Sunday , May 13, 2018 - 5:00 AM
OGDEN — The expansion of a U.S.-based aerospace firm’s Ogden operation will create at least 30 new jobs in the near term.
Over the long haul, a Weber County official hopes AAR Corp.’s new operations at Business Depot Ogden lead to creation of many more jobs, perhaps 1,000, and yet more development in the aerospace sector here.
“The growth will hopefully be exponential,” Weber County Commissioner James Ebert said. Aerospace is one of the sectors targeted for growth in Weber County in a county-crafted plan unveiled last month that aims to bring higher-paying jobs here and bolster the median income.
The U.S. Air Force last year awarded AAR a $909.39 million contract that extends to 2032 to assist with acquisition, refurbishing and distribution of landing gear parts for C-130, KC-135 and E-3 Air Force aircraft. A “significant portion” of the work connected to the contract is to be completed at the Wood Dale, Ill.-based firm’s Ogden facility, according to Jay Pereira, general manager of integrated solutions for AAR.
Accordingly, AAR recently added more than 7,000 square feet of office space and around 100,000 square feet of warehouse space in the BDO to accommodate the increased operations here, according to Pereira. AAR — which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony here on May 3 to formally launch the initiative, drawing a visit by Gov. Gary Herbert — will hire around 30 people to start with while Hill Air Force Base in Davis County will also hire additional personnel.
The new operation aims to increase the capacity of the Hill Air Force Base Landing Gear Depot to serve C-130, KC-135 and E-3 aircraft. AAR also will be working with Tinker AFB in Oklahoma and Robins AFB in Georgia.
Ebert thinks new hires brought on by AAR’s plans could balloon significantly in the years to come, perhaps to 1,000. Pereira, though, while saying new workers would be added “as needed,” offered a more cautionary prediction.
“We have no knowledge of job counts achieving that level. We do know the USAF will need to staff up to meet workload requirements, but we are unaware of what the total headcount implication will be,” Pereira said. AAR’s workers in Ogden are a mix of managers, engineers, analysts, warehouse workers and others who oversee movement of parts.
The firm opted to locate part of the new operation in Ogden because of the proximity of Hill AFB, the existing operation here that launched in 2007 and “the general business climate, which is pro-industry and pro-aerospace,” Pereira said. A Canadian firm held a contract preceding the AAR deal that focused on repair of landing gear.
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