Seymour mayor, JCIDC executive director to visit Japan

While the annual trip to Japan isn’t anything new, this year’s visit overseas will serve an additional purpose for Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman.

He will make his final trip as mayor after 12 years of doing business and developing relationships with Japanese companies next week.

On top of continuing and maintaining strong ties between Seymour and Japanese businesses, Luedeman said he sees the visit as an opportunity to thank those who he has worked with while in office. 

Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., will accompany Luedeman.

There are seven Japanese companies in Jackson County that employ more than 3,000 people, Plump said.

Luedeman and Plump will be joining a delegation from Indiana, led by Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger, on Sept. 10 in Tokyo for a Friends of Indiana event. 

The delegation includes Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. President Jason Hester and officials from Columbus-based Force Construction, who will travel to Nagoya.

"There are more than 300 companies that have invested in Indiana from Japan," Plump said. "They are having two events: One in Tokyo and one in Nagoya."

Luedeman and Plump will break off from the delegation after the event and meet with parent companies directly tied to Jackson County while also talking with prospective businesses looking for locations for the remainder of the trip.

"First and foremost, it’s for economic development," Luedeman said. "We’re trying to get more business here in Seymour through our partnerships with Japanese companies. Second, it’s also to say thank you for all of the business we have. It’s a thank you for the 12 years I’ve been mayor and all of the investment that has been made in Seymour. They have been great partners in the community."

Luedeman said he looks forward to the trip and meeting with some familiar faces.

"It’s like family. It really is," he said. "We will meet with the chairman of the board of Aisin Seiki. He was the one that picked Seymour over going to Tennessee. There is a lot of history."

According to a news release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Holcomb also will visit South Korea, China and India. Luedeman and Plump said they will not go on that trip.

The costs of the state delegations are financed by private donations made to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation.

There are 1,004 foreign-owned businesses operating in Indiana that employ more than 193,000 people, according to the press release. Last year, 47 foreign-owned businesses committed to investing $3.2 billion to locate or expand in Indiana.