Incumbent U.S. Sen. and Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown made a stop at Cool Containers in Reno Monday on his seven-day "Road to Ohio Jobs Tour."
Three years ago, Brown and his staffers helped Cool Containers get a meeting with FAA officials, after the federal agency notified the company of a two-year delay in the process of giving manufacturing approval to the firm's Pharma Port 360 product.
The Pharma Port 360 container is designed for safe, 5 degree Celsius door to door transportation of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals and other life science products.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown visited Cool Containers in Reno Monday, as part of his “Road to Ohio Jobs Tour.”
Using the container, pharmaceutical companies can be assured of the safety, viability and efficacy of critical pharmaceuticals.
"We rolled over. We thought we were dead," said Scott Farrar, chief technology officer at Cool Containers.
The company's principals had leveraged everything possible to keep their dream of this new product alive, including houses and lines of credit, said Farrar.
Cool Containers at a glance
2008 through early 2009: Cool Containers worked on technology for Pharma Port 360.
Oct. 9, 2009: After learning that the FAA wanted manufacturing approval that would take as long as two years, Cool Containers' principals contacted Sen. Sherrod Brown's office.
Nov. 6, 2009: Cool Containers met with an FAA manager about timing of manufacturing approval for Pharma Port 360.
Oct. 2010: Design approval received from FAA.
March 2011: Manufacturing approval received from FAA.
Sept. 2011: First shipment of Pharma Port 360 made.
They then reached out to Sen. Brown's office for help.
"We'd never dealt with the political arm outside our local area," said Mark Hugh, Cool Container's director of engineering.
Nor did the two know if reaching out to Brown's office "would make any difference," Farrar said.
"Who's gonna listen to a couple of guys with one product?" he added.
But their outreach to Sen. Brown did make a difference.
"It's our job not to just sit in Washington... and wait. We're always looking for what we can do to help," Brown said.
"My job (with Cool Containers) was to get them in the (FAA) door," he added.
With Brown's assistance connections were made, meetings ensued and the approval process was shortened by several months.
Flash forward three years later, and Cool Containers is experiencing healthy growth.
So much so that company officials are considering a move to a larger, 500,000-square-foot facility in Washington County, said Farrar.
In addition, Cool Containers is currently developing three products for ground transportation, according to Hugh.
As Brown toured the facility he was introduced to several members of the Cool Containers' staff, including engineers, those in product development and testing and a senior refrigeration technician.
Cool Containers sells it products to the military, UPS, Pfizer, Merck, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and semi conductor companies.
In response to Brown's Monday tour at Cool Containers, Josh Mandel, Ohio State treasurer and candidate for U.S. Senate, said "Sherrod Brown says one thing in Marietta and another thing in Washington."
Mandel pointed to what he said voters "won't hear from Sen. Brown. ...He's a 38-year career politician who's voted for taxpayer-funded bail outs, a failed stimulus and a government takeover of health care."
Mandel said he would bring real change to Washington.
"My jobs plan will make Ohio a world leader in manufacturing and energy development," he said.
Brown's "Road to Ohio Jobs Tour" was also scheduled to stop in Athens, Piketon and Chilllicothe Monday.