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Kobelco Makes First Hires for U.S. Manufacturing Division

The new hires display the knowledge and determination to establish and advance Kobelco’s manufacturing facility.

Thu July 09, 2015 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Kobelco Construction Machinery USA hired two new team members at its production facility in Spartanburg, S.C. Ralph Wabnitz, general manager and James Hill, human resources manager, are the first employees to be welcomed as part of the Kobelco USA manufacturing division.

“By taking full advantage of our U.S. production facility, we plan to further enhance our service functions, reinforce our foundation in the North American market and put forth a group-wide effort to grow our market share,” said Pete Morita, president and CEO of Kobelco Construction Machinery USA. “The first step in reaching our goals for the production facility begins with recruiting talented and skillful team members like Ralph and James.”

Wabnitz and Hill each display the knowledge and determination to establish and advance Kobelco’s manufacturing facility. Wabnitz brings with him to Kobelco 15 plus years of manufacturing management experience in the Spartanburg area. He is well-versed with the challenges of staffing and managing a production facility and has strong experience implementing lean manufacturing and quality programs within the production process.

As the general manager, Wabnitz will be responsible for directing quality, safety, manufacturing and cost reduction activities throughout the manufacturing facility, as well as develop and implement process improvement and production/scheduling plans.

Likewise, Hill brings 15 years of experience in human resource management. He has supported thousands of manufacturing employees and supervisors across multiple locales, as well as managed the creation and implementation of HR policies and procedures for leading manufacturers. In his new role, Hill will be responsible for the recruitment, selection and training of new employees at Kobelco’s production facility. Hill also will manage employee relations as well as prepare and implement compensation plans for the manufacturing operation.

“The excavator production facility in North America will allow for the reorganization of Kobelco USA into a company with integrated production and sales, all on U.S. soil,” said Morita. “We are very excited to have the expertise and passion of Ralph and James on board at the new facility as we begin a new phase of growth in the North American market.”

For more information, call 281/888-8430 or visit

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