Enon-based Speedway looks to grow after spin-off squashed

Published: Saturday, November 04, 2017 @ 11:45 AM
Updated: Saturday, November 04, 2017 @ 3:24 PM

Executives at Speedway said the convenience store chain is poised for additional growth after its parent company turned down a proposal to spin off the retail chain earlier this year.
Executives at Speedway said the convenience store chain is poised for additional growth after its parent company turned down a proposal to spin off the retail chain earlier this year.

Enon-based Speedway — one of the largest convenience store chains in the U.S. — is poised for additional growth in the next few years after its parent company rejected a proposal to spin off the retailer earlier this fall.

In an exclusive interview with the Springfield News-Sun, the company’s CEO said the most immediate challenges facing the chain include a lack of available workers in a tight labor market and regulations, including taxes on sugary drinks that make some of Speedway’s best-selling products more expensive for customers.

RELATED: Marathon decides against proposed Speedway spin-off

Speedway, with more than 2,700 stores, is the country’s second-largest company owned-and-operated convenience store chains. The board of directors of its parent company, Findlay-based Marathon, considered making Speedway a separate business earlier this year but voted to keep the chain.

Walmart using robots to stock shelves

Published: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 11:56 AM
Updated: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 12:10 PM


            Ashley VanHorn, a grocery department dry goods manager, stocks shelves at the Walmart in Fulton, N.Y. Walmart is now using robots to help stock shelves at 50 stores across the country. (Roger Kisby/The New York Times)
            ROGER KISBY
Ashley VanHorn, a grocery department dry goods manager, stocks shelves at the Walmart in Fulton, N.Y. Walmart is now using robots to help stock shelves at 50 stores across the country. (Roger Kisby/The New York Times)(ROGER KISBY)

Walmart is now using robots to help stock shelves at 50 stores across the country.

The robots are helping scan and stock items in stores before the busiest shopping season of the year. The robots are about two-feet-tall and are outfitted with cameras that help them scan aisles and identify missing or mislabeled inventory across the stores. The robots also check for mispriced items, and give the information to employees who fix the issues.

The technology will be used in a test cycle at stores in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and California, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Walmart officials say the robots can scan and search for items more efficiently than humans can. “If you are running up and down the aisle and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well, and they don’t like it,” chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. and e-commerce, Jeremy King told Reuters.

“From our perspective, when you’re doing things like this you’re trying to improve your service to your customers and trying to make things simpler and easier for your associates at the same time,” John Crecelius, Walmart’s vice president of central operations, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Humans don’t have to be worried about their jobs anytime soon, Walmart officials said. The robots do not have arms, so they can’t pick any products up in the aisles, said Martin Hitch, chief business officer at Bossa Nova Robotics.

Wages lawsuit against Fuyao gets bigger

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Fuyao Glass America workers Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and check windshields in the Fuyao Moraine plant in this October 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Fuyao Glass America workers Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and check windshields in the Fuyao Moraine plant in this October 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

More plaintiffs are seeking to join what could become a class-action lawsuit against Fuyao Glass America, at a time when the company is facing a plant unionization effort by the United Auto Workers.

Attorneys filed in Dayton’s federal court Wednesday seeking to have Connie Childress join a lawsuit against Fuyao, a lawsuit first filed in June.

The suit seeks to recover what are alleged to be unpaid wages and overtime owed to Fuyao production workers in Moraine.

RELATED: Two more former workers join Fuyao lawsuit

The automotive glass maker is fighting the lawsuit and has said that any allegations by the plaintiffs that they were not properly paid are “without merit.”

The filing on behalf of Childress came just days after a similar filing on behalf of Jennifer Mayabb, who also seeks to join the lawsuit against a company that has proven to be one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers.

The suit was first filed in June and now has at least five plaintiffs.

RELATEDFuyao labor relations board hearing set for possible UAW vote

Originally filed by Julia Staggs, a former employee of Fuyao, Staggs has argued that she and other “similarly situated” Fuyao employees are owed for alleged unpaid wages and overtime.

The plaintiffs want certification of the action as a class-action lawsuit. Attorney for Fuyao are arguing against that.

“Plaintiffs’ motion is a bid to have this court rubber stamp conditional certification without evidentiary support and despite the fact that plaintiffs brought individualized claims with widespread differences between them and among potential class members,” attorneys for Fuyao said in a filing with the court earlier this month.

