Kawasaki Motors Celebrates 25 Years in the Midwest

by by Brooke A. Rockwell, editor
9/3/2014

     Maryville Mayor Rene Riedal (second from left) presents a plaque commemorating Kawasaki's 25 years in the city to KMM President Masanobu "Matt" Kurushima, 

KMM Vice President and Plant Manager Steve Bratt and President of Kawasaki's 

Motorcycle and Engine Co. Shigehiko "Scott" Kiyama. 

 

        The town of Maryville, Missouri (population approximately 12,000), is home to Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., USA (KMM). The plant, which is one of the largest employers in the city, manufactures engines for the lawn and garden industry. In August the plant held a celebration marking 25 years at the Midwest location.

        Steve Bratt, vice president and plant manager of KMM is one of the "originals" - employees who have worked at the plant since it opened in 1989.

        Speaking at the celebration, Bratt noted that when the plant opened there were 150 employees who made about 200,000 engines per year. Today, KMM employs more than 800 who produce 18 engine models.

        According to Bratt, the plant has been running at full capacity for more than two years. The industry is "booming on the lawn and garden side," he said.

        Bratt said, "The future looks bright, and I must say very busy."

        On-site to help celebrate the milestone were, Masanobu "Matt" Kurushima, president of KMM; Fumihiro "Clint" Ohno, senior vice president of Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA Engine Division; and Shigehiko "Scott" Kiyama, president of Kawasaki's Motorcycle and Engine Company and senior vice president of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Masanobu "Matt" Kurushima addresses the crowd at the 

celebration in Maryville, Missouri, while Steve Bratt, looks on.


        Addressing the crowd, Ohno said, "Kawasaki has achieved engine placements in a very large share of the commercial turf market in the USA. In the global market, it is important to recognize that 95 percent of Kawasaki engines used around the world are built here at the Maryville plant."

Noting the strong sales for KMM, Ohno said, "I believe our high number of engine placements in the commercial means we are No. 1 in our customers' hearts and minds."

        Taking the stage, KMM President Kurushima noted that the facility in Maryville has been expanded 11 times, and received ISO 9000 quality certification in 1999 and ISO 14001 environmental certification in 2008.

        Kurushima said, "Our employees are the heart of our company and our greatest asset. The decision to locate this plant in Maryville was partially due to the Midwest work ethic, and it has proven correct. The dedication and hard work of our employees has made this plant the success it is today."


Fumihiro "Clint" Ohno, senior vice president

Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA Engine Division


        The event included a tour of the plant, which is just under 797,000 square feet. Production operations include die-casting, machining, assembly, quality control, research and development, and shipping and receiving. 

        Engines manufactured at the plant include 12- to 37-hp four-cycle industrial engines; single-cylinder OHV air-cooled engines; V-twin cylinder OHV liquid-cooled engines and continuously variable transmissions.

        The day concluded with lunch, a traditional Kanpai ceremony, and the firing up of the very first engine to come off the line in 1989.




KMM Vice President and Plant Manager Steve Bratt, Maryville Mayor Rene Riedal, KMM President Masanobu "Matt" Kurushima and President of Kawasaki's Motorcycle and Engine Co. Shigehiko "Scott" Kiyama toast to health, happiness and prosperity for all.



Photos by Steve Puppe Photography.