Bell Helicopter sees increase in production

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 7:13 pm

By: Ebony Horton, Dothan Eagle

OZARK—Bell Helicopter’s work with Northrop Grumman on an unmanned helicopter program has elevated the Ozark facility’s production numbers this year, and workers have completed more than 600,000 hours without a reportable injury, according to the company.

Barry Ford, general manager for Bell Helicopter in Ozark, said the facility is working with Northrop Grumman on the Fire Scout program, which is an unmanned helicopter that supports special operations for ship-based unmanned systems  for the U.S. Navy.

Ford said the workforce has remained consistent over the past year with more than 120 employees. He said facility workers have completed four U.S. Air Force TH-1H aircraft for use in the training command at Fort Rucker and refurbished a UH-1H aircraft for the Maine Department of Forestry.

Ford said the facility, which performs maintenance, repair and overhaul for the full light and medium Bell Helicopter product line, is likely best known for its Huey II program.

“We take the airframe of the UH-1H and update the drive train system, increase the max grow weight and complete other modifications as necessary to upgrade the aircraft into a Huey II,” Ford said.

“This program is the only OEM recognized and supported UH-1H modification on the market today.”

According to its website, Bell Helicopter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron and produces commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft.

In addition to Ozark’s operations in Alabama, Ford said Bell operates a spare parts distribution center in Daleville that supports Fort Rucker and Pensacola flight training operations and a research facility in Huntsville for unmanned aerial vehicle operations.

The company is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ford said the Ozark facility has received both federal and company awards. He said the facility was the only Part 145 repair station in the state to be awarded the Federal Aviation Administration Maintenance Technician Program Award of Excellence “Gold Award” for demonstrating a commitment to aviation safety with a minimum of 50 percent of Ozark’s eligible employees receiving an individual AMT certificate for the calendar year.

Ford said Bell Ozark also received the Bell Helicopter President's Award for a perfect safety record this year.

As of Oct. 15, Ford said the facility worked three calendar years and more than 600,000 hours without a single reportable injury.

Ford said the company worked swiftly to mitigate the impacts of the partial government shutdown on its customers and business.

“Our challenges are not dissimilar to the challenges of other OEMS. ... The uncertainty in Washington certainly is a factor in managing our business,” he said.

Pilgrim's Plan's $15 Feed Mill in Dale County

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News


Plans $15 Million Feed Mill Expansion in Dale County

OZARK, Ala. (August 27, 2013) – The Dale County
Commission approved tax incentives for the Pilgrim's Corporation located in
Pinckard today at its regular meeting.
The tax incentive grants Pilgrim's an abatement on their non-educational
state taxes on construction materials and equipment purchases as part of the
expansion in Dale County. Pilgrim's plans
to invest $15,312,705 in the project and employ an additional 23 jobs at the
new facility. Pilgrim's expansion
consists of constructing a feed manufacturing plant next to its new grain
receiving facility in Dale County.

Mark Blankenship, Chairman of the Dale County Commission
said, "the Dale County Commission and ODEC worked together to mitigate the
costs of the road maintenance due to the increased production of Pilgrim's and
to provide an incentive to offset the costs of the new construction and
equipment purchases."

Pilgrim's is the second-largest chicken producer in the
world and their corporate headquarters are in Greeley, Colorado.

About the Ozark-Dale County EDC

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC)
leads the county-wide initiative to stimulate job creation and capital
investment in Dale County. For more information, call 334.443.2000 or send
email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

# # #


Eric Basinger, Executive Director, ODEC

T 334.443.2000

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dale County: First Alabama County to offer MRO Incentive

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

The Dale County Commission deserves kudos for unanimously approving the Aviation Incentive for Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul of aircraft in Dale County. This incentive waives all sales and use taxes on the refurbishment of aircraft (fixed wing and rotary) in Dale County. This incentive was approved to entice Commercial Jet to locate but it will now be available to all existing companies and any new company that locates in Dale County in the future. While much of our MRO activity is military related it is possible that some consider getting some commercial contracts here due to this incentive.

Dale County is the first county in Alabama to approve this incentive and is currently the only county with it on record. The State of Alabama’s taxes are already waived for MRO so with this incentive Dale County is on an even playing field with other states offering this advantage.

Thanks again to the Dale County Commission for their visionary leadership in approving this important incentive.

Micropolitan area ranked No. 1 in state, 30th in nation

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

Ariana Diaz This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:40 pm             

For the fifth year in a row, Enterprise-Ozark micropolitan area has ranked in the top 100 strongest economic micropolitan statistical areas in the nation, according to Policom Corp.'s 2013 Economic Strength Rankings.

“The ranking is a good news story,” Daleville Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth said. “The study validates the economic strength of the area.”

The Enterprise-Ozark micropolitan area, which includes Coffee and Dale counties, is ranked 30th in the nation out of 576 micropolitan statistical areas.

The ranking is down from the 28th ranking last year, but is still higher than the 48th spot in 2011, and the 88th spot in 2010.

“What stands out to me most when reviewing these numbers is the turnaround that we have had starting in 2004,” Eric Basinger, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation executive director said. “We went from 209th to 28th from 2004 to 2012, and it wasn’t an accident, as we have maintained a strong ranking during the global recession.  We all know that 2012 wasn’t a great year for business, but the fact that we basically held our own by only dropping two spots shows a resilient strength in our regional economy.”

