KTH: An Expanding Footprint in Champaign County
Champaign Economic Partnership
KTH Parts Industries, Inc., which makes underbody structural frame components for cars, has become Champaign County’s largest employer. “And we’re probably one of the largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers in the country under one roof,” says Chris Millice, Senior Vice President of General Administration.
KTH, a Champion Level Partner Investor of the Champaign Economic Partnership, started out in 1985 in a 250,000-square-foot facility, west of St. Paris, with about 250 associates. Thirty-seven expansions and 34 years later, KTH now employs more than 1,100 associates. They work in a sprawling complex totaling 1.068 million square feet – alongside 1,085 robots.
Honda is KTH’s primary customer. The company also supplies parts for Tesla.
Market demand in the competitive automotive industry is expected to be stagnant over the next few years, Millice said. But KTH has been preparing for new opportunities as auto manufacturers shift more of their attention to electric vehicles.
For KTH, this means finding ways to make stronger, lighter frames at a more competitive price, Millice said. This year KTH will begin to implement new joining technology capable of manufacturing these new frames.
Millice credits the CEP for helping KTH grow its footprint and workforce in Champaign County. “The CEP has always been 100 percent behind manufacturing. They’re always coming out to see what we need in the way of workforce.” Plus, he says, the CEP helped KTH obtain tax incentives through the Community Reinvestment Area program – to help make the expansions and job growth possible.
Like all manufacturers, KTH faces the challenge of recruiting employees with technical skills, to service presses and robots, as well as production workers. As KTH’s original workforce retires, this challenge will continue.
And the CEP, through its partnerships with schools and employers like KTH, is working to prepare students for these opportunities.
At OEDA, we are thankful for our members who are passionately committed to the success of their communities and advancing Ohio’s economy. Over the past year, we’ve appreciated having you as part of our community of economic development professionals and are grateful for the opportunity to be your partner again in 2023.read more
As your partner for success at every step of your career, OEDA strives to provide high-impact training opportunities for our members each year. The foundation of that training is our Basic Economic Development Course (Ohio BEDC). This year’s course will be held from May 1-4 in Dublin, Ohio, and Early Bird Registration is open from now until March 1.read more
(Wilmington, Ohio) The Clinton County Workforce Collaborative hosted its first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 19. With almost 40 individuals present, representing schools, businesses, service providers, and community organizations, members reviewed accomplishments from 2022, established a new meeting structure for 2023, and discussed how their current efforts can continue to meet the needs of the local community.read more