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Gulfstream to build $40 million service center, add 200 jobs at Appleton airport

 

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced Friday that it will build a new $40 million service center at Appleton International Airport.

The 180,000-square-foot maintenance facility will complement the company's existing operations at the airport and create about 200 jobs.

Gulfstream currently employs 820 people locally at its cabin-completions facility and service center.

"This is the most significant expansion we've had in Appleton in the nearly 20 years we've been there," said Derek Zimmerman, president of product support for Gulfstream.

State and local officials gathered at a Gulfstream hangar on Discovery Drive to celebrate the news.

Gov. Scott Walker championed both the capital investment and the addition of "good-paying, family-supporting jobs."

“The company’s decision to expand right here in the Fox Valley is yet another sign that our state’s economy is strong," he said.

Walker and Gulfstream officials credited the state's sales tax exemption on aviation parts and maintenance as one of the reasons the company chose Appleton for its expansion.

State Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, congratulated Gulfstream and the Fox Cities workforce for "creating these fantastic products that are the envy of the world."

"This is an extraordinary day for the Fox Valley," Roth said.

Gulfstream engineers, manufactures and services business aircraft. It has been at Appleton International Airport since 1998.

State Rep. Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah, credited Gulfstream for being "a very positive corporate citizen."

"It's been great to see how they have grown over the last 20 years," he said. "This is going to be good for the Fox Cities. It's going to create more jobs, and more importantly, it's going to create more career opportunities for the 800 employees who are here and then the other 200 who are going to be added soon."

Zimmerman said the new jobs primarily will be technicians and support staff for the service and maintenance of Gulfstream's growing fleet of aircraft produced for customers around the world.

"We will start hiring this year yet," he said. "We anticipate we will get about 40 percent of that hiring done in 2018 ... and we'll do the remainder of the hiring as we get into 2019."

The new service center will include a hangar, offices, back shops and support space. It will be located at the airport between two existing Gulfstream hangars west of the Greenville water tower.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May and be completed by the second quarter of 2019.

Gulfstream's existing facilities at the airport total 316,000 square feet of space. The new facility, Zimmerman said, "will add about 50 percent to our current capacity at this site."

Zimmerman said Gulfstream will take advantage of "the same state incentive package that's available to all employers in Wisconsin."

Worldwide, Gulfstream employs more than 15,000 people. It is headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, and operates facilities in the U.S., United Kingdom, China and Brazil.

Two years ago, Gulfstream announced the layoff of 1,100 workers — 600 contractors and 500 employees — at its U.S. sites. At the time, the employee layoff totaled about 3 percent of its workforce.