The state has selected a point-person for its economic strategy in Asia. Rick Pease says relationships he built over a 30-year career at Enkei America in Columbus will help him “make the case” to Asian companies to locate or grow in Indiana. He says communities throughout the state must continue to embrace cultural diversity in order attract international companies and their employees.

November 6, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Governor Mike Pence announced today that Rick Pease will serve as special advisor for Asia, working with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to spearhead the state's strategy to strengthen and expand initiatives in Asia. This includes leading the state's efforts to attract new jobs from Asian companies to the state and to encourage existing Asia-based companies to grow their investments in Indiana.

“Rick's decades of personal experience and expertise in developing relationships with Asian corporate decision makers will be invaluable to our efforts to advance economic discussions in Asia,” said Pence. “Indiana is promoting policies to further economic growth, and Asian markets will be part of that growth. Rick is a proven leader who will help us seize this moment to create greater opportunities for every Hoosier.”

Pence welcomed Pease to the new position on Monday at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A.'s new North American headquarters in Columbus. The Japan-based company relocated its national headquarters from Irvine, Calif. to Columbus, Ind, creating 72 new jobs.

Pease joins the IEDC, the state's jobs hunting agency, following an extensive 30-year career at Enkei America, which included serving as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the $1.5 billion global automotive supplier's North American division. Based in Columbus, Ind., Enkei America, a subsidiary of Japan-based Enkei Group, produces automotive aluminum wheels, engine parts and industrial components. Pease, who grew up in Tokyo, is bilingual in English and Japanese.

“I'm excited to begin this new assignment, making the case to Asian companies why Indiana is a state that works for their next business venture,” said Pease. “Both Japan and Indiana share a rich cultural and economic bond. Strong values of hard work and innovation join our two homes. After living and working in Japan, I've developed relationships that I'm excited to grow on behalf of Hoosiers across our state.”

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Pence's return from his inaugural jobs and economic development mission to Japan less than two months ago. While in Japan, the governor led more than 20 meetings with top Japanese companies, including meeting with the presidents and chief executive officers of Toyota Motor Corp., Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Lafayette-based Subaru of Indiana Automotive. Also, more than 400 Japanese executives and community leaders attended Friends of Indiana receptions hosted by the governor in Tokyo and Nagoya.

About IEDC

Created in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence. Victor Smith serves as the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Eric Doden is the president of the IEDC.

The IEDC oversees programs enacted by the General Assembly including tax credits, workforce training grants and public infrastructure assistance. All tax credits are performance-based. Therefore, companies must first invest in Indiana through job creation or capital investment before incentives are paid. A company who does not meet its full projections only receives a percentage of the incentives proportional to its actual investment. For more information about IEDC, visit

Source: Indiana Economic Development Corp.

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