Press Release: 11.16.2011

McCarthy Hosts Contractor Day for Mars Chocolate North America

McCarthy, one of America’s oldest and largest builders, hosted a Contractor Day this morning for the new Mars Chocolate North America manufacturing facility under construction in Topeka, Kan. The purpose of the event was to provide contractors with information about the project, the bidding process, and the timeline. At approximately $250 million and 550,000 total square feet, the project will be the first chocolate plant built by Mars in the United States in 35 years. This project is the first phase of a potential multi-phased project. Significant site preparation began in September with construction estimated to be complete in 2013. 

“Mars is committed to utilizing local and regional resources and talent as much as possible in our new facility,” explained Joe Wrona, operations manager for Mars Chocolate North America. "The event this morning continues to build on the important relationships that we are establishing in the community; we expect to be here for a long time, and look forward to developing mutual relationships with the local community partners.”

Located in Topeka’s new Kanza Fire Commerce Park, the facility will produce M&M’S®, SNICKERS® and other chocolate products. Designed by Kansas City, Mo.-based CRB Consulting Engineers and Builders, the project includes construction of facilities for production, office, warehouse and material storage, packaging, central utilities, rail unloading, guard house and water treatment.

McCarthy anticipates more than 1,000 trades people will work on site over the course of the project with the majority coming from the local workforce. Upon completion, Mars expects to hire approximately 200 full-time operations associates to resource the lines installed during this initial phase. Subsequent phases of development will then expand the capacity of the facility.

The site work and building structure packages have been awarded to local contractors already with work currently underway. The remaining building enclosure and fit-out work will be awarded in the first half of 2012.

Demonstrating Mars’ commitment to sustainability, the new facility will be built to meet leading-edge environmental standards and will pursue LEED Gold certification upon completion through the United States Green Building Council’s green building certification program. The LEED program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide construction services to one of America’s preeminent companies and are looking forward to working with Mars and the community of Topeka to deliver this new state-of-the-art facility,” commented McCarthy Project Director Doug Mangers.

About Mars Chocolate North America
Mars Chocolate North America ( is the North American chocolate operations of Mars, Incorporated. In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Wash., kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of  building a business based on the philosophy of a “mutuality of benefits” for all stakeholders – this vision serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Va., Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 65,000 Associates worldwide are putting Mars Principles in action every day to make a difference for people and the planet through performance.

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