National Award a Good Sign for Greensburg Sign Maker

Shawn Green of Green Sign Co. was recently presented with an award for the 2012 United States Sign Council Design Contest. The winning design was in the category of Electronic Message Center. Green Signs designed, manufactured and installed the sign for Erich K Collision in North Vernon.

Based in Greensburg, Green Signs serves the Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, and the greater Midwest. The company provides complete sign service and sign installation (specializing in modern LED Electronic Message Centers, electric signs, custom built signs, awnings and award winning sign designs). In addition to traditional signage, Green also provides full color vinyl graphics, vehicle wraps and logo design.

At the young age of 15, Shawn Green took over the family business after his father, Bill, passed away in 1986. He has been honing his craft ever since.

If you have signage needs, be sure to consider contacting this long-running Hoosier business and Indiana Chamber member.

A (Honda) ‘Civics’ Lesson: Going Natural is In

Our friends at Inside INdiana Business ran this release from Honda, illustrating how the car company is making efforts to move toward the future — and how its Indiana production facility is playing a key role:

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) today marked the start of mass production of the all-new 2012 Civic Natural Gas as it moves to increase production of the alternative-fuel Civic to support an expanding network of certified Civic Natural Gas dealers across the U.S. Engines for the Civic Natural Gas will continue to be supplied by Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio.

HMIN will ramp-up production of the Civic Natural Gas (formerly the Civic GX) during the 2012 model year to meet anticipated increasing demand for alternative-fuel vehicles. The added production will support Honda’s growing network of U.S. Honda dealers qualified to provide retail sales and service support for the Civic Natural Gas, expanding from 72 Honda dealers in four states to nearly 200 dealers in 36 states, including one new Honda dealer in Indiana.

The 2012 Civic Natural Gas is powered by the cleanest internal combustion engine ever certified by the U.S. EPA and is the only OEM-made natural gas vehicle available for retail purchase in America. It is part of Honda’s growing portfolio of advanced environmental technology vehicles which include three hybrid models, the world’s most advanced fuel cell electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity, and the Fit EV electric vehicle and a Honda plug-in hybrid car, both launching in 2012. The fully redesigned 2012 Civic Natural Gas model goes on-sale October 18, 2011, with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $26,155.

“We’re extremely proud Indiana is the home for this all-new Civic Natural Gas,” said Jun Nishimoto, HMIN President. “As the sole producers of the Civic Natural Gas, our associates in Greensburg are making an important contribution to Honda’s global effort to reduce CO2 emissions and advance the deployment of vehicles that can help the transition away from gasoline to cleaner and more sustainable alternative fuels.”
 

Purdue Helps Students Get “World-class” Degrees Near Home

It’s almost graduation time for college students across Indiana. Some of the least heralded gems are those mined right in our local communities, thanks to the Purdue College of Technology Statewide, with 10 locations across Indiana. Students stay home, continue their careers and get a world-class degree they can put to work right in their hometown.

In South Bend, 46 Purdue students will earn their bachelor’s on May 14. Class responder Curtis Damon, a major in industrial technology, paired his classes with a job as associate project engineer for PEI-Genesis in South Bend. And he plans to stay there.

"The College of Technology trains local professionals and young adults on new advanced topics in engineering, quality and design," he explains. "I have personally witnessed many individuals who are not looking for a particular degree but are taking classes for advancement at work and/or for a direct improvement at the workplace they are currently at. The classes in lean manufacturing and production, Six Sigma and inventory management are very straightforward and make it easy to take what you learn and implement it directly into your workplace.

"The College of Technology also allows individuals to stay at home, advance their education and build careers. This is a great benefit to both students and the local businesses in the area. It allows the local community to hire people who are from the area, who are highly educated and motivated to work. You can’t beat hiring individuals who don’t need relocation packages, know the area where they live and the community around them, and have the knowledge and education to help companies succeed."

You can read more about Curtis here. Statewide Technology is an extension of the College of Technology. Its degree programs follow the same curriculum requirements as the programs on the West Lafayette campus. Classes are taught by Purdue faculty or those approved by academic department heads. More than 1,350 students are enrolled at its sites in Anderson, Columbus, Greensburg, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes. Of those, 53% attend full time.

Jeanne Norberg is a spokesperson for Purdue University.

A Lot of ‘Civic’ Pride in Greensburg

Last week, Chamber colleague Derek Redelman and I toured the impressive new Honda plant in Greensburg. We were joined by former Michigan governor and current National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler. The year-old, 1.3-million-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art marvel of what manufacturing has evolved into with quality, efficiency, continuous improvement and worker satisfaction as key goals. The plant produces just under 400 Civics a day, including natural gas powered versions.

