Aerospace contracts lead to expansion for Eastman company

Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters, which makes precision sheet metal and machined parts for aircraft manufacturers, plans to expand its Dodge County facility, investing $550,000, company officials said Tuesday.

The company recently landed contracts with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, prompting the expansion, said Stephen Pritchett, general manager and CEO.

The expansion will not create any new jobs, but the company plans to continue its normal hiring rate of two employees every six months, he said.

“This expansion has been about three or four years coming,” said Pritchett. “In today’s economy, it’s kind of rare. We’ve been blessed.”

The expansion will add 12,500 square feet to the facility at Heart of Georgia Regional Airport. About 30 percent of that will be new office space, with the rest involving additional work area and equipment, Pritchett said.

Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters’ clients also include the Defense Logistics Agency and Gulfstream. The company has been in business for 10 years and employs 42 people.

Pritchett said the “well-trained graduates” from the adjacent Middle Georgia College Aviation Campus and Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin “enable us to hire the kind of talent we need to grow.”

Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said aerospace is “one of Georgia’s strategic industries.”

“The growth of Heart of Georgia Metal Crafters shows that our work is paying off,” Stewart said in a news release.

“Georgia has the talented work force and business-friendly environment to help aerospace companies take flight.”

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.