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New president ready to take PK reins
Monday, April 18th, 2005
By B.J. FAIRCHILD-NEWMAN
When the president of PK USA, Hiroshige Kakudo, returns to Japan on May 2, the management of the factory won’t miss a beat. His successor, Eiji Umabayashi, is already onboard and ready to assume the top position.
PK USA, located on 65 acres at 600 Northridge Drive, started operations in Shelbyville in 1989 and has experienced five expansions in the years since. The plant employs 500 people and provides parts for the auto industry, producing 500 different components and consuming more than 35,000 tons of steel annually.
PK ships about 135,000 pieces, or 25 truckloads, each day. More than 80 percent of PK’s manufactured parts are produced through a contract with Nissan, but it also sells to Subaru, Toyota and Honda.
Blue River Stamping Inc., located at 1755 McCall Drive, is a subsidiary of PK USA. The 50,000-square-foot factory, which employs 95 workers, was built in 1997 on 10 acres, and its business concentrates on small automotive stamping and assemblies.
It currently produces 530,000 pieces each week and sells most of its production directly to PK USA.
According to Bill Kent, vice president of human resources and administrative affairs at the factory for going on 10 years, the current president, Kakudo, has worked at PK since its startup in Shelbyville.
In 1994, Kakudo returned to Japan where he was general manager of overseas operations before returning to Shelbyville in 1999 to take the job of senior vice president of sales and accounting. He was promoted to president of the company in 2002.
Kakudo is not returning to Japan to retire; he will continue to work for PK USA’s parent company, Press Kogyo Co. LTD, as the executive officer in charge of overseas operations.
Press Kogyo has more than $820 million in assets and employs more than 2,000. In fact, the huge, global company has 13 locations worldwide, including facilities in Portugal, Sweden and Thailand, plus five facilities in Japan. Outside of the two facilities in Shelbyville, the only other U.S. factory with ties to Press Kogyo is located in Tennessee.
The incoming president, Umabayashi, is currently senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering, a job he has held since 2003.
He first worked at the Shelbyville plant from 1991 to 1996 as engineering, quality and tool-and-die manager, then returned to Japan from 1996-2003 to work as an engineering manager.
Umabayashi lives in Shelbyville with his wife and a child who attends the Shelbyville Middle School. He has two children attending college in Japan.
Kent said that PK USA is very proud of the variety of its work force, employing Americans, Latinos and others, as well as Japanese. Most of the Japanese workers come to the States on temporary assignments, working three to five years before returning to their homeland. Most of these workers are concentrated in the tooling and engineering sections, he said.
Sixty per cent of PK USA’s employees live in Shelby County, and they average six years of service.
Copyright 2019 PKUSA Inc.