TOPY America to Invest $37 Million in Phase-One Upgrades at Franklin County FacilityKAM
Automotive wheel manufacturer TOPY America Inc. will invest $37 million in a first round of upgrades at its plant near Frankfort, improving both its efficiency and work environment, Gov. Matt Bevin announced today.
“TOPY America is a 30-year mainstay of Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing base and Frankfort’s business community,” said Gov. Bevin. “We are delighted to see the company make such a substantial commitment to improving its operations and the day-to-day experience of its employees. With this investment, TOPY is reaffirming its place as a strong competitor in America’s automotive industry. We are grateful for their confidence in Kentucky and look forward to seeing the company’s success continue in the years to come.”
The expansion includes installation of a new wheel assembly line – the facility’s fourth – and adding top-coat capability on an existing coating line. With the new line operational, TOPY’s leaders plan to assess other lines for potential upgrades in phase II. The investment will improve work conditions for the facility’s 325 employees through building upgrades, equipment refurbishment, improved engineering systems and installation of a new cooling system. Company leaders expect to complete the project by mid-2020.
“As a proud member of Frankfort and Franklin County’s industrial community, TOPY America, Inc. is thrilled to make this significant investment here in order to revitalize our aging equipment and facilities,” said Mark Oto, CEO of TOPY America. “With over 32 years of manufacturing operations, our organization is seeking to upgrade machinery, buildings and technology to create and implement the ideal company. This is meant to sustain our position as a world-class supplier of steel road wheels to the North American automotive industry. Our associates have always been, and continue to be, our greatest assets.”
Headquartered near Frankfort and founded in 1985 as TOPY Corp., the company supplies steel road wheels to automotive manufacturers. It established the TOPY America name in 2007 after reorganizing to include other North America business segments. Its products include conventional, bead seat, full-face and large window wheels. TOPY currently produces 675,000 wheels per month to customers including Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Chrysler Group, Honda of America, Kia Motors, Nissan North America and Subaru of Indiana. TOPY also has operations in Chicago, Detroit, Nashville and Salt Lake City.
Kentucky’s automotive industry employs more than 100,000 people full-time at 500-plus facilities across the state. This year through October, the industry announced more than $4.1 billion in new investment and 3,500-plus new full-time jobs. TOPY is also one of nearly 200 Japanese-owned facilities in the commonwealth, a group that employs more than 45,000 Kentuckians.
TOPY is a founding board member of the Bluegrass chapter of the Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME), an apprenticeship-style workforce-training program provides students with paid work experience while they earn an associate degree and certificate in advanced manufacturing technology.
Sen. Julian Carroll, of Frankfort, welcomed the investment and wished the company will going forward.
“These facility upgrades to improve the working environment for employees speaks highly of this Frankfort company,” Sen. Carroll said. “TOPY America has been a good corporate partner and a concerned employer for more than three decades. We wish the company continued success in Frankfort.”
Rep. James Kay, of Versailles, noted TOPY’s long history and strong reputation in Franklin County.
“TOPY America has been a vital member of our corporate community for more than 30 years now, so it means a lot to see it strengthening those ties with this investment and the commitment it has made with its workforce to ensure an even brighter future,” Rep. Kay said. “I want to thank its leaders for taking this step, and I have been proud to work with them and our local and state economic development officials to help make this and other announcements like it possible.”
Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells said this investment will build on TOPY’s already strong ties to the community.
“TOPY America is not just a model company for Franklin County, it is also a successful global organization that is ever expanding and strengthening its roots in our community,” Judge Wells said. “This investment underscores the great contribution that our manufacturers bring to the local economy and emphasizes TOPY’s commitment to their employees, customers and our community. We are so fortunate to have them as a corporate citizen.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December preliminarily approved the company for up to $3.5 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act (KRA). KRA is designed to help companies make significant capital investments to become more competitive, retain employment and increase productivity and efficiency.
TOPY also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.
For more information on TOPY America, visit www.topyamerica.com.