Thursday, January 28, 2010

Local computer company to generate new jobs

Written by Audrey Harris
The Oklahoma Daily
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Norman computer company’s expansion will create about 75 new jobs, possibly opening doors for OU students in the future.

Hitachi Computer Products will expand its facility by more than 200,000 square feet, according to a Hitachi press release.

Gary Riggs, Hitachi spokesman, said the expansion will cost around $15 million.

According to the release, Hitachi cited the Norman Economic Development Coalition and the State of Oklahoma as major factors in the expansion. Hitachi stated its support through the Oklahoma Economic Development Pooled Finance Program made the project possible.

“[Hitachi] told us the potential the program had and we were able to help them figure out how to do it using the programs that were available in the state,” said Don Wood, Norman Economic Development Coalition executive director.

Wood said the majority of jobs created by the expansion will be in warehouse distribution.

“There are college graduates working out of Hitachi in different areas and there may be jobs in the future targeted at college graduates,” Wood said. “I think the initial jobs probably wouldn’t be college graduate jobs but there is a potential that there will be some jobs in the future.”

Bette Scott, Career Services director, said Hitachi regularly hires OU students — primarily computer science or engineering majors.

Hitachi’s president, George Wilson, was hired as a graduating student from OU. The company also tries to hire at least three interns in the technical field, Riggs said.

Danielle Sherwood, mechanical engineering senior, said she has considered working for Hitachi. As a teacher’s assistant for an engineering orientation class, Sherwood took a group of freshmen to tour the company.

“The students absolutely loved it,” Sherwood stated in an e-mail. “It gave them a greater insight to the real engineering world and what possible majors would best suit them for this field.”

Sherwood said she thinks Hitachi is on the list of potential employers for every OU engineering student.

“I’ve definitely considered it but, unfortunately, my career path is headed towards the oil and gas industry,” Sherwood said.

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