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.
Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, announced plans for its state-of-the-art soybean processing facility to be located in Wyandot County, Ohio. The project will bolster the region’s economic growth in the critical food and agriculture sector. LDC’s facility will be located just outside of the City of Upper Sandusky; it’s first location in the State of Ohio.read more
The Ohio General Assembly, in its budget bill (HB33) approved July 3, 2023, authorized up to $750 million in state budget resources to the All Ohio Future Fund (R.C. 126.62). The fund is to be used for infrastructure to compete for — and win – more sizeable economic development projects such as the Amazon, Honda-LG, and Intel megaprojects that Ohio landed in recent years.read more
The Wilmington DRIVE (Downtown Revitalization Investment Vibrancy Effort) Program, adopted a year ago, with the goal of enhancing and accelerating Wilmington’s downtown revitalization and encouraging creative mix-use development, made its first strategic acquisition, closing on the Masonic Lodge Site (28 W. Main St.) on September 29, 2023.read more