NGK has indicated that plans for the transition of production equipment from California to Sissonville should begin in October, and the move means new jobs creation at the company’s Sissonville site.
“The consolidation of manufacturing into one location enables us to manage our process with a single team and facilitates better economies of scale” explained Bob Pepper, vice president of manufacturing and operations.
The company opened the Sissonville spark plug portion of their West Virginia operations through an expansion in May of 2008 with intentions of expanding capacity to meet market demands. Changes in the auto industry and forecasts for recovery created the need for consolidation and accelerated the timing for the West Virginia expansion.
“An expanded West Virginia campus will further strengthen our global network and better position the company to service its North American manufacturing customers,” Pepper said.
NGK opened an oxygen sensor plant near Sissonville in 1995. It opened a distribution center nearby in 2001 and expanded it in 2006. NGK underwent a $15 million expansion at Sissonville two years later. NGK now has nearly 300 employees at its Sissonville location.
NGK was the first Japanese-based company to establish operations in West Virginia. Sen. Jay Rockefeller was instrumental in attracting the company to the region. West Virginia now has about 20 Japanese businesses operating throughout the state.
The Alliance’s predecessor, BIDCO, was heavily involved in developing the Sissonville facility, and the ability to expand that facility is one reason NGK has opted to expand at its West Virginia site.
The Kanawha County Commission and West Virginia Economic Development Authority have also been instrumental in assisting the company through its several expansions.
As the regional economic development organization, the Alliance has offered to assist NGK throughout the transition. Specifically, Alliance economic development and workforce personnel will assist the company with identifying qualified candidates for job opportunities created by the transition.
If NGK associates choose to transfer from California to West Virginia, we will assist those individuals and their families, too.
“Increases in manufacturing are always welcome, especially in a challenging economic environment,” said Alliance President and CEO Matt Ballard. “The Charleston Area Alliance is pleased to be a long-term partner with such a tremendous and successful company such as NGK, and we are committed to assisting the company continue their success through this transition. West Virginia’s quality workforce, our low cost of doing business and our central location in the eastern United States make this state a perfect location for continued growth in manufacturing.”