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Ark and Altak Bridge US-Japan Business

• The Ark Technologies, Inc. in St. Charles and the Altak Inc. in Bloomingdale welcomed Consul General Masaharu Yoshida and Chief Executive Director Ichiro Sone of JETRO Chicago on September 25, and briefed their company outlines with factory tours.
• Ark mainly manufactures precision springs by computer numerical control (CNC) machines and employs 260 workers. On the other hand, Altak mainly produces wire harnesses for automobiles and employs 120 staff and 120 contract employees. Both companies were founded by Al Kabeshita in 1980.

• The two companies not only have made success, but also devoted themselves to the betterment of local communities and Japanese community. Due to this devotion, they are highly respected by the community members, and Consul General Yoshida and JETRO’s Sone were interested in visiting the companies.
• As Chairman of the companies, Al Kabeshita has also contributed to the City of St. Charles. He took the visitors to the City Hall and introduced them to Mayor Raymond Rogina. According to JETRO, four Japanese companies have operated their businesses in St. Charles, where DuPage Airport and industrial parks are available.

• Mayor Rogina said that he and Kabeshita have discussed how to recruit small and middle-size Japanese companies to St. Charles. He has also encouraged private industries and citizens to discuss the development of the town. He hoped that Yoshida and Sone’s visit would make more connections to the Japanese business community and wanted to see more Japanese presence in St. Charles.

• In the Ark Technologies, President Miko Kabeshita greeted the visitors, and Yoshi Nakagawa, Director of Sales/Marketing briefed about company outlines.
• Sone said that Ark’s 30-plus-year-experience would offer good advice to Japanese companies both planning to come and already operating in the U.S.

• After the factory tour, Consul General Yoshida said that the hard work of the Kabeshitas and employees made it possible to meet strict requirements from Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. He also said that he was impressed that Ark’s success was one of the typical examples of US-Japan cooperation. “I’m proud of Ark, which has strived for its success in the Midwest.”

• Yoshida and Sone made a speech in both the Ark and Altak factories where all the employees gathered. They said that both companies were remarkable entities, and the employees must have been proud of themselves working in such great companies.

• Ark Technologies has kept its philosophy: No.1: Customers, No.2: Associates, and No.3: Shareholders. Chairman Al Kabeshita said, “I’ve never forgotten about being a bridge between Japan and the U.S. Sincerely, I’ve taken the same approach to Japanese and Americans and established the business in North America during 34 years. I believe that striving to success is my job.”

• Al Kabeshita is now grandfather of seven and has started estate planning for the future. He founded two companies because he thought that at least one of two would survive if one failed. Fortunately, both Ark and Altak made success.
• Altak has implemented all-product-inspection before shipping. Kabeshita said that no defective part was allowed because once a wire harness was installed inside of an automobile door or other parts, replacing it was very difficult. Because of the good quality, Altak operates almost at full capacity. Kabeshita said, “How can it increase production or how can it satisfy more customer needs? I think that younger staff will handle the issues. It’s time to see their work.”

• More information about Ark and Altak is available at www.arktechno.com.

• The full story is available in Chicago Shimpo’s October 10th issue.