In the Know: Brad Banks Of Hitachi
Thoughts And Goals From Community Leaders
(Editor’s note: This is a weekly series interviewing community leaders to share their thoughts and goals for the community.)
Brad Banks is currently executive vice president and head of North American Operations for Hitachi Automotive Systems but he wasn’t always on top. Banks started out working as third shift production supervisor in 1990 after earning a degree in operations and management from Eastern Kentucky University.
Twenty-eight years later, Banks is thriving in his leadership roles with Hitachi, received a masters in manufacturing technology and is working on his doctoral study in leadership.
“Patience, perseverance and never giving up are my advice to anyone working their way through a company,” said Banks. “Loyalty and taking ownership in what you are doing are important as well.”
Banks said a leader is only as good as his team.
“If my team is not successful then I am not successful,” said Banks. “We are blessed to have a unique and special management team.”
The management team Banks is referring to has been with Hitachi for over 20 years in various roles.
“The most amazing and unique thing about the Harrodsburg plant is that the overwhelming majority of the Leadership Team demonstrates on a daily basis a “servant style leadership.” This leadership style of course impacts the organizational environment in a very positive and productive way. These local managers consistently demonstrate values such as respect for all members, compassion for one another and true ownership of their realm of responsibilities,” said Banks. “I feel very blessed to be a part of a team upholding to such strong character. Honestly speaking, this rich culture has been a pillar and a key reason I’ve remained here more than 28 years.”
Hitachi Automotive Systems is a Japanese Tier 1 automotive parts manufacturing plant. The Harrodsburg plant has been in existence for 34 years and is well respected globally throughout Hitachi.
“While its culture has been influenced by the Japanese, what makes our culture truly unique is that we are largely influenced by the virtuous character of many Central Kentuckians,” said Banks. “Some of the key characteristics I’ve learned and enjoyed over these years, not only from our leadership team, but our many wonderful team members are; servant leader, humble personality, respectful to all, takes full ownership and responsibility for problems and gives all the credit to the team for positive results, builds very strong relationships with their team and sets the example by deed, not just word. Our leadership team does not recognize their position as privileged, but as a great responsibility.”
For achievements, Banks said he was proud of the safety and quality ratings Hitachi currently holds.
“We are well below the national standards for safety and have a world class rating for parts per million in quality,” said Banks. “We produce high quality products at a low cost. We must in order to compete globally. It is a global market these days.”
Hitachi maintains high profile customers such as General Motors, Nissan, Honda and Ford.
“The automotive industry is heading into new frontiers in order to provide mobility with zero emissions and autonomous driving capabilities that will greatly enhance human safety. Our company’s new strategy has ambitions to be at the forefront of this transformation era,” said Banks.
“Of course our roadmap forward will not be without risk and uncertainty, therefore we must establish a detailed and well researched strategy in order to fund and navigate our future direction,” he said.
Banks said Hitachi will still produce combustion engine parts along with hybrid and electric propulsion parts.
“The most likely scenario will be a gradual decline of combustion engine products and gradual incline of electrification products such as; electric motors, inverters and lithium ion batteries. Since our company offers both combustion engine products electrification products, as well autonomous controllers, we are in a good position to make the transformation,” said Banks. “However, there are huge development expenses involved with these new products, especially in the area of software development. Thus, we must immediately perform at high levels in order to attract stockholders investments and generate cash in order to fund our future.”
Banks said he is grateful to Mercer County for more than his successful career.
“I moved here 28 years ago without knowing anyone or even where Harrodsburg was located,” said Banks. “The community here has welcomed me, my church made me feel like family and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Banks has since built a life in Mercer County over the last 28 years as a volunteer coach for numerous baseball and softball teams, a teacher and education coordinator for the Mercer Church of Christ.
He and his wife Regina have been married for 27 years.
They have two children, Jonathon, age 25 and Gabby, 20.
Jonathon is married and lives in South Carolina and Gabby is engaged and a senior at Campbellsville University.
“This is an outstanding community and I am blessed to be a part of it,” said Banks.
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Oh how quickly we forget the horse of people who showed up there last October and were sent away without their jobs. Some has been there near 30 years and were amazing workers.
Oh the big layoff there 5 years ago and then the one when they shut down for COVID, when nearly 100 were let go, and still yet they are short people. Many people.