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BioKyowa named Cape industry of the year
Company receives second Commitment to Excellence Award
By Jim Obert
BioKyowa Inc., the first major Japanese-owned industry to open in Missouri, is the fourth two-time winner of the Commitment to Excellence Award from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce.
BioKyowa, which opened a swine and poultry feed-supplement plant on Nash Road in 1982, was recognized Oct. 3 at the annual Industrial Appreciation Dinner sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce.
Kohta Fujiwara, president of BioKyowa Inc. and Kyowa Inc., accepted the award as about 525 people cheered their approval.
Fujiwara commended the city, the area and the company's workforce.
"Nineteen years of history have shown we chose the right place for our operations," said Fujiwara, adding that the several expansions at the company were made possible by help from local people and companies.
BioKyowa started in a $25 million facility with 60 workers. Today, BioKyowa employs about 200 workers.
This was the 14th year for the award. Dana Corp. earned the honor last year.
The award was presented following a comedy routine by Carl Hurley, who was introduced as "America's Funniest Professor."
Hurley, a native of the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky, is also a former professor at Eastern Kentucky University.
One of his anecdotes concerned how he rides elevators. He said it is an unwritten rule that people in elevators stare at the door, "although you're allowed to look at the floor numbers sometimes."
But when he enters a crowded elevator he turns to the right and stares at the wall. When the doors open he walks out then runs up the stairs to the next floor. When the elevator doors open he smiles at the surprised people and exclaims: "Ya'll been talkin' 'bout me haven't ya!"
BioKyowa in growth mode
BioKyowa has had special growth status the past three years in Nash Road Industrial Park. The company has expanded its swine and poultry feed-supplement operation and added a new facility, Kyowa Food Inc., which produces food seasonings for people.
The new Kyowa food-supplement plant, a $50 million facility, was constructed near its sister company in a 32,000-square-foot building that includes processing space and a warehouse.
Kyowa Foods manufactures and sells nucleotide seasonings developed by the company. The seasonings provide basic tastes -- bitter, sweet, salty and sour. The seasonings are used in flavors like beef, pork, chicken and fish that are used for broth, soups, bullion and pre-mixes.
BioKyowa has added $35 million in expansion over the past two years and can now produce more than 25 metric tons of L-Lysine a year. The L-Lysine expansion project called for 10,000-square-foot and 15,000-square-foot processing plants, a 13,000-square-foot warehouse extension and two other buildings with a combined 10,000 square feet, and six new storage tanks.
This was the second major expansion for BioKyowa. The first was completed in 1991 and involved a $15 million project that doubled production. It called for an 11,000-square-foot warehouse and expansion of production facilities.
Kyowa and BioKyowa are subsidiaries of Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, a Tokyo-based company and a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, food, agri-chemicals and liquor products in Japan.
Since it won the local Chamber's award, BioKyowa will be nominated for the state-wide 2002 Industry of the Year Award, which will be presented by the Associated Industries of Missouri in April.
AIM's program is devoted to showcasing the innovations, entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and economic success of Missouri industry. The AIM program included awards in three categories -- employers of 50 or fewer employees; employers of 51 to 250 employees; and employers of more than 251 employees.
Each year, the Cape Chamber nominates small and big businesses for the state program. Rose Concrete Products Inc., and Kwik Kopy Printing shared small business honors here earlier this year.
Criteria for both the Small Business of the Year and the Industry of the Year include economic contribution to the local economy, community involvement, industrial leadership and commitment to excellence.
Past recipients of the Commitment to Excellence Award
1988 General Sign Co.
1989 Lone Star Industries
1990 Procter & Gamble Paper Products
1991 BioKyowa Inc.
1992 Concord Publishing House
1993 Dana Corp.
1994 Florsheim Shoe Co.
1995 Spartech Corp.
1996 Thorngate Ltd.
1997 M&W Packaging
1998 Lone Star Industries
1999 Procter & Gamble Paper Products
2000 Dana Corp.