Adding New Jobs At Fort Worth And Amarillo
Bell Helicopter Chief Executive Officer Michael Redenbaugh
announced Monday the company is moving its V-22 Program Office from
Fort Worth to Amarillo, TX. "We're doing this now in anticipation
of the eventual need to ramp up for full rate production on the
V-22," he said.
In this process Bell will be establishing a number of new
positions throughout its Dallas/Fort Worth Centers of Excellence as
well as its Amarillo Military Assembly & Integration
"Many of these positions will require hiring new people while
some professional and technical skill sets important to V-22
production will involve moving some existing positions from Bell
facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Amarillo," Redenbaugh
said, adding "we have always planned to increase our employee
base as much as necessary to successfully meet the demand of
producing upwards of 48 aircraft per year at full rate.
"In order to ensure the success of our V-22 manufacturing
operations it was clear to us that we need to move our program
engineers and managers to be co-located where the aircraft are
built," Redenbaugh said.
"This is a wonderful opportunity not only for all the folks being
transferred to Amarillo, but will be of great benefit to the
manufacturing process by having all members of our V-22 team
located at one place. The High Plains of the West Texas Panhandle
is a great place to build aircraft and raise families."
The combination of a productive workforce and additional
facilities paid for by the Amarillo Economic Development Council
led Bell to grow the Amarillo facility. In addition to the V-22
Osprey, Amarillo will be responsible for the Marine Corps'
AH-1Z/UH-1Y helicopter upgrade as well as other military programs
including the Bell Eagle Eye unmanned aerial vehicle and the
proposed Bell 407 ARH for the US Army's Armed Reconnaissance
Helicopter Program. At full rate production on these programs, the
Amarillo facility would deliver around 100 aircraft per year and
employ more than 1,700 people.
Bell has also invested $300 million in a "Composite Center of
Excellence," in Fort Worth and a "Machining Center of Excellence,"
in Grand Prairie.
To provide a pool of qualified work force candidates, the Bell
Employee Training Alliance-including Amarillo College and several
regional employment agencies-offer courses in shop mathematics,
quality procedures, composite materials repairs and metalworking.
About half the graduates are hired by Bell. For successful
applicants, the first-phase training is followed by more than 80
hours of training in mechanical and electrical assembly.
Sized for V-22 full-rate production, the Amarillo facility
includes a 170,000 square foot assembly building and a 72,000-foot
flight hangar. A 113,300 square foot expansion is now complete, and
will initially house both V-22 and H-1 assembly lines. An expansion
of the current production flight hanger will be completed in