The Jackson Laboratory welcomes 125th employee to Charles E. Hewett Center in Ellsworth, Maine

An exterior shot of the Jackson Laboratory Ellsworth campus
Photo credit: Tiffany Laufer

ELLSWORTH, ME – The Jackson Laboratory is celebrating the hiring of its 125th employee at the Charles E. Hewett Center in Ellsworth.

The Center opened just three years ago to enable wider access to vital JAX mouse resources for the worldwide biomedical research community, and is named in honor of Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D., a member of the JAX Board of Trustees and former executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“The Center represents the culmination of nine decades of unmatched experience and leadership in breeding and caring for laboratory mice. Reaching 125 employees in Ellsworth so quickly is crucial to advancing JAX’s mission to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empowering the global biomedical community to improve human health,” said Catherine “Katy” Longley, JAX executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Advancing biomedical research on a global basis

JAX completed the first phase of repurposing the building in August 2018 and a second phase in the summer of 2021. The third and final phase of the $245 million project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, well ahead of the initial planned completion date of 2026.  Partial funding for Phase II of the center came from a competitively awarded $12.5 million grant from Maine Technology Institute (MTI) in 2018. Once work on the 300,000 square-foot building is complete, JAX estimates that it will have around 350 employees working at the Ellsworth facility.

While advancing biomedical research on a global basis, The Charles E. Hewett Center benefits the City of Ellsworth, the State of Maine and JAX employees.

"This is an important milestone in the life of The Jackson Laboratory's production facility in Ellsworth," said Brian Whitney, president of the Maine Technology Institute about the 125th employee hire. "The work being done at the Charles E. Hewett Center is helping to solve humankind’s most confounding health problems, and is providing a hundred good jobs in Downeast Maine, with more to come. MTI continues to be pleased and impressed with the efforts of The Jackson Laboratory and looks forward to more progress ahead."

The Hewett Center is the focal point of the City of Ellsworth’s long-term strategy to attract businesses in the life sciences sector.

Good news for Maine and the world of genetic research

"The awarding of the MTI grant and the news of The Jackson Laboratory’s expansion in Ellsworth was met with great excitement around the promise of hundreds of jobs over a 10-year span," said Janna Richards, economic development director for the City of Ellsworth. "The hiring of the 125th employee just a few years into the timeline represents a milestone that should be celebrated, not only because of the number of people already hired, but also because of the expectation of even more high-quality jobs to come. This is tremendous news for The Jackson Laboratory and for the City of Ellsworth, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead."

“I love working at JAX because I have the opportunity to work toward my career goals, gain education with the help of the tuition reimbursement program, and help the community I am a part of,” said Elizabeth Linnell, who was the first animal care technician hired at the Ellsworth facility in 2019. “I am grateful to be able to do my part to help the JAX team lead the search for tomorrow’s cures, and I look forward to seeing continued growth at this facility.”

More than 1,700 people are employed by JAX in Maine, with most of them working at the Laboratory’s headquarters in Bar Harbor. More than half of those employees live in Hancock County, with others commuting from greater distances.