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Stark Aerospace unveils new facility

 

Retired Gen. Robert “Doc” Foglesong, former commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing at Columbus Air Force Base and former president of Mississippi State University, speaks to the crowd at Stark Aerospace. In the background is U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss.

Retired Gen. Robert “Doc” Foglesong, former commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing at Columbus Air Force Base and former president of Mississippi State University, speaks to the crowd at Stark Aerospace. In the background is U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss. Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., speaks at Stark Aerospace. U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., sits at right.

 

Retired Gen. Robert “Doc” Foglesong at Stark Aerospace.

 

 

Kristin Mamrack

 

In front of a large crowd of community and business leaders and elected officials, the ribbon was cut Monday on Stark Aerospace''s new 86,000-square-foot facility at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. 

 

And Stark Aerospace CEO David Eudy presented a $10,000 donation to East Mississippi Community College President Dr. Rick Young and EMCC Vice President of Workforce and Community Services Raj Shaunak. 

 

"If we''re going to recover from this economic recession, we''re going to have to continue to look internationally," said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Gray Swoope, noting Gov. Haley Barbour, who was scheduled to speak at the grand opening ceremony, was unable to attend. "The key to recovery is in our international partnerships. 

 

"In times like these, strategic partnerships are important," he continued. "We''ll have to continue to work together, but, most importantly, we have to be open to business." 

 

"With the construction of this new facility, Stark Aerospace is further demonstrating its commitment to doing business in Mississippi," Barbour said in a statement. "I commend the company for the additional jobs they are creating here in the Golden Triangle and the contributions their operations are making to this community, the state and to our nation''s defense." 

 

Stark Aerospace is a subsidiary of IAI North America, the U.S. subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. 

 

"We established Stark Aerospace to advance IAI technologies, products and systems to enhance the security of the United States," said Yair Shamir, chairman of the board of IAI. "Our goal for Stark Aerospace is to become a leading regional aerospace and defense company benefiting its customers, community, owners and employees." 

 

In 2006, Stark Aerospace was established at Mississippi State University''s Raspet Flight Lab in Starkville. 

 

In 2007, a second division was added in Columbus. 

 

In addition to Stark Aerospace''s new state-of-the-art facility, which opened Monday, construction is under way for a 20,000-square-foot expansion, expected to be completed in January. 

 

"What we do here, in this company, for our troops is amazing," said U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss. "To the employees, I want you to go to sleep tonight, knowing that what you''re doing saves lives." 

 

"I am extremely encouraged by the investment Israel Aerospace Industries has made and continues to make in the Starkville and Columbus area," Harper earlier said. "The Golden Triangle has truly positioned itself as an aerospace corridor in both the manned and unmanned aerial vehicle fields. The partnership between Stark Aerospace and Mississippi State University will ensure our war fighters are provided state-of-the-art equipment designed to detect and defeat." 

 

The Unmanned Aerial Systems division of Stark Aerospace is producing the Hunter MQ-5B, which has been flown for hundreds of hours in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the U.S. Army. 

 

Stark Aerospace currently is expanding its UAS flight operations and facilities to meet increased demand in the American market, company officials said, citing the Heron MALE UAS, which has a 550-pound, multi-sensor payload ability and reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities. 

 

"I am extremely pleased to have a company like Stark Aerospace in Mississippi''s First Congressional District," said U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss. "The new facility in Columbus will build on Stark''s legacy of creating good-paying, high-tech jobs that we need here in North Mississippi. 

 

"I am also proud to have supported funding for the Heron UAS," he added. "Projects like the Heron keep our nation at the forefront of cutting edge military technology, promoting economic development and improving our national security." 

 

The Electro-Optics Division of Stark Aerospace performs assembly of new TAMAM POP -- Plug-in Optronic Payload -- 300-series payloads and performs repairs on these units used in Afghanistan and Iraq; the payloads also are used on law enforcement helicopters and for other surveillance needs. 

 

"I was impressed with (Shamir when I first met him) and I am impressed with him today," Childers told the Stark Aerospace employees gathered for the ceremony.  

 

"More than ever, we need jobs and we''re proud that Stark Aerospace chose to bring those jobs to the Golden Triangle and we thank you for it," he added, noting Stark Aerospace has 100 employees between its Starkville and Columbus locations. "Israel Aerospace Industries and Stark Aerospace represent an important example of international partnership, right here in Mississippi." 

 

Shamir noted the Columbus facility currently has 76 employees and will "continue to grow." 

 

"Stark Aerospace is broadening its capabilities," he said. "To the management, employees and board of directors, you are doing a great job!" 

 

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who was unable to attend the ceremony, sent a congratulatory letter to Stark Aerospace and its employees. 

 

"I applaud your investment in Mississippi and your confidence in the Golden Triangle," he wrote. 

 

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., also was unable to attend the ceremony, but made remarks in a video shown to the audience. 

 

"Mississippians take a great deal of pride in their support of our armed forces and this facility will give them new opportunities to support their mission," he said. 

 

"None of this would have occurred, if we hadn''t been blessed by visionary leadership," said retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Robert "Doc" Foglesong, who served as master of ceremonies for the event.  

 

"We hire locally and train (our workforce) with assistance from East Mississippi Community College," said Eudy, presenting a $10,000 check to EMCC to "help advance misplaced workers."

 

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment the wee corporal commented at 6/25/2011 12:44:00 AM:

This building is half empty and leaks like a coffee filter. They cut so many corners in construction and spent a million dollars on furnishing the front office, but they cannot maintain temperatures or implement a truly lean process due to the poor planning and layout. Worst of all, 2 years later they are taking suggestions from people they fired as to make the warehouse, production floor and office space more functional. Heck, they have to wheel the aircraft 200 yards through inclement weather just to intall avionics, then back outside 200 yards to crate up. Open for two years and they will never get to use half the facility. Stark received $Millions in grants from MS and Lowndes and have yet to land a new contract to fill out the building. Talk to anyone who works there or has worked there, they will verify.

 

Article Comment the wee corporal commented at 6/25/2011 12:45:00 AM:

This building is half empty and leaks like a coffee filter. They cut so many corners in construction and spent a million dollars on furnishing the front office, but they cannot maintain temperatures or implement a truly lean process due to the poor planning and layout. Worst of all, 2 years later they are taking suggestions from people they fired as to make the warehouse, production floor and office space more functional. Heck, they have to wheel the aircraft 200 yards through inclement weather just to intall avionics, then back outside 200 yards to crate up. Open for two years and they will never get to use half the facility. Stark received $Millions in grants from MS and Lowndes and have yet to land a new contract to fill out the building. Talk to anyone who works there or has worked there, they will verify.

 

Article Comment tt floatilla commented at 7/22/2011 3:46:00 PM:

I know 15 managers who have quit/fired from Stark. They say the same as the previous comment by the wee corporal. $$ is spent to look good and nothing to show for it.
P.S.- I've never seen a retired brig. general from the MARINES bend over, compromise his gut instincts and integrity just to kiss a little corporal's backside. The local community is getting the truth about the inexperienced and bogus aerospace/manufacturing/accounting front office staff by firing more and more people every month. It's a shame the CEO hired his neighbors and 'social club' pals to start up this co. Israel handed them. Now, he has to fire them to save his wee behind.

 

Article Comment tt floatilla commented at 11/14/2011 6:14:00 PM:

AND their 1 UAV outside the country is ablaze. mr. ceo, are you a firedstarter cuz yer newest team appears to be.
To the Public - please view other comments from other s.a. links. *These comments are below the newapaper / magazine articles found on line.
"Crash and Burn" should be written over the front office door as the company's mission statement.

 

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