Hitachi to add Norman jobs

Work has begun on a 200,000-square-foot distribution center to streamline company's efforts

Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:00 am By: Debbie Blossom

The Oklahoman

NORMAN - Hitachi Computer Products America Inc. on Monday said it will expand its Norman facility with the construction of a new distribution center.

Work on the more than 200,000-square-foot building has started, said Gary Riggs, vice president of information technology and human resources at the Norman facility.

The plant sits on 69 acres, and there is plenty of room for a distribution operation, which will be constructed on the north side of the 162,000-square-foot plant at 1800 E Imhoff Road, Riggs said.

Hitachi is consolidating its U.S. distribution operations, relocating all North American and South American functions from Indianapolis to Norman, the company said.

The company's Asian distribution operations will be in a new center in Singapore.

With prep work already in process, "the plan is to be fully operational by Oct. 1," Riggs said.

Hitachi will add employees, and hiring will start in June, he said. Riggs could not confirm how many employees will be added at the plant.

But Don Wood, executive director of the Norman Economic Development Coalition, said about 75 jobs will be added.

Wood said Hitachi came to the coalition with an opportunity to streamline its distribution system and expand here, and the agency helped Hitachi through the application process for a new state incentive program created to help economic development projects.

The Oklahoma Community Economic Development Pooled Finance Act was approved by legislators and signed into law last May and went into effect last November.

The new incentive program, which provides up to $200 million of taxable bond proceeds for investments in local economic development projects, "perfectly matched Hitachi's needs," Wood said. "This will be the first project funded by this program."

Hitachi has been in Oklahoma since the mid-1980s, Woods said.

"We are very pleased to be expanding and are appreciative of the governor's program that is helping us to do that," Riggs said.

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