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Company to hire 100 at Hagerstown location

Aerospace technology company Sierra Nevada Corp. was awarded nearly $610 million contract

Aerospace technology company Sierra Nevada Corp. was awarded nearly $610 million contract

October 02, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Aerospace technology company Sierra Nevada Corp. plans to hire about 100 new employees for its Hagerstown location as a result of a nearly $610 million contract to equip Customs and Border Protection enforcement aircraft for the Department of Homeland Security, according to Sierra Nevada Corp. vice president William Shaver.

The company's Integrated Missions Systems division, located near Hagerstown Regional Airport north of Hagerstown, will outfit the "Air and Marine Multirole Enforcement Aircraft" with electronics, radio communication suites, sensor equipment and other technology, said Shaver, who oversees the Hagerstown facilities.

The initial contract is for $95 million for five Beechcraft 350ER planes, with four one-year options for up to 30 aircraft over the life of the program, according to a Sierra Nevada press release.

Shaver estimated the contract would bring the Hagerstown site's current $60 million payroll to about $75 million. The company expects to increase its direct-hire employee base in Hagerstown from about 250 employees to about 350, Shaver said.

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Currently, the Hagerstown site has a little more than 500 employees, but about half are contractors, Shaver said.

The new employees needed to satisfy the Homeland Security contract will include engineers, airframe and powerplant mechanics, avionics and structural experts, production workers, fabrication and metal workers, supply handlers and maintenance staff, Shaver said.

"It's a broad spectrum, from the blue collar to the so-called white collar," he said. "They're good-paying jobs."

Looking beyond the recently awarded contract, Shaver said the Hagerstown location had the potential to double its work force by next spring.

Shaver said the company hires many of its employees from the local area, but also attracts people from all over the country to move to Hagerstown.

Nationwide, Sierra Nevada's seven business areas employ about 2,000 people in 35 locations in 20 states, according to the press release. The Sparks, Nev., company was founded in 1963.

Customs and Border Protection is one of the Department of Homeland Security's largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., according to its Web site, CBP.gov. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws, the site says.

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