Faithful+Gould Joins Bel Brands USA at Plant Inauguration

Laura Okell
Faithful+Gould joins Bel Brands USA in celebration of the official opening of its plant in Brookings, South Dakota.

In October, Bel Brands held a luncheon and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official inauguration of their new mini BabyBel® cheese facility. Faithful+Gould’s team in Minneapolis joined the Bel Brands team, celebrating not just the unveiling of the facility, but the long term, successful collaboration of the two teams that made it all possible. As Gerry Dyer, who served as the Faithful+Gould project manager and Bel Brands owner’s representative for the project put it, “The event was fantastic, it was great to see the official culmination of a project we spent more than two years working on. The Bel Brands team was great to work with from day one.”

The $144 million facility has been in the works since February 2012, when Faithful+Gould signed on as project manager for the duration of construction. The project had some early challenges when developing the design and construction strategies so that the site work and building foundations could be completed before the harsh South Dakota winter began. To handle this, the team decided the best course of action would be to base the selections of the engineering and general contractor firms in part on their ability to work with us on a collaborative effort. This total "team" environment on the project enabled all parties to work through scope, design and construction activities that resulted in value added alternatives for a successful project completion that was on schedule and within budget.

“The event was fantastic, it was great to see the official culmination of a project we spent more than two years working on..."

Gerry Dyer, Faithful+Gould's Program Director

Coordination with French suppliers was key to the overall success of the venture. Equipment procurement and installation was scheduled around the observed holidays in France providing the Faithful+Gould team with a bit of a cultural learning experience along the way. In the end we were able to schedule construction workarounds between the utility and process installation so separate crews were able to work safely and efficiently, within different areas of the plant. October’s luncheon marked the first occasion where all these engineers, some of which have moved onto other projects around the World and within Europe, could all be together to see the payoff of their hard work.

It seems collaboration has been the theme of this venture. Before even breaking ground, at the start of the project, Barilla Pasta allowed the team to bring Bel Brands on a tour of their Avon, New York plant, which Faithful+Gould provided owner’s representative services for in 2006-2007. This invaluable experience allowed Faithful+Gould to demonstrate our level of expertise with these kinds of projects to the Bel Brand’s team first hand, building trust and understanding on both sides.

"Our ability to collaborate was a big part of the reason we were selected by Bel Brands."

Jonathan Marshall, Faithful+Gould's Senior Vice President

This would not have been possible, were it not for the strong relationship built with this past client. As Jonathan Marshall, Faithful+Gould Americas senior vice president and project director for the Bel Brands project said, “Our ability to collaborate was a big part of the reason we were selected by Bel Brands. Faithful+Gould can demonstrate to potential international clients building in the U.S. for the first time how we have supported other international clients including, Rolls Royce, BMW and Barilla Pasta with U.S. delivery methods, contracts, materials and design standards they may not have experienced before.” As a firm, our execution of this kind of collaborative service is a major point of pride and it was fitting that a past client was able to assist in our securing of this project.   

The Brookings plant is the largest industrial capital expenditure in Bel Group’s history. The plant will use about 500,000 pounds of milk per day, purchased through two dairy co-ops in the region, Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes. Faithful+Gould is extremely proud to have assisted in the construction of this groundbreaking facility, and grateful to have experienced the added bonus of working with the wonderful team at Bel Brands.