Blue skies a signal for Yorozu, official says

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 2, 2003

Local and state officials participate in a sake-breaking ceremony Thursday at the Yorozu Automotive Mississippi grand opening in Flowers. From left are Mayor Laurence Leyens, Warren County Board of Supervisors President Richard George, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, Yorozu Corporation CEO Akihiko Shido, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Yorozu Automotive Mississippi Chairman Masataka Ebato and Yorozu Automotive Mississippi President Jack Uemura. (Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

[5/2/03] Yorozu Automotive Mississippi became Warren County’s second tier one Nissan supplier to begin operation at the Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex at Flowers.

Yorozu joined Calsonic Kansei as a supplier of parts to the Nissan plant set to open May 27 at Canton. The Calsonic plant opened in October 2002 with 140 people on the payroll making radiators, condensers and exhaust systems.

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Yorozu started with 125 employees and makes an aluminum suspension system.

Tier one and other suppliers deliver components to the Nissan assembly plant that will turn out hundreds of cars and trucks each day.

In remarks at Thursday’s ceremonies at the YAM plant, Yorozu Corp. chief executive officer and chief operating officer Akihiko Shido said the blue skies and warm temperatures were a good omen and remembered there were also bright blue skies the day Yorozu broke ground for its plant in December 2001.

“I want this plant to be successful especially because this is the first suspension manufacturer in this state,” he said.

Shido expressed his appreciation to everyone who supported his company’s efforts to start the Vicksburg plant, adding that appreciation extended to state as well as local officials.

He said the company vision is to be a leading manufacturer and to win the loyalty of customers while making contributions to society and the community.

“Part of us being here today is a change of the perception of Mississippi,” said Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. “The old question people would ask Why Mississippi?’ has been reversed. The question today is Why not Mississippi?'”

Just by looking around the Yorozu opening Thursday and looking at other state visitors, the governor said it is obvious Mississippi is a global leader when it comes to attracting jobs for the people of the state and building its economy.

“The image of Mississippi shows we are moving quickly into the 21st Century. It is a state leading and competing in the global marketplace,” he said.

Musgrove also said the jobs provided by companies like Yorozu and Nissan are setting the benchmark for where the state is headed.

The governor said Site Selection magazine said Mississippi is in the top 10 in the nation for new companies and the survival of small companies, and Expansion magazine’s list of the 300 hottest metro areas showed Mississippi with four of the top 50 on that list.

“We are seeing the second phase of vision begun months ago when we first began negotiations for Nissan,” said Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck.

She said Yorozu’s 82,000-square-foot plant represents an investment of $18.2 million, but said she is more excited about the 125 high-paying jobs the plant brought to Mississippi and Warren County.

“These individuals will have the opportunity to work with the most advanced robotics in the automotive industry,” Tuck said.

She singled out Jimmy Heidel, executive vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation and director of the Warren County Port Commission, for special praise, saying he was the man who made things happen in Mississippi.

“It is a distinct pleasure on behalf of the Warren County Board of Supervisors to first congratulate, welcome and thank Yorozu officials for your confidence in this community to deliver what we promised,” said Richard George, president of the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

George also praised Heidel as the master of making promises and seeing to it they are fulfilled.

“Vicksburg is the best place to call home,” said Vicksburg Mayor Laurence Leyens, “and you are now a part of our home.”

He also said Vicksburg’s economy is an excellent model developing in the community.

After the comments, Jack Uemura, president of Yorozu Automotive Mississippi, presented to Dr. Clyde Muse, president of Hinds Community College, a state of the art manufacturing robot worth $50,000 that will be used to train students at the HCC Vicksburg Campus.