Construction Begins on ADA Tech Park in Ardmore
A public-private partnership between the Ardmore Development Authority (ADA) and ATP Investments, LLC began construction this month on a 47-acre technology park in Ardmore, OK. The park will be located on the west side of Ardmore, approximately 1 mile from Interstate 35.
The first phase of construction will consist of putting in the initial stages of infrastructure to the park, aesthetic improvements to the site and the construction of a 5000 square foot building that will be used as a business incubator. The incubator will house a 500 ft. clean room. There will be eight lots ranging is size from approximately 2.5 acres to 4.5 acres.
“This will give Ardmore a tangible product we can show to prospects we are recruiting,” states Brien Thorstenberg, ADA vice president.
“This is attractive to high tech companies particularly if they need to reserve funds for operations rather than incurring a capital expense. Sites will be available for those companies in position to construct and own their facility,” Thorstenberg adds. “This park also gives Ardmore the ability to leverage the R&D base that already exists in Ardmore with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Amethyst Research, Inc. and Southwest Silicon Technologies.”
Flanders Now Operating at Full Speed
The Flanders Corporation is operating at full production in their manufacturing and distribution facility at the New Horizons Industrial Park (a half mile east of Interstate 35 just south of Highway 70). Flanders announced their decision to locate in Ardmore, January of this year, and began production in April. They anticipated hiring 100 employees in their first year of operation, but have hired approximately 220 at this point. They plan to have 400 employees at full production.
“We are very pleased with our new location in Ardmore,” states Ron Abel, Flanders director of East Coast operations. “We have an excellent work force, and the location of Ardmore has allowed our company to consolidate some of our operations to increase our competitive advantage. We have been pleased with the assistance we have received from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, the Ardmore Development Authority, and other state and local organizations.”
The Flanders Corporation based in Washington, NC designs, manufactures and markets the highest quality filter, clean room, and containment filtration systems. The Ardmore facility manufactures and distributes air filtration products for both residential and commercial applications.
Brien Thorstenberg, Ardmore Development Authority vice president, adds that Ardmore is fortunate have Flanders in our community.
“During a year when many communities had multiple business closures, we were able to have a large employer come to Ardmore,” he said. “It says a lot about Flanders that they have exceeded their estimates on the amount of people they have hired and the amount of investment they have made in this operation.”
Tulsa’s MRO University Enters Second Year
MRO University, Tulsa’s unique training facility for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul specialists, is beginning its second year of operation.
Five years in development, MRO University is the product of a cooperative effort between Oklahoma aerospace companies, colleges, technical schools and state and federal agencies.
MRO’s training programs aren’t based in a bricks and mortar institution with a fixed address. Its curriculum is similarly adaptable to the changing needs of the industry, which directly and indirectly employs 116,000 people and has an economic impact of $12.4 billion in the state, officials said.
“The aerospace industry has been talking for some time about education and training needs that can’t be readily found in traditional university settings,” said Mary Smith, executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance, which is a partner in MRO University. “Academic institutions don’t work at warp speed and there may not be enough demand for a university to set up a training program. Usually, the training needs are from a group of six to 12 people who need to learn how to work on a new type of material or technology because their company just got a new contract. They will be very fluid course offerings.”
Among the partners and co-developers of MRO University are American Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems, NORDAM, Flight Safety International, First Wave, Lufthansa Technik, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Metro Chamber Economic Development, Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance, Tulsa Area Workforce Investment Board and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Aerospace training was one of the needs identified by the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development.
Rachel Hutchings, an employee of American Airlines, said MRO University’s initial classes next month are an example of the flexibility and speed with which training needs can be addressed. Hutchings is chairwoman of the executive board of the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance and incoming chairwoman of the Tulsa Area Workforce Investment Board.
“Our first class is government contracting at Tulsa Technology Center’s Lemley campus,” Hutchings said. “It will be offered two days a month for five months. Our hope is more Oklahoma aerospace companies will become prime (government) contractors.”
The government contracting course will be taught by professors from George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., which has a nationally recognized government certificate program, Hutchings said. Other course offerings slated at MRO University are project management and a CATIA engineering program. The MRO classes will be paid by the companies whose employees are benefiting from the training; federal grants, including economic stimulus funding, also may be used to pay for MRO University training.