Commitment to recruiting investment good decision

Two commitments are paying big dividends for Columbus and its residents.

The first started more than 30 years ago when city leaders and Columbus Economic Development Corp. officials began economic missions to Asia and Europe to attract potential investment in Columbus by global companies based outside the United States.

These annual visits have built relationships and resulted in the establishment of about three dozen companies in Columbus. Most notably, the city is home to 26 Japanese firms — the second-most in the state to Indianapolis’ 29.

Among the largest is Toyota Industries Corp., which has four subsidiaries operating in Columbus that employ about 1,400 people combined. The city’s commitment to attracting and sustaining foreign investment had resulted in a prolonged commitment from Toyota to Columbus.¬†Toyota marked 25 years in Columbus during a special ceremony last year.

Toyota located its first U.S. forklift manufacturing facility in Columbus in 1990. The latest example of the company’s bond with the city is the Nov. 30 announcement that Toyota Material Handling USA, based in Columbus since 2012, would add 71 more high-paying jobs to the workforce by 2019.

Toyota has a sprawling 126-acre campus on the southwest side of Columbus, and is nearing completing of a $16 million, 50,600-square-foot expansion to serve as¬†Toyota Material Handling’s North American headquarters.

This latest vote of confidence by the business indicates that the Columbus market continues to be strong for Toyota, one of the first Asian companies to locate in the city starting about 25 years ago. It also reflects that the ongoing work by the Columbus Economic Development Corp. and Columbus officials to make the city an attractive place to work and live has been, and continues to be, on the right track.