Vector Aerospace awarded national defence contract, new hires coming
© Ryan Cooke/Journal Pioneer
Egmont MP Gail Shea
SUMMERSIDE – After rapid expansions over the last 20 years, Vector Aerospace will again see growth in its Slemon Park complex.
Gail Shea, Egmont Member of Parliament, was on hand at Vector on Tuesday afternoon to announce the awarding of a National Defence contract to the Island aerospace company.
Vector was the recipient of a contract valued at more than $1 million for repair and maintenance of the engines on the CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft used by Canadian Armed Forces in the northern regions of the country.
“This is simply amazing,” said Vector president Jeff Poirier. “It’s a real testament to the strong, strong skilled workforce here in Summerside.”
The contract will pay out $1 million over three years, with seven addition one-year options, bringing the potential total 10-year value to $7.9 million.
When asked what he thought the chances were for the contract being renewed for all seven optional years, Poirier smiled and replied, “Very good.”
In a year that’s seen 50 new employees hired on, the recent contract will see a dozen more employees hired before 2014.
Vector was awarded the contract over what Poirier called “fierce” competition from five other original equipment-manufacturing companies.
It’s the employees that place the company ahead of their competitors, he said.
“Our people are our greatest assets. We build the engines with the same parts and processes as our competitors. The only thing that sets us apart are the 560 people we have around the world.”
Shea, who appeared on behalf of the Minister of National Defence, Rob Nicholson, explained the importance of the planes in Canada’s North.
“Being able to land on just about any surface, these planes are used extensively in the north,” Shea said. “Search and rescue, supplies – just about everything the military does there.”
The armed forces currently have four Twin Otters in their fleet, all of which are located in Yellowknife, N.W.T.
The engines will be removed in Yellowknife and trucked to Summerside, where Vector employees will take them apart and repair them, before sending them back north again.
With continued growth in the aerospace sector, the contract is a step to ensure its continuation, Shea said.
“This is just another part of solidifying the jobs here at Slemon Park.”