Honda supplier wrapping up $13M expansion in Springfield

A Clark County manufacturing firm that supplies Honda is putting the finishing touches on a $13 million expansion this winter that will allow them to add jobs and keep up with customers in the booming auto industry.

Parker Trutec added roughly 20,000 square feet to its plant at 4700 Gateway Blvd. over the past several months and also purchased new equipment to treat parts for Honda, said Shannon Ricciardo, assistant plant manager for the company. The company is training workers now and will hire about 15 new employees over the next few months, he said.

Much of the growth can be attributed to increasing demand from Honda, which fell just shy of a company record for annual sales last year. Parker Trutec heat treats metal components for Honda and other customers in a process that makes the parts stronger and last longer.

“It’s fantastic for the local economy and the Ohio economy, what Honda has been doing,” Ricciardo said.

The expansion was necessary to make room for additional equipment needed to treat parts for Honda’s new Continuously Variable Transmission systems. The equipment includes four new furnaces, as well as machinery to clean the parts, remove oil after the heat treating process and heat the parts a second time to finalize the process.

Heat treating allows manufacturers to use lighter-weight steel to reduce the weight of vehicles and improve fuel efficiency.

Installing the equipment early this year will allow the company time to train employees before production ramps up in early summer, Ricciardo said.

Parker Trutec operates five facilities across the U.S. and Mexico, although most of its employees work at separate facilities in Springfield and Urbana. The company has also said it is investing $3 million into the Urbana site, which includes adding another production line. Overall, the company employs roughly 330 workers between the two sites.

The expansion is good news for Springfield, said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and economic development director. Parker Trutec’s newest expansion will use the remainder of the space it owns in Springfield at the Prime Ohio Corporate Park.

That means the city will need to be proactive with the company to prepare for future growth, Franzen said. Local economic development officials recently finalized construction at the Prime Ohio II business park along I-70, as well as the Champion City Business Park at Belmont and Lagonda avenues.

“It’s a positive but also we need to start working with them on future expansion opportunities and where we might be able to accommodate them,” Franzen said. “When we’re talking to these companies, that’s always at the forefront of our discussions.”

Despite the recent recession, Parker Trutec has slowly continued to add business, Ricciardo said. The manufacturer’s last expansion took place in 2013, and it also serves customers in the military, heavy transportation and appliance industries.

“It’s been exciting for the time I’ve been here to see the change and growth in the company,” Ricciardo said.