May 26 11:36 PM

Capac is energized!

Excitement builds at Keihin groundbreaking ceremony

July 25, 2007
CAPAC — As Daimler Chrysler employee Brian Simms watched Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Keihin officials break ground last week, competition was the last thing on his mind.

"Jobs are jobs," the Capac area resident said.

"It's just nice to see something coming in instead of going out."

Keihin is one of automaker Honda's largest suppliers in the United States. Honda and other Japanese automakers have gradually eclipsed Michigan's 'Big Three' when it comes to vehicle sales.

"I'm just glad for anything that will bring manufacturing back to Michigan," Simms said.

Keihin Michigan Manufacturing (KMM) plans to hire up to 260 employees, about 160 of those this year before production begins in the spring. Simms said his wife and son are anxious to submit their applications.

Granholm said she's made a point to brag about Michigan's workforce when visiting places like Japan, Keihin's home base.

"We have a workforce that is second to none," Granholm said.

Kentaro Kato, president and CEO of Keihin, said he was pleased to learn of the community's excitement over Keihin's announcement and new job opportunities through media reports that crossed his desk in April.

"I am feeling the excitement even stronger today," he said at Thursday's ceremony.

Shigeru Iwaki, president of KMM, announced the company wanted to push up their production start from fall 2008 to this coming spring.

As part of the incentives package from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Keihin has promised to interview at least 82 positions to low and moderate income persons through Michigan WORKS! In papers filed with the state, Keihin said they plan to create the following jobs: 24 managerial, 7 professional, 17 technical, 18 clerical and 194 operators.

Keihin President and CEO Kentaro Kato addresses crowd while Capac Village President Mark Klug and Governor Jennifer Granholm look on. photo by Catherine Minolli.
They have already posted a few managerial jobs in local media outlets.

According to Capac Village Manager Dennis Collison, construction bids will go out in the coming weeks and granted next month with building to start in September. In addition to the building, several infrastructure projects will run concurrently including extensions to the water, sanitary sewer and county drain and rebuilding Koehn Rd. It will become a three-lane paved, all season road. The $1.57 million project is being funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation, a Community Development Block grant, St. Clair County and the village.

On Thursday, Iwaki acknowledged the construction could disrupt traffic in the area, but asked for patience.

"We apologize in advance. We want to be a good neighbor," he said.

Following the groundbreaking, village and Keihin officials unveiled a stately new town clock the company donated to the village, commemorating their 150 years.

At a special reception following, Keihin presented the chamber of commerce a $10,000 donation toward the festival costs and gave the village a commemorative plaque recognizing their sesquicentennial.

"We are honored to be a part of your community," Kato said.

Visit our new Web site— for more photos of the event.

Assistant Editor
Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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