Just six months after breaking ground at Runway Centre in southern Lincoln County, HIROTEC Manufacturing America LLC is making great progress as construction of its new manufacturing facility here is already nearing completion.
Situated on 34 acres in the industrial park at 35 Koi Park Road, formerly Cessna Road, the state-of-the-art building houses 137,000 square feet of what will be exhaust production and stamping space, with future expansion capabilities of an additional 137,000 square feet. The new company will support the Mazda-Toyota joint-venture company also currently under construction in Huntsville, Ala.
“This is an exciting time for HIROTEC,” said Kazuhiro Matsumura, president of HIROTEC Manufacturing America, in a recent interview with The Times. “We’re pleased to be in Fayetteville. The community has been very open and welcoming to us, and we’re excited about the future.”
HIROTEC’s Fayetteville facility represents a $48 million capital investment and over 100 new jobs for the community, bringing it one step closer to becoming an industry leader in stamping and assembly like others in the HIROTEC Group companies.
“In regard to the building itself, we’re rolling right along,” said Bernie Sinz, vice president of business operations. “Our original plan was to be complete in June, but now, I think we’re going to be complete closer to the beginning of May. From the standpoint of equipment and production that schedule hasn’t changed. The first press will arrive in July, and our date to be in full production is the third quarter of 2021. We do plan to begin doing tryouts at the beginning of next year.”
“Our company chose Fayetteville,” said Matsumura, explaining that the company made several visits to the community as guests of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board. “We met everyone here, and they were all very cooperative and friendly.
“Together, we are creating a new company, one based on HIROTEC’s philosophies and principles which have been in place since our founding more than 80 years ago. Those principles – sincerity, modesty, and progress – are at the heart of our company and, we believe, shared values with the community here.
“This experience of creating a new company will be the only one in our lifetimes, so we are challenging everyone in Fayetteville and Lincoln County to help us,” he continued.
Employees key to success
“Not many people get to build a company from the ground up,” said Sinz, “but that’s what we’re doing here, and it’s very important that the people we hire are aligned with our principles. The belief that the community and the company are on the same page is another reason why we feel Fayetteville is the right place ... We believe it will be easier here to find people with those same principles, those shared values.”
Of the 100-plus employees the company plans to hire here, only six will be from outside the area, he said, adding that the first person hired was local – “Our HR supervisor is a lifelong Fayetteville resident, and she’s doing interviews now.”
Positions are posted on the company’s website, www.hirotecmfg.com. “We have a few positions posted now, and we’ll just expand that as we continue,” he said. Resumes are also being accepted at the company’s temporary Fayetteville office located just across the street from the Patrick.
“We want to be the place that people want to work,” Sinz continued. “We’ll have competitive wages, and we also believe in treating our employees well. In that regard, we’ve also invested in the plant for it to be air conditioned – we want our employees to have a comfortable work environment.”
“Hiring the right employees is an important step,” said Matsumura. “Without the right people, the right mindset, we won’t be successful.”
HIROTEC can plan to offer local high school students tours of the facility once it is complete, he said, explaining that he believes once students see the opportunities for training, they will be interested in joining the company and staying within the community.
“We are excited about the future of high school students,” he said. “We would like them to see what kind of company we are, and if they wish to learn a trade, this will be a great opportunity for them. They have bright futures here just as much as anyone else, and we will train the right people.”
“We really want to thank the people of Fayetteville and Lincoln County for the warm reception they’ve given us,” said Sinz. “You know, when we go into stores and restaurants and we’re wearing HIROTEC gear, people almost exactly say the same thing, that they’re happy we’re here and that Fayetteville needs a company like ours.
“HIROTEC is a community-based company, and we want to be involved in the community. The fact that the community is happy we’re here is very welcoming for us. It also shows the passion of the community is very strong.”
After construction got underway, the industrial board offered to name the road leading into the industrial park after HIROTEC, the first company to make the park its home.
“We know we will have other neighbors, and we didn’t want it to be all about us,” said Sinz. “That wouldn’t be in harmony with the values we represent ... Ultimately, we did suggest Koi Park Road. Koi has three meanings in Japanese, first it means love, second it means come, and it also means a type of fish. Too, in Hiroshima, we love the sport of baseball and our hometown team is the Hiroshima Carp, another type of fish very similar to Koi. It just seemed like a perfect match.”