Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 9, 2012

BREAKING: Aerospace firm to bring 500 to 600 jobs to Stillwater area

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater and state officials announced Monday that a new facility for aerospace manufacturer ASCO will bring between 500 and 600 jobs to the Stillwater area.

The Belgium-based company has operations in four countries, including the United States. ASCO designs and makes high-strength aircraft components and assemblies for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer commercial jets. The company will start production in the former MerCruiser site on North Perkins Road.

“ASCO makes things, and they make things better than others make things,” said Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, who was at the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Monday morning for the local announcement. “And they’ll be making those things, those products, those items in Stillwater, America.”

Lamb said aerospace is a growing industry in the state and securing manufacturing jobs is important to the vitality of Oklahoma.

“If the state is not making products to ship, to export and to create new jobs, any state will start to sink,” Lamb said.

Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said the return of manufacturing jobs is “a shot in the arm” to the community.

“We’re going to have new families moving in. We’re going to have families moving back, I feel quite certain,” Bartley said. “It is going to be wonderful. It’s with an unbelievable sense of Stillwater pride to know that the parts being built here in the near future will be the ones that make planes fly safely and carry us, our families and our friends all across this world.”

Stillwater Chamber President/CEO Lisa Navrkal said ASCO will gear up production in two phases. The first phase starts the hiring process in September to fill approximately 250 jobs. Those employees will be trained at Stillwater's Meridian Technology Center. The Stillwater site will start production in early 2014. The second phase will hire anywhere from 250 to 350 new positions.

Navrkal said nearly all of those will be new hires, and she said ASCO will invest $100 million locally.

For its new facility in Stillwater, ASCO will receive the federal new market tax credit and the state investment and quality jobs tax credits. Navrkal said the ability to train a local workforce with the help of Meridian Technology Center was a big factor for the Belgian firm selecting Stillwater.

Meridian Superintendent/CEO Doug Major said the company would need CNC (computer numerical control) machinists, quality control inspectors, manufacturing engineers and skilled assemblers, which will have an average annual salary of $45,000. Major also said the training for the high-tech manufacturing positions will take between 250 and 1,800 hours.

Navrkal said workers looking for a position can send their resume to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to keep on file for when hiring begins.

Monday morning’s announcement in Stillwater coincided with an announcement by Gov. Mary Fallin and ASCO officials at the Farnborough International Air Show in London.

“Oklahoma was the best location for our facility,” said Christian Boas, who is the CEO for ASCO Group. “The state is centrally located in North America and has an existing aerospace industry which is thriving. Oklahoma has a highly skilled workforce which specializes in our industry and the state has offered us assistance in training our new workforce.”

The air show runs all week, but companies traditionally make big announcements on Monday.

“I am thrilled to welcome ASCO to the Oklahoma community,” Fallin said. “Oklahoma has one of the strongest aerospace sectors in the U.S., and we are quickly becoming an international destination for the industry.”

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