IMMY continues to grow, breaks ground on new facility

October 23, 2015

Sarah Kirby

The Norman Transcript

In 1979, Immy was born in a barn in Goldsby. Thirty years ago, Stan Bauman, its founder, wanted to move his medical diagnostics company to 24th Ave. in Norman. On Friday, his plans finally came to fruition — despite being off a mile or so.

Dr. Sean Bauman, his son, welcomed company leaders, state legislators and local dignitaries for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate its forthcoming facility.

“That site that he looked at was very, very near to this exact location. Really, It’s an extension of the vision you’ve started and created,” Bauman said to his father.

Construction on the new Norman headquarters for IMMY broke ground Friday morning at 2701 Corporate Center, opposite Embassy Suites in Norman. According to city building permits, the property will cost $8 million and includes an office and warehouse.

The new building will measure three times the size of its current facility, which the company plans to sell, and will allow IMMY to add more than 50 jobs over the next decade. The new company headquarters will serve several purposes, including housing its products.

Construction is expected to take a year to complete. The McKinney Partnership is the architect at the helm of the sleek design, while Timberlake serves as the general contractor.

The future company headquarters will be a far cry from the company’s humble beginnings. The elder Bauman founded IMMY at a time when mycology, the study of fungi, had become a forgotten area in the clinical laboratory.

Since then, IMMY has evolved from a small company that filled a need in the market to an organization focused on innovating products that save lives around the globe, particularly in developing countries.

This year, Bauman said it will sell two million of its flagship product to countries around the world, with the fingerprints of his team on each one.

“I think our tagline says it all: saving lives one diagnostic at a time,” Bauman said. “That’s what we’re in the business of doing. We just don’t talk about it, we just don’t do research; we do it, we sell it.”

During the ceremony, Bauman’s son told the origin story of his company, which was intertwined in his childhood memories.

“We changed pace and realized we needed to upgrade. We were growing out of the original space, so we moved to this new facility you see here in the middle,” Bauman said, pointing to the series of pictures that hung behind him. “It’s just blown us away. We moved into the facility thinking it was going to take forever to fill it up. Well, the reception area now is our shipping and receiving, we have a whole other location in Norman, we’re all busting at the seams — all great problems I’ll take any day of the week.

“Rather than shuttering operations, we’re just trying to find places to put stuff and people and keep the pipelines open. We’re excited about this new building you see here.This is going to be a wicked awesome space.”

The work IMMY has done has not gone without notice. In 2014, it was included in the Metro 50 rankings, which is a list of the fastest growing private companies in central Oklahoma.

IMMY also was awarded the Innovation Recognition Award from the Oklahoma Bioscience Association for the CrAg LFA.

Most recently, it was featured by the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for this year.

Bauman thanked his staff and the Norman community for its support during the company’s continuing evolution.

“We are blessed beyond measure,” Bauman said. “God’s doing amazing things in this company and throughout the world. I’m very humbled. It’s not about the Bauman family; it’s about the people who really make this happen.”

Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb remarked that the groundbreaking ceremony was a celebration throughout the state. He called IMMY “an example of what’s great about Oklahoma.”

“I thought it was also analogous that our savior was born in a barn, and so was Immy,” Lamb said.

Lamb pointed to IMMY as an economic driver for the state, along with oil and agriculture.

“Oklahoma continues to be on the rise, and we have had so many businesses expand the horizon,” Lamb said. “Biotechnology, and here, diagnostics, is one of the most fastest growing industries in Oklahoma. The Bauman family started here and are from here, and I assume you bleed crimson… but my point is, you could go elsewhere, you could have gone somewhere else.”

Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said she was excited to celebrate the success of the local, family-owned business.

“This is really exciting to be able to celebrate a success like this,” Rosenthal said. “It’s also a local story and I want to celebrate the fact that this is a local company. It’s stayed local and it’s grown local, yet it has a global reach. That’s what’s so exciting about the opportunities that face the city of Norman. We have great local entrepreneurs and great local stories, and yet they can reach globally to have a local impact.”

Plans have already been made should IMMY need to expand and impact lives at an even bigger level.

“Our pipeline is full,” Bauman said. “I hope we have the same problem with this building that we did with the last one, that we just outgrow it so fast. But fortunately, we have some room to expand. We planned ahead.”