Timco Aviation Services said Thursday it would nearly double its Macon work force, adding 130 jobs in the next year to its facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
Company and government officials, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, announced the Macon facility would begin working on Boeing 767 wide-body jets, with about 100 people hired by Jan. 1 and another 30 working by the middle of next year.
Surveying a crowd of supporters -- and many of the company’s existing 140 employees -- Timco CEO Kevin Carter said the show of support “just reaffirms that Timco made the right decision, the decision to expand our capabilities at our Macon facility.”
Later, Carter added: “We’re going to need 100 people by January to support this initiative. So we’re on a hiring streak and everyone should know that.”
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Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, said Timco’s “help wanted” sign went up Wednesday and about a dozen people stopped by to ask about it.
“They’re good jobs, typically paying $20 to $40 an hour,” Topping said.
Topping said Macon competed against facilities in Alabama and Brazil to land the expansion. Incentives included offers of Quick Start job training and a $200,000 state Economic Development, Growth and Expansion Fund grant to buy tools.
Keith Statzer, general manager of Timco’s Macon plant, said interested people can apply at the facility, 150 East Drive in Macon, or online at www.timco.aero.
Timco’s Macon facility began working with Boeing’s 737s, adding in Boeing 757s and Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Timco officials declined to say what company has contracted to bring its Boeing 767s in for maintenance.
Statzer noted that once the facility is ready to work on 767s from one airline, it will be capable of working on 767s from any airline. Timco overhauls and maintains every part of an airplane except for internal engine parts.
Thursday’s announcement was made in front of a 757 passenger jet that’s 16 days into a 38-day maintenance program, with engine cowlings, pieces of the wings and doors removed. On the other side of the cavernous center bay, a similar 757 was undergoing maintenance.
Statzer said more typical maintenance takes 20 days and about 10,000 man-hours. Timco can handle up to six airplanes at a time.
Timco employees smiled at the news. “The more the merrier,” said Shawna McMurry, of Warner Robins, a four-year interior mechanic who is a carpet expert. She met her husband, Corey, at Timco.
Bonaire resident Valerie Williams, who specializes in composite materials, is eager to greet new employees.
“We think it’s great. We need the work,” she said. “We need some experienced mechanics.”
Williams began working on airplanes in 1997, after going through a training program at Warner Robins High School.
Topping said most of the employees who will be hired this year will have several years’ experience. In the coming months, Macon-area officials hope to discuss more training programs for the aerospace industry.
The region has been adding aerospace jobs.
Robins Air Force Base, one of the U.S. Air Force’s three aircraft maintenance installations, has been hiring hundreds of mechanics. In February, Bombardier Aerospace announced it would add 180 jobs to its facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
The announcement is the latest recent shot in the arm for Bibb County.
In August, First Quality announced a $200 million investment in a new diaper plant that would bring more than 150 jobs. North Coast Logistics also announced in August its plans to open a 75,000-square-foot facility in Macon.
Timco’s expansion had Perdue considering employment after he leaves the governor’s office in early 2011.
“I heard that announcement of 100 jobs, and I won’t be able to start until the second Tuesday in January,” he quipped.