Harmac Medical Products, a contract manufacturer of single-use medical devices, employs over 400 people in a neighborhood on Buffalo’s east side. Harmac is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and CEO John Somers sits on our board of directors. Recently, John spoke at our Maximizing the Value of Diversity & Inclusion event about the importance of community in attracting and retaining a dedicated workforce.
In particular, John focused on Harmac’s Bailey Green initiative – a collaborative effort to improve the immediate neighborhood around Harmac’s plant by creating greenspace, building affordable housing, and providing job opportunities for the community.
As the neighborhood’s primary anchor and investor, Harmac sees a responsibility to improve the lives of its employees beyond the 40 hours a week they spend on the clock.
Several years in, the Bailey Green initiative now involves a number of diverse community organizations. Habitat for Humanity has built eight new homes in the area and is expected to continue breaking ground on vacant and derelict properties.
Groundwork Market Garden, an urban farm serving local farmers markets and restaurants, opened in 2015. Hydroponic Greenhouse Urban Fruits & Veggies plans to build a raised bed community garden, two greenhouses and a wellness center.
Harmac is also addressing ongoing needs in the community for skills training, improved infrastructure and job creation through long-term investment and resident engagement. Organizations committed to community development equip residents with the tools to improve their own communities by offering career training and mentorship opportunities.
Peacemakers, which seeks to stabilize communities by mentoring youth and young adults, will be headquartered in a Harmac-owned building in Bailey Green. The Society for the Advancement of Construction Related Arts (SACRA) trains students and Bailey Green residents in construction and renovation skills.
Harmac’s mission is to change the lives of “patients, employees, and the communities in which we work.” The Bailey Green initiative is a tangible manifestation of that mission. By investing in the residents, maintaining housing opportunities, and mobilizing the efforts of various community development organizations, Harmac’s Bailey Green initiative has contributed significantly to the community in which it operates.
This type of substantive community development is vital to the continued growth of our region.
See the presentation here.