BUFFALO, W.Va. — While some West Virginia companies struggle to keep a solid core of employees, Toyota Motors Manufacturing West Virginia has been able to keep a stable work force and continue to grow.

Toyota established its engine and transmission plant in Putnam County in 1996 with 300 workers. Since then it has expanded multiple times and now employs 1,800 workers. Srini Matam is the new president of the company and explained on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” those 1,800 employees help to sell the place to new employees and prospective employees of the future.  He added they are instrumental in every expansion decision the company has made for West Virginia.

“TMC, our global company, sees our work ethic and the hard work, spirit, and innovation our team members who are here in the West Virginia plant. All of the quality and safety products we produce and give to our plant are top notch,” he said.

The company today produces engines and transmissions for popular models like the Lexus and Highlander. The next evolution will be transmissions for hybrid vehicles. Those assembly lines will come into production in April 2020. Workers for those jobs are on board and are being trained.

“With all the good work the team members have done, we continue to build and grow,” said Matam.


Matam is also extremely excited to be part of a program run by the West Virginia Education Alliance. The pilot program which included Toyota, Appalachian Power, and Cabell-Huntington Hospital, allowed high school students to engage in internships at one off the companies. It was a rare opportunity for students at an early age  to get a live experience in the real workplace. Matam said that kind of experience is invaluable to students as well as to their operations going forward.

“Bringing high school students and introducing them to our programs in the industry, whether it’s automobile or any other manufacturing is key,” he explained. “They’re going to be able to decide what happens in the industry and learn what the manufacturing is about.”

The Education Alliance will expand on its programs with Toyota and other partners at their 2019 Education Summit in Charleston Wednesday.