Officials welcome latest Honda moves
When Honda's top U.S. executive, Tetsuo Iwamura, relocates from California to Marysville -- a move the company announced in late February -- he'll have no shortage of locals willing to make him feel right at home.
The list includes Marysville Mayor John Gore, the three Union County commissioners and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Phillips.
"All the news coming out of Honda for the last several years has been positive news for Marysville and for the county," Phillips said, "and that's a good thing, a real good thing."
In addition to moving its top U.S. executive to Marysville, Honda announced it would relocate an additional 50 jobs from California to Ohio, although the company stopped just short of calling Marysville its new North American headquarters.
The impact of the latest announcement and Honda's commitment to central Ohio cannot be overstated, Phillips said.
"You think about the effect on our local economy and it's quite remarkable," he said.
A recent study conducted by Columbus 2020 shed light on Phillips' point.
"Honda employs nearly 7,000 people in Union County and provides another 1,200 R and D (research and development) jobs," he said. "We calculated in the study that for every 100 manufacturing jobs Honda creates, an additional 57 jobs are created in the economy at large.
"The so-called multiplier effect is even more pronounced when it comes to those R and D jobs, which create an additional 87 jobs for every 100 original positions."
Phillips said Honda's 8,200 jobs, then, are responsible for "conservatively, between 3,000 and 4,000 additional jobs in the region.
"And when you think about the fact that Union County only has 26,000 jobs in the first place, well, that gives you an idea about the importance of the company to our economy now and moving forward," he said.
Honda has nearly 13,500 total employees in Ohio, most of them located in central Ohio, making it the largest auto manufacturer in the state.
According to a report published in 2012 by the Brookings Institute, Ohio has the third-largest number of manufacturing jobs of any state.
The company opened a motorcycle plant in Marysville in 1979 and started building cars at its Marysville plant in 1982. For three decades, it's been a match made in heaven, said Union County Commissioner Steve Stolte.
"The board of commissioners back in 1977 had the foresight to say, 'We want that motorcycle plant right here in Union County.' They extended two or three different tax abatements to Honda to get it done," Stolte said.
"That was the budding of a relationship that has been beneficial to both parties and is ongoing."
Stolte insisted that both county and Marysville officials have been instrumental in fostering the relationship with Honda.
"The county has assisted with infrastructure, with new roads and road improvements," he said, "but back in 1979, there was no water and no sewer out there (at the plant). The city was instrumental in making that crucial upgrade happen."