More than 1,000 Kubota employees, along with area and state political and business leaders, braved drenching rain Thursday to celebrate the company’s 25 years of success in Hall County.
Kubota Manufacturing of America Co. located in Gainesville Industrial Park North in 1988 to establish the Japanese Kubota Corp.’s North American manufacturing base. In the past quarter century, the local headquarters has grown from about 38 workers to about 1,100.
“We’re OK,” said Henry Kubota, referring to pouring rain while he spoke to the assembled guests in the outside ceremony. “We’ve survived for 25 years.”
Kubota is president of KMA and Kubota Industrial Equipment, a Jefferson manufacturing facility that opened earlier this year.
The celebration featured speakers from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville, Hall County and state lawmakers. Employees several rows deep stood around the podium area listening.
Kubota manufactures and assembles lawn tractors, mowers, subcompact tractors, utility vehicles, loaders and backhoes.
Chamber President and CEO Kit Dunlap said she was at the company’s grand opening 25 years ago. About half a dozen workers who were also there at the beginning were honored with applause at the end of the ceremony.
“I was here when that ribbon was cut and that first tractor came off the assembly line,” she said. “We’re so proud to have KMA in Gainesville and Hall County.”
About one-half of all Kubota branded equipment sold in the United States is manufactured or assembled at its local 151-acre facility, the company’s website said.
Richard Mecum, Hall County Board of Commissioners chairman, spoke about the local economic impact as the company expanded its product lines and sales worldwide through the years.
“Today, KMA has a payroll over $45 million a year,” Mecum said. “Think about that. And think about the impact that has upon our county.”
Mecum said that if $1 creates $7 in local spending, KMA’s contribution to the community is more like $315 million annually.
Kubota called the company a family and said they are preparing for future growth of the company, for current employees’ children and other generations to come.
“With continued support from the community and from our team members, we will continue to grow and produce products that protect our beautiful Earth and help create our comfortable living environment for all,” he said.