SUBHEAD: Aerospace manufacturer looking to add 300 jobs at Red Oak facility

A tax abatement agreement between Ellis County and a major local aerospace manufacturer will continue, but with an added partner to the mix.

An amended abatement agreement among the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court, Triumph Aerostructures LLC and Bombardier US Aerostructures LLC was approved during last Tuesday’s bi-weekly meeting. A portion of the agreement was shifted from Triumph to Bombardier, and the abatement’s expiration in 2021 will not change.

The abatement was originally granted to Triumph Aerostructures in 2011. Triumph built a 240,000-square-foot facility that same year at the Red Oak Industrial Park, and later built an adjacent 825,000-square foot structure.

But Red Oak director of economic development Lee McCleary explained that Bombardier, which was leasing a large part of Triumph’s facility for its wing manufacturing project, negotiated a purchase in 2019 and is now a party to the arrangement.

McCleary said Triumph still owns the buildings, but Bombardier now owns the inventory, machinery and equipment, and requested that a portion of the abatement be reassigned to Bombardier consisting of the 240,000-square-foot building and about $65 million in property. “It’s a left pocket, right pocket thing,” McCleary said.

Bombardier is looking to add up to 300 employees from the Ellis County area and has partnered with Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus in Red Oak to train them.

Robert Clark, of Bombardier’s aerospace division, said the operation manufactures an advanced wing design for the Global 7500 luxury business jet, and the demand for this aircraft is booked solid for years in advance. Clark told commissioners that the plant currently employs 800 people and is looking to expand that to 1,100, with 100 requisitions already posted on LinkedIn.

“We’re deeply committed to Ellis County, to continuing our partnership and to bringing more jobs home,” Clark said. “Currently, we’re at 39% direct and 61% contract labor. We want to flip that to 70% direct and 30% contract labor. So we’re deeply committed to bringing people in and making them regular employees, and being a part of the community.”

Training for a skilled position at the Bombardier plant will consist of a 12-week course at TSTC with tuition paid and a $12.50 per hour wage, followed by a 12-week apprenticeship at the plant at $15 an hour. Clark said after that, full-time employees will receive full wages of $16.05 an hour, with benefits that equal 47% of salaries — “the best in the industry, and really in just about any industry,” Clark said.