We were able to meet with Engler and Honda executives after the tour to discuss several topics. Engler said that Indiana has weathered the economic downturn better than many states and is well-poised to benefit from future manufacturing growth. The market for cars used to be 16 million to 17 million annually; industry leaders are hoping for 10 million this year.

Engler said that nationally there is a workforce skills shortage in many areas. Honda VP Rich Schostek said the company is happy with its workers in Indiana – more than 30,000 applied for 1,000 positions. Honda looks for good reading and math skills, as well as the ability to work in teams and communicate well. These are key abilities the Chamber has been advocating for to elevate the skills of Indiana’s workforce.

It was nice to get the perspective of a national manufacturing leader, as well as see one of Indiana’s more recent success stories.

Honda Recognizes Hoosier Supplier

Honda (Greensburg), an Indiana Chamber member, recently announced:

Honda leaders shared their direction for overcoming the difficult economy at the company’s annual supplier conference Thursday, saying that this time of challenging business conditions provides a unique opportunity to increase flexibility and make significant operational improvements.

Honda also recognized 60 of its suppliers for their top performance last year in the critical areas of quality, on-time parts delivery and productivity improvements. With one triple and 10 double award recipients, Honda presented 72 awards to its North American parts suppliers, including Ryobi Die Casting (USA), Inc., Shelbyville, Ind., recognized for outstanding Delivery Performance. Ryobi provides engine brackets for Honda production in Ohio. (Ryobi Die Casting was the only Indiana company recognized in this year’s awards from Honda.)

Several other suppliers to Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, based in Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee were also recognized.

Timing of the annual conference in the middle of a difficult economy is not easy, but does provide opportunities, said Hidenobu Iwata, president and CEO of Honda of America Mfg., Inc., and leader of Honda’s North American manufacturing. He added his appreciation for the strengthening partnership with suppliers to improve production characteristics.  “Our ultimate commitment is to our customer,” Iwata said.  “This has served us well in North America over the past 50 years and will continue to lead our way for the coming 50 years.  I would say this commitment is more important than ever before.” Continue reading

Honda Celebrating Major Milestones in 2009

So you like dependability? And you like fuel efficiency, too? Evidently, so do many Americans. This is why Honda has now been able to produce 20 million vehicles in North America. A statement from the company explains:

Honda produced its 20 millionth automobile in North America based on January 2009 production totals to be released this week…

“The production of 20 million cars and light trucks in North America was achieved through the ultimate in teamwork by our suppliers, business partners and dealers working together with Honda associates to create joy for our customers,” said Tsuneo Tanai, president & CEO of Honda of America Mfg., Inc. and head of Honda’s production operations in North America, covering the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Additionally, nearly 80% of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States were produced right here in North America.

According to Honda, the new Greensburg plant has produced approximately 6,800 vehicles since they began mass production last October. Also noteworthy is that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. — Honda’s first overseas subsidiary.

So congratulations to Honda, part of the Indiana Chamber member family.

Honda, Hollywood, and Drew Carey United at Last

According to Inside INdiana Business, a Honda Civic from the new Greensburg plant will be featured as a prize on CBS’s "The Price is Right":

A Civic from Greensburg’s new Honda plant may become the "next item up for bids." Officials with the plant say an Indiana-built Honda Civic will be featured as a prize on the CBS-TV show "The Price is Right." They believe it is the first time the game show has offered a non-domestic car as a prize.

The episode of the "The Price is Right" is expected to air on December 23.

The Honda plant opened earlier this year was dedicated just in the past week.

In conjunction with that ceremony, Honda Motor Company officials announced the plant will be the only North American facility to produce a natural gas powered Civic starting next year.

Kudos to our friends at Honda. Nothing like a little Plinko to start Christmas off right.

Monumental Day for Greensburg as Honda Plant Performs Its “Civic” Duty

We all have that crazy aunt or uncle that we can’t help but love. For me it’s an uncle who lives in the South, loves to leave me prank phone messages about politicians and happens to be a bigwig for an automotive company.

When it comes to business though, he’s, well, all business. So when I told him I was writing a story about the new Honda plant in Greensburg, he interjects, “We’re a pain, aren’t we?” – referring to the auto industry’s cautious interactions with the media.

Getting information about Honda for the BizVoice story did take a lot of patience, I will admit (about two months, but who’s counting?). But that’s OK. After all, they were hustling to wrap up two years of work on the $550 million plant.

Those two years of planning, training and building culminated with one (with many more to come) shiny black car early this morning. Greensburg’s plant began mass production today when its first four-door Civic rolled off the assembly line.

Congrats to both the city of Greensburg and Honda. We’ll be looking for more of those fuel-efficient Civics traveling along I-74.