Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly joined representatives of Great Plains Manufacturing and Kubota Corporation for the grand opening of a new construction equipment manufacturing facility in Salina. The $178 million investment by Great Plains to produce compact track loaders for Kubota has already created 150 new jobs, and eventually will surpass 900 new jobs.
“With Kubota and Great Plains’ announcement of 150 new jobs for Kansans – and over 900 jobs in the long-term – it couldn’t be clearer: This project will be transformational for Central Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “My administration will continue making the investments in our infrastructure, child care, and workforce to help more businesses grow and succeed in Kansas.”
The new facility was part of an expansion that included renovating an existing 750,000 square foot facility that was recently vacated by a major employer in the Salina community.
“It was important to us that we started looking to hire those in the Salina-area community, especially those who had recently lost their jobs, before looking to expand our hiring search,” said Linda Salem, President and CEO of Great Plains Manufacturing. “The grand opening of our new facility is a major step in growing as a manufacturing hub for Kubota construction equipment, with investments totaling over $178 million through 2024, and continues to reaffirm Kubota’s commitment to America’s heartland.”
Today’s grand opening was commemorated with a tour of the new facility and a sake barrel ceremony – a Japanese tradition similar to a ribbon-cutting, that symbolizes opening to harmony and good fortune. Executives from Kubota Corp. in Japan attended the grand opening, including Yuichi Kitao, President and Representative Director of Kubota.
This new investment is a direct result of the re-established International Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Lieutenant Governor Toland and members of the International Division visited the Kubota headquarters in Osaka, Japan, twice during the past three years to encourage the company’s continued growth and investment in Kansas. It was on his trip earlier this year when President Kitao shared the company’s plans for its Salina subsidiary. In addition to this manufacturing plant, a new Construction Equipment Center of Excellence will be established.
“Great Plains was a perfect fit to take on these manufacturing operations for Kubota,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Having these parts manufactured in Kansas brings the company closer to its customer base and provides good-paying jobs to an established Salina workforce. Great Plains personifies the type of progressive, global Kansas company the Kelly Administration knows will help future-proof the state economy.”
Great Plains is a 45-year-old Kansas company that was acquired by Kubota in 2016 because of the competitive advantage it has to develop and produce tractor implements and construction machinery attachments. Company leaders say production of the track loaders has and will continue to ramp up throughout 2023. They anticipate additional models of construction equipment will be brought into the Salina factory.
“Salina celebrates with gratitude, pride and anticipation this investment in our city and surrounding communities,” Salina Mayor Trent Davis, M.D., said. “We are in the middle of a venture that retains an employer who treasures its employees as a most valuable asset and promotes the ‘get ‘er done’ loyal Kansas work ethic. The best of East and West cultures are working together to be mutually beneficial for years to come.”