Gov. Norm Bangerter will fly to Japan sometime in the next 60 days in an effort to convince Sanyo Electric Co. officials to locate a research and development facility and a personal computer manufacturing plant in Orem.
At a press conference Tuesday night, Bangerter announced that he and Jon Huntsman, who has been serving as Utah's economic development ambassador, will visit Japan to see if the project can be brought to fruition.Sanyo representatives were in Utah on Monday to dedicate a manufacturing plant for Sanyo-Icon, a subsidiary of the Japanese electronics giant. That plant employs 116 people and could have as many as 243 workers by next fall if current economic trends continue.
The success of the Utah operation has Sanyo officials interested in expanding operations at the new Orem site. The firm has taken an option on 15 acres, an indication that the project has gone beyond the talking stage, and a decision is due soon, officials said.
Bangerter said Sanyo is impressed by the technology research being conducted in Utah and by the engineering schools located at the state's colleges and universities. This potential support pool has generated serious interest in the two proposed facilities.
The recently opened Orem plant was the result of Sanyo's interest in Utah-developed technology. Dennis Fairclough, president of Icon, said Sanyo's interest was spurred by his research involving parallel processors conducted at Brigham Young University. He said the high-speed processors are used with mid-range-size computers.
Bangerter said the state has pledged to cooperate fully with Sanyo and to do whatever possible to get the new facilities brought to Utah.
Huntsman, whose chemical company has long been a materials supplier to Sanyo at other manufacturing locations, said his company has offered some pricing incentives to help spur a favorable decision.