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Lehigh Valley Facility is ‘Milestone’ for Nihon Kohden’s North American Expansion

By Colin McEvoy on June 9, 2016

A ribbon-cutting was held at the new Nihon Kohden facility in South Whitehall Township. Eiichi Tanaka, Nihon Kohden operating officer, cuts the ribbon.

A ribbon-cutting was held at the new Nihon Kohden facility in South Whitehall Township. Eiichi Tanaka, Nihon Kohden operating officer, cuts the ribbon.

When Nihon Kohden, a Japanese manufacturer and distributor of medical electronic equipment, was seeking to bolster its East Coast presence and expand its growth across the continent, it quickly determined that the Lehigh Valley was the right place to make it happen.

“I strongly believe this is a very important milestone to us achieving our future growth in North America,” Eiichi Tanaka, Nihon Kohden operating officer, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 9 for the company’s new 7,000 square-foot facility in South Whitehall Township.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), which was involved in this project from its early stages, was present to welcome Nihon Kohden to the new facility. Twelve people will be hired immediately to man the call center, and the facility could eventually grow to include 50 new jobs, including technicians and nurse executives

Jaime Whalen, LVEDC Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations, said this project is a good example of two major areas of focus for the Lehigh Valley economy: foreign direct investment, which has become a growing trend in the region, and life science research and manufacturing, which has been identified as one of the Lehigh Valley’s four target sectors.

“We’re pleased that Nihon Kohden has decided to establish its East Coast presence here in the Lehigh Valley, and we’re confident the economic assets that have made us an innovation hub for biological and biomedical science companies will allow Nihon Kohden to grow and thrive here as well,” Whalen said.

Jaime Whalen, LVEDC Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations, speaking at the Nihon Kohden ribbon-cutting.

Jaime Whalen, LVEDC Vice President of Administration and Investor Relations, speaking at the Nihon Kohden ribbon-cutting.

Eight of the Lehigh Valley’s 19 major business attraction/expansion projects from 2015 – or 42 percent – were international companies. In addition to Nihon Kohden, this included Safran/MBD, a French aerospace company; Fuling Plastics, a Chinese plastic flatware manufacturer; and Primark, an Irish fashion retailer.

“The Lehigh Valley’s location on the East Coast, our access to markets and proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, and the availability of talent and technical support from professors at places like Lehigh University and Lafayette College have proven to be attractive assets for international companies seeking to enter the U.S. market,” Whalen said.

The Nihon Kohden facility will provide technical and product support to key installations across the East Coast and support biomedical training classes for consumers. Located at 1550 Pond Road, Nihon Kohden America plans to invest $445,000 on the project, which will include tenant improvements, the purchase of equipment, and training for new employees.

Wilson P. Constantine, CEO of Nihon Kohden America, said the Lehigh Valley’s superior workforce and the cooperation of local and state government officials and economic development agencies helped bring Nihon Kohden to the region, and will help the company continue to grow.

“We are excited to grow our roots here and know that every day what we’re doing makes a difference in our patients’ lives,” Constantine said. “That patient could be us or any of you. We take that very seriously.”

The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team (GAT) in collaboration with LVEDC. A part of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, GAT is a group of economic development professionals who work with businesses that considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.

“We have very few projects that match the quality of this project, in terms of the quality of the jobs and the product they put out,” said Brian Ross, Deputy Director for Project Management with GAT. “That makes this really a home run for us, and this is right in the wheelhouse of Gov. Wolf’s initiative for ‘Jobs that Pay.’ These are really the type of jobs we love to see in Pennsylvania.”

LVEDC’s involvement with the project included taking Nihon Kohden America representatives on a tour of potential sites during early stages of the site selection process, and providing information about the region and ways to recruit workers.

Founded in Japan in 1951, Nihon Kohden is the leading manufacturer, developer, and distributor of medical electronic equipment, with subsidiaries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company’s products are used in more than 120 countries, and it is the largest supplier of electroencephalography products worldwide.

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