Though Sierra Nevada, or SNC, already has an office at Dayton International, the planned expansion has been quietly in the works for months, with the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority taking action to support it in September and the city of Dayton making similar moves in December.
It wasn’t until Monday that the tenant for the project was revealed, when Ohio government and Sierra Nevada jointly announced the airport as the company’s future home for two aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul hangars, to be built in two phases.
Modifying and updating large military aircraft is an increasingly crucial job as the United States and its aging Air Force fleet face rival powers China and Russia, said Fatih Ozmen, the Sierra Nevada chief executive and co-owner who celebrated his birthday Wednesday in Dayton.
In fact, given the presence nearby of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — the base responsible for cradle-to-grave management of so many Air Force planes and weapons systems — Ozmen recalled his surprise that a large privately run maintenance operation was not already operating in Dayton.
“This is the right place to go the next step,” he said.
The company has five hangars in Colorado Springs, Colo, and SNC leaders have noted there is room to grow at the Dayton airport.
“I think this is just the beginning of the partnership,” Ozmen said.
SNC is looking for “highly skilled and experienced” workers for its maintenance operation at Dayton International, said Mark Williams, senior vice president strategy for the company.
“Job listings will include A&P (airframe and power plant) mechanics, avionic technicians, engineering technicians, structural technicians, production planners, administrative and logistics staff, operations managers, warehouse managers and more,” Williams said in response to questions from the Dayton Daily News. “The plan is to hire 90-plus people for the first hangar alone.”
Most of the new employees will be local and new to the company, Williams said.
Construction on the first hangar has started.
Pay for the positions will be competitive, Williams said. Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, also speaking in Dayton Wednesday, said the positions will offer “at least $35 an hour.
“SNC’s total rewards package includes a broad range of benefits, services and programs developed to support professional, personal and financial well-being, including an industry-leading 401(k) with 150% employer match up to 8%,” he said.
Once available, openings will be posted on the SNC careers website at sncorp.com/careers.
Williams said the company will also work with Montgomery County to find employees.
Dayton was attractive to Sierra Nevada for many reasons, Williams said.
He cited “easy access to a critical supply chain infrastructure with the state of Ohio being one of the top aviation suppliers.”
From a construction standpoint, the airport in Dayton offered an existing ramp infrastructure, was relatively flat and had easy access to utilities, Williams also said.
“All these items are beneficial when picking a hangar location,” he said.
He and Gov. Mike DeWine also noted that the airport is close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, home to Air Force Materiel Command, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Research Lab and other critical Air Force missions.
He added: “Finally, the state of Ohio, JobsOhio, Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County and city of Dayton provided numerous incentives that helped solidify our decision.”