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Gilbert, Arizona lures world tech leaders

Jun 07, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

Located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the town of Gilbert in Arizona has recently seen an influx of world-class facilities, talent, innovations and public-private partnerships.

The Iridium NEXT satellite designed and developed by Orbital ATK, based in Gilbert, Arizona

Gilbert’s pro-business environment brings together cutting-edge companies from around the world. Amid its strong efforts to attract talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations, the town has become a hub for software development, aerospace and defense.

In March 2016, Orbital ATK, one of the world’s leading aerospace and defense technology firms, announced the expansion of engineering operations in Gilbert. The expansion complements Arizona’s prominent aerospace and defense sector, which contributes $38 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs more than 52,000 workers.

Other notable companies that have found a home in Gilbert include Lockheed Martin, GoDaddy, Banner MD Anderson, and Heliae.

As one of the country’s fastest-growing communities, Gilbert has been named a Top-25 Best Place to Live in the U.S., Third-Best City in the U.S. to Find a Job, and Second-Safest City in the Nation. Gilbert fosters a young and educated workforce, geographically provides convenient access to the Phoenix metropolitan area and offers a unique quality of life appealing to all ages.

Walbro designs for the future

Jun 07, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

In the highly competitive small engine market that focuses on sales volume for growth, Walbro has concentrated on research and development, believing that very well-designed products will attract loyal customers.

Walbro Vice President for Global Operations and Walbro Japan President Yukio Goto

With R&D offices in the Japanese city of Kakuda, Miyagi Prefecture and Cass City in Michigan, Walbro capitalizes on the engineering and manufacturing expertise in those two areas and uses that know-how to produce engines that will meet the future needs of its customers.

“What’s unique with Walbro is that we can look at design and engineering from two cultural points of view. This gives us a unique strength to offer to Japanese and American customers,” said Yukio Goto, Vice President for Global Operations and President of Walbro Japan.

The company’s culture of innovation also demands that it stays abreast of the stringent standards in the U.S.

“One of the keys to our success is to understand and anticipate what’s coming down the pipeline and have our engineers innovate around these developments,” said CEO Matt Riddle.

When Riddle became CEO in 2015, he wanted to strengthen Walbro’s relationships with Japanese companies as they accounted for half of the customer base. He remains resolute in that mission.

“We are your partner through great times and moments of challenge. We have been here for 65 years, and will be here for you for 65 more years and beyond,” he said. 

Teikoku Taping System thrives in Arizona’s emerging high tech hub

Jun 07, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

The “Internet of Things” is altering how people interact with their devices. From smartphones to smart homes and self-driving cars, the speed of innovation is dependent on how fast the semiconductor industry develops microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).


Teikoku Taping System President H.C. Lee

Teikoku Taping System (TTS), a Nagoya-based company that designs and builds semiconductor-manufacturing machines, has led innovation in MEMS technology.

Celebrating its fourth year in Arizona, TTS manufactures tools that allow innovation in production methods for various applications such as semiconductors, automobile sensors and medical devices.

In the last few years, many Japanese companies, particularly those in the semiconductor sector, have moved to Phoenix, attracted by the city’s new reputation for innovation. For a company that invests heavily in research and development, TTS found the perfect place in the state.

While most of Teikoku America’s success stems from its cutting edge technology in manufacturing 300-mm wafer-related machines, the company has identified new areas of growth.

“Aside from MEMS, we now see exciting opportunities in enhancing solar technology and medical devices,” said President H.C. Lee.

Amid fierce competition, Teikoku has differentiated itself from rivals by combining technology, attractive costs and robust aftersales support.

“A lot of end users endure slow customer service from other providers. We want the industry to consider us as partners throughout the customer journey,” Lee said. 

Ripe for success in Japan

Jun 07, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

In 1998, just one year after founding the company, longtime produce exporter Miguel A. Suarez saw orders from the U.K. plummet for his Mexican grapes, as North African fruit exporters became more economical suppliers to Europe.

MAS Melons & Grapes President Miguel A. Suarez

“Our exports to the U.K. vanished almost overnight when countries closer to the U.K. such as Egypt, began developing their grape markets,” Suarez recalled.

Suarez soon learned from Mexican embassy officials that, across another ocean, the Japanese had developed a huge fondness for melons and grapes. Nearly 20 years after, business from a highly discriminating Japanese market has not waned.

“I have a big admiration for the Japanese culture of excellence. The high standard that we were initially required to meet greatly helped us raise the bar,” said Suarez, who keeps abreast of his customers’ preferences.

“One of our values is to respond as quickly as possible to rapid changes in the market. In this way, we ensure that the produce that ends up on the shelves exceeds even the smallest details,” the president added.

Operating under the Four Star brand in Japan, the company wants to introduce new products, such as avocados, broccoli and seedless grapes.

“Our business in Japan could not have been as successful as it is today without our Japanese employees and our critical partnerships with Sumifru and Mitsui. We’ve gained their trust and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep and improve that,” he said.

Southwest USA 2016 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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