Hitachi executives and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp participate in a ceremonial Japanese tradition of planting a cherry tree in front of the company’s new headquarters for the Americas in Newnan, Ga.

By Steve Fiscor, editor-in-chief, E&MJ

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas (HCMA) dedicated its new sustainable, state-of-the-art headquarters facility in Newnan, Ga., USA yesterday. The Newnan campus spans 19 acres and was converted from a wheel loader assembly and manufacturing facility that was built in 1987.

Sonosuke “Sonny” Ishii, chairman, HCMA, senior vice president of Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM), and president of the company’s mining business unit expressed his gratitude to all that had gathered to help HCMA celebrate, which included Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp, other Hitachi executives and 29 dealer groups from North and South America.

HCM entered the U.S. market to sell construction and mining machines a little more than 40 years ago, explained Kotaro Hirano, CEO, HCM. “Our relationship with Georgia began in 1981 with the opening of our office in Marietta,” Hirano recalled. “This led to increased U.S. sales, sales have grown steadily since, and today we are extremely pleased to be opening our new regional headquarters for the Americas. I have high expectations for the continued growth of our company in the Americas, and it all starts here in Georgia.” He thanked the governor and the state of Georgia for their support over the years.

Hirano presented a golden Samurai helmet, or Kabuto, which parents give to their children so they can grow strong and become successful, to Al Quinn, CEO, HCMA and the HCMA employees.

After HCMA dissolved its relationship with John Deere in 2021, the company began to establish a presence in Newnan, Quinn explained. Shortly afterwards a tornado damaged the facility. It was a setback, but the company persevered, converting a wheel loader assembly facility to a state-of-the-art corporate office with a Command Center and conference and training space. Since the Deere dissolution, HCMA has added 220 employees in Georgia.

“Our target is to become a $2.3 billion company during FY2025,” Quinn said. “We are on track to do it. We grew 50% last year. We’re going to grow 50% again in FY2024.”

In addition to more construction equipment sales as well as aftermarket sales and service, that growth plan also includes expanding the sales of mining class excavators and enhancing support for haul trucks with an emphasis on South American operations.

Governor Speaking Cropped LR-min

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp addresses the audience prior to the dedication of the new HCMA facility.

Quinn introduced Governor Kemp. “The First Lady and I are happy to be here to celebrate not only a continued commitment from Hitachi, but also new beginning for Newnan, Ga., the Coweta County community, and the entire region,” Kemp said. “I’m so excited about what’s happening here today and throughout our state. It’s been incredible. We’ve seen three record breaking years in a row for the number of jobs and the amount of business investment.”

Kemp and his wife are business owners and he said they are all too familiar with today’s challenges, such as high interest rates, insurance costs, etc. “In spite of all that, we just announced last week record trade and international investments,” Kemp said. “Roughly half of the new jobs and 65% of the total investment in Georgia in 2023 came from international investment. Last year, our total trade was more than $186 billion with 222 countries and territories.

“Japan is currently Georgia’s No. 1 international employer,” Kemp said. “In fact, over the past 10 years, Japanese companies have brought more than $4 billion of investment to our state. In total, trade between Georgia and Japan was more than $8.7 billion in 2023. As you can see, we have deep economic ties between Japan and the state of Georgia, and that goes back, as Hirano mentioned, more than 50 years. Few companies exemplify that enduring and growing relationship better than Hitachi. Its leaders have doubled down on their commitment to doing business in the Peach State.” He thanked the Hitachi leadership team for being such good friends and for recognizing all that Georgia brings to the table when it comes to job creation.

The formal dedication concluded with a ribbon cutting and the ceremonial tradition of planting a Japanese cherry tree. Hitachi invited its suppliers, which included executives from Itochu, Marubeni, and others, to purify the silver spades with sake and then each of the dignitaries shoveled soil in around the tree.

Embracing sustainable practices, HCMA opted for adaptive reuse principles in the development of its new headquarters for the Americas. More than 7,000 m2 of greenspace was reclaimed from the site by reconfiguring the employee parking areas and eliminating buildings and concrete. These changes represent and reinforce the company’s commitment to people, excellence and the environment.

Encompassing more than 8,100 m2 of office space with more than 2,500 m2 dedicated to the Command Center, and conference and training areas, the headquarters has been designed to enhance creativity and inspire future growth ergonomically.

Simon Wilson, vice president of sales, HCMA, led E&MJ on a private tour of the new facility and the Command Center, which displays telematics from various mine sites in a theater style setting. “With all the machines that we sell, we can monitor and proactively engage with mine operators to get ahead of any developing issues,” Wilson said. “Every mine is different, and we want to make sure that everyone’s treated the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small coal operator in the eastern U.S. or large copper mine working at 4,000 meters above sea level in Chile, you can expect the highest levels of service from us.

“We are planning to grow from 300 units per year to 10,000 units in the next three years,” Wilson said. “Most of those units are construction machines, which will be from increased sales in Latin America. Establishing a distribution and support network for Latin America has been a key focus for me for the last several months. We will have field-based support and then we also have support based here that connects back to Japan.”