The University of Findlay honored father and son, Kohei Suzuki and Joji “George” Suzuki during a ceremony at the Findlay Country Club on Thursday, May 8. The University awarded Kohei Suzuki with an honorary doctor of business administration, and George Suzuki received a distinguished alumnus award from the UF Alumni Association.
The University presented the degree in recognition of Kohei Suzuki’s outstanding service to The University of Findlay, the City of Findlay and his country, in which he has bridged the cultures between Japan and the City of Findlay, creating understanding, friendship and joint economic benefits.
The University of Findlay recognizes George Suzuki for his highly successful international business career and his outstanding example as a 1999 graduate of The University of Findlay’s MBA program. Suzuki is the president of G.S. Eletech Inc. of Japan, a position he has held since 2013.
About Kohei Suzuki
Suzuki joined his family’s lumber business, Kakubun, and proved himself a visionary and talented businessmen as he went on to found internationally successful companies. He has held positions of president, CEO, and chairman of the Board of Directors for Kakubun Inc., Shinsei Harness Inc./G.S. Eletech Inc., Daitokosan Inc., Orijin Corp., ElectFlex Inc., Denso Trim Inc., and Anthill Toyota Inc., among others.
He warmly received the economic development delegation from Findlay, Ohio, in 1985, which included the president from The University of Findlay, Dr. Kenneth E. Zirkle, beginning a long and cherished friendship with The University of Findlay and the Findlay community.
A corporate pioneer, Suzuki established GSW Manufacturing Inc. in Findlay’s Tall Timbers industrial park in 1989, the first wholly Japanese-owned company in Findlay. GSW serves as the North American headquarters for G.S. Eletech, which manufactures automobile electrical and hose assemblies.
Under Suzuki’s vision and leadership, GSW spearheaded a Japan study tour for educators and community leaders to experience Japan first-hand. GSW supported the trip for 10 years between 1993 and 2003, sending more than 20 community leaders. The program now continues to be supported by the Friends of Findlay, a consortium of Japan-based companies in northwest Ohio. He also invested in downtown Findlay, bringing authentic Japanese culture and cuisine to the community with the establishment of Japan West as a gift to the community.
His vision and entrepreneurial ideas in fostering international community development is exemplary. His efforts are greatly appreciated, and his investment has resulted in jobs and income for Findlay-area citizens. He has created a strong and lasting relationship with the community built on friendship, trust and mutual respect.
About Joji “George” Suzuki
Born in the city of Kariya in Aichi prefecture, Japan, Suzuki graduated from Aichi Gakuin University with a bachelor of arts degree in commercial science in 1984. He began work with Shinsei Harness in 1984, where he led the establishment of a new factory, which began operation in 1986 in Komono city in Mie prefecture, Japan.
He traveled to the United States in 1987 to establish G.S. Wiring Systems Inc. in California. In 1989, he moved to Findlay, Ohio, to start GSW Manufacturing Inc., which produces automobile electrical and hose assemblies. He became president of GSW Manufacturing in 1994 and served until 1999, when he returned to Japan.
His leadership was acknowledged in the community, and he helped found in 1993 the Friends of Findlay, a consortium that now has grown to 14 Japan-based companies in northwest Ohio. As president of GSW, he also supported a Japan Study Tour annually for 10 years from 1993 until 2003. During that time, 22 Findlay educators and community leaders traveled to Japan with the generous financial support of GSW.
In 2001, Suzuki became a managing director of G.S. Eletech in Aichi, Japan. The next year, he came back to Findlay to lead GSW Manufacturing Inc., again as president, and then he returned to Japan in 2008.
Whether he is living in Findlay or Japan, Suzuki has always strongly supported the mutually beneficial relationship between the Japanese and Findlay communities.
Suzuki’s leadership and vision has built a foundation of economic prosperity for all through cooperation and understanding between cultures. He has proven to be a true friend and a sincere advocate of advancing the relationship between countries.
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