By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
For the first time in eight years, Topre America Corporation has a new president at its helm. The company’s former Vice President Hideo Shimizu has been promoted to president, while former President Hiroshi Chiba will become the new director of Topre Corporation’s North America Operations.
Shimizu, 49, was born in Tokyo, Japan, and has worked at Topre for 27 years. He came to Topre America in 2003 and worked in assignments, sales and materials management before being promoted to vice president.
Shimizu is married to Micki Shimizu and has two sons. He studied at Komazawa University and majored in economics.
In a statement to The Times, Shimizu said he is excited to take on a larger role in the Cullman community and looks forward to serving as president.
“The spirit of cooperation from local and state government along with the efforts of our hard working employees has been the key to our success,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting to know the local citizens better and a continued happy and fruitful relationship for all.”
As the new head of North American Operations, Chiba will oversee the Cullman plant, two smaller on-site manufacturing operations and a new full-size plant currently being built in Mexico.
Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Peggy Smith said Chiba has been a pleasure to work with, and she looks forward to establishing a similar relationship with Shimizu.
“Our office is very proud for Mr. Chiba in his new capacity as one of 12 directors for Topre Inc., and I’m confident his outstanding leadership will continue to serve Topre well for the future,” she said. “We will greatly miss his daily presence in the community, and he has been an outstanding leader for Topre in Cullman and a great friend to the Cullman community. We’re also excited to congratulate Mr. Shimizu in his new role as president, and we look forward to working with him in all aspects of business and community, as Topre is a great corporate partner for Cullman.”
Topre is a tier-1 Japanese-based supplier of stamped and welded assemblies to the automotive industry, serving customers such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The Cullman plant, which opened in 2004 and underwent a major expansion last year, employs more than 640 people.
The Cullman location grew by more than one-third last year with one of the biggest industrial expansions in the state, adding seven new stamping machines and a new die storage building.
The latest expansion increased the amount of jobs at the plant by 250, and expanded the plant’s footprint from 440,000-square feet to 620,000-square feet.
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.