Japanese heavy equipment manufacturer Kubota North America Corp. is spending $85 million to build an engineering and design center on about 300 acres adjacent to its factories in Gainesville.
It’s the latest expansion plan announced by the Osaka, Japan-based maker of tractors, mowers, utility vehicles and industrial equipment, which employs about 3,000 people already in Georgia. Kubota’s most recent expansion came in 2017, when the company expanded its national distribution center in Jefferson, Ga.
Kubota Manufacturing of America also has an industrial equipment factory in Jefferson, while Kubota Corp. of America operates a Southeast regional office in Suwanee. Kubota Corp. subsidiaries have expanded four times in Georgia since 2013, making the company one of the largest single employers in the state.
Georgia leaders including Gov. Brian Kemp lauded the company for its most recent announcement, noting that the partnership has grown with in-person visits during trips to Japan over the years.
“After several visits to Japan over the years, we are proud of the relationship we have built with Kubota and grateful that they are continuing to invest in the State of Georgia,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson.
The Gainesville-Hall County Chamber of Commerce has also made visits to the corporate headquarters to thank the company for its continued investment.
That has paid dividends for the area’s workforce development initiatives. Last year Kubota subsidiaries donated $1 million to the Lanier Technical College to support continued placement of skilled graduates on its highly automated assembly lines.
The $100 million plant that opened in April 2017 in Gainesville has at least 50 welding robots and 80 automated guided vehicles. Despite that, the half-million-square-foot facility required 600 new employees. Kubota has also been active in supporting apprenticeships at the high school level.
Kubota Vice President Phil Sutton said Georgia’s labor force and openness to workforce development programs has been a key part of the company’s growth story in the state over the past 40 years. That will be a key focus of the new engineering and design center.
“Georgia’s strong workforce development programs, including the Work Based Learning programs in high schools, the job skills training from the Technical College System of Georgia, and the University System of Georgia engineering programs, have all played a key role in Kubota’s decision to continue to grow our businesses in Georgia,” he said.
See historical coverage of Kubota expansions on Global Atlanta here.