Clif Chitwood, president of the Great River Economic Development Area, welcomed guests, including Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, to Blytheville on Wednesday as expansion plans of Aviation Repair Technologies (ART) were announced.
The company will invest more than $10 million in the project initially and will create 300 new jobs, taking total employed at the facility to approximately 600 people.
Ben Quevedo, ART CEO, spoke to the crowd expressing a long term commitment to the further expansion of the Blytheville operations.
"The quality of our talented and growing workforce, together with the central location and expansive facilities at the Aeroplex, has enabled us to attract a strong customer base by providing first-class service at very competitive rates," according to Quevedo.
ART currently provides maintenance for domestic and international airlines and aircraft leasing companies such as American Eagle, Bahamasair, AIRES, Dynamic Airways, Megellan Aerospace, and others.
The expansion will focus on the growth of ART's component repair operations and will include the development of a state-of-the-art machine shop and aircraft interiors and composites repair facilities.
Several newly elected officials including Senator David Burnett, Mississippi County Judge Randy Carney, and Blytheville Mayor James Sanders were introduced and spoke briefly thanking ART for investing in the community. Representatives Charolette Wagner and Tommy Baker were also recognized.
Gov. Beebe praised the people of Mississippi County calling it "the most amazing Delta county," coming back from unemployment and the loss of companies. He gave credit for the change to the people of the county.
"The success is the people who have banded together to tax themselves," Gov. Beebe said. "There is now a model for others to follow, and it is Mississippi County."
Beebe stressed the correlation between education and economic development as the reason for the successes in the county.
"It was just over two years ago that we were here welcoming ART as the latest aerospace company to call Arkansas home. That we are already returning to announce a doubling of the workforce is a testament to the strong relationship between Blytheville, Mississippi County and ART."
According to a press release those interested in employment at ART can inquire via the company's website at www.ARTmaintenance.com/careers.
Additional information on ART can be found at www.ARTmaintenance.com.