GREENFIELD — Long before Greenfield Mayor Dick Pasco became the city’s chief executive, there wasn’t so much an address at 400 W. New Road as there was an empty field.
“I grew up here, and I remember when this was a cornfield,” Pasco said to a gathering of corporate and civic leaders Saturday to celebrate Keihin North America’s 25th anniversary in the U.S.
Keihin IPT, the company’s initial foothold in America, came to Greenfield in 1988 as a joint venture between Japanese auto suppliers Keihin Seiki, Hadsys and Denshi Giken and has since become the county’s largest industrial employer.
When Keihin moved into town in April 1988, Greenfield had yet to experience a significant manufacturing presence.
“The prospect of 200 jobs, we were just in awe of that,” Pasco said.
The company brought 200 jobs to Greenfield when it started manufacturing in 1989 with targeted sales of $190 million and 350 employees by its third year.
“We now have 1,300 associates and $500 million in sales,” said Chris Eckhardt, assistant vice president of Keihin’s North American operations.