Calsonic Kansei opens plant that will employ 140

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 18, 2002

Calsonic Kansei engineering manager Alan Garner, left, and technician Barry Renfro, second from left, hold sake samples while, from left, chairman of Calsonic Kansei worldwide operations H Ohno, general manager of the Calsonic Kansei plant at Vicksburg Bob Croisdale, president of Calsonic Kansei North America O Toyoguchi and Warren County chamber of commerce executive Jimmy Heidel make a toast to the success of the new plant. (The Vicksburg Post/C. Todd Sherman)

[10/18/02]Almost a year and two weeks from the date ground was broken, Calsonic Kansei Mississippi formally opened its plant in Vicksburg on Thursday.

“When we chose Vicksburg, we felt strongly that we would receive great support from the community, and we have not been disappointed,” said O Toyoguchi, North American president for the company that will make components for vans, trucks and cars being assembled at Nissan’s new plant near Canton.

As a surprise, Toyoguchi announced the company will sponsor one of the panels to be painted on the flood wall at City Front. The cost is $15,000.

The grand opening at the Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex at Flowers was attended by local, state and federal officials. The plant is the first of the tier one suppliers for Nissan to open in Mississippi.

Yorozu Automotive Mississippi, also a tier one supplier, is also building at the industrial park owned and developed by Warren County.

“It is a good day for Vicksburg and Warren County,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, who grew up in nearby Bolton. “Good jobs mean an awful lot to any community.”

Thompson said the competition to get the Calsonic plant was fierce and those who worked to get the plant here can be proud.

Bob Croisdale, general manager of the Vicksburg and Canton Calsonic operations, said numbers of employees will start growing as the Nissan plant in Canton starts production in seven months.

“The first launch will be in May 2003,” he said, adding that will be followed by launches about every three or four months until full operation is achieved in 2004.

Once in full operation, Croisdale said the local plant will employ about 140 people.

Steve Hale of the Mississippi Development Authority said bringing good-paying jobs to Mississippi creates a climate where people can live and raise families while enjoying a good quality of life.

“The key to Mississippi’s economic success is our true public-private partnership,” he said indicating the way state and local officials worked with Nissan and its suppliers.

Richard George, president of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, praised Jimmy Heidel, executive director of the Warren County Port Commission, Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation for the work he did in bringing Calsonic to the county.

“We have been very fortunate in this community to have Jimmy Heidel,” George said.

The industrial park at Ceres was developed with Economic Development Administration grants starting in 1987 and is managed by the Warren County Port Commission.