By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Eastern cultures favor concepts of openness and community to the individuality and privacy chosen by the West.
Japan-based auto supply manufacturer Keihin has opted for the former in the design of its new corporate North America headquarters at Anderson’s Flagship Enterprise Center.
The Honda supplier allowed employees to check out the new office space Saturday at an open house. The move for about 120 employees isn’t expected to happen until late May, and project manager Mike Mitsch said there’s still quite a bit to do until it’s ready for business.
But it’s starting to take shape.
The section of the flagship devoted to Keihin has housed mostly small, individual offices in the past. Keeping true to the company’s Eastern roots, designers have knocked out walls and created wide open work spaces. There will be no individual offices, and that’s the way the company wants it, said General Manager Matt McLaughlin.
“We want to treat everything as a collaborative effort,” McLaughlin said. “We want to be open and uniform. Everyone can see what everyone else is working on. We all wear the same uniforms from the owner down to the newest hire.”
The major thoroughfares include an executive wing and a wide-open business wing that will feature about 84 desks.
Mitsch, who has overseen several renovation projects in his 22 years at the company, said there haven’t been any design issues because of the Flagship Center’s solid structure.
“It’s been easy to change. You can tell the building is well-built,” Mitsch said.
Keihin already has manufacturing plants in Greenfield and Muncie, and the current headquarters rest in Fishers. McLaughlin said the choice to move to Anderson was a practical one, and the facilities at the Flagship provided the atmosphere the corporation sought.
“When you look at our local plants, Anderson provides a central location. And there’s a lot of great stuff happening here business-wise, especially in our field,” McLaughlin said. “And I feel we have a lot to offer back.”
The move from Fishers isn’t ideal for everyone. Translator Wendy Akagi said she lives only a few minutes from the current headquarters, and the move will add roughly a half hour to her commute. However, she said the facility is an upgrade.
“I’m happy with the way the building looks,” Akagi said. “I love the big windows.”
The arrival of Keihin also marks another job-creating entity in the area. As a manufacturing company, Keihin has high turnover and is almost always hiring, McLaughlin said. The company provides AC units, circuit boards and engine parts for Honda automobiles.
But the new headquarters will house a number of high-level professional careers like IT, administration, research and development and accounting jobs. Anderson has been it hard economically over the past few decades, but McLaughlin hopes the influx of opportunities will continue a trend of changing fortunes.
“The area has been depressed for a while, but we feel like things are turning around. And we’re happy to be a part of it,” McLaughlin said.
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