NTN’s growth, success example of city’s sound investment plan

NTN Driveshaft is one of the leading employer in Bartholomew County with about 1,700 employees. When the Japanese-based manufacturer opened a facility in Columbus 25 years ago, it had had just a few hundred workers.

That substantial growth in a quarter century provided a good reason to celebrate the company’s milestone anniversary in the city during an event July 12.

Twenty-five years of operating in Columbus — including 11 expansions — shows the continued commitment the manufacturer of constant velocity joints has to the community. In fact, the Columbus facility is the company’s largest outside of its home country of Japan.

While NTN Driveshaft’s growth is a reflection of the company’s success, it’s also further validation of the plan that city leaders started pursuing in the late 1970s and early 1980s of seeking foreign investment locally. The strategy picked up steam in the mid-1980s under then-Mayor Bob Stewart, economic development director Brooke Tuttle and business leaders.

NTN was one of the first 10 Asian-based companies to commit to Columbus for expansion. The city has been particularly successful attracting Japanese companies. With more than two dozen of them, only Indianapolis among Hoosier cities has more.

Columbus also has local firms whose parent companies are based in China, Germany, Canada, France, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

The growth and longevity of NTN Driveshaft in Columbus and the city’s successful foreign investment strategy give both plenty of reasons to celebrate.