This year, the Enterprise-Ozark area is the only Alabama micropolitan area ranked in the nation’s top 50. 

The area ranked as the state’s number one micropolitan area out of 13 other areas in the state.

Alabama micropolitan areas featured in the study include: Albertville, Alexander City, Cullman, Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Enterprise-Ozark, Eufaula, Fort Payne, Selma, Scottsboro, Talladega-Sylacauga, Troy, Tuskegee and Valley.

This is the second year the Enterprise-Ozark area has placed first in the state.

The Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area ranked second in the state this year, followed by the Troy area in third.

The Enterprise-Ozark area has maintained a top five position in the state for the past nine years.

Every year, Policom Corp., of Palm City, Fla., releases the economic strength rankings.

Policom, an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, was founded in 1995 and began analyzing micropolitan statistical areas in 2002.

The rankings are based on 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period from 1992 to 2011.

Factors measured in the rankings include: wages, personal income, employment statistics, construction revenue, retail revenue and consistency of growth or decline.

The overall condition of the economy is based on the “standard of living” of the people who live and work in the area.

“There have been some excellent developments surrounding Fort Rucker, such as Daleville’s tremendous growth in simulation technology companies and the investment by the Army Aviation Federal Credit Union with their new headquarters construction,” Basinger said. “Elsewhere in Dale County, the Alabama Aviation Center Campus in Ozark has experienced enrollment growth as our local talented students continue to become certified in the high-paying aviation mechanic field.”

The Policom Corp. created the economic strength rankings to study the characteristic of both strong and weak economies. The highest-ranked areas have rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time, whereas the lowest have unstable decline for an extended period of time.

“What I really think (this) means for us, not only the city but regionally, we really are an area of opportunities,” Wigglesworth said. “Here in Daleville we have the (helicopter) simulators, but obviously our ranking in terms of economic development goes beyond that. It’s also our opportunity to attract, not just in Daleville, (but) regionally. That’s why it’s called a micropolitan.”

For a micropolitan area to be considered in the study, the micropolitan area must have a city with a population of at least 10,000, but fewer than 50,000.

Enterprise, the “City of Progress” and the Enterprise-Ozark’s primary city, had an estimated population of 26,562 in 2010.

Ozark, the Dale County seat, had a population of about 14,907 in 2010. Daleville, in 2010, had an estimated population of about 5,295.

“The potential is there for continued growth economically,” Wigglesworth said. “(The rankings) show that we have opportunities and we want to obviously continue to remain at the top of both of those lists.”

Commercial Jet Inc. to invest $12 million in Dale County aircraft maintenance operation

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

DOTHAN, Alabama – Governor Robert Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined company and community leaders here today in announcing that Commercial Jet Inc. will invest $12 million to open a new 400,000-square-foot facility at Dothan Regional Airport in Dale County. The facility will employ hundreds of people.

The opening of the new facility will more than triple the company’s capacity to provide freighter conversion and maintenance, repair and overhaul, or MRO, services.

“I am proud that the State of Alabama could play a key role in providing hundreds of new jobs for the people of the Wiregrass area,” Governor Bentley said. “We know that Alabama is the ideal location for the aerospace and aviation industries. This announcement further strengthens our emerging role as an aerospace leader in the Southeast.”

“Because of hard work and a committed, skilled workforce, Alabama has enjoyed tremendous success in industrial recruitment and job creation over the past few years, and today’s announcement is proof we are not ready to rest on our laurels,” said Speaker Hubbard, R-Auburn. “If Alabama is going to remain competitive and continue its impressive track record, we must continue to focus on creating the 21st Century jobs that companies like Commercial Jet and fields like the aerospace industry provide. With vision and determination, I believe we can make the Wiregrass and the rest of Alabama a major aerospace hub for the nation.”

Secretary Canfield applauded the company’s decision to locate the facility in the Dale County area and said the announcement is another indication that Alabama is well on its way to meeting its targeted industry goals set forth in the state’s economic development plan,Accelerate Alabama.

The Dothan Houston County Airport Authority has initiated the construction, to be completed in stages with the final building to be delivered in October this year. “Our new facility will broaden our ability to deliver high-quality integrated aviation services to commercial airlines and aircraft owners and operators,” said David M. Sandri, company president.

Commercial Jet’s new maintenance facility includes multiple hangars, back shops, stores and offices, with extensive apron space for aircraft parking and servicing.

John Schildroth, vice president and general manager for the Dothan facility, said Commercial Jet plans to hire several hundred trained and experienced aircraft technicians in the local market within the next few years. “We are already getting a flow of new orders for our new facility, which will be open for business as soon as May of this year,” he said.

The company said that state officials and local civic and business leaders have given staunch support to Commercial Jet’s expansion plans.

“This was all made possible through their efforts,” said Sandri, citing Governor Bentley, Commerce Secretary Canfield, House Speaker Hubbard, House Representative Paul Lee, Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and others. He also praised the Dothan Commission, the Dale County Commission, the Houston County Commission, the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation, the Dothan Houston Airport Authority, the Dothan Chamber of Commerce and other entities.