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Carson attractive to aerospace manufacturers

Rob Sabo
Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Although Carson City has no commercial airport, it is home to several well-established aerospace manufacturing companies, and more aerospace employment could be on the way.

The largest aerospace manufacturer in Carson City is Chromalloy, which builds, coats and repairs components that go into gas turbine engines, such those that power aircraft. Chromalloy employs 520 at its Carson City facility.

Andrew Farrant, vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Chromalloy, says the company chose Carson City because of its cost of living and doing business. The company opened facilities in Phoenix and Carson City at the same time during an expansion from its facility in Gardena, Calif.

“The cost of living on the coast was a lot heavier than inland,” Farrant says. “It’s not unusual for aerospace companies trying to service the L.A. area to look at Phoenix or Carson City as a good place to set up shop. Carson City and Nevada have been really helpful in getting us established, and that’s why it made sense for us.”

Chromalloy’s Carson City facility has grown into one of the company’s largest business units; Chromalloy has more than 30 facilities in 14 countries with more than 4,000 employees.

“We build, repair and coat parts that come from the gas pack of the engine, where they are operating under the highest temperatures, Farrant says. “A high degree of technology is required to work on that part of the engine. We have grown Carson City to be one of our biggest and most capable facilities. We have a great history in Carson City, and we hope it continues.”

Zahir Teja, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Aerospace Inc., founded his business in Carson City in 2003 in part because a friend had a small facility in which he could lease space that met his requirements. But Teja also cites the ease of opening a business and conducting business in Nevada.

Phoenix manufactures and re-manufactures aircraft ground support equipment that is needed to maintain and operate aircraft – the mobile start carts that start jet engines, for instance. It has contracts in place with the U.S. Air Force and the Navy.

“Nevada is a great state to do business in,” Teja says. “Every agency of the government is helpful in making you get there rather than being an obstacle – that speaks well for Nevada.

Phoenix expects to add to its workforce of 12 by the end of the year. With good transportation and infrastructure, it is easier to procure goods and services from outside Carson City, he said.

“If you cannot find resources around here, you can get some from other states,” Teja says. “You don’t have to be in a city where all the facilities are available; you can do it from here and still get things to other and from other states in reasonable time.”

A final reason that makes good business sense for Phoenix Aerospace is the availability of machine shops and similar business for outsourcing. Phoenix Aerospace subcontracts out a lot of business to shops located around Carson City, Teja says.

In 1980, Click Bond, a subsidiary of Physical Systems, Inc. of Aspen, Colo., was founded in a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Carson City.

Click Bond has contracts with the aerospace systems sector of Northrop Grumman for its adhesive bonded fastening systems and services, which are used in building manned and unmanned aerospace vehicles and support systems.

Click Bond also supplies NASA with adhesive bonded fasteners, cable tie mounts, studs and nut plates for sensor attachments.

Bearing manufacturers Specline makes metal-to-metal and beryllium copper bearings used throughout the aerospace industry. It also manufactures journal bearings used in aircraft landing gear shock strut and landing gear assemblies.

U.S. Welding Corp. moved to Carson City in 1993. The company manufactures high-grade welding wire and welding rods that are used throughout the programs being developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Its products also are used where welds cannot fail, such as in the turbines of jet engines or other aerospace applications. The company produces wire for Rocketdyne, Aerojet, and Northrup Grumman.