b'the area made sense to them, sayssecond plant completed becauseHelmboldts approach to hiring Helmboldt. a 95,000-square-foot instrumentwas different from the traditional Hes also heard that Toyota of- cluster plant was built and all theJapanese way.fered the plant as a consolationequipment put in, says Helmboldt.If youre going to have good prize for choosing Georgetown,Helmboldt was hired as produc- teamwork, you have to have people Ky., over Maryville for a Toyotation manager. He has moved upwith good, outgoing personali-manufacturing plant. Then-Gov.since then. ties, he says. I would rather have Lamar Alexander had worked hardHelmboldts experience putpeople who have that outgoing to recruit the Toyota plant. Nippon- him in a good position to observepersonality who could work well denso wasnt expected to hire morethe difference between Americanin a group. It doesnt matter what than a couple hundred people. manufacturing companies andthey did before. We have trainingSen. Alexander said he hatedJapanese ones.in place. We would look for team losing Toyota to just have 100The No. 1 thing that struck meplayers and team builders in the people come in here, but look whatabout the difference in the Japa- instrument cluster plant.its turned into, says Helmboldt.nese and the American mentalityDENSO now has 14 buildings Ive heard the senator tell thatis that they have a very, very longand is the top employer in Blount story two or three times, includingplanning process so that they canCounty. The company also holds at the ambassadors residence inimplement very quickly. My experi- a strong belief in social corporate re-Japan. ence in the U.S. is that we have asponsibility, emphasizing education, The plans started to change evenvery short plan, and then it takesthe environment and community.before construction began. It hada long time to implement becauseWith inevitable changes in to have turned into somethingwe dont cross all the ts, dot all thethe automotive industry coming, bigger than that initial sugges- is. Adjustments are made as youDENSO is already at work on parts tion because the first plant to startgo. for the vehicles of the future.construction here was the starter/ Another difference, he says, isRight now that long-term plan-alternator plant, which was builtthe focus on continuous improve- ning is balancing today with the at about 665,000 square feet.mentnot just from the top, butworkforce that will be needed in It actually ended up being thefrom associates as well. the future.DENSO TodayCompany: DENSO CorporationHeadquarters: Kariya City, JapanGlobal revenue: $48 billionLocal Company: DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc.Production began: 1990Number of Employees Today: 5,000-plusManufacturing Plants: 5Total acres: 230-plusNumber of buildings: 14DENSO Corporation is the worlds second largest automotive com-ponents manufacturer. DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc., is the largest employer in Blount County.10 Basically Blount 2021'