Toyota Celebrates 500,000 Forklifts Built in America

Toyota’s forklift manufacturing company, Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, has been headquartered in Columbus since 1990. After Toyota’s forklift sales and distribution company relocated to Indiana (from Irvine, California) last summer, all of the company’s North American forklift operations are under one roof — and have now produced over 500,000 forklifts.

Congrats to Toyota on this milestone!

Who’s Spending the Most to Get Your Attention?

Biggest advertisers in America (ranked by annual dollars spent), according to 2013 Kantar Group report:

  1. AT&T: $1.59 billion
  2. Verizon: $1.43 billion
  3. Chevrolet: $958 million
  4. McDonald’s: $957 million
  5. GEICO: $921 million
  6. Toyota: $879 million
  7. Ford: $857 million
  8. T-Mobile: $773 million
  9. Macy’s: $762 million
  10. Wal-Mart: $690 million

Grants Available to Assist in Family Learning

To reach long-sought goals of high educational achievement for all students, there must be stronger collaboration between schools and families. The National Center for Family Literacy and Toyota are partnering to promote such efforts, beginning with a grant program for communities.

Additional details below and online:

The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) has announced a new six-year initiative, Toyota Family Learning.  One major component of the initiative: NCFL is now accepting grant applications to further family learning beyond the classroom and into homes and communities. Applications are being accepted now through June 24 at www.toyotafamilylearning.org.
 
This year, five organizations will be awarded a three-year, $175,000 grant, in addition to a wide range of NCFL training and communication support, learning items, and materials. Grantees will engage vulnerable families in learning together and participating in family mentor and service learning activities. Schools, libraries, and community-based organizations that provide services to families are eligible to apply.
 
The vision for Toyota Family Learning, fueled by the enduring NCFL-Toyota partnership, is much more than a specific program or model. It will engage not only grantee families but also families across the nation to be a part of modern-day movement for families learning together. Toyota Family Learning will draw the participation of families both online and offline, incorporating digital elements launching later this year including a website, mobile app, social media, and more. The first component of this effort is the current grant opportunity for communities.

I-69: Open for Business!

Today was a monumental day in Indiana transportation, with the opening of a portion of the new I-69 highway. Gov. Mitch Daniels and other leaders convened to open the road this morning near Evansville, and Daniels then rode his motorcycle to Washington (Indiana). The Indy Star reports:

Daniels called the new stretch of highway "perfect,” proclaiming it will be a source of jobs and joy for communities along route.

Daniels, joined by federal, state and local officials, this morning opened the first of three new sections of I-69 in Far-Southwestern Indiana with a ribbon-cutting ceremony near Evansville. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind. , Lt. Gov.-elect Sue Ellspermann, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Norm Bafunno, president of Toyota Indiana were on hand.

Bouchon got to drive highway. He said he was thrilled with it connection the 3rd largest city with central Indiana.

Pike County commissioner Brian Davis also road the route with Daniels’ entourage. He called it both good and strange. Davis said it is great to have the county’s first interstate, but added "it was funny how quick we went through our county."

Daniels headed north to Washington and met with David Graham, a retired Daviess County farmer and longtime advocate for the new I-69 corridor, and Mark Newland, representing his late father, Jim, of the Mid-Continent Highway Coalition, another long-time advocate for the new highway.

The governor’s final stopwill be at a new interchange with U.S. 231 near Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center about 20 miles west of Bloomington. According to INDOT, that stop also will “include special recognition of Indiana basketball legend Bobby Plump and Olympic gold medalist David Boudia.”

The new interstate is slated to open to the public at 6 p.m.

Thanks to Chamber VP Cam Carter for the picture, taken this morning near Evansville.

Kudos to Trio of Hoosier Companies for Military Support

Three Indiana organizations are among 133 semifinalists for the prestigious Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The award is the highest honor given by the government to employers for providing exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees. There were more than 3,200 nominees nationally.

The Indiana employers named semifinalists are Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc., Princeton; U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Indianapolis; and Gary Jet Center, Gary. Freedom Award nominations come directly from Guard and Reserve members, or family members acting on their behalf. The Freedom Award provides service members with an opportunity to recognize employers for going above and beyond what is required by law. 

Employers chosen as semifinalists support their Guard and Reserve employees through a variety of formal and informal initiatives, including developing internal military support networks, providing full benefits to employees fulfilling their military obligations, caring for the families of deployed employees, and granting additional leave to Guard and Reserve employees preparing to leave for or return from deployments.
 
ESGR will announce the 2012 Freedom Award finalists next month after a review board comprised of military and civilian leaders selects the 30 most supportive employers from among the 133 semifinalists. The 15 award recipients will be announced early this summer and honored in Washington, D.C. at the 17th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Ceremony on September 20, 2012.  

Can TWI Take Your Team to a New Level?

TWI (Training Within Industry) has a long history. It also has a bright future as a tool that can help companies train their trainers and make them better teachers of their employees. Officially, it’s "teaching supervisors and team leaders how to improve the way jobs are done, how to quickly train employees to do the job safely, correctly and conscientiously and how to build positive employee relations, increased morale and effective conflict resolution skills."

In the 1950s, Toyota used TWI to train employees in the Toyota Production System, the famous lean manufacturing program. Today, TWI is being reintroduced to North America and you can learn all about it at the TWI Institute. The Purdue University TAP/MEP program is hosting and the Indiana Chamber’s Ready Indiana program is co-sponsoring a March 16 Indianapolis summit (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Patrick Graupp, senior master trainer and the world’s leading authority on TWI, will be the featured guest speaker. Use the code "readyin" for a $100 discount off the registration fee. Contact Ready Indiana Executive Director Kris Deckard for more information about the TWI curriculum.

Letters to Our Leaders: Laboring for a Solution

Automotive production in the United States is moving south. Yes, Indiana has been successful recently in attracting Honda and incorporating a Toyota expansion into the existing Subaru facility in Lafayette, but those have been exceptions rather than the rule.

Since Nissan chose Smyrna, Tennessee for a plant location in 1983, the Volunteer state and neighbors in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina have become attractive locations for BMW, Kia, Honda and others. Good transportation and a strong workforce are two of the reasons. The biggest, according to some, is that these are right-to-work (RTW) states that allow the automakers (and other major employers) to avoid union concerns.

The 22 states with RTW laws have seen dramatic increases in economic development and personal incomes compared to those lacking the RTW measures. It’s not the lone reason, of course, but one that deserves full consideration.

One of the keys to progress for any state is standing out from the others. RTW would do that for Indiana in the Midwest and on a national level.

This week’s Letter to Our Leaders has the details.

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