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WVPA Sharing: New plant president sees bright future for Toyota

Expansion at Toyota plant in Buffalo generating 80 new job

Editor’s Note: This article and photo are provided by The Putnam Standard and made available to all WVPA member newspapers through the WVPA Sharing Network.

By Justin Waybright

[email protected]

BUFFALO, W.VA. — As the first female president of Toyota’s Buffalo plant, Millie Marshall wants to inspire other female leaders while also continuing the growth the facility has experienced over nearly two decades.

Millie Marshall stands next to a transmission in Toyota's W.Va. manufacturing plant. She makes history as the first female president of the manufacturing facility in Buffalo. Courtesy Photo.
Millie Marshall stands next to a transmission in Toyota’s W.Va. manufacturing plant. She makes history as the first female president of the manufacturing facility in Buffalo. Courtesy Photo.

“My career has been a journey, not a destination,” Marshall said.

Her journey on road to success started more than 24 years ago.

The first step along Marshall’s drive to Toyota presidency began in Georgetown, Ky., where she worked as a specialist in the information systems department in 1991. Next, she became general manager of administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville, Ala., in 2003. In 2009, she served as vice president of human resources at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. in Erlanger, Ky.

In 2012, Marshall moved to senior vice president of manufacturing at the Buffalo plant. Just weeks ago, she began as president of the local plant.

It’s a dream the Hurricane resident never thought would become reality.

“I had never imagined that I would one day be a plant president, and I am very honored and appreciative of this opportunity,” she said. “When I was selected, my first thought was, ‘What an incredible opportunity.’ ”

Marshall makes history as the first woman president of the plant. She believes the milestone is something that can inspire.

“My hope is that other young women will look at my experience and think, ‘I can do anything,’ ” Marshall said.

The local Toyota leader believes the future will be bright for the Buffalo area. In accomplishing her vision, she will employ goals that include everything from expansion to increased community support.

“We just recently announced an expansion with our transmissions that will increase our annual volume from 500,000 to over 700,000 annually,” Marshall said. “We also want to continue to be a strong community supporter, so we can help our state be a great place to live and work.”

Since the Buffalo facility opened in 1996, it has sped into the fast lane of economic prosperity.

The local facility has expanded eight times; has broken the company record by being the only plant outside of Japan to produce more than 10 million transmission units; has created countless jobs for local residents, and is hailed as the only Toyota plant in North America to produce transmissions.

Marshall hopes milestones such as these continue to drive the destiny of Buffalo’s Toyota plant. She spoke about the recent $90 million expansion project that began in fall of 2013.

“We are still in the planning preparation stage, and we will begin external hiring the first quarter of 2014 with the start of production in the fourth quarter of 2014,” Marshall explained. “This is a very aggressive schedule that has not been done before. Once again, the TMMWV team has accepted the challenge and I am sure we will be successful.”

The project is expected to bring in about 80 local jobs between now and 2015, according to estimates by Toyota. Marshall is confident in the prediction.

“As long as we continue to practice the Toyota Way, which encompasses a challenging spirit, along with continuous improvement, teamwork and respect for people, the future will continue to be bright,” she said.

With a record of ongoing success preceding her, Marshall’s outlook is one of inevitable progress.

“As North American demand is increasing, I am energized about TMMWV’s future,” she said. “This plant is driven to exceed and has accomplished great things – we are challenged in the spirit of continuous improvement that each year will be better than the year before.”

Toyota’s West Virginia Motor Manufacturing’s new president continued, “With our talented and dedicated team members, I am confident that we will continue to be successful.”

 

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