TROY — Last month, city leaders came back from their economic development trip to Japan with positive remarks concerning the economy of its Troy-based businesses — as well as some key areas to strive to improve upon back here in Troy, Ohio U.S.A.
Last week, Mayor Michael Beamish shared his impressions of the nine-day trip overseas. The trip included corporate site visits to F.tech, the parent company of F & P America, which has both a research and development branch as well as the manufacturing plant in Troy, Honda Motor Company and Honda’s logistics branch. The trip also included a stop in the sister city of Takahashi, Japan.
Beamish, along with director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington, president of city council Marty Baker, Troy Development Council Development Director Jim Dando and chamber of commerce executive director J.C. Wallace were part of the 2015 delegation to Japan. The last economic development trip to Japan was in 2012. The delegation returned on May 27.
A public information request by the Troy Daily News for all financial costs related to the trip has not been disclosed to date.
The two common themes from meeting with the leaders of the Japanese corporations with branches in Troy were quality of life issues and workforce development.
“They are having a hard time expanding as quickly as they want to because of the workforce issues,” Titterington said.
Titterington said the need for engineers and engineering applicants was brought up by Ftech leaders due to their R & D branch in Troy.
The delegation visited Ftech, the parent company of F & P North America which has its research and development operation on Horizon Court West. F & N P North America’s Troy operation employs approximately 1,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in Troy, Dando said.
The CEO of Ftech will be coming to Troy when a new manufacturing line is dedicated at the F & P manufacturing facility in July, according to officials.
“They are very invested in Troy to the point that (CEO and president) Yuichi Fukuda thanked us for shutting down the square and the road as they brought in the piece of equipment for their new line,” Titterington said. “It’s one of their manufacturing lines and it’s expanding within the building to add more capacity. It’s a pretty major piece.”
Beamish said Ftech’s F & P company is expanding and growing as a Tier I supplier to Honda and is expanding its production to include GM, Nissan, Chrysler brands and others.
“They were very positive, obviously bringing all the new equipment in to F & P, tells you the importance of F & P in Troy and in their company,” Beamish said.
Dando, Titterington and Beamish also spoke very favorably meeting with the leaders of Honda Motor and Honda logistics corporations during their trip.
“They were also encouraged and they told us how they are expanding their operations through Troy, globally through the world,” Beamish said. “They were saying Troy was in a good position for expansion, growth and distribution. That let us know that they see Troy as a pretty important part of their operation.”
When city leaders would ask the Japanese leaders what their concerns were, many stated it was the quality of life and getting people to relocate to Troy for the workforce.
“They were very encouraged and supportive of riverfront development, and they encouraged us to keep doing that because they recognize that it is important to the people they are trying to attract — the millennials — that’s what they are looking for,” Titterington said.
The leaders of the corporations spoke very highly of the Japanese school located in Staunton Township and the Troy City Schools’ English as a second language programs for their families to encourage them to relocate to Troy.
“They were very thankful for that. They said it was a key selling point for their employees for their nations when they come over here, because like the quality of life and amenities, they are recruiting the families — not just the employee — so they have to satisfy mom and the kids as much of the employees. The Japanese School and the ESL programs at the high school are extremely important.”
See Friday’s edition of the Troy Daily News for the delegation’s trip to Troy’s sister city Takahashi City, Japan.