Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. announces expansion into Boonville

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Posing for a group picture after the announcement that Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. was opening a plant in Boonville are (left to right) Todd Sytsma, Anita Coulter, Mike Boyle, Chris Bramhall, Yutaka "Joe" Tabata, Don Baragary, Ken Hirlinger, Gigi McAreavy, and Kate Fjell.
Yutaka "Joe" Tabata, president of Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., speaks to a crowd at the former Nordyne plant Wednesday to announce that Kawasaki is opening up a manufacturing plant in Boonville.
The Kawaski FR691V was on display during the announcement that Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., is expanding into Boonville at the former Nordyne plant.

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., USA, announced today that it is expanding its operations in central Missouri, creating approximately 270 jobs to the area.

Kawasaki will be operating out of 2501 Boonslick Drive, the location of the former Nordyne facility, in Boonville. This announcement is one of the most positive news this community has had in six years when Nordyne relocated out of the area. “I am so excited to welcome Kawasaki Motors to Boonville and spur new growth and opportunity for Boonville,” Boonville Mayor Ned Beach said. “Kawasaki has a long tradition of supporting and anchoring rural communities, evidenced by their 32 years at Maryville. Boonville is thrilled to have this type of company come to our community.”

Ken Hirlinger, president of the Boonslick Community Development Corporation, said Boonville and Cooper County are wonderful places to call home. “Kawasaki’s decision to expand into this area is going to make it even better,” Hirlinger said. “This area has a long history of supporting manufacturing; our relationship is off to a great start and we are excited to see what is next. Kawasaki will be an excellent partner and neighbor with us.”

The Boonville facility will manufacture general-purpose engines for lawn and garden equipment.

Kawasaki has manufacturing facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska and Maryville, Missouri.

The Lincoln Plant opened in 1974 manufacturing motorcycles. Currently, the Lincoln facility manufactures all-terrain vehicles, Jet Ski’s, utility vehicles, wheels for ATV’s, railcars, and cargo doors for Boeing 777 aircrafts.

The Maryville facility was established in 1989 manufacturing FC150V engines used mainly in walk behind lawnmowers. The Maryville Plant now produces 18 different models of engines. The engines range from a 14.5 horsepower to a 38.5 horsepower. Kawasaki engines are used for lawn, garden and turf products.

Preparations of the satellite facility in Boonville for general-purpose engine assembly manufacturing is set to begin this month. The schedule for start of production is targeted for May 2022. Job postings and applications are available at www.kawasakiboonville.com.

Gigi Quinlan-McAreavy, Economic Director for Boonville and Cooper County said, “I am absolutely ecstatic about this announcement for Boonville, Cooper County, central Missouri and the state of Missouri. “Kawasaki Motors is a strong, stable and dependable corporation and has a proven commitment to the areas that it locates. These jobs are crucial to building a stronger tomorrow for our rural area and central Missouri. The partnership and the collaborative effort this community formed to bring Kawasaki here are another example of our rural communities getting things done. I am grateful and thankful to now include Kawasaki in this community partnership. Welcome to your new home Kawasaki.”

Also speaking during the ceremony inside the former Nordyne plant was Don Baragary, presiding commissioner for Cooper County, Kate Fjell, Boonville City Administrator, Joe Tabata, president/CEO of Kawasaki Motors, Manufacturing Corp., USA, Mike Boyle, vice president/COO of Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., Todd Sytsma, manager, OEM Sale Department Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., and Anita Coulter, Plant Manager of Maryville Plant, Corporate Deputy Director of Administration.

Tabata said it was a great honor to be in Boonville to announced that they have signed the contract for this location as a branch factory of KMM.

“Personally, today is a very special day for me,” Tabata said. “My career has always been with the engine manufacturing. I started working for Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan in 1988 as an engineer for motorcycles and engines. My career has always been with the engine manufacturing. In 1989, I was deeply involved in the opening of the Maryville plant, and continued to gradually transfer engine manufacturing from Japan to the US as an engineer in the beginning, then afterward, as a manager. From 1997-2004, I was a manager at the Maryville plant, I had responsibility with the transfer and expansion of production also. Production at the Maryville plant has grown from less than 200,000 units per year to great than one million units per year. This is a tremendous growth. We believe that the Boonville plant will be able to deliver even high-level products.”

Kawasaki will manufacture FR/FS 4240 engines, which range from 14-25 HP in Boonville. These are the high-volume engines. Production will include two assembly lines running two shifts. Shift times will either be five 8’s or four 10s.

The hiring process will begin as soon as possible for support personnel in maintenance, quality, HR, engineering, IT, production planning and management positions. Positions are posted online at www.kawaskiboonville.com.

A job fair at the plant will be held on Friday, Oct. 15. Training will be conducted through March and production ramp up will begin in April. That will be Kawasaki’s first assembly line on first shift. Production will start in May and increase numbers as Kawasaki gains employees. The second assembly line will start in mid-July with the second shift starting mid-August.

The Boonville facility will be an extension of the Maryville Plant.

Kawasaki appreciates the assistance and support provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Boonslick Community Development Corporation, Boonville Industrial Development Authority, Ameren, the Cooper County Commission, the city of Boonville, and Big Industrial.