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NC Plant’s 35th Anniversary / Ajinomoto’s 100 Years in the USA


Ajinomoto North America Public Relations

Raleigh, NC (July 17, 2017)

- On Monday, July 17, 2017, people came from all over the world to attend a celebration of Ajinomoto North America, Inc.’s monumental year. In 1982, after two years of construction, the Ajinomoto North Carolina plant for manufacturing amino acids was opened for business. July 17th was not only a celebration of the founding of the North Carolina manufacturing plant 35 years ago, but also 100 years of Ajinomoto’s presence in North America.

To start the festivities on Monday morning, Mr. Brad Bigger introduced the Ajinomoto North America President Mr. Tatsuya Sato to the stage. His speech created nostalgia in the crowd as he reminisced on the small Ajinomoto office that first opened up in New York City exactly 100 years ago in 1917. He led the audience through the proud history of Ajinomoto’s contributions to North America and the North American partnership with Japan. Following Mr. Sato, Ajinomoto Group CEO Mr.Takaaki Nishii spoke about why Ajinomoto came to North Carolina for the building of this plant. It was the perseverant recruiting process by former Governor James B. Hunt in the late 1970s that cemented the birthplace of the plant, made especially significant by Mr. Hunt being in the audience that day. Following Mr.Nishii’s speech, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall celebrated the virtues of North Carolina and how impressed she was with the progress, longevity, and values of Ajinomoto in her state. Immediately afterward, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland spoke excitedly about the recently announced plant expansion plan and the future jobs that Ajinomoto will bring to North Carolina. The General Consul of Japan for the Southeast who is based in Atlanta, Mr. Takashi Shinozuka, talked about Ajinomoto’s commitment to North Carolina and the state’s support to hundreds of Japanese businesses in the southeastern United States. The last speaker of the morning celebrations was Former Governor James B. Hunt who charismatically shared the Ajinomoto recruitment story and filled the tent with laughter. Dignitaries, retirees, and current employees enjoyed a delicious catered lunch and a decadent cake designed by the North Carolina plant’s in-house graphic designer.

Lunch was followed by the Groundbreaking Ceremony where NC Plant Vice President Michael Lish and Dr. Hiroshi Fukushi gave, due to the high temperatures outside, very brief speeches. They then used three significant shovels to move the symbolic dirt into a bucket. One of the shovels was from the very first groundbreaking ceremony in North Carolina back in 1980. Another shovel was from one of the North Carolina plant’s six previous expansions and the last shovel was bought specifically for the upcoming expansion. This expansion represents a $30 million investment by Ajinomoto in North Carolina and will result in a near 10% personnel increase a few months after construction is completed. The dirt was from the actual site where the expansion will be built and will be used as backfill. Following Mr. Lish and Dr.Fukushi, managers, dignitaries, and many employees also used the ceremonial shovels to move the soil.

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