By LOU WILIN
Auto parts maker Mitec will add 80 jobs at its Findlay plant over the next two to three years, Tim Hall, Mitec North America president, said Tuesday.
The job additions will bring total employment to 200 at the plant, which is housed in the former Findlay Industries building at 4000 Fostoria Ave.
The German-based company doubled its employment in the past year when it grew to 120 employees.
The maker of engine and transmission parts has added Honda, in Marysville, to its list of customers, which already included General Motors.
Mitec will be adding machines and at least 40,000 square feet to its plant to increase production, Hall said. The existing plant has 85,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 15,000 square feet of office space.
The growth will be partly related to new business from Honda, for which Mitec will be making an all-wheel-drive system component, Hall said. Part of the growth will be from additional business from General Motors, he said.
Hall was part of a delegation that toured the plant Tuesday. Others in the delegation included the prime minister of the state of Thuringia in Germany, Bodo Ramelow, and four members of Parliament; and Mitec Chief Executive Officer Arnie Jensen.
Eisenach, Germany, the headquarters of Mitech Automotive, is in the state of Thuringia.
“Some people may say that we should make the world smaller. I think that the world has become so big that we can manage it only if we work together,” Ramelow said. “Our strength is cooperation, and I am so happy to see your hospitality, your willingness to cooperate.”
Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik presented Ramelow with a city of Findlay flag.
“We take very seriously the mission here in Findlay, which basically is to create a world-class, international place to do business,” she said moments before the flag presentation.
“As members of local government it is our responsibility to create an environment that is conducive for investment. And Mitec, I’m proud to say, has been one of those investments.”
Mitec began operations in 2012 at the former Findlay Industries plant. Its leaders really wanted to set up shop in another building. But Hamlet Protein, a Danish piglet feeds maker, beat them to 5289 Hamlet Drive, north of Tall Timbers Industrial Park. That building was constructed by A. Schulman in 2007 but never occupied.
Economic development leaders hustled to find another site for Mitec. Fate also pressured Mitec into a decision. It had ordered assembly line equipment from Grob Systems in Germany. When Grob asked where to ship the equipment in the United States, Mitec was stuck. It did not have a plant for the equipment.
Mitec founder Michael Militzer said former Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development Director Tony Iriti sold him on Findlay despite the small, used factory building and wooing by Kentucky cities.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. leaders also helped acquaint Mitec leaders with Findlay.
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