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Pence visits Subaru officials, plants tree in Japan

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On his fifth day of an Asian trade mission, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence visited the headquarters of Subaru, the automotive division of Fuji Heavy Industries in Ota, Japan.

It was one stop of several Pence made to Japanese companies that do major business in Indiana.

Pence toured the Subaru facilities and met with leaders of the company for lunch to discuss hiring possibilities. Subaru announced in May that it has plans to invest $450 million to build the new Impreza vehicle in Indiana at the Lafayette plant.

Subaru employs more than 3,600 at the Lafayette plant. It's 832-acre corporate campus there has been declared a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

“Thousands of hardworking Hoosiers have jobs today because of Subaru’s commitment to Indiana,” Pence said in a prepared statement. “On this trade mission, I’ve made it a top priority to personally thank Japanese companies for choosing Indiana out of a world of options. With our favorable business environment and a workforce highly skilled in advanced manufacturing, Subaru executives have noticed that Indiana is a state that works for business.”

Pence also met with executives from TOA Industries, which has a manufacturing facility in Mooresville, and Shirgeru Co., the parent company of Heartland Automotive, which has operations in Greencastle and Lafayette.

Shigeru’s Greencastle location was established in 1987 to manufacture dashboards for Subaru and has grown to also include production for the Camry line.

Shigeru executives and Pence discussed expansion plans. The company is expected to soon announce plans to create hundreds of jobs for Hoosiers at its Lafayette facility.

To show appreciation of Shigeru’s 26 years of service to Hoosiers, Pence planted a black pine tree next to Indiana’s state tree – a tulip popular that former Gov. Robert Orr planted in 1987 – on the company’s Ota campus.  The black pine is Gunma Prefecture’s state tree.

“Today we planted a symbolic tree at Shigeru, a company with rich Hoosier heritage dating more than 25 years,” Pence said. “The tree represents the strength of Indiana’s deep relationship with this company, a bond that has created hundreds of good jobs for Hoosiers. Just like this tree will grow, we are committed to continuing to cultivate and grow our strong friendship and economic ties with Shigeru in the years ahead.”

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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