BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) --Aviation Repair Technologies is based at the Arkansas Aeroplex in Blytheville. For two years the company has shown steady growth and an increasing number of customers. Now the demand for their services is moving the company into Phase 2 of an expansion program and that means lots of jobs for Region 8.
In his remarks to an attentive crowd gathered at the Blytheville Holiday Inn, A-R-T CEO Ben Quevedo said, "You know the economy is turning. We are seeing a demand for our products. We're actually getting very good at what we do. You know the local workers are really getting up to speed, the training is paying off and our backlog is increasing."
Quevedo's plan for growth will focus on the growth of ART's component repair operations to the tune of a 10 Million dollar investment and potentially, 300 new jobs.
Quevodo, "Phase 2 will be a very sophisticated machine shop, fully automatic to make parts to support the operation. Expanded back shops and we will also do some engine part rework. We're planning on running 7 days a week, two shifts."
All of these shops and other companies that will be either expanding or moving in to support ART will need many highly skilled people. In relation to that need, Quevedo made an announcement that not many college presidents will ever hear.
Quevedo, "We will hire the first graduating class of the Arkansas Northeastern College in May."
Arkansas Northeastern started up it's Aviation Maintenance Program to primarily train aircraft mechanics for ATR. ANC President Robert Myers said the investment is paying off.
Myers, "It's a great feeling, you don't hear that very often but it's a great feeling. We've got a great class of students that is going through the program now."
Governor Beebe also attended Tuesday's meeting. In his remarks Beebe says that Mississippi County has gone from the bottoms to a pinnacle.
Beebe, "Economic Development and education are inseparable. And those 2 things can guide us and lead us to a better quality of life and solve so many other problems. The real success of Mississippi county in terms of going from ashes to a phoenix rising out of it are the people."
And those people are the potential employees, at least 300 of them that Dr. Myers hopes will get excited about aviation and pass through his school and move on to better lives.
Myers, "We may not have enough room for all the potential students that will be coming our way in the near future."