Starkville Rotary receives Yokohama update

Yokohama Senior HR Manager Stacey Perusse speaks at the Starkville Rotary Club meeting Monday. Perusse discussed the company's future plans and employment goals, among other topics. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
By: 
CHARLIE BENTON
Staff Writer

The Starkville Rotary Club got some updates on the Yokohama Tire plant in West Point Monday when Yokohama Senior Human Resources Manager Stacey Perusse spoke.

Perusse discussed the company’s plans for the future, and involvement in the West Point and Golden Triangle Communities. She also discussed employment and other opportunities through the plant. Yokohama has made commercial tires in its $300 million West Point plant since 2015. The company is based in Tokyo, Japan and was founded in 1917.

“In the United States, Yokohama began in 1969,” Perusse said. “The corporate headquarters where I came from is located in Santa Ana, in beautiful Orange County, California, and we do have 22 percent of YRC (Yokohama Rubber Company) Limited’s sales come from the United States. Our goal in the United states is to be over 50 percent of the sales, so we are continuing to grow in the United States.”

She said the company made its consumer tires, or tires for small, personal vehicles in Salem, Virginia. The company also operates distribution centers in Auburn, Georgia, Chino, California and Columbus, Ohio. The company is also planning to build a research and development facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She explained the different products made at the Yokohama commercial tire plant in West Point.

“These are for your long-haul,” Perusse said. “These are for your medium-hall, pick-up and delivery, as well as on and off the highway.”

She also discussed developments and conditions at the West point plant, saying employees were paid starting at $14.50 an hour, going up every six months for five years. The plant is currently hiring, with approximately 15 new employees starting every Monday. The plant currently employs more than 650 employees with plans for up to 2,000 as the next two phases of the West Point plant are developed out.

“We actually had a job fair here in Starkville last August, and we had over 700 people come, so we’ve come a long way, and we’re continuing to hire employees,” Perusse said. “We’re currently in phase one. We do have two other phases planned out to build two more plants right here in West Point on the land that we own, and we will hire more than 2,000 employees total.”

To be considered for employment by Yokohama, applicants must have at least a sliver Workkeys score, or must have two years of manufacturing experience. However, exceptions
can be made for applicants with four year college degrees.

For a full family, medical, visual and dental coverage start at $102 per month, and the same for a single employee is $69 per month. Other benefits, including a 401K plan and educational opportunities are also available. Those interested in applying can visit www.yokohamatire.com.

“We have an employee tire purchase program,” Perusse said. “That’s one that our employees really love. They can get up to three sets of tires per year at a very discounted rate.”

Perusse also emphasized the company’s commitment to safety, sustainability and the community. She said several Yokohama employees have participated in community service around West Point, including reading to elementary school students and building a playground through the KaBOOM! nonprofit. The company has also given a park to West Point and planted a forest in the area.

“We want to help the economic development in the Golden Triangle, and we have employees all over the Golden Triangle so we just want to provide perks for them, good stable jobs, good income, great benefits and hopefully, they’ll stay with Yokohama throughout their careers and retire with Yokohama,” Perusse said.

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