Mark Reichin told the Paulding County Airport Authority last week his company, Silver Comet Partners, was working actively to recruit “a handful” of companies in a variety of aviation maintenance and manufacturing specialties to the 110-acre industrial site adjacent to the airport.
The prospects like the area’s workforce and the site’s undeveloped nature but want an airport offering passenger service because of the security and emergency response requirements the Federal Aviation Administration requires under Part 139 of its certification regulations, he said.
“They’re bringing in very expensive airplanes. The idea of having that security as part of a [Part 139-certified] operation is valuable to them,” Reichin said.
The prospects include companies offering airline passenger seat refurbishment, aircraft landing gear repair, aviation composite component manufacturing and maintenance, industrial metallurgy and general aviation overhaul, Reichin said.
Paulding airport authority in late 2012 contracted with Silver Comet to recruit aerospace-related companies to the airport area off Rockmart Highway in west Paulding.
The company announced in October its efforts included seeking a passenger airline. Area residents have filed a series of legal actions against two county agencies which has slowed or halted work on a taxiway widening, runway and taxiway extension, and a new county fire station and 911 center on the site.
Reichin said the area offers a workforce experienced in the aerospace industry. Paulding residents have been part of the workforce at the Lockheed aviation production plant in Marietta for decades.
In addition, the lack of development around the airport is attractive to the prospects because they see an opportunity, he said.
“They like the idea of a clean sheet of paper, the idea that there are pristine facilities here and that they can design something that is very unique, very specific to their own needs,” he said.
Reichin also said representatives of the companies likely will travel to Paulding to see the facility – though he offered no timetable for signed agreements.
“They will be coming out here to visit, at which point we’d love for them to meet with county leadership so you can get to know them [and] vice versa, and to understand what their needs are,” he told the authority, which included County Commission Chairman David Austin and the mayors of Dallas and Hiram.
One advantage Silver Comet Field has is its location, in a straight line halfway between Boeing manufacturing facilities in South Carolina and a new Airbus manufacturing facility under construction in Mobile, Ala., Reichin said.
He said he talked with representatives of 20 companies at the MRO Americas conference in Phoenix, Ariz., which featured 500 airline maintenance, repair and overhaul-related firms and 10,000 attendees from 72 countries.
Airport authority vice chairman Boyd Austin said the report was “great news” for the county.
“We’re a destination for international companies now,” he said.