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Bringing Japanese manufacturing excellence to Alabama

Jun 27, 2019
Credit : GMI Post


Topre America Corp., a manufacturer of automotive metal press products, has undergone several expansions — its seventh in Alabama and its eighth in Tennessee — since it moved to the United States in 2004. The Japanese subsidiary attributes that success to how its looks after its employees, whose dedication results in topnotch, cutting-edge solutions.

The latest expansion last year, worth $80 million, has generated nearly 100 jobs and produces stamped automotive parts for Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Topre America's headquarters in Cullman, Alabama employs 750 people.

“The state of Alabama and the town of Cullman have been very helpful, resourceful and have all been key participants in the successful launch of this plant. And programs such as AIDT (Alabama Industrial Development Training) have been a tremendous benefit for our plant,” Topre America Corp. President Hideo Shimizu said.

“We have a long-standing history with multiple customers, such as Nissan, Honda and Toyota. One of our priorities is to demonstrate our ability to exceed all our customers’ expectations regarding quality and delivery time. We must prove that our new plant is capable of meeting those expectations just like the rest of our facilities to gain the trust of our current and potential customers,” Shimizu added.

Topre has found success in the ultra-high strength steel (UHSS) market, providing all its customers with a competitive edge through safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“We have worked closely with our customers in the development process to achieve their goals and become a strong competitor in this area. We are very thankful for the trust of our customers and the opportunity to supply UHSS products to the automotive market. We hope to continue growing the relationship with our customers, employees and the communities in which we operate,” Shimizu said.

By making high-quality, competitively priced parts that are delivered on time and by hiring highly skilled local workers, Topre America will secure the future of its business and provide stable employment to the local community.

UNA seeks partnerships with Japanese universities

Jun 27, 2019
Credit : GMI Post


Founded in 1830 as a liberal arts institution, the University of North Alabama (UNA) has transitioned into a comprehensive university that plays a vital role in Alabama’s economy and manpower development that goes beyond U.S. borders.

UNA President Kenneth Kitts

“As a university that is strong on research, we listen to the needs of the region and think of how we can best serve them. We’ve just completed our new strategic plan and it sets out our goal to be a global institution with an internationalized curriculum,” UNA President Kenneth Kitts said.

“Employers in today’s market are seeking graduates with a hybrid skill set. Businesses need employees with ‘soft skills,’ while STEM fields look for people with the business acumen to sell new products and inventions. It is our mission to ensure the success of our students by maintaining the highest standards in academic achievement and relevancy in today’s job market,” Kitts added.

This new focus is echoed by UNA Provost Ross Alexander: “UNA is a very progressive, entrepreneurial and innovative type of place that is developing an institutional identity locally, regionally and globally in providing career ready education.”

UNA hosts more than 300 international students from more than 40 countries, including Japan. Many of them, according to Senior Vice Provost for International Affairs Chunsheng Zhang, study under partnership programs that allow them to earn double degrees in less time and for less money.

“We have eight partnerships in Japan and we want to increase that number as double degrees become more popular in Japan,” Zhang said.


Southern USA 2019 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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