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Humility, hard work, and quality drive Ecoplastic CEO Thomas Kim as he makes Statesboro his home and casts a vision for the future

Get to know Ecoplastic America CEO Youngdoo "Thomas" Kim and why he says Bulloch County is making the first impression automotive enthusiasts want to see in cars.

Ecoplastic America CEO Youngdoo "Thomas" Kim, and his team are making downtown Statesboro their work home while awaiting the construction of their plant on 301 South. 

Kim and his colleagues go to Cool Beanz Espresso in the afternoons for coffee, and they’ve been known to frequent Statesboro's Art Park on days when they need a break. But mostly, they’re working hard to lay the foundation for a successful and thriving operation that they hope will be a building block for Bulloch County and contribute to the success of the region.

Thomas and his team in the Statesboro Art Park. Photo provided.

He wants residents to know that Ecoplastic is making the face of cars—the first impression—and the company is poised to evolve into a source of community pride, “One where I envision my children, and future generations, will eagerly participate."

Get to know Youngdoo "Thomas" Kim

Kim began his role in Statesboro in January 2024, but his experience in the industry and with SECO, Ecoplastic America's parent corporation, is vast: he’s spent the last 20 years gaining expertise and experience with global SECO affiliates.

My vision for the Ecoplastic plant in Bulloch County is deeply rooted in our company's rich heritage and its role as one of the top 5 suppliers for Hyundai/Kia in Korea,” says Kim.

Indeed, the Ecoplastic plant in Statesboro is the company’s first American subsidiary and represents an enormous investment by SECO, which will use this production base to supply Hyundai and Kia electric vehicles with components, including Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA).

Youngdoo "Thomas" Kim, CEO of Ecoplastic America. Photo provided.

Kim says that his appointment as CEO in Bulloch County is a significant achievement for him personally and professionally. When he set a goal of becoming CEO by 2025, he came up with a mantra:

“I’ve always had a personal slogan, which I named 5CH2025. It has 5 different key words that are important to me, all starting with Ch. They stand for Change, Challenge, Chance, Champion, and Choice. Balancing family and career commitments has been paramount to me, and becoming the CEO of Ecoplastic presented an opportunity for me to challenge myself in such a significant project. I feel fortunate to have been chosen, and my personal goal is to contribute to setting up and stabilizing the factory quickly, enabling American employees to take ownership.”

What will Ecoplastic make?

To those who are curious about Ecoplastic, Kim says:

“When you think of Ecoplastic, think of the face of the car—the bumper. It takes between one year and six months to two years to design. We're creating a crucial face for vehicles, providing supplies until the first car rolls off the line.”

Ecoplastic possesses competitive technology, being the company that designs and supplies the face of the cars.

Local career opportunities a priority

Kim says Ecoplastic aims to become a key supplier, fostering job creation for the community. He envisions Ecoplastic being a workplace where employees thrive and their families feel supported. “Just as we prioritize the future of Ecoplastic and the dreams of our team, we equally value the well-being of their families. As we evolve into an enterprise actively benefiting our community, alongside our own growth, we hope this will be meaningful to our neighbors and local businesses,” Kim explains.

Ecoplastic construction at 4800 US 301 South. Photo by Jeremy Wilburn.

The first few years will present challenges, but Kim says, “Our focus extends beyond mere revenue growth; we are committed to fostering a culture of responsibility and rapid localization, in alignment with our motto of treating employees as family."

Kim looks forward to welcoming Ecoplastic career applicants in the near future, and he believes that building a positive corporate culture is vital to the company's success.

“Our company values the concept that once you are part of us, you are family forever. At Ecoplastic, we prioritize a culture of unity, resilience, and familial bonds. We value overcoming challenges together and consider our colleagues as family, fostering a workplace environment where everyone feels valued and respected.”


Kim understands that producing quality products takes time, so he says spending time constructing the factory is paramount. “Following equipment installation, testing to produce defect-free products, and supplying flawless products to our client, Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA), are our goals.”

Factory construction is scheduled to be complete in July, equipment installation will follow, and “until September we will focus on fostering quality,” Kim explains.

“Starting October 1st, 2024, we aim to mass-produce bumpers for the IONIC 5 model. Next year, we'll produce the IONIC 7, and by 2026, the TV and TE (electric pickup truck) models. By 2027, we envision a stable Ecoplastic,” Kim says.