president Mark Sargent
carries little nostalgia for the 5,000 square-foot "cracker box" where his small aerospace firm previously manufactured hardware and ground support equipment for a number of high-flying military defense projects. Having suppliers visit for a meeting could even get a bit embarrassing.
"We were practically falling over each other," says Sargent.
Thanks to a ramp-up of the company's F-35 fighter jet program, ETI Tech is finding itself in expansive new digs, namely a 23,500 square-foot facility in the Dayton suburb of Englewood.
The growth process is about 60 to 70 percent complete since a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place in June. Over the next couple of years, the defense contractor will increase volume of mechanical and electro-mechanical support parts for its F-35 project now its ninth year. Those components could include fiber optics inspection systems or fixtures to hold landing gear. ETI Tech's customers include Lockheed Martin
, BAE Systems
and the government.
"We'll be gradually adding equipment and more employees," Sargent says of the projected $1 million expansion. "We're going to be introducing capability we've never had before."
ETI Tech has augmented its revenue from $3 million to $7 million since Sargent purchased the company from the previous owner in 2010. When full-rate production of F-35 parts begins in a year or two, the firm's owner envisions annual sales reaching $15 million.
"We would be ecstatic about that," says Sargent. "There's lots of pride here."
Source: Mark Sargent
Writer: Douglas J. Guth