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Highland Industries Marks 50 Years At Cheraw, S.C., Facility

Industrial and automotive textiles manufacturer Highland Industries Inc., Greensboro, N.C., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Cheraw, S.C., manufacturing facility, which includes fabric forming and aqueous finishing capabilities and is said to be the largest air-bag manufacturing facility worldwide. Festivities included a traditional southern barbecue that was attended by employees, company leaders and community officials.

Highland Industries was founded in 1940 as Burlington Industries Industrial Fabrics Co., and the Cheraw facility was built in 1961. In 1988, the company and the plant were acquired by Takata Corp. — a Japan-based manufacturer of automotive safety systems — and was renamed Highland Industries. According to the company, the cooperative spirit of its employees and a commitment to innovation and technological advances have helped it survive the challenges brought by lower-cost competition in other countries. In addition, the leadership of Takata Corp., including Juichiro (Jim) Takada and his son, President and COO Shigehisa Takada, has been very important to Highland Industries' success.

"The personality of Cheraw is one to be held up and admired," said Shigehisa Takada in an address to those attending the celebration. "Since I first came here nearly a quarter-century ago when my father first purchased the facility, the consistent things I see are the people, some I recognize still here today. The building and the machines have changed, but many of the people have remained. This stable and dedicated workforce is a unique trait, and that togetherness and commitment has helped to make you the success you have become."

"We have had a very strong and dedicated team with tremendous leadership over the years who are undaunted by challenges," said David Jackson, president and COO, Highland Industries. "That type of dedication is what has kept us moving forward over the past half-century, and is what will drive us to the challenges of the next 50 years."

May/June 2012



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