They added: “Plaintiffs’ proposed class is a disorganized collection of over 1,500 individual claims, lacking any possibility of efficient case management. Plaintiffs’ own statements demonstrate the complexity of the proposed class (and sub-class) and varying allegations regarding unpaid time.”

RELATEDFuyao workers seek union election: What we know now

Bob DeRose, the Columbus attorney for Staggs, said he hopes to know before the end of the year whether the judge will certify the suit with class-action status. 

If that happens, then DeRose said he will write to other Fuyao employees to let them know they have a right to join the suit. 

A message seeking comment was sent to attorneys for Fuyao. 

Fuyao Glass America has about 2,000 employees in Moraine, at what the company says is the world’s largest automotive glass factory. About 1,500 of those workers are hourly production workers.

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Honda takes students behind-the scenes of engine plant

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Students from several area high schools got the chance to tour the Honda engine plant in Anna Wednesday during Manufacturing Day.

About 600 high school students visited Honda’s Anna Engine Plant on Wednesday in an effort plant leaders said will help students better understand the plant and the work opportunities available to them.

Honda employs about 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties, and the automaker employs about 14,500 Ohioans overall.

DETAILS: 3 things to know about the newest Honda Accord made at Marysville

The Anna Engine Plant is Honda’s largest engine plant, said Paul Dentinger, Anna Plant Manager. It employs about 3,200 people. This is the first time the plant has hosted a Manufacturing Day event where high school students can tour the plant, he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us here at the Anna Engine Plant,” Dentinger said, “bringing in some of that hopefully future top talent.”

The plant hopes to host events like this in the future, Dentinger said.

This is the fifth year that the U.S. Census Bureau has recognized Manufacturing Day across the country, according to a release from the bureau. Manufacturing is an important economic sector in the country, the release says. The industry is the fourth largest employer in the United States, with 11.6 million workers, according the census bureau.

RELATED: Honda, Toyota supplier to add 85 jobs, build $55M Springfield plant

Visitors from 19 schools toured the plant on Wednesday, including students from the Upper Valley Career Center, Anna Local Schools and Sidney City Schools. The students walked the plant floor where they saw the assembly line and talked with engineers about the pieces that go into the engine and how they maintain the quality of those parts.

It’s an important time for the plant to reach out to young people, Dentinger said.

“Right now we have many people that will be retiring so the next generation of workforce is very important to us as we continue to grow as a company,” he said.

Plus many students have misconceptions about the Anna Engine Plant, he said.

“Most people think we’re just a manufacturing facility but actually Honda is much more than that,” he said.

There are positions at the company in marketing, human resources, accounting and more, he said.

READ MORE: Urbana firm to add 20-plus jobs as part of $2.7M expansion

The plant tour was eye-opening for Logan Siegel, a junior at Upper Valley Career Center.

“It’s hard to believe how many people work here … It made me really get excited about machining and the manufacturing industry,” he said.

Siegel is taking manufacturing classes at Upper Valley Career Center and said the tour was a confidence booster.

“It makes me confident to know that this is something I want to go down,” he said.

It showed another student at Upper Valley what it could be like to work at the plant.

“I could definitely see myself coming here if the things work out the way I want them to,” senior Nathan Hausfeld said.

He’s also taking manufacturing classes and was excited to learn he may not have to go far to get a good job.

“If you want to do this,” he said, “this is the place to be.”

By the numbers

1,400: Honda workers from Clark and Champaign counties

14,500: Honda workers in Ohio overall

11.6 million: Manufacturing workers in the industrial nationwide, according to the census

Complete coverage

The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent coverage of local unemployment rates and how driverless cars could affect Navistar.

100 acres of multi-family-zoned land sold for $625K

Published: Monday, September 11, 2017 @ 9:18 AM

Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to county records. The price was $625,000. Google Maps
Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to county records. The price was $625,000. Google Maps

The sale of nearly 100 acres of land zoned for multi-family housing in North Dayton was recorded Friday.

Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to Montgomery County records. The price was $625,000.

A LoopNet listing for the land says the site has “multifamily zoning in place for up to 300 manufactured homes.”

RELATEDNew Huber Heights IHOP sold 

The sale was divided into eight parcels.

A message seeking comment was left with a Cincinnati attorney for Liberty-Bravo III, a company which gives a Cincinnati mailing address in state filing documents.

A message was also left with an Oberer commercial real estate agent in the sale.