Growth at Promega: From Daycare to Employee

The red roof of Woods Hollow Child Care center peeks out over the prairie swale at the Promega Madison campus.
The red roof of Woods Hollow Child Care center peeks out over the prairie swale at the Promega Madison campus.

Woods Hollow Children’s Center is a prominent feature on the Promega Madison campus, due not only to the building’s distinctive red metal roof, but also the sights, sounds and energy that emanate from it. Playground laughter echoes across the prairie, little ones with their teachers stop in to explore the art at the Promega gallery, children and scientists alike share the meandering paths between lab, manufacturing and office buildings.

The fully accredited child center for children 6 weeks to 10 years old has been part of the Promega community since 1991 when the company built and began financially supporting Woods Hollow, making it available to employees as well as families in the surrounding community. (Promega employees do not receive a break in tuition, but they are given priority for admission. And Promega funding allows Woods Hollow to keep operating costs down while also being able to hire top teachers and offer them competitive wages.)

During its 27 years in operation, the center has served more than 2000 families, many of those with multiple children. It is natural to assume that someday perhaps at least a few of those kids would grow up to work at Promega.

Meet Promega Distribution Services Specialist, and Woods Hollow alum, Tyler Kalish.

Tyler and his dad pose outside Woods Hollow.
Tyler and his dad pose outside Woods Hollow.

“It’s pretty cool because this company has really been a part of my whole life,” says Tyler.

Tyler attended Woods Hollow when he was about two-years-old. His father Chad Kalish, currently Lead Distribution Services Specialist, began working at Promega as a dispensing technician around the same time Woods Hollow opened. He’s thankful it was an option back then when his young family had a need for daycare.

“At that time, it was pretty special and new to have a daycare on-site at a company,” says Chad. “Obviously there was the convenience factor, the safe playground and the quality teaching. I do remember a sense of pride to walk out of my building and seeing him playing on the playground just across the street. It was also great to stop by and have lunch with him. Of course, there was going through the struggle of leaving again since he didn’t understand that he’s not going back to work with dad!”

Tyler however does not remember much about the time he spent at Woods Hollow, but now as an adult, and especially as a Promega employee, he is grateful that it was there for him and his family.

“To know that the company providing my dad a pay check, putting food on the table, was also there to help care for you when you when you were young, that’s a unique thing,” says Tyler.

While growing up, Tyler says his dad often shared how much he appreciated his job at Promega, especially the flexibility it provided. He also fondly recalls his dad’s loyalty to the company, and vice versa, as evidenced by a whole closet full of Promega shirts celebrating every company milestone imaginable. That affinity eventually led Tyler to seek out a position at Promega in instrumentation, making sure assemblers have all the parts they need to build GloMax® instruments. Perhaps some of those early sorting skills were developed while playing with blocks at Woods Hollow?

Children at Woods Hollow watch with fascination as the construction crews get to work.
Children at Woods Hollow watch with fascination as the construction crews get to work.

Just as its alumnae are growing, so too is Woods Hollow. The center is currently undergoing construction on a 9300 square foot expansion that will add space for after-school programming and indoor large-motor activities. The addition is expected to be completed May 2019 in time for summer programming. Promega is funding the construction in line with the company’s commitment to its longstanding vision for Woods Hollow.

Tyler holds a similar long-term outlook for his own career at the company that has been such a part of his life, even from a very young age. (It’s not everyone who gets to work with people who remember you from when you were still in diapers, as is the case with Tyler and a few current Promega employees.)

He’s well on his way. Tyler set a goal for himself earlier this year to pursue a position in Quality Assurance, and he begins his first day as a Quality Technician for the Promega instrumentation team this week!

“There are so many diversified growth opportunities here,” says Tyler. “I can see myself growing here for a long time. Who knows, maybe when I have my own kids, they’ll go to Woods Hollow.”

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Karen Burkhartzmeyer
Karen is a Communication Specialist who has the privilege of helping to tell the Promega story in a multitude of ways. A former reporter, producer and teacher, Karen holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She is the mom of teenage twins and one very spoiled (yet deserving) rescue dog.

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