One of those humble people I’ve met was Dr. William Britz, Jr. DVM. Dr. Britz is the Chairman and Founder of Britz and Company, a producer of enriched animal housing for Bio research, zoos and universities.
In his other life, Dr. Britz was in the United States Air Force for 21 years and served as the Flight Veterinarian for “Ham,” the first chimpanzee in space, even proceeding Alan Sheppard. It must have been exciting to be such a big part of the first primate in space. “Sheppard and the rest of the astronauts didn’t think much of the program,” Dr. Britz related.
He found himself a part of the early days of the space program as part of a group of Veterinarians who were recruited to be a part of the Air Force. “My first assignment was to Holloman AFB in New Mexico with the Chimpanzee Colony in the Aeromedical research laboratory, which was supporting Project Mercury with NASA. The animals were used to test the life support systems for the astronauts. I just happened to be there at the right time,” Dr. Britz said.
Because of his years as a veterinarian, in research and his love of animals, he wanted to find a way to house animals more humanely. In the early days of designing containment systems, they outsourced the manufacturing all over the country. “I had a permanent seat on American Airlines,” he said. They decided if they were going to make the company work long term, they needed to do their own manufacturing.
It was then, through an active Economic Development program in Wyoming that they relocated their Texas-based company to Wheatland. “The then Governor of Wyoming announced that ‘Wyoming is open for business.’ They had various programs and assistance for start up businesses. They especially wanted to expand in manufacturing. We were encouraged by Randy Marble from the Wheatland Area Development Council to take a closer look at Wheatland,” Dr. Britz recalled.
Their original business plan to the state called for fifty employees. The eventually grew to 55. They quickly outgrew the “incubator” where they were housed; a former car dealership. “The shop area made a great location for a small manufacturing facility,” Dr. Britz said.
The containment systems they build are the “Cadillac” of the industry. They’re sold to all the major Universities and research facilities here and around the world including major projects at Duke and Singapore Universities. What makes them “the best?” We started this company to build cages that were environmentally enriched for the animals and provided a safe solution for the caregivers.”
Their motto, “Enriching the lives of animals and humans” bears that out, well.