Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi has hired 300 employees and hopes to hire 500 — most from the Golden Triangle region — by the end of 2016. That’s an average of about 20 new hires per month.
This is according to Tadaharu Yamamoto, president of Yokohama Rubber Co.’s Mississippi branch, who visited Mississippi University for Women Monday night to make a presentation on cross cultural communication.
A handful of university students and staff gathered in Cochran Hall to hear Yamamoto’s presentation and take the opportunity to ask him questions about Yokohama and communicating across cultures.
Though his presentation primarily focused on Yokohama’s business model and the things he has learned from working in an international business, Yamamoto did take the opportunity to encourage students and other audience members to apply for manufacturing positions at the West Point plant.
The presentation is just one of the ways Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi is trying to get involved in the community, Yamamoto said.
“Yokohama wants to be a good citizen of Mississippi,” he said.
Though he’s only been in Mississippi since 2013, Yamamoto has worked for Yokohama for over 20 years. The Tokyo-born businessman worked at plants in California and the Philippines, among others, before helping to open the plant in West Point.
At the beginning of his presentation, Yamamoto talked about the cultural stereotypes that Japanese people picture when they think of the U.S. generally — Hollywood, New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge and other famous landmarks — and Mississippi in particular — the Mississippi River and steamboats. That’s if they think about Mississippi at all, he said.
Since arriving in Mississippi, Yamamoto now has a broader view, he said. And while the things that come to mind include Mississippi stereotypes like hunting and Southern cuisine, he also thinks of the hospitality and the respect people have for each other.
Respect is one of the three things needed to communicate across cultural barriers, Yamamoto said, along with understanding and trust.
For people who find themselves overseas for business, it is critical to have respect for the people living and working in those countries, he said.
It’s also important for business leaders to understand all the different places where they travel.
By understanding and having respect for other professionals, business leaders can develop trust, Yamamoto said.
“That is my goal of communication,” he said.
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