American Mitsuba remains quiet contributor to Mount Pleasant
On their way to campus, many people pass by the 235,000 square foot building located at 2945 Three Leaves Drive every day, and perhaps have wondered what it is.
The building houses the corporate headquarters of American Mitsuba Company (AMC) — an auto parts manufacturer — and its manufacturing lines.
On Aug. 21, American Mitsuba and guests from Mitsuba Japan celebrated 30 years, highlighting the successes of the company over the years while also looking ahead.
Mount Pleasant Mayor Allison Quast-Lents attended the celebration and complimented the company on how pristine the facility is kept.
During its 30 year residence in Mount Pleasant, AMC has quietly volunteered time, effort and money to the city.
“Mitsuba is a quiet corporate citizen of Mount Pleasant,” said Senior Vice President David Stevens. “Not too many people from Central Michigan University or the city know the company exists.”
Automobile starter motors and fan motors are the major products made and distributed from the Mount Pleasant plants, but Mitsuba as a whole supplies many four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicle parts to major automotive companies like General Motors, Ford and Honda.
Stevens said the "Mitsuba Way" is “providing pleasure and peace of mind to the people of the world by creating technology in harmony with society and the environment.”
"If your car shuts down in a bad part of town, you aren't going to have peace of mind," Stevens said. "We strive to build and create the best products."
In 1946 Mitsuba started in Kiryu City, Japan selling generator lamps for bicycles. In 1988, AMC Mount Pleasant (AMM) became the first subsidiary company and manufacturing plant Mitsuba Corporation established outside of Japan and is now one of 52 Mitsuba Group global companies.
AMM was also the first anchor business — a major business used to impel smaller and other businesses — to locate in the city of Mount Pleasant and CMU jointly established University Park, now Smartzone. Stevens said the City of Mount Pleasant, CMU and Middle Michigan Development Company were all instrumental in selecting the Mount Pleasant location.
The Mount Pleasant location has had five building expansions since it was erected in 1988. Stevens said AMM has been the single largest payer of corporate property taxes for many years, and is now looking to expand its size.
In Spring 2019, AMM will build a nearly 6,000 square foot addition with a 30 foot ceiling. The renovation to the manufacturing space will make way for a new 300 ton transfer press.
AMM has a heavier press that is currently overworked, Manufacturing Manager Jeff Jacques said. The lighter and more efficient press will work in tandem with the other press to stamp parts for new and former products, making capacity for new business.
As of July 2018, the local facility employs about 384 employees — roughly 250 full-time manufacturing workers, 30 corporate-level workers and 80 to 100 contract or temporary employees. A new addition would add 25 to 35 jobs to Mount Pleasant over the next three years, Stevens said.
AMM supports and participates in numerous non-profit community organizations as well. These include Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation and Special Olympics, among others.
The Mount Pleasant location also prides itself on being a green facility, recycling around 90 percent of excess materials, said Tim Neyer, Environmental Management System Coordinator. The plastic, aluminum, copper and steel materials are put into large receptacles, which are then picked up by Padnos – a recycling and scrap company out of Alma.
The company kept more than 6.8 million pounds of waste out of landfills in 2017, Neyer said.
Neyer said the company recently revamped its air-conditioners and switched to florescent lighting, reducing its energy usage. AMM is looking to LED lighting and solar energy next.
The company is also less hazardous and more cautious than most others, Jacques said. They are working to paint the floors from beige to green, signifying where people can walk freely, and certain spaces red to warn the space will be shared with fork trucks and carts.
Over the years, AMC given back by being active in the community and contributed millions of dollars to Mount Pleasant. Stevens said they like to see Mount Pleasant expand and grow along with the company.