Gulfstream Announces $300 Million Expansion - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/06/06

Gulfstream Announces $300 Million Expansion

Artist's rendition of new facility. Artist's rendition of new facility.

Chatham County's flying high today after learning a major company plans to expand, adding more than a thousand jobs. Gulfstream Aerospace is spending more than $300 million to expand its facilities in Savannah over the next seven years. But this just doesn't add an extra few buildings, it adds new employees, and could give local graduates brand-new careers.

It was all handshakes and smiles as city, county and state leaders gathered to listen to the jet maker's announcement about a "bigger" future. After 40 years in one spot, Gulfstream is expanding.

"The plan we're talking about today takes us to 2012 and is expected to cost $300 million," said the company's president, Brian Moss.

Those dollars will be spent on 76 acres of new facilities. Moss says it's part of a seven-year master plan to increase production, and bring Gulfstream back to the future. "We're so far behind, in terms of what the market demands today, that this is something that needed to be done," he said.

Right now, Gulfstream employs 4,300 people, and they say they are bursting at the seams. But the expansion will allow them to increase that number by nearly 1,100.

Many will come from a newly designed training program at Savannah Tech. Gulfstream and the state are working together to find the next generation a new career.

"Offering men and women coming out of school and want to work with their hands a great opportunity for a great long-term job," said Gov. Sonny Perdue, on hand for the announcement.

Jobs are the reason Savannah was willing to get on board with the program. More people working in the hanger, more money coming in to the city and entire state.

"Their customers are insisting they grow, and we're grateful for that," said Gov. Perdue. "And when they need to grow, it's time for us to respond to their needs."

"To me, it was rewarding to see people come together, not to raise obstacles, but to identify them and overcome them," said Moss.

Gulfstream says the new facility will allow the company to increase production from 72 jets a year to nearly 100. The Gulfstream-Savannah Tech classes will be designed specifically for building and maintaining Gulfstream jets. And while it is a seven-year plan, new jobs will be created as the facilities are built, including some as early as next year.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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