LIBERTY – Toyota has announced the leadership team who will be tasked with opening and operating the company’s first lithium-ion battery plant in North America, the planned $1.29 billion facility in Randolph County, North Carolina.
The automaker’s facility, which will be known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC), is on target to become operational in 2025, according to a statement from Toyota. The company has also committed to hiring at least 1,750 workers who will staff four production lines that will be able to deliver batteries for as many as 200,000 vehicles each year.
And the person responsible for this plant will be Sean Suggs, Toyota announced today, in a statement shared with WRAL TechWire.
Suggs will oversee the manufacturing and administrative functions and will report to Norm Bafuno, the senior vice president, unit manufacturing and engineering at Toyota Motor North America.
A company employee since 1998, Suggs most recently served as Toyota Motor North America’s group vice president and chief social innovation officer following serving as president of a Mississippi plant and a team leader at Toyota Indiana, the company shared in a statement.
An economic development executive told WRAL TechWire in December, following Toyota’s announcement that it had selected the Randolph County site to locate its battery facility, that the company’s decision would establish the state as a “hub” for electric vehicles and the EV industry.
In addition to Suggs, the company has tapped Don Stewart as the vice president of manufacturing, who will also serve as the plant operations lead. Stewart has been with Toyota since 1997, the company noted, most recently as the vice president of product engineering where he oversaw the powertrain division.
And the company has elevated April Mason to a role that will provide oversight for production control. Mason, who will become the general manager of plant services, will also oversee the facilities as well as local business planning, a company statement noted. And, Mason will coordinate with other regional teams that relate to Toyota’s battery business.
Mason most recently served as the general manger of administration for Toyota Alabama.