Yamada to add 100 jobs in $15.2M expansion

Yamada will add 100 new jobs as part of a $15.2 million expansion, the second major addition at the Honda supplier in recent years as the automotive industry grows in Clark County.

Clark County commissioners approved Wednesday a 100 percent, 15-year property tax abatement on the proposed expansion. Yamada will add 73,000 square feet at its facility at 9000 Columbus-Cincinnati Road, which will include more production and dock space, as well as an office, training areas and locker rooms.

The manufacturer added 61,000 square feet to its plant in 2012, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“This is a significant expansion,” he said. “It really strengthens their footprint here but also their importance as an automotive supplier. That’s certainly one of our core strengths as a community and when you have a company like Yamada growing the way they have been, it really strengthens our community’s position as it relates to the automotive industry.”

The company manufactures water pumps, drive shafts, steering columns and other parts for the auto industry. It now has 511 full-time and 100 temporary employees.

The new jobs will vary from support staff to manufacturing positions, said Marc Murray, vice president and general manager of Yamada’s administration division.

“One of the items that we’re looking at is solidifying our business here in the United States with our current customers and also looking at future business,” he said.

Yamada is expected to create 30 new jobs in the first year, 35 positions in the second year two and 35 more in the third year, according to the county agreement.

The increase in workers is expected to result in $2.8 million of additional annual payroll for Yamada in three years. The current payroll for the company is about $18.4 million.

Construction is expected to begin in about two weeks and wrap up by December, Murray said

Several other auto suppliers have expanded in the past two years. KTH Parts Industries Inc. also on Wednesday broke ground on a new $6.7 million research facility in Plain City that will employ 33 new workers. That facility will allow KTH, based in St. Paris, to research new technology as manufacturers like Honda seek stronger, lightweight materials to meet tougher federal fuel efficiency standards.

KTH also recently put the final touches on a $29 million expansion that added about 28,000 square feet to its St. Paris facility.

In Springfield, Parker Trutec wrapped up a $13 million expansion that added 15 new jobs and 20,000 square feet to its plant at 4700 Gateway Blvd.

Pentaflex, which makes parts for the trucking industry, announced plans this spring for a $4 million expansion that will add 40 new jobs. And the McGregor Metalworking Cos. were were named a Tier I supplier for Honda earlier this year, meaning it will have an expanded role shipping parts to Honda.

Local auto parts firms have fared particularly well in recent years as the auto industry has snapped back from the Great Recession, Hobbs said.

“We’re seeing multiple investments by these companies over a short period of time,” Hobbs said. “This is a big deal.”

In exchange for the tax incentives, Yamada will make payments to Southeastern schools equal to 50 percent of what it would have been paid overall in years six through 15 of the tax abatement, according to a May 19 agreement with the school district.

“It’s a win-win situation for both of us,” Superintendent David Shea said. “We’re extremely pleased that we’re able to work together and that Yamada has supported us for many years.”

Yamada has developed a long history of creating jobs in Clark County, Clark County Commissioner David Herier said, and making good on promises made after receiving tax incentives.

“They’ve shown no signs of going away and continue to be part of the community and investing in the community,” Herier said.

Yamada supports all of the Honda manufacturers in Ohio and Subaru. It also ships parts to Canada, Alabama and Indiana.

“With that commitment we’re very centrally located here in Clark County to get on (Interstate) 70, 71, 75. It’s just a great location logistically to be at,” Murray said. “I think Clark County is one of the best places to be, you’re within 650 miles of any place.”

The tax abatement is the latest in incentives Yamada has received from the county in the past decade.

In 2003, the county approved a 10-year, 100 percent abatement in exchange for the company creating 30 new full-time jobs, installing new equipment, and expanding production and warehouse space, according to the agreement.

In 2011, the county approved a 15-year, 100-percent tax abatement that allowed the company to create 57 new full-time jobs and add nearly 91,000 square feet.

Rick Burton remembers when the company came to South Charleston decades ago and said new jobs is exactly what the area needs.

“A hundred new jobs in south Charleston is a big deal,” Burton said.

Staff Writer Allison Wichie contributed to this report.