Awards $189,000 grant to West Virginia University Institute of Technology for middle school computer science after-school program in four counties
BUFFALO, W. Va. (September 22, 2021) – As Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV) celebrates 25 years of producing engines and transmissions, a keen eye is looking down the road at the next quarter century and the excitement that exists as this plant contributes to Toyota’s mission of “Mobility for All.”
“The future of this plant is unlimited,” said Srini Matam, president of TMMWV. “We are well positioned for the next 25 years as innovation and advanced manufacturing lead the way. We continue to build more efficient engines and transmissions, and we are deeply engaged in hybrid technologies and robotics.”
While supporting Toyota’s global mission of “bringing the joy and freedom of movement to all,” this plant in rural Buffalo, West Virginia, has grown and expanded in the past 25 years.
- The only Toyota plant in North America that makes both engines and transmissions – producing nearly 20 million powertrains since 1996.
- The only Toyota plant in North America to produce hybrid transaxles (for the Sienna and Highlander).
- The only Toyota plant worldwide that produces under one roof this stable of engines: ZR 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, GR V-G 3.5-liter and TNGA 2.5-liter 4 cylinder.
- Since its inception, TMMWV has had 11 expansions.
Coinciding with the 25-year anniversary celebration, The Toyota USA Foundation awarded a $189,000 grant to West Virginia University Institute of Technology. The grant supports a new after-school computer science program for middle schools in four West Virginia counties: Putnam, Kanawha, Fayette and Raleigh.
“This is an investment in our future,” said Carolyn Long, WVU Tech campus president. “The program will help young people see the opportunities ahead and give them the tools to pursue interests in robotics, cybersecurity, game development and more. We hope that this will be a model program that will expand throughout the state.”
Shamaya Morris, a production group leader at TMMWV, said it is a smart investment for the future.
“The first thing I tell people is that Toyota West Virginia is an advanced manufacturing facility. We program and set up robots to work around people and alleviate the burden of heavy lifting and repetitive motions. We make it safe for the team members on the floor. We use the brawn behind the robot but need the team member’s brain and cognitive abilities.”
Meantime, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice points to Toyota’s staying power and overall investment in the Mountain State.
“I could never thank the incredible folks at Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia enough for all the goodness they’ve brought to the town of Buffalo and our entire state over the past 25 years,” Gov. Justice said. “Their commitment to our communities and our people has been off-the-charts. Toyota has been a wonderful partner to our great state and is a shining example of how a global company can truly thrive in West Virginia. I congratulate them on a quarter century of success and wish them all the best in the years and decades to come.”
“Congratulations to Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia on 25 years of production at the Buffalo Plant in West Virginia. For 25 years, Toyota has been a strong partner for the Mountain State, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and investing $1.8 billion in the state. When I served as Governor, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Toyoda and company officials to reaffirm the commitment between West Virginia and Toyota,” said Senator Manchin. “Not only has the company invested at the Buffalo Plant, they have invested in West Virginians’ lives across the state, including a recent investment at West Virginia University Institute of Technology for a computer science program for students in four counties. Thank you to Toyota for their continued investment and the hardworking West Virginians exceeding expectations at the plant. I look forward to West Virginia’s partnership with Toyota for decades to come.”
For Matam, the common denominator for the plant’s success is the 2,000 team members.
“The ability of our people to adjust and learn new advanced manufacturing principles is incredible. From our folks on the line to the engineers and across the board, it’s very humbling to see so many individuals come together to make the best possible engines, transmissions and transaxles in the world.”
And, for Jacob Plasters, a senior engineering manager, it’s the ability to carve out your own personal niche that makes TMMWV attractive.
“For anyone out there who is graduating from high school or college and going to join the workforce, my advice is to find your passion. I’m allowed to follow my passion where I can work as a team, but also, have continuous improvement which are part of the Toyota Way — on a day-to-day basis. I have a very fulfilling career. At Toyota West Virginia, we are moving forward together.”
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships.
Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 36,000 in the U.S. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 30 million cars and trucks at our 9 manufacturing plants, 10 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021.
To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.