Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders America Inc. (HCMA) celebrated the grand opening of its new U.S. corporate headquarters. Employees, local dignitaries, business partners and media members attended the ceremonies, held June 1, 2018, in Newnan, GA, just southwest of Atlanta.
In a blending of supporting cultures, the celebration featured an assortment of Japanese and American ceremonies. These included a ribbon cutting, factory and headquarters tours, a traditional Japanese Sakura Ceremony, a Kagami Biraki Ceremony, presentations from visiting guests from Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) in Japan, and a traditional southern U.S. BBQ lunch.
The new Newnan facility represents a $4 million investment by HCM to HCMA. The initial phase consists of a new 12,300-sq.-ft. headquarters facility, complete with a modern training facility and administration offices. Also included in this first phase is a 21,500-sq.-ft. parts warehouse and storage building.
The investment represents the confidence HCM has in the Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders organization and distribution network, and represents the foundation to support anticipated market expansion of Hitachi wheel loaders in the North American market. HCMA anticipates tripling its market share in the next five years.
“The introduction of the Hitachi-branded loaders and the new HCMA headquarters exhibits the Hitachi commitment to the foundation of our business, our customers, our dealers and our employees,” said David Agan, VP - Corporate, HCMA.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by Mr. Kotaro Hirano, president, HCM Japan; Mr. Masaaki Hirose, president, HCMA; and Mr. Al Smith, Coweta County Commission Chairman. It also included two of the longest serving U.S. employees, Claude Smith of the existing Newnan plant and Ray Guerra of the outgoing headquarters in Kennesaw, GA.
The planting of the cherry tree, the Sakura Ceremony, represents a living legacy and testament to the new business in anticipation of growth and strength. The ceremony was conducted by Mr. Kotaro Hirano, President, HCM Japan; Mr. John Michalewicz, Senior Manager - Manufacturing, HCMA; and Mr. Al Smith, Coweta County Commission Chairman.
The Kagami Biraki custom featured the breaking open of the traditional sake barrel by Mr. Kotaro Hirano, president, HCM Japan; and Mr. John Michalewicz, HCMA senior manager - Manufacturing, HCMA. Mr. Hirano toasted the attendees, earning a standing ovation from all 140 employees and local dignitaries.
Following the traditional Southern BBQ lunch, Mr. Masaaki Hirose, president, HCMA, addressed the group and reiterated HCMA’s appreciation of the support from Hitachi Construction Machinery, and looked forward to the Hitachi wheel loaders becoming a mainstay in the industries served.