Work is under way to convert the old Key Tronic building here into an aircraft-industry manufacturing plant, but production isn’t expected to begin until next year.
“We’ve got a long way to go in getting the plant set up,” said Brian Laufenberg, engineering manager for Aerocell Inc. of Marysville, Wash. “We’ve got five people there doing all this setup, but we’re not going to need any more people for quite awhile.”
That hasn’t deterred job seekers, though.
“We’ve got probably 200 applications already on file,” Laufenberg said. “It’s just too much of a time consumption to accept any more. We’re talking to people, but we’re not accepting any more applications right now.”
First, he said, the building must be renovated and a large piece of equipment has to be assembled.
Laufenberg declined to say exactly what the plant will do or how many people it will employ. He noted, though, that Aerocell makes raw materials for other companies that manufacture parts for the aerospace industry.
One of Aerocell’s primary products is honeycomb sandwich panels that have a variety of interior and exterior uses in airplanes. Big blocks of honeycomb material are sliced into sheets that are covered with plastic or fiberglass skins.
Residents of economically depressed Pend Oreille County have looked forward to the new industrial operation since 1992, when Aerocell’s sister company, Northwest Composites, bought the 67,750-square-foot Key Tronic building from the county government for $902,565. The county paid about the same price to buy and repair the vacant industrial building in 1988.
Government offices moved into the Key Tronic building while the county courthouse was renovated. Afterward, commissioners sold the building at a bargain price to attract an industrial employer.