FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today marked the 30th anniversary of one of the Commonwealth’s first foreign-owned automotive suppliers, TOPY AMERICA Inc., recognizing executives of the company and its Japanese parent for contributions to Kentucky’s economy and the state’s thriving automotive industry.
“I’m pleased to congratulate TOPY AMERICA on its three decades of success in Frankfort,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s fitting to describe the company’s decision to locate in Kentucky as visionary. As one of the first automotive suppliers in the Commonwealth and one of the early Japanese-owned firms to invest and create jobs here, TOPY AMERICA helped build an entire sector of Kentucky’s economy.”
TOPY AMERICA manufactures steel wheels for passenger vehicles and light trucks. It supplies multiple automotive assembly plants in Kentucky, throughout North America and around the world.
Its Japanese parent, TOPY INDUSTRIES LTD., dispatched a site-selection team to the U.S. in late 1984 and early 1985.
“The team surveyed sites in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky before coming to the conclusion that Franklin County was the ideal site due to the available labor pool, the open hospitality of the local community, and economic enticement from state and local economic development agencies,” said TOPY AMERICA President and CEO Mark Oto.
Additionally, the team liked Frankfort’s proximity to four major interstates that positioned the company between its first two customers, Honda in Marysville, Ohio, and Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee.
At that point, the company and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) anticipated 79 full-time jobs and an investment of $26 million.
“We began shipping in the summer of 1986 and couldn’t be more pleased to be conducting business here today, providing jobs, building high-quality products and supplying automakers all over the world,” Oto said. “I can truly say Frankfort is home and we’re glad that was the choice 30 years ago.”
Since its founding, TOPY AMERICA continued to grow, making incremental investments over the years and adding jobs along the way. The company currently employs about 300 people in Frankfort, the headquarters for both its automotive division and its U.S. operations.
As an existing business adding jobs, TOPY AMERICA created important ripple effects. The CED calculated in 2011 that a business adding 100 manufacturing jobs created a $12 million direct economic impact and a total impact of nearly $25 million.
TOPY AMERICA also helped pioneer foreign direct investment in Kentucky by Japanese-owned corporations. That sector now includes more than 170 Japanese-owned facilities and employs more than 41,000 Kentuckians.
The automotive industry now stands as one of Kentucky’s strongest and largest sectors, employing more than 88,000 people and placing the Commonwealth third nationally in vehicle production in 2014. This year through September alone, automotive-related businesses announced 42 expansions or new locations in the Commonwealth, accounting for nearly 1,200 new jobs and $921 million in projected investment.
“Maintaining a business for three decades is a challenging undertaking in any industry. It demands the ability to stay ahead of emerging technologies as well as customer needs,” said Mayor Bill May. “I have no doubt TOPY AMERICA will continue this legacy for many years to come. I am pleased they have chosen to be a part of the Frankfort/Franklin County community.”
“It’s exciting to see TOPY AMERICA reach the 30-year mark,” said Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells, “For all these years TOPY has identified and pursued new opportunities for growth by bringing advanced technology and outstanding quality to everything they do. You don't reach the 30-year mark without focusing on quality, investing in your future and appreciating your employees.”
“I believe the reason for TOPY’s long-term success can be found in their mission statement,” said Terri Bradshaw, executive director of the Kentucky Capital Development Corp. “Their mission is to promote safe, clean working conditions with efficient productivity and adapt to the changing needs of the market and society. With these goals in mind, they were bound for success.”
“I offer my congratulations to TOPY AMERICA for its continued success as a leading manufacturer and supplier to automobile assembly plants,” said Sen. Julian M. Carroll, of Frankfort. “During the past three decades, the company has provided work for hundreds of Kentuckians and been a good corporate friend to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
“This is a great anniversary for TOPY AMERICA as well as Franklin County, which has benefited in countless ways since the company chose our community to build its future here in the United States,” said Rep. Derrick Graham, of Frankfort. “I want to thank everyone who has played a part in that decades-long success, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 30 years brings because of this partnership.”
“I’m proud to congratulate TOPY AMERICA on its 30 years in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. James Kay, of Versailles. “Through its employment growth and investments here, TOPY AMERICA fashioned itself into a leader and consistent performer in Kentucky’s automotive-supply industry.”
Among many other acts as a corporate citizen, TOPY AMERICA recognized an opportunity to help prepare a new generation of advanced manufacturing employees and enrolled as a founding member in the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) program. The work-study program offers young people an opportunity to earn an associate degree, certification as an advanced manufacturing technician and gain paid job experience at companies like TOPY AMERICA.
For more information on TOPY AMERICA, visit www.topyamerica.com.
A detailed community profile for Frankfort (Franklin County) can be viewed here.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2015 totaled a state record $5.1 billion, spurring more than 16,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.