Kenda 'Opens' North American Tech Center in Green, Ohio
The building for the new Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Inc. North American Techincal Center is up. Next comes the equipment, and the hiring of more engineers.
However, Kenda officials felt the time was right to show off its 50,000-square-foot technical center, located in Green, Ohio. Government officials, including Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, and business leaders were on hand when the company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 9. Chairman Ying-Ming Yang and Vice Chairman Jimmy Yang hosted the event.
Jimmy Yang also is president of American Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd., which does business as Kenda USA. Kenda's U.S. headquarters are based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
The State of Ohio and City of Green put together a strong incentive package that helped convice Kenda Green was the place to be.
"With our U.S. headquarters being located in Ohio since 1980, our relationships with the state and regional governments were critical to provide this opportunity," said Ying-Ming Yang. "We want to thank all of those individual for helping us to add jobs and grown our business."
" Locating this facility in an area focused on innovation, with world-class polymer, research and design engineering, will provide Kenda with the resources to accelerate our growth with new product development for the North American market," said Jimmy Yang. "To strengthen and grow the OEM and aftermarket businesses, it is important that we improve our technical ability so that all tires for sale in the North American market will be designed by a North American technical team (that) has an understanding of the local needs."
(Kenda also has technical centers in Yuanlin, Taiwan, and Kunshan, China.)
The 20-person engineering team, led by Vice President of Engineering Tom Williams, and the resources at the facility also will be engaged to further innovate, develop and expand Kenda's presence in other market segments it currently services, including the lawn and garden, ATV and UTV, golf cart, trailer and bicycle markets. By the end of 2016, an additional 15 engineers will be hired.
The first tire produced for the North American market by Kenda's engineers is the Klever HT2 (pictured), a highway traction light truck tire that will be available next summer.