Jonathan Lipaj '06
About 3 months after graduating from Mount Union I landed a job with Rikenkaki America Corporation in Dublin, OH. They are a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer that supplies to Honda of America. Our mother company is called Rikenkaki Kogyo and they are based in Saitama, Japan. They had been doing business with Honda for over 30 years and decided to open an office in Ohio to be able to do more direct business with Honda of America.
Having been founded in 2002 our American branch is fairly new. I am only the third person to have been hired here. As of right now we do not have our own factory or production facility in the US therefore all of our parts are still produced in our factories in Japan and China. We mainly do the administrative side of supplying parts to Honda. My main responsibilities consist of daily operations, logistics and inventory control. However, there are many issues that can arise in the course of supplying many different kinds of parts to a few different Honda plants. When this happens I am very involved with the problem solving and countermeasure processes.
Every once in awhile I am able to go on a business trip to our mother company in Japan. I have been there twice in the 3 years that I have worked for this company. Both times I went for training in a certain area of the business that I would need to implement stateside. Many of the people I work with including my boss do not speak English and I must use my Japanese language skills to communicate with them in face to face meetings, over the phone or in an email. I enjoy being able to use Japanese everyday at work and it has significantly improved my fluency in the language. I have also learned a lot about the Japanese business culture which is very different from that of Americans.
I am very happy that Mount Union had such a good Japanese program that has opened up many opportunities for me not only in a multinational company but, also as a businessman.