Daikin celebrates grand opening at new technology park

From left: Officials Kari Durham, Nathan Walker, Takeshi Ebisu and Takayuki Inoue take part in a panel session during the May 24 grand opening of the Daikin Texas Technology Park.

From left: Officials Kari Durham, Nathan Walker, Takeshi Ebisu and Takayuki Inoue take part in a panel session during the May 24 grand opening of the Daikin Texas Technology Park.

Daikin Industries—one of the largest manufacturers of heating, ventilation and air conditioning products in the world—celebrated the grand opening today of its $417 million campus in Waller.

The Daikin Texas Technology Park, located at 19001 Kermier Road, Waller, will serve as Daikin's headquarters for building and distributing HVAC products in North America. The move comes roughly five years after Daikin acquired the Texas-based Goodman Global in 2012 for $3.7 billion with plans to tap into the North American market.

"Together, the companies exhibit a strength that neither could achieve alone," said Nathan Walker, Senior Vice President with Goodman. "Daikin's products, technology and innovation coupled with Goodman's manufacturing expertise and distribution network offer unrivaled opportunity for the company and its customers."

Daikin began construction on the technology park in 2015. The park consolidates manufacturing, engineering, logistics, marketing and sales in one location, Goodman President and CEO Takeshi Ebisu said. With 4.23 million square feet of space under one roof, it is both the largest tilt-wall structure and the second-largest manufacturing facility in North America.

The Houston area was chosen for several reasons, Ebisu said: it is one of the largest regions for HVAC business, the region is experiencing rapid population growth and it provides close access to a talented workforce.

"[We] think it is worthwhile investing such a big amount to grow in this market," Ebisu said. "It has been Daikin's dream and the big target."

All of Daikin's U.S.-based plants will eventually be consolidated into the DTTP, officials said. Two other Houston area plants are expected to be consolidated in early 2018, and a Fayetteville, Tenn., plant will be consolidated by the end of 2018. A Dayton, Tenn., plant has already been consolidated.

Roughly 5,000 employees will be hired to work at the facility by the time it is built out, 4,000 of whom will have relocated from other facilities. Officials with the Greater Houston Partnership have estimated the annual economic impact of the facility to be around $3.9 billion.

HVAC products designed for both residential and commercial use will be made at the facility, including Daikin's line of ductless Variable Refrigerant Volume, or VRV, units. VRV systems offer high levels of energy efficiency and flexibility compared to the ducted systems that are widely used in the U.S., Ebisu said. They also give users increased ability to control temperatures of individual rooms, he said.

Next steps for Daikin involve hiring consistently over the next few years as more product lines are relocated to the DTTP, Walker said.

Located on a 500-acre campus, Daikin has room to grow, Walker said. Future expansions could allow Daikin to increase its manufacturing capabilities and expand its testing operations.

"We have the option expand into real-world testing, to build residential homes where we can test our units, as opposed to testing them in a lab," he said.

Daikin is also looking into ways to partner with Waller ISD and Lone Star College, said Kari Durham, senior vice president of human resources. Several WISD welding teachers were invited to the facility to learn techniques that they were able to bring back to their classrooms.

"This benefits Daikin as well because we're hoping some of these students will come back to us after they graduate," Durham said. "They'll already have some of the skills so they won't be starting at the lowest point."

Daikin has not reached out to Cy-Fair ISD for similar partnership opportunities, but Durham did not rule the idea out.

"We're going to keep working with [Waller ISD] first, and then we'll see about bringing on other districts," she said.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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