Stellar has expanded into China to offer its food and beverage expertise to manufacturers and distributors growing their operations in the Asia-Pac region. The fully integrated company has established its China headquarters in Shanghai, opened branch offices in both Beijing and Guangzhou, hired a regional manager to lead its Chinese operations, and has two active projects already underway for an international Fortune 500 food company.
Bringing food and beverage expertise to the Chinese market
Widely considered the U.S. market leader in design-build services for food and beverage processing and distribution facilities, Stellar’s clients include many Fortune 500 companies, such as Nestlé, Kraft, Starbucks, Heinz, General Mills, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Tyson and ConAgra Foods. Construction industry trade magazine, Engineering News-Record, repeatedly recognizes Stellar as the number-one firm serving food and beverage processors.
“Our expansion into China provides multinational manufacturers and distributors the same food and beverage expertise they’ve come to expect from us in the U.S., provided by professionals who understand the Chinese market, culture and business practices,” said Brian Kappele, divisional vice president, Stellar Food & Beverage Facility Services. “Our team in China is a strategic mix of our U.S.-based food and beverage architecture, engineering, construction, refrigeration, mechanical and thermal subject-matter experts, teamed up with Chinese and expatriate professionals who intimately understand the Chinese market.”
In China, Stellar operates as a wholly owned foreign enterprise that is licensed to provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services across the whole of China. Stellar China has already commenced two significant projects worth more than $86 million for a global household-brand food company.
“As more and more of our clients began to expand into China and request our services there, we realized that it was important for us to create a high-performing team in China, which combined the best of what we offer in the U.S., with the Chinese cultural and business best practices know-how and expertise,” said Kappele. “Due to growing concerns about food safety and quality, there are significant opportunities for global food manufacturers and distributors in China who can successfully apply the same stringent standards from their U.S. operations to their Chinese facilities.”
New regional manager
To manage and grow its Chinese start-up operations, Stellar recruited Graham Bland, an engineering and construction executive with more than 30 years of professional experience spanning 17 countries, with an in-depth knowledge of doing business in China. Bland, who speaks several languages, including English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Mandarin, has lived and worked in China since 1997 and is the author of a book entitled, “Riding the Waves of Chinese Culture,” which explores the cultural nuances that all multinational companies face when doing business in China.
“Stellar is widely known as the world leader in providing design, construction and process engineering services to food and beverage manufacturers and distributors,” said Bland. “However, China is a huge and complex market, with significant cultural dynamics that impact business operations. Stellar understood that to succeed in China, it was imperative to create a team that can navigate these cultural practices.”
Prior to joining Stellar in February, Graham held several global leadership positions, including chief operating officer of Technip China and project director in China for a world-leading engineering, procurement and construction contractor. He also served as the executive project director and virtual CEO of the Middle East’s largest and most complex construction project, the USD $6.3 billion Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion project.
Graham earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Stirling, holds a Masters in Project Management, and an MBA from Manchester Business School, ranked among the world’s top 30 MBA programs.
Stellar is an architecture, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm. Using a fully integrated approach, Stellar’s team of more than 600 people worldwide create award-winning food and beverage processing plants; refrigerated warehouses; distribution centers; commercial, institutional and military facilities; and industrial refrigeration, mechanical, thermal, cooling and power systems. In addition to its Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters, Stellar operates 12 support locations throughout the United States and has offices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, China and Puerto Rico. The company also serves Central and South America, Europe and India. For more information, visit www.stellar.net.