BLANCHESTER — As American Showa celebrated a quarter-century of making vehicle parts in Blanchester Saturday, staff looked ahead and said they’re optimistic about a new product line.
At the anniversary event, employees and their families showed themselves to be talented in ways other than on the shop floor: Much of the live entertainment was Showa staff or spouses and the souvenir cups were designed by children of Showa associates.
A little more than 400 people presently work at the Blanchester plant. Twenty-five years ago, in summer 1989, the facility began assembly of the Honda Civic and Accord hydraulic power steering gear boxes.
At a ceremony Saturday, Blanchester plant Chief Operations Officer Kanai-san gave an overview of operations there through the years. He also mentioned the continuously variable transmission (CVT), an alternative to the traditional automatic transmission, as a new line for the facility.
“I believe the CVT system has a good future,” Kanai-san said in his speech.
Marie Brooker, quality auditor at the facility and a 15-year employee, is enthusiastic about the launch of CVT, too.
“That’s our future of Showa. I am so very excited,” she said as she mingled among attendees at the event.
State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) read part of an official proclamation in honor of the 25th anniversary. The excerpt referred to American Showa’s role in enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being of the area and its residents.
Clinton County Commissioner Kerry Steed spoke of the employees’ “hard work and dedication” that have made the plant successful.
During the celebration, two clowns interacted with children and adults. One clown, Pam Armocost, is a Showa employee who will mark 25 years at the plant Aug. 31.
Among the activities offered for attendees were guided plant tours, face painting, corn hole toss, pop ring toss, a photo booth, a bouncy house, a bubble pit, as well as free soft-frozen lemonade, popcorn, hot dogs and anniversary cake.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574, ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.