EATON — Neaton Auto Manufacturing held a ground breaking ceremony for its new facility on Tuesday, March 10.
Following a reception, Human Resource Manager Chip Zanzinger welcomed those gathered outside.
Tex Watanabe, President of Neaton Auto Manufacturing, gave opening remarks, providing those gathered with the history of the company and relationship between the City of Eaton and Neaton Japanese Associates.
“Thank you all for welcoming and assisting our Japanese associates. In addition, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the City of Eaton and Eaton Community Schools for their heartwarming support of a total of over 100 Japanese associates and their families,” he said.
Watanabe added, they are expanding over 150,000 square feet of warehouse space to accommodate production of new products. This project is expected to create 70 new full-time, permanent job opportunities in the next four years. Neaton will also be converting its current warehouse to manufacturing space.
“As Neaton expands in Preble County, there will be a need for more people to support our growth. We believe that the growth of Neaton helps to support the growth and prosperity of the City of Eaton and the State of Ohio,” he said.
President and CEO of Dayton Development Coalition Jeff Hoagland spoke about the successful companies – Henny Penny, Neaton, and Silfex included – that populate Preble County. He also thanked everyone involved with making this project possible.
“Neaton’s leadership to continue to drive investment in the City and in the County – this is the fifth expansion that has taken place, 70 new jobs, $15 million of new capital investment. With all the employees here, this project couldn’t be done without you. Thank you all for everything you’re doing and let’s keep growing the region,” he said.
City of Eaton Mayor Gary Wagner discussed the City of Eaton’s relationship and history with Neaton as they continue to grow and expand over the years. He thanked all involved in the current project, including Preble County Development Partnership (PCDP) and Dayton Development Coalition.
“This process was competitive, Eaton was not the only player in the game. Like in 1984, Neaton selected Eaton for this major expansion,” Wagner said.
He then presented Neaton Auto Manufacturing with the following proclamation, recognizing their accomplishments and thanking Neaton for their investment n the City of Eaton.
The proclamation reads, “Whereas, since their humble beginning some 30-plus years ago, Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing, Inc. has been an outstanding corporate partner for our community and has become a cornerstone of industry, not only in Eaton, Ohio, but worldwide; and,
“Whereas, furthering their operations today, we join with them to celebrate Neaton’s groundbreaking for a 150,000-plus square foot expansion to their operation.
“Now, therefore, it is a great honor that I, Gary Wagner, Mayor of the City of Eaton, Ohio, and on behalf of City Council and Eaton area citizens, not only proclaim congratulations and continued success to Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing, but a heartfelt thank you for the generous investment you have made in your facilities and to the community. Your continued commitment and dedication to Eaton, Ohio is most sincerely appreciated.”
Next, the ground breaking ceremonial activity was held, where public officials were invited to break ground on the new project in different flights of shovels.
Flight one consisted of Gary Wagner, Todd Smith, Chris Crissinger, Brad Collins, Jeff Hoagland, Matt Schnipke, Brian Beaudry, and Jonathan Bridges. Flight two consisted of Jim Ankrom, Chris Day, Denise Robertson, Rodney Creech, Shannon Joyce Neal, Sarah Custer, Brenda Latanza, and Erin Harris. Flight three consisted of Joseph Ferriell, Joe Renner, Brad Moore, Matt Venable, Dave Kirsch, Meg Ryan, Ben Thaeler, Julie Sullivan, and Mary Bullen.
Dave Gulling, Executive Vice-President of Neaton Auto Manufacturing gave the final remarks, commenting on how many different organizations were involved in making this expansion project possible.
“When we started this process, we weren’t real sure we were going to do this here. There was some discussion about doing it in Georgia [and] Mexico, ultimately, through the help of all these [organizations] and primarily though the people and experience we have here, we were able to bring it to Neaton in Eaton, Ohio. I’d like to thank everyone out there wearing the blue shirts, because this wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for all of you guys,” he said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH