By SKYE POURNAZARI The Forum
Oct 8, 2021 Updated Oct 8, 2021
MARYVILLE, Mo. — The expansion of Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. operations in Boonville will not only create more than 270 jobs in that region, but may also relieve some of the overtime many Maryville workers have been experiencing.
The company plans to operate at 2501 Boonslick Drive, the site of the former Nordyne facility that produced split-system and furnaces and moved its operation to Mexico six years ago, according to news reports.
“We’re thrilled to see Kawasaki’s continued success in Missouri and are proud to be home to this new location in Boonville,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said in a news release. “Our business-friendly economy, central location and workforce development programs help companies like Kawasaki find opportunity here in the Show-Me state. This facility will provide hundreds of good-paying jobs for Missourians and further strengthen our thriving manufacturing sector.”
Anita Coulter, Maryville plant manager and Corporate Deputy Director of Administration, told The Forum that there will be no change to the Maryville day-to-day operations, “except for (hopefully) eliminating all the overtime our employees work.”
She noted that due to manpower shortages, employees have worked a lot of overtime, even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic both last year and this year.
“Kawasaki employees are an awesome group of dedicated employees that make Kawasaki what it is today,” Coulter said. “The increase in our capacity has grown significantly and we are simply unable to keep up with demand.”
She explained that Kawasaki has gained more market share, and that backyard enthusiasts and housing builds have been the core reasons for that higher demand for Kawasaki engines.
Coulter noted that the expansion in Boonville is a true one with more engines being produced, and that at this time there is no plan to shift any production lines from Maryville to the new facility.
With regard to staffing, she said a few key individuals will be selected to work at the Boonville facility, but that number is about “10 positions at most.”
When asked if there was any consideration given to this expansion taking place in Maryville, Coulter said the company had been trying for several years, but that the manpower is just not available in this area.
“We still have over 100 open positions we’d like to fill,” she said.
According to a news release from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, work on the new facility is set to begin this month, with the start of production planned for May 2022.
The company credits the state’s workforce development program, Missouri One Start, as a factor enabling continued expansion in the state. Kawasaki has used the state’s training programs for nearly 30 years, most recently creating 110 new jobs in Maryville in 2020 with assistance from Missouri One Start. The average wage of the positions being created at the Boonville facility is well above the average for Cooper County.
“We were fortunate to find a location that has a hometown feel and strong work ethic, as displayed by the dedication of Boonville leaders,” Coulter said. “We appreciate the support of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Boonslick Community Development Corporation (BCDC), Industrial Development Authority of the City of Boonville (IDA), Ameren, the Cooper County Commission, the City of Boonville, Big Industrial and others that have also provided incentive programs and support invaluable to starting operations.”
Kawasaki was the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to open a manufacturing plant in the United States. The company is committed to employing local labor and ensuring safety and quality. In 1989 the Maryville, Missouri Plant was opened for production of general purpose engines. The Maryville facility has grown to over 900,000 square feet on 113.7 acres of land employing over 1,100 people.
For more information on Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., including career opportunities, visit www.kawasakiboonville.com.