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Dayton-based ETI Tech launches expansion of F-35 fighter jet program

ETI Tech 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, Boeing, 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
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