At the outer edges of the Benicia Industrial Park is a business that is on the cutting edge of the aerospace business.
Kaneka Aerospace is creating specialty solutions that address challenges and needs for the next generation of aerospace through their lightweight and durable resins, polymers, and composites. The business was established through the acquisition of the privately owned company API in 2017 and has doubled its production footprint since.
Kaneka Aerospace is a subsidiary of Kaneka Corporation, a 73-year-old company founded in Osaka, Japan, which now has a footprint in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. Its legacy products are polyvinyl chloride polymers (PVC), which launched them into business fields that include synthetic fibers, electronics, renewable energy, life science and healthcare, nutrition and agriculture, and beyond.
Kaneka’s mission statement: “Kaneka is committed to our customers, employees, and social responsibility. United in our creation of products that are safer, smarter and healthier.”
To that end, Kaneka North America established the Kaneka Foundation which regularly makes charitable contributions to socially and environmentally oriented nonprofit organizations, has developed an employee volunteer program (Kaneka KARES), and offers employee volunteer grants, corporate scholarships, and grants for natural disasters.
According to the General Manager of Kaneka Aerospace, Dr. Ekaterina Ryjkina, the company is looking forward to becoming a good neighbor and corporate citizen, and a well-known partner in meeting the varied needs of our community. “We are working closely with the Benicia Community Foundation (BCF) and have already started building some significant community involvement through a generous donation to BCF last year. It is important for us to have a local partner to better understand where our involvement and resources are needed most. We have had very open and productive discussions with the foundation’s Chair, David Batchelor, about what we could do together to provide financial sponsorship and our employee’s support for many of the community-need initiatives.”
Dr. Ryjkina has had an impressive international career that has taken her from native Russia to Germany, Canada, and many other countries.
She has an educational background in chemistry and has since moved into management and leadership roles for global market leaders, building a reputation for “transformational turnarounds” with mindfulness toward long-term value creation. Part of her long-term strategy for Kaneka Aerospace and Benicia includes more community involvement, particularly in the area of education. Ekaterina has dreams of motivating and inspiring the young people of Benicia, especially girls, for a career in technology, engineering, and yes, aerospace. “I personally believe that a major impact we can have on our future is to invest in the education of the next generation. Kaneka employees are willing to contribute resources and personal involvement in the technical educational programs and workshops, including organized visits to our facility and internships for those who would like to learn about the remarkable world of leading-edge industries like Composites and Aerospace.”
We look forward to learning more about what Ekaterina and Kaneka Aerospace have in store for our community.