Honda supplier in Anderson IN opens doors, begins production at Flagship
By Rick Yencer
ANDERSON, IN - Brian Kidd has worked at his share of Japanese auto parts plant in his 40 year lifetime and likes the teamwork and performance of the new Greenville Technology Inc that opened its doors to the community on Friday.
"It's a good place to work," said Kidd, who grew up in Muncie, and worked at Keihin Aircon North America.
More than 55 associates, dressed in that classic white uniform of the Japanese auto industry, showed off their new plant in the Flagship Enterprise Center for community leaders, politicians and anyone else who wanted to see how glove and light boxes are made for Honda Civic and Acura ILX.
More than 100 people attended the event hosted by the city and Madison County Chamber of Commerce to show their venture in the Asian auto market. Just days before, Keihin, that has a plant in Muncie, announced it would move its North American headquarters to Flagship.
Mayor Kevin Smith lauded the collective effort by GTI, the state and the community to brought the first major manufacturing plant to the community in recent years. Anderson was once a huge General Motors town with large Delco and Guide Lamp plants. The large Delco complex is a gravel lot while the Guide operation is dimished.
Besides having Interstate 69 border Flagship, Smith also recognized the growing metro Indy area just south of there that includes Pendleton, Noblesville and Fishers.
The community took steps to build a new industrial park, Enterprise, with help from Purdue and Anderson universities and took all the steps necessary to provide infrastructure, rail and utilities to attract a new generation business and industry
The huge Nestle' plant is just south of GTI along with the Bunny out on Interstate 69. And Greg Winkler, the city's economic development guru, gets much of he credit along with Charles Staley, the so called godfather of the Enterprise park.
Sho Kurita, president and CEO of GTI, said his company's longstanding relationship later Honda brought them to Ohio and later caused their relocation to Anderson,closer to the Honda plant in Greensburg.
With that plant adding 50,000 cars to its yearly production of 200,000, GTI, like other suppliers, had to add to their facilities and their workforce to produce more parts.
Only two lines are currently installed to produce glove and light boxes and other grill molding. Kurita said more lines would be install with employment up to 100 in the first year and as many as 325 in years to come. Starting wages are around $12 million and GTI made an initial $15 million investment in the building and equipment.
Gov, Mike Pence stopped by to talk about his first day on the economic development road in Indiana after taking office on Monday.
And he brought his new teams of economic development experts, Eric Dodson, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., and Victor Smith, secretary of the Indiana Department of Commerce.
Pence said manufacturing never left Indiana and was growing with plants like GTI.
Jon Adams, plant manager, said the first parts already were being shipped to Honda and more lines would be producing even more parts within a year.
It took about six months to construct the building and get it in operation. Kurita said plans were to expand in Anderson as more production at Honda happens.
Muncie was lauding the Japanese auto industry more than a decade ago when Keihin came to town, More than 300 people work at that plant where heating, and air conditioning units are made. Winchester also has a parts supplier for the Honda plant.
Greg Winkler, Anderson economic guru, jests with U.S.Sen. Joe Donnelly.