State approves tax incentives for Katayama expansion

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$16.8 million project to add 12 new jobs

By Lisa King

Shelbyville’s industrial community received a boon Thursday when a local plant got good news from state economic development officials.

Katayama American Inc. received preliminary approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority $200,000 in tax incentives toward a $16.8 million addition to its plant on Midland Industrial Drive.

The plant, which manufactures door sash assemblies and trim moldings for automotive companies, is proposing to build a 90,000-square-foot addition to its plant, and to add 12 new jobs within the next two to three years.

Mark Baker, vice president of Katayama, said that receiving the preliminary approval at this time is doubly exciting.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” he said. “With our growth prospects, our twenty-five year anniversary coming up, and all this happening all at once, it’s a real exciting time to be a member of the Katayama family.”

Baker said much of the credit has to go to the company’s loyal workforce.

“It’s really a testament to our employees, those who have been us over twenty years, as well as the ones who we’ve hired in the last two months.”

Libby Adams, executive director for the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation, said that she and the foundation’s president, Bobby Hudson, were pleased to hear of the preliminary approval.

“Bobby and I have been working with them for probably a couple of months now,” she said. “They are proposing to add an addition to their building. It’s an investment in the community. I think it solidifies their base here, that they continuing to stay here and to grow here. It will add new jobs; it’s just an overall good impact on our economic community.”

Broken down, the $16.8 million will go for building construction of $9.2 million and $7.6 million in equipment.

“They have to meet certain criteria to qualify for incentives based on their investments and the number of jobs,” said Adams.

The new jobs – with a base salary of a $10.88 per hour plus benefits – will total $18 per hour. To earn the incentive package, the company will be required to maintain a base employment equal to the number of full-time employees as of the date of preliminary approval.

The plant currently has 348 employees.

One employee, Allen Ruble, the magistrate in District 3, said he was glad to hear of the expansion.

“As a magistrate and as an employee, I am very pleased,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very beneficial to the community.”

Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty expressed similar sentiments about the proposal.

“We are very pleased with their continued commitment to our community, and the job opportunities that will bring,” he said. “We wish them much success in the future.”

Said Hudson: “I’m tickled to death, Katayama is a great corporate citizen. They’ve been with us for twenty-five years, and they’re going to celebrate their anniversary in September. It’s fantastic.”

The plant was established in Shelbyville in 1989, and began with a launch production of flexible exhaust bellows, and the following year, began to manufacture trim molding.

More products followed – including door sashes and high gloss trim moldings – which steadily established the company’s reputation for automotive exterior parts. Then in 1998, the plant launched its QS-9000 quality system refrigeration, and in 1999 completed an expansion necessary because of the new door sash business.

In 2003, the plant completed its second significant expansion for new sash and trim molding, and in 2010, received new sash and door business for domestic and Japanese OEMs (original equipment manufactures).

Katayama, named after its president and CEO, Masayuki Katayama, is owned by its parent company, KACI Katayama Kogyo Co., and founded in Japan in 1947.