with work outside of our state.”

The firm plans to continue expanding its presence in Sioux Falls and has openings for positions, including a sales manager, process engineer and mechanical engineer.

The company is careful to hire those who fit the culture, Trottman added. A big part of that is giving back to the community.

Team members recently spent time during the workday building bird feeders for Active Generations. “When you get a bunch of engineering and construction people together, even something as simple as building a bird feeder gets pretty competitive and fun,” Trottman said.
The team also will paint two houses this summer with the Salvation Army’s Brush Up Sioux Falls program.

“We really love the community. We have a lot of pride in being part of Sioux Falls. Because of the growing economy and the people here, we’ve been able to grow and have this exciting future for the company. So we’re really grateful for the community and passionate about the company being located here.